Are you the kind of person who needs their daily dose of comedy? Is watching some stand-up the only thing that keeps you going after a hard day of work? Then here’s a list of the best comedy festivals in the world that would be your paradise, and know best just how to tickle that funny bone.
1. Just For Laughs International Comedy Festival – Montreal, Quebec
Kicking off this list is perhaps the biggest and most popular comedy gathering in the world. Every year, comedians from all over the world arrive and Montreal and put together a show that’s any comedy lover’s dream. If you’re into big names in comedy, this is the place for you, because Just For Laughs has seen people like Seth Rogen, Dave Chappelle, Gabriel Iglesias, Neil Patrick Harris and Chevy Chase, only to name a few! Montreal is also known to be a great comedy destination, with shows running all year long.
2. Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival – Leicester & Leicestershire, England
At the fag end of the winter months comes a comedy festival that is famed for its ability to make people laugh. With over 600 shows across Leicester and Leicestershire, over 5000 people attend this festival every year. Aside from the shows, there are also workshops that ensure the grin will not be wiped off your face for the duration of the festival. Artists like Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr, The Mighty Boosh and Dave Spikey.
3. The Kilkenny Cat Laughs Comedy Festival
Despite being small, this festival has earned something of a cult status for having laid back vibe and amazing comedians. Tucked away in cozy back rooms of the local pubs, every year it showcases the best stand-up artists in Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. This five-day long June festival is in the perfect idyllic location, with perfect weather and the perfect environment for hilarity.
4. Melbourne International Comedy Festival – Melbourne, Australia
At 72 years of age, Dame Edna Everage tours with this festival, and remains its main attraction. It’s a mix of different forms of comedy, with performances for everyone. With a hefty amount of Aussie talent, as well a lot of comedians from UK. With a road show, which comes through various towns, an Aboriginal comedy act, a program for secondary schools, and an open mic competition, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been going strong since 1987!
5. Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Edinburgh, Scotland
One of the world’s biggest art festivals, the comedy section of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been growing massive in the last few years. Over a quarter of the 1.5 million tickets sold for the festival are for the comedy program. Artists like Russell Brand and Phil Nichol have performed at this three week-long festival. Head here for some happy times.
6. Bonnaroo – Manchester, Tennessee
This famous music festival actually has an amazing comedy theatre. If you’re here, not in a music mood or just want to get away, you should go watch the shows at this stage, which always has a star-studded lineup. Headliners this year included Chris Hardwick, popular comedian Reggie Watts and Roastmaster Jeff Ross. You’re guaranteed to leave laughing.
7. Del Close Marathon – New York, USA
This festival is named after Del Close, who was the architect of long-form improvisational comedy. The festival itself is unique for being a collection of improv troupes from around the USA, who perform in various forms that are original, faced-paced or traditional. Baby Teeth, Britain’s The Rebranding, Hot Again, Passionate Mom Society and other groups have given audiences the laughs of their lives here.
8. SXSW: Music, Film, Interactive – Austin, Texas
Although it’s not exactly a comedy festival, SXSW does end up hosting some of the best and most creative comedians every year. While one weekend is for music, another whole weekend of the festival is dedicated to comedy, with stand-up, improv, and sketch showcases to live podcasts, conference sessions, and late night parties to attend! It attracts a great crowd, and the weekend is actually a party at some of the best clubs in Austin. SXSW Comedy has been in collaboration with big names like Upright Citizens Brigade, Comedy Central, Funny or Die and Earwolf!
9. Chicago Women’s Funny Festival – Chicago, USA
In a male-dominated industry, not a lot of female comedians are able to make it. This festival is dedicated to only female artists that can leave you in stitches. The lineup mainly has sketch and stand-up artists and groups, with an mash up of different comedic styles. With over 500 acts and across 4 stages in just 4 days, this festival is becoming bigger and bigger every year!
(Image Courtesy: Chicago Women’s Funny Festival/Facebook)
10. New Zealand International Comedy Festival – Auckland, New Zealand
This is a festival that you can take your family to and not have to cringe at every joke. The New Zealand International Comedy Festival runs April through May in various locations in Auckland, with local talent as well as some travelling jesters. It makes for a much calmer scene, and is a very different experience from other loud commercial comedy fests.