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

Why a comedy festival in Belfast?

OK, I admit we now have quite a few festivals in our cultural calendar but, if you’re like me and remember the bad old days when Belfast was a wasteland for entertainment, then surely there’s room for a dedicated festival devoted to humour in all of its forms. The more festivals, the merrier in my view – but then I’m biased…..

In some ways it’s surprising that Belfast hasn’t been able to sustain an annual comedy festival. Most comparable cities have this type of extended programme with notable examples including Montreal, Melbourne, and closer to home, Kilkenny and Leicester. Even Derry has its Big Tickle festival, so why not Belfast?

In the two years or so that we have been operating, 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, quizzes, music, magic, workshops, kids events, seminars and even comedy bus tours.

We also wanted to support and nurture home grown talent and profile the sterling efforts of our comedy clubs. Media coverage tends to focus on the big name comics on tour rather than our local performers who have the potential to build greater audiences. We hope that one of the outcomes of the festival will be the development of new audiences which will assist the further growth and sustainability of club nights in the city.

Hopefully the programme of workshops, delivered as part of the festival, can assist in developing and encouraging comic performers in Belfast and the wider cultural development of the city and beyond.

In addition, 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. Last year we organised a seminar to examine how humour can play an important role in post conflict contexts, in building connections, and helping people cope with the effects of our ‘troubles’.

Belfast has a rich comedy heritage and we hope through this website and future festivals to bring to life this history and some of its iconic performers. It’s been a pleasure to work with local historians such as Stewart McFetridge and Jim McDowell on Belfast’s Music Hall history. Look out for more posts as we profile some of our famous comic performers such as the much lamented Frank Carson and vaudeville star WJ Ashcroft, whom the Ulster History Circle will honour with a blue plaque.

Thanks are due to a large number of individuals and organisations – we have received much support from performers, promoters and venues as well as our sponsors.

Hopefully with your support we can contribute to the economic regeneration of the city by attracting tourists and helping to market Belfast as a fun place to visit and its reputation as a ‘city of craic’. As a non-profit organisation, we can demonstrate value for money (no staffing and administration costs), however we are unable to attract sponsorship and leverage support from other sources because of the relatively short period of time we have been in existence. We are therefore reliant on ticket income to support our comedy programme.

So yes, another festival, hopefully to enjoy. Trust you have as much fun as we’ve had putting it together.

Peter O’Neill
Festival Director