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

Built to laugh: the rise and rise of the homegrown standup

As the Belfast Comedy Festival enters its third year, it captures a moment of rude health in the Northern Irish comedy scene that hasn’t been seen since Patrick Kielty enthralled audiences at the Empire Comedy Club in the 1990s.

Although Belfast has always been a city with a deep-rooted (and, of course, dark) sense of humour, reflected in its literature, poetry, theatre, and quickfire street banter of its inhabitants, stand-up comedy as an art form has been surprisingly slow to develop here. In contrast to comparable cities like Dublin, Glasgow, Newcastle and Liverpool, Belfast has taken its time to embrace and nurture a vibrant native stand-up comedy scene. This explains why – aside from Kielty, arguably – Northern Ireland has failed to produce a Kevin Bridges or Sarah Millican at the national level.

But over the past six years the stand-up comedy has experienced a resurgence, spearheaded by a small number of comedy open mic nights that emerged between 2007 and 2008. Established by would-be comedians who were passionate about comedy and frustrated by the lack of opportunities available for honing their craft, these anarchic, often shambolic evenings of amateur stand-up were a long, long way from the slick suits and boots of Live At The Apollo. Although offering a perverse kind of fun for an audience – if there was any audience at all – for performers, there was a recognition that persistence was the key to both getting audiences and getting good. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter,” as Samuel Beckett put it: “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Now, in 2014, the Northern Irish comedy scene is raucously alive and growing from strength to strength. Alongside the long-established big comedy clubs such as those at the Empire and Queen’s Student Union, the pioneering amateur nights which launched the new generation of stand-up comics – such as Monday Night Comedy at the Pavilion and Voicebox Comedy – continue to nurture and challenge new talent. Meanwhile, Belfast venues such as the Black Box, Laverys, The Sunflower and Maverick, as well as Masons Comedy Club in Derry-Londonderry and Dalys Comedy Club in Omagh, provide a platform for those who have honed their skills well, and offer audiences a more diverse choice of acts, styles and comedic voices than Northern Ireland has traditionally produced.

Indeed, a rich diversity in styles is a notable hallmark of the current Northern Irish comedy scene. While there is still room for the localised political comedy that has played a staple role in local comedy from its beginnings, there has been a distinct move away from this within the work of the new generation of comedians. Absurdist clowning, laddish banter, personal confession, stand-up poetry, slow-burn storytelling and musical comedy have replaced the once radical, now stale pops at local politics.

While local media has yet to find an adequate vehicle for many of these new rising stars, these emerging acts are making an impact elsewhere. At the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, an unprecedented number of Northern Irish acts were represented, with acts such as Paul Currie, Micky Bartlett, Alan Irwin, Christian Talbot, Ursula Burns, Ronan Linskey, George Firehorse and Luke McGibbon receiving significant praise and accolades at the UK comedy industry’s annual shindig.

Yet the Northern Irish comedy scene remains in a fairly rudimentary stage of development. The live scene shows no signs of dying out any time soon, but remains largely non-commercial, and local media has yet to invest in any significant way in developing the skills or raising the public profile of new talent.

The continued lack of female voices within the Northern Irish comedy scene is also a disappointment. Northern Irish comedy has long been an almost exclusively male dominated field. Although this is beginning to change, it is apparent that stand-up is still viewed as being relatively exclusive of female performers. Voices from Northern Ireland’s ethnic communities would also add to the richness of the scene.

Graeme Watson