Birmingham Comedy Festival 2021 officially opened this weekend with a series of packed shows across the city

The long-running arts festival, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary, reported sell-outs from Russell Brand (Symphony Hall), and social media star Max Fosh (at The Glee Club), as well as local acts Eric Rushton (1000 Trades), Mrs Barbara Nice (who was joined by Good Kids and Jo Enright at Birmingham Irish Centre), and The Moon, The Bitch And The Whoredrobe (Prince Of Wales), aka Tal Davies, Jules O’Brian and Hannah Weetman.

Continuing until Sunday 10 October 2021, forthcoming festival highlights include a double-bill from Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre (5 Oct, Old Joint Stock); Sachin Kumarendran‘s Casual Brit (5 Oct, The Church Inn); actor/writer Mark Farrelly’s deep dive into the life of post-war comic Frankie Howerd, Howerd’s End (6-10 Oct, OJS); Britain’s Got Talent finalist Danny Posthill (7 Oct, Hennessey’s); rising star Rachel Fairburn (8 Oct, The Glee Club); and Irish/ Australian/ Leamington Spa comic Jimeoin (9 Oct, Town Hall).

The festival concludes on Sunday 10 October with appearances from Dane Baptiste (The Glee), Jenny Eclair (The Old Rep), Chris Ramsey (Symphony Hall – sold out), and Aurie Styla (COBO, The Glee), and the Birmingham Comedy Festival FREE Half-Dayer (1pm-6pm, Cherry Reds and The Victoria pub) – eight back-to-back shows from the likes of Josh Pugh (BBC Sounds) and Celya AB (B’ham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award 2019), plus podcasters Tea With The Devil and James Cook’s Boardgame Smack Down.

A spokesperson for the festival said: “We’ve had a brilliant opening weekend, with so many amazing gigs, it’s great to see and hear live comedy in-person again.

“If you haven’t had a chance to see anything yet, don’t work there’s plenty coming up including Chris Ramsey and Phoenix Nights’ Clinton Baptiste, as well as some of the best emerging acts from across the West Midlands.

“We also have our Free Half-Dayer on the last day, which is always an entertaining afternoon. With our two venues just a few yards apart – in John Bright Street, close to Grand Central/New Street Station – just drop by to see as many shows as you like! No booking required.”

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