It’s always been a great theatre for comedy – both in its previous incarnation as the Neptune, and since it reopened its doors seven years ago.
And this season is no exception at the Epstein Theatre in Hanover Street, which is playing host to some Liverpool favourites along with a busy programme of other high-profile comedy names.
There’s a return to the stage for son of the city Alexei Sayle, who is playing no fewer than five nights in the auditorium, as well as the chance to check out new and popular touring shows by a roster of funny men and women who are appearing for one night only.
Here are eight comedy shows you won’t want to miss at the Epstein between now and Easter.
Sam Avery: Toddlergeddon
The time is 4.17pm. No-one is dressed yet. Civilisation has collapsed. Law and order has broken down.
The kids are high on sugar. The adults have lost control. Every conversation is an argument. The coffee has run out. A child scribbles on the wall. Someone spills a drink. Everyone is shouting.
This is Toddlergeddon.
Award-winning comedian, father of twins and author of The Learner Parent Sam Avery presents his new show at the Epstein for one night only.
Janey Godley’s Soup Pot
Hot from her recent appearances on Have I Got News for You and Breaking the News, Edinburgh Fringe festival favourite Janey Godley is bringing her soup pot to Liverpool as part of a new tour.
So, tell all the Sandras, Big Frank and all the lassies fresh from Zumba to get ready for the ‘Queen of Scottish Comedy’ when she appears at the Hanover Street theatre.
Check out some hilarious patter from Big Tereeza in Torremolinos, Boris and his bawjaws and see Nicola up on the big screen with all the latest patter.
Ardal O’Hanlon: The Showing Off Must Go On
Where Father Ted star O’Hanlon comes from there is nothing worse than showing off. Yet he is a professional ‘show-off.’ Why does he do it?
Well. Just when he thought he’d made sense of the world, when he thought he’d found wisdom, when he’d finally found a hat that fits and learned how to make decent cocktails and to relax for the first time in his life; just when he was about to quit airing his dirty linen in public and stop showing off. The world shifted. Dramatically. The world fell off its axis. And is adrift in the universe.
And it needs saving.
Josie Long: Tender
Three-time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Josie Long is back with a new show after a brief hiatus, during which she had a baby and so on.
A cult-optimist herself, Long wants her audiences to feel optimistic about the future, although in this current day and age, that’s a big ask. But at the very least there will be some silly voices.
Of course, society’s biggest issues, from climate change to Boris Johnson, cannot be ignored, but Tender’s main focus is bringing new life into this ever-changing world. It’s about the mind-bending intensity of new motherhood, but mostly about kindness, gentleness, and joy.
Philly Philly Wang Wang
Following a sell-out 2018 tour, and hot on the heels of a 2019 Edinburgh Fringe run that sold out in advance, Phil ‘Philly Philly Wang Wang’ Wang is back on tour with his newest show.
Wang has made a name for himself (that name being Phil Wang) exploring sex, romance, politics, and his mixed British-Malaysian heritage with shows that delight in his unique Wang brand of smart and silly.
This one is about morality and the modern sense of self.
Alexei Sayle is back on home turf and his initial Liverpool dates sold so fast that more were added – so if you don’t already have a ticket you may face disappointment.
Sayle has been performing stand-up for 40 years - since the day he invented modern comedy. He’d like to stay at home with his cat but he’s still really funny, dangerously political and wildly energetic so he feels compelled to do a live tour.
The least you can do is to come and see him.
Arabella Weir: Does My Mum Loom Big in This?
The mother of all confessional shows from the bestselling author and star of The Fast Show and Two Doors Down, Does My Mum Loom Big In This? is for everyone who’s had a mother or been a mother, featuring hair-raising hilarious true stories from Weir’s dysfunctional childhood, her perilous career and her life as a single working mother.
Promising to be devastatingly funny, excruciatingly honest and definitely embarrassing for all of her relatives, not to mention herself, this is a helter-skelter tour of appalling – and appallingly funny – maternal behaviour.
Dom Joly’s Holiday Snaps: Travel and Comedy in the Danger Zone
The Trigger Happy TV creator is heading for Liverpool to share his exploits as a serial globe-trotting and seeker of dangerous travel spots. From North Korea though the Congo and Syria to Chernobyl, he’s visited some of the most unusual places on the planet.
Joly famously attended school with Osama Bin Laden and, with him armed with a trusty Powerpoint, fans can expect his holiday snaps to provide comedy and a sense of danger.
The best-selling author will be around after the show to sign copies of his latest book, The Hezbollah Hiking Club.