There’s a whole season of searing, saucy and surreal comedy heading Liverpool’s way this autumn.
Fans who fancy a spot of rib-tickling, funny bone tweaking or belly laughing fun are set to be spoilt for choice.
Along with the annual Liverpool Comedy Festival – running from September 20-29 and now in its 16th year – and the city’s busy programme of laughs in regular comedy club settings, there are a host of additional top names descending on venues between now and Christmas as funny men and women head for the Mersey with their latest live stand up shows.
From small spaces to arena megatours, there’s something to suit everyone’s comedy tastebuds.
Here are just some of the comedians you can catch at a location near you this season.
The Tape Face Show
Epstein Theatre – September 8
Expect new jokes, new props – and the same tape – when Kiwi comedy genius Tape Face returns to Liverpool with his latest show.
After storming America and being seen by 51 million people online, Tape Face (aka Sam Wills) lands back on UK soil and hits the road with a date at the Epstein.
Putting your shoes on will never be the same after seeing this show.
Liverpool Everyman – September 12
Sindhu Vee was a nominee for the Edinburgh Comedy Award Newcomer accolade last summer – and now Liverpool audiences can find out why.
Vee brings her UK touring show Sandhog to the Everyman for one night only.
Loving your children, spouse and ageing parents is very hard work, very intense and a lot of the time it sucks. But who wants to live without love?
M&S Bank Arena – October 5
One of two comedy Russells heading for the Liverpool waterfront this autumn (the other is Russell Kane on October 27), Howard arrives at the arena with a new show which shows a darker side to the genial Bristolian.
Hot on the heels of his critically acclaimed hit Sky One show The Russell Howard Hour, and his Netflix special Recalibrate, Howard is back on the (big) stage, making sense of a world that’s spinning out of control.
It’s time for Respite.
Philharmonic Hall – October 13
If no news is good news then good news is fake news. Jonathan Pie returns to Liverpool Philharmonic Hall once more to berate the people in power - and the journalists apparently holding them to account.
Pie is the exasperated news reporter whose videos have been seen across the world. His previous two tours have taken in venues such as the Hammersmith Apollo and the London Palladium and performances across the US and Australia.
If you want to catch him in Liverpool however you’ll have to be quick as there are only a few tickets left.
Count Arthur Strong
Floral Pavilion – October 19
The inimitable Count Arthur Strong is on his way across the Mersey to New Brighton with his new show Is There Anybody Out There?
As well as being the all-round entertainer we all know and love from the telly, Count Arthur is also a lifelong fan of astronomy, since having been given a microscope, or whatever it is they use, for Christmas when he was a small precocious baby.
In this new show he wrestles with some of the big questions that other all-round entertainers shy away from. Such as: Are we alone in the universe? Is there life on Mars bars? 2lbs of potatoes. Packet of ginger nuts... Don’t lose this shopping list.
Liverpool Empire – November 7
Izzard goes back to his roots with an all-new show which expands on his own surreal view of life, love, history and his ‘theory of the universe’.
Wunderbar is the 57-year-old’s first tour since Force Majeure five years ago, a show that played 45 countries (including all 50 US States) and was performed in four languages.
The new show is also probably the only one on a Liverpool stage this season that includes the disclaimer: This show may contain strong and imaginative language.
Epstein Theatre – November 8
Edinburgh Comedy Award winner John Robins brings Hot Shame to the Epstein this November as part of a three-month nationwide tour.
The 37-year-old comedian, TV and radio presenter, has gained a reputation as a stand-up for finding humour in our bleakest moments. Expect soul-bearing, self-lacerating, piping-hot shame.
Robin Allender performs as support on the tour.
Liverpool Empire – November 10
It’s been a busy few years for the Mouth of the South and now he’s returning to Liverpool with his latest live show Wallop coming to Lime Street this autumn.
Beckett is host of BBC One’s All Together Now and team captain on Channel 4’s 8 Out Of 10 Cats, and also boasts multiple appearances on Live At The Apollo, Would I Lie To You? and 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown.
Epstein Theatre – November 26
Join comedians Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn as they celebrate the scummier side of parenting, from drinking wine at teatime to hiding from the PTA.
Expect stand-up, sketches, songs, and some very scummy stories. Guaranteed to make parents laugh and non-parents happy about their life choices.
The touring show is based on the hit Scummy Mummies podcast and best-selling book.
M&S Bank Arena – December 13-14
Award-winning and annoyingly talented triple threat comedian, actor and writer Jack Whitehall returns to the stage this autumn with his show Stood Up – including two pre-Christmas dates at the arena.
Stood Up follows two sell-out arena tours, Jack Whitehall Gets Around in 2014 and 2017’s Jack Whitehall: At Large.
And as the 31-year-old, who is the subject of a Who Do You Think You Are? programme with his father Michael this summer, says: “There’s no feeling like standing up on stage in front of an arena full of strangers, and still being able to hear your dad heckle you.”