A host of new and emerging comedians from across the UK have been announced as contenders in a series of prestigious comedy competitions and events at Leicester Comedy Festival 2022.

The comedians will perform in competitions including Silver Stand UpLeicester Mercury Comedian of the Year CompetitionUK Pun Championships and the Union JACK Radio’s Circuit Breakers showcase.

All the shows will be part of Leicester Comedy Festival which takes place from 2-20 February 2022.  Full details about the festival can be obtained by visiting www.comedy-festival.co.uk

The Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition has taken place each February since 1995 and past winners have included Johnny Vegas, Josh Widdicombe, Romesh Ranganathan, Jo Enright and Kate Lucas.

Entry is via nomination from a selected group of UK promoters and the winner is chosen by an industry judging panel.  The comedians confirmed to perform in 2022 are:

  • Nick Elleray
  • Hayley Ellis
  • Louise Leigh
  • Lucila San Martin
  • John Meagher
  • Firuz Ozari
  • Ashish Suri
  • Sam Williams

The competition will be hosted by South Londoner and Barbadian citizen and girl wonder comedian Sikisa, and will take place on Saturday, 19th February 2022 at The Y, Leicester.

The UK Pun Championships were created by Leicester Comedy Festival in 2014 and the whole competition is a “celebration of the British pun”.

The show takes place at the end of #UKPunDay, – a hashtag originated by Leicester Comedy Festival which has grown to become a social media  phenomenon, attracting in recent years over 103.5 million impressions on Twitter alone.  The show takes place in the round in a boxing ring and in 2022 the competition will once again be hosted by much loved Irish stand-up Jason Byrne.  The competitors are confirmed as

  • Pauline Eyre
  • Friz Frizzle
  • Iain MacDonald
  • Richard Pulsford
  • Rob Thomas
  • Chris Norton Walker
  • Richard Woof-lord
  • Jenan Younis

The UK Pun Championships will be held at De Montfort Hall, Leicester, on Punday Monday, 7th February 2022.

Union JACK Radio’s Circuit Breakers was launched in the summer of 2017 with a crowd funding campaign asking people to pledge money to support new and emerging comedians.  The showcase gives a platform for brand new talent who otherwise wouldn’t perform at the festival, and the Festival producers offer them professional support and advice.

All the comedians are also invited to attend a “meet the industry” lunch held during the festival where they will receive advice and support from producers and promoters.  They will also benefit from a professional photoshoot with acclaimed photographer Andy Hollingworth.  The comedians selected to take part are:

  • Adam Anwar
  • Matthew Hayhurst Kathryn Higgins
  • Plastic Jeezus
  • Kate Lovelock
  • Alice Markey
  • Joanne Sarginson
  • Rahul Somia

The Circuit Breakers showcase performances, which will be hosted by up-and-coming hotshot Eshaan Akbar, are on Friday 11h and Saturday 12th February at PETER Pizzeria, Leicester.

The Silver Stand Up Competition has been running at Leicester Comedy Festival for the past eight years and is exclusively for comedians aged over 55.  The competition is supported by established acts such as Alexei Sayle, Jasper Carrott and Arthur Smith and the 2022 shortlisted comedians are confirmed as:

Geoff Alderman

Alyn Ashby

Brian Cowles

Nicholas Hill

Kevin Hudson

Paul Jennings


Professor John

Lawrence Laidlow

Paul Merryck

President Obonjo

Chris Phillips


Tel Ternbull

Sha Wylie

The Silver Stand Up Competition, hosted by comedy legend Mrs Barbara Nice, takes place on Thursday 17th February 2022 at PETER Pizzeria, Leicester.

The Gala Preview Show, the launch show for Leicester Comedy Festival 2022, will take place at De Montfort Hall, Leicester on Friday 7th January.  The show will be hosted by star of stage and screen Rosie Jones. and tickets are now on sale from www.comedy-festival.co.uk



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