Tomorrow, we are launching SatireDay with 15 terrific events all poking fun at life and the uncertain times we face in this mad, mad world. Belfast is noted for its sardonic wit so this theme fits much of our programme including the shows tomorrow featuring the Rubberbandits, Michelle & Arlene, Bill Hicks: Relentless, our Kate Bush dance parody and Alternative Bedtime Stories - to name but a few! Don't forget our conference in the Mac will also explore the local comedy scene including humour and conflict. So join us in having a laugh and satirising the powers that shape our world. Book tickets at belfastcomedyfestival.com

Belfast Comedy Festival shared their event.

Comedy Industry Conference

Northern Ireland Comedy Industry Conference Saturday, 7 October 2017 The Mac, Belfast Sponsored by Equity, Belfast City Council, Arts Council NI & ASM Introduction As part of Belfast Comedy Festival, a special conference examining the comedy industry in Northern Ireland has been organised with key partners on 7 October in the Mac. The aim of this event is to review the current state of the comedy industry in Northern Ireland and consider ways in which we can better support performers, writers, event organisers and other practitioners. During the conference, we will share practical advice and skills on how to make it in this complex industry. Come along and meet useful contacts, attend a range of informative workshops and hear from some of the most successful local industry figures. We will also get an opportunity to debate what is needed to support performers and further develop the local comedy scene. At the end of the event • Participants will have had an opportunity to network, develop new knowledge and skills in order to develop their performances and careers in the comedy industry. • Proposals and ideas for improving support to performers and the comedy industry will have been generated hopefully resulting in long term benefits for the arts, tourism and entertainment in Northern Ireland. After the event, a conference report will be published online. Programme 10.00 Introductions & welcome 10.15 Supporting comedy in Northern Ireland - perspectives from leading figures in the arts and comedy worlds, chaired by Graeme Watson with panelists including: • Adam Adnyana, National Organiser, Northern Ireland and Scotland, Equity • Bec Hill, performer • Simon Magill, Creative Director, The Mac • Peter Davidson, performer and promoter • Belfast City Council representative (TBC). 11.30 Break 11.45 Workshops 1. How To Stand Out in Stand Up. This workshop will focus on finding your niche and exploring other avenues for your USP, including Twitter, YouTube, and specialist events. This workshop is best suited for comedians with some experience who are still looking for their voice, but is open to anyone of any level in any artistic field. - Bec Hill 2. How to look after your mental health.A look at why our flow of creativity is essential for the mental health of comedy performers and their audiences – Victoria Armstrong 3. Comedy and ‘the Troubles’. The role of comedy in conflict situations – Tim Miles 1.00 Lunch 1.45 Finding and building your audience – Audiences NI 3.00 Workshops 1. The future of Belfast Comedy Festival – ideas on taking it forward – Peter O’Neill 2. EdFringe: making it work for you – Paul Currie 3. Equity Comedians’ Network – Adam Adnyana 4.15 Plenary and what's next 5.00 Close Registration Please register before 5pm, 3 October 2017 on our website Registration fee £5 For further information, please contact Peter O’Neill Belfast Comedy Festival info@belfastcomedyfestival.com

October 07, 2017 - October 07, 2017

And the winner is Sarah! She Got Very Quizzical tonite in the wonderful American Bar. Great game show & lovely audience. Thanks to Rory, Matt & the team with hat tip to Paul & Jamie for tech help!

Lively crowd Getting Quizzical with Les Ismore in the American Bar. Game show mayhem!

Belfast Comedy Festival shared their event.

Fake I.D.

Growing up in a mixed-race, mixed-faith household at the height of the northern Irish troubles, writer Joseph Nawaz takes us through some old family snapshots, and his childhood years in 80s and 90s Belfast. Expect excruciating revelation, some confusion as to the actual direction of Mecca from Balmoral Avenue plus finally solving the age-old riddle of what the difference is between a Protestant Muslim and a Catholic Muslim. Running through it all, like a stick of cardamom-flavoured rock, is Joe’s complicated relationship with his Pakistani father, whose sudden, untimely demise precipitated a trip to Pakistan and some surprising discoveries. Join us for a funny, sometimes poignant evening, about a struggle with family and identity in a cold social climate, not to mention the impossibility of a halal Ulster Fry. Directed by Emily Foran. Doors 7.30pm Its BYO!

October 06, 2017 - October 07, 2017

Last shout out for this hilarious game show taking place tonight in the lovely American Bar with Les Ismore. Expect fun, facts, laughter and tears with great prizes thrown into the comic mix! Tickets still available at only £5. Doors 9:00pm: Show 9.30pm

Let’s Get Quizzical

Like a mythological creature comprising equal parts gameshow and man, Les Ismore straddles the enraged bullock of Ulster Light Entertainment. Still to be thrown from the psychotic burger-beast of trivia, he takes his life’s culmination, Let’s Get Quizzical to Belfast. A gameshow where three lucky contestants compete in rounds including The Anne Frank or Bridget Jones Diary round, Phrasecatch and The Play Your Cards Both Close to Your Chest and Right Round Like a Record Baby right round right round round. As well as fun, facts, laughter and tears, Les promises us he “really, really needs this”. Please note the change of venue from the Sunflower Bar and the later start time of 9.30pm from the details previously advertised. Doors at 9pm

October 05, 2017 - October 05, 2017

Belly Laughs for Belfast

Continuing to grow from strength to strength, this year’s Belly Laughs Festival sees a whole heap of new venues, some hilarious stand-up comedy, bus tours and a dash of comic theatre, to add to the bargain.

Set up by a group of comedy enthusiasts in 2011, the festival has attracted one of the most interesting comedy bills in the country and a host of local and international talent will take to the stage from 25 September – 6 October.

This year headliners include Ruby Wax, Adam Hills and Stewart Lee, who will join local comedians such as Jake O’Kane, Paddy O’Donnell and Nuala McKeever, in tickling audiences at many venues across the City including the Cathedral Quarter’s Black Box and The Sunflower.

Belly Laughs, which is a not for profit organisation, is run by volunteers and has a Management Board of nine. Heading it up is Festival Director, Peter O’Neill, who says the goals for the Belly Laughs Festival are simple: nurture home grown talent and provide audiences with a variety of funny yet affordable acts.

He explains: “We’ve had a lot of fun teasing out our events and working with local talent and venues. Basically we’ve tried to design a programme with a variety and value that would allow all sections of the community to enjoy. That’s why we have programmed free and low cost events involving, not just stand-up comedy, but a range of genres such as book readings, poetry, cabaret, quiz’s, music, magic, workshops, kids events, seminars and even comedy bus tours. Pete says in Northern Ireland we have a GSOH and that our “banter” is second to none. One of the main reasons for this, he believes, is our troubled past and ability not to take things too seriously.

“We were interested in exploring the boundaries of comedy in the city and the history and role of humour in our conflict. Comedy has been important in challenging prejudice and it is widely accepted that encouraging people to laugh at themselves is often the most effective, and safest, way to tackle sectarianism,” explains Pete.“The only thing that is required for Belly Laughs is a good sense of humour,” he adds.

Local funny woman Nuala McKeever sits on the Management Board and is helping to provide many of the laughs with some lunchtime comedy at the Linen Hall Library. She agrees that our Northern Irish sense of humour is unique and sees it as a positive way to resolve conflict: “The hard things we’ve gone through in Northern Ireland give us an edge for comedy.”

“Running kids workshops as part of the festival is a really nice idea. I think children just love fun, they respond really well to imagination and fun. Anything that encourages that is great. Kids can do funny stuff and have a sense of humour.

“My whole thing with them is that it’s ok to be a fool. I certainly know in my life that I can say things as a joke and that breaks the ice. You can tell the truth sometimes and people don’t take offence from that if you say it in a friendly, funny way.”

Many of the venues for Belly Laughs are located within the Cathedral Quarter and Nuala sees the area as a great place to showcase our local talent:  “I think the Cathedral Quarter is the epitome of what is possible in Belfast and I think the arts is the most interesting sector we have here. That is what people come here for, to embrace culture. Anything that gets people out and having fun is obviously great for Belfast.

“The Cathedral Quarter has been allowed to develop organically and I think that’s going to stand in good stead in the long run.”

Nuala’s advice during the Festival is to “try something you haven’t tried before.” She adds: “A friend of mine said they had a tourist day in Belfast and they went and did all the tourist attractions and had a great time”, so the comedy bus tour with Paddy McDonnell could be a way to see the sights with a few laughs along the way.

Performer, Stephen Beggs, is part of the comic theatre group ‘Those who can’t’ and they be taking to the stage at the Black Box on 4 October with their show ‘Thunder Finger’.

He sees the boutique festival as a major coo for the group as it showcases such a wide variety of comedy: “Our group isn’t stand-up comedy as we are quite theatrical so we sit slightly outside what would be considered as the main comedy activities. Generally when people think of comedy they do think of stand-up so it is great that Belly Laughs has included groups like us in the festival line-up to show that variety of comedy.”

“It’s also great that there are some great headliners. People will flick through the brochure and be drawn to the really famous people. But because that catches their eye they will delve deeper and see the more local acts and people they maybe haven’t heard of.”

Looking forward to the show, he says: “It’s nice to work as part of a festival, there’s a real sense of camaraderie and I think Cathedral Quarter is a great place for comedy. With places like Black Box, it is a fantastic venue and a lot of exciting stuff is happening.”

Emma Blee