The 15 most entertaining performances at the Glasgow Comedy Festival


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At the Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival, international stars like Steve Martin and Trevor Noah mingle with local heroes like Jim Smith and Janey Godley. Here is our list of shows.

There’s John Shuttleworth Back!

King’s Theater, 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 17,

In the 1980s, the mild-mannered but sadly unconfident Sheffield organist John Shuttleworth was created by Graham Fellows and has since made audiences laugh with him. John has appeared on stage, television, and radio accompanied by his trusty Yamaha keyboard, and is back on tour (with a back that sadly bothers him). For an evening of his comic songs and some new ones, come to King’s, as well as occasional breaks to cream yourself with deep sun.

Dane Baptiste: The Chocolate Chip for Chocolate

Tron Theatre, March 27, Friday, 9 p.m.

Dane Baptiste is something of a pioneer of comedy. He was the first black British candidate for the Edinburgh Comedy Awards as a newcomer, which did not happen quite embarrassingly until 2014. He has since featured in shows such as Live at the Apollo, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown and Live at the Palladium and has been referred to as Chris Rock’s British response. Today, in the middle ages, his latest stand-up show is said to be provocative and full of punchlines at the same time.

Alan Bissett: The Hourglass of the Red

⁇ ran Mór, 26 March Thursday & 27 March Friday, 8 p.m.

Alan Bissett is so talented – he is a real force on the Scottish cultural scene as a playwright, writer and actor, and as the author of the widely successful and critically praised Moira Monologues. He (a self-confessed arachnophobe) represents the creatures he fears most in this show – playing five characters, three male, two female, and none of them human, locked in a research laboratory together.

John Hegley: Hop Scotch by Hegley

Tron Theater, March 26, Thursday, 9 p.m.

John Hegley is something of a laureate of comic poetry. He manages to be both quite smart and quite dumb, and the art of apparently plain but really very profound poems has been mastered. Starting out as a busker, his show blends words and music, a good thing for older children and adults alike, (he also recorded two sessions for John Peel).

Des Clarke: Happy Place

Garage, on March 28, Saturday, 8 p.m.

Clarke is a strong favourite at the festival, and everyone who has seen him on radio or television can hop to see him live, where he can really let go. He promises to help us all find our place of happiness this year, and considering the current state of the planet, you would be a fool not to take him up on that bid.

He’s trying to get Tim Renkow down.

Tron Theatre, March 28, Saturday, at 9 p.m.

Don’t punch down is one of comedy’s universal laws – there’s not much you can’t get away with as long as your goal is better off than you. Tim Renkow is a “crippled, hillbilly, Mexican Jew” self-described, who never wants to get another sympathy laugh. He’s on the prowl for a band he’s not allowed to make fun of, and you can join him if you like your grim, clever and cathartic comedy.

Josie Long: Tender for a Tender

Ran Mór, March 16, Monday, 8 p.m.

At the irritatingly young age of 14, Josie Long started doing comedy, but the fact that she’s so talented and heartfelt makes it easy to overlook the precociousness. She’s always been great at mixing her social consciousness and political activism with candor and vulnerability, and this show, inspired by her experiences as a new mom, should be as hilarious as it is uplifting.

Eleanor Tiernan: Enjoying the spotlight with accountability.

Blackfriars Basement, 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 15,

At GICF, Irish comedians always do extremely well, and this year, Eleanor is certainly one to watch. She’s been featured on shows like BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz and Comedy Central’s The Alternative Comedy Experience, and has been chosen to support acts like Stewart Lee, Tig Notaro and Ardal. So she comes highly recommended and can be counted on to bring her unique take on everything from dealing with millennials to Dyson Airblade dryers.

Dr. Phil Differ: Ego

Òran Mór, Friday, March 20, 8 p.m.

The fact that Phil, pardon me, Dr. Phil, prominently mentions his honorary doctorate from Caledonian University in a show that’s all about not being too cocky should give you an idea of what kind of sly wit you’re in for on an evening of


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