Carefully curated craic

John Bishop.

John Bishop.

Galway Comedy Festival announced ambitions to become a world-leading laughathon when launching its full 2023 programme this week.

Aiming to match comedy giants such as Montreal and Edinburgh, Galway boasts 100 acts, over 69 shows headlined by Irish and international comics across 17 venues.

“Already we’re the biggest comedy festival in the EU,” says festival director Kevin Healy, “Thank you, Brexit.”

With four out of five punters attending from outside the city, organisers expect to add €7.5million to the local economy when the festival launches before the October Bank Holiday weekend.

Liverpool everyman John Bishop, and British TV’s Phil Jupitus, Milton Jones and Seann Walsh were added to the bill this week.

So too were Irish legends Deirdre O’Kane, Ardal O’Hanlon, Kevin McAleer, Barry Murphy, Andrew Maxwell and David McSavage.

Previously announced acts include Jim Jefferies, Panti Bliss, Omid Djalili, Rhys Darby, Jimeoin, Rich Hall, Emma Doran, Reginald D Hunter, Serena Terry’s Mammy Banter, Enya Martin, John Colleary, Al Porter and Polish TikTok star, Mama Na Obrotach.

“These days every comic wants his own show, but audience appetite is still for a comedy club-style mixed bill. We ensure each comic appears before or after one another on the night because – put simply – that’s what’s going to be funniest," says Healy. "This is carefully curated craic.”

Omid Djalili


The Scouse hero headlines 

The Galway Comedy Festival will run from Tuesday, October 24 to Monday, October 30.

Scouse hero John Bishop will headline appearances in The Black Box, Leisureland and Róisín Dubh. The charismatic Liverpudlian is an acknowledged master of down-to-earth, everyday tales.

Charmingly offensive Australian Jim Jefferies has added a third Galway date. The award-winning Sydney native will Give ‘Em What They Want in Leisureland, Salthill on Wed 25, Thurs 26 and now Fri October 27.

Jim Jefferies 

The outspoken Panti Bliss sashays her way to the Black Box to perform If These Wigs Could Talk. Expect raucous, tell-all tales of a lifetime of accidental activism.

Galway’s Town Hall Theatre hosts top-class solo shows including the towering Reginald D Hunter alongside the nonchalant Rich Hall.

Irish-Aussie Jimeoin returns to Galway with his superbly observed new show Who’s Your Man?!

Flight of the Conchords’ Rhys Darby performs his anticipated retrospective, 25 Years. There’s a rare visit from Iranian-British actor Omid Djalili (The Mummy, Mamma Mia 2 ) and the sublime Al Porter’s first theatre tour in six years.

Róisín Dubh hosts the Bulmers Festival Club, Late Night KARLnival, and numerous solo shows, including sold-out nights from both Serena Terry and John Colleary; Danny O’Brien’s nostalgic look at a 90s childhood; burlesque and cabaret from The Dirty Circus; and debut solo from Polish TikTok sensation, Mama Na Obrotach.

The Loft at Seven hosts online sensation Enya Martin, record-breaking Aussie Elena Gabrielle, and a sold-out progression from Emma Doran.

Emma Doran

Jam packed schedule 

The Galway Comedy Festival delivers mixed bill shows in Leisureland and the ballroom of Eyre Square’s Hardiman Hotel, kicking off on Tuesday, October 24 with David McSavage, Enya Martin, Reginald D Hunter, Glenn Wool and Al Porter. The week continues with Jimeoin, Rhys Darby, John Bishop, Ardal O’Hanlon, Kevin McAleer, Milton Jones, Seann Walsh and Deirdre O’Kane.

Galway Comedy Festival essential Karl Spain returns to helm his Late Night KARLnival at Róisín Dubh after a year touring with Kevin Bridges. The KARLnival is where comedians gather for shenanigans - you never know just who will appear on stage...

One of Galway Comedy Festival's favourites, Phill Jupitus, makes his long-awaited return, performing with Stephen Frost’s improv crew and co-hosting Karl Spain’s closing gala. As a published cartoonist, Jupitus is also the festival’s Artist in Residence. His solo show, Sketch Comic, sees Jupitus interrogate and draw comedians with audience participation.

Daytime Comedy Club Crawls will snake their way around the city’s medieval streets; followed by dinner theatre from Faulty Towers: The Dining Experience. Gáire as Gaeilge is hosted by Hector Ó hEochagáin, and expect cosy chuckles in Ireland’s Smallest Comedy Club. Bookmark a night of nonsense with Galwegian crew WOMP Events, and family-friendly magic shows throughout the week.

Galway Comedy Festival is partnered with Galway City Council, sponsor Bulmers Cider,Today FM, Róisín Dubh, The Latin Quarter, Citylink, accommodation partners, and many local businesses who support it through its Friends Of Comedy Scheme, “the FOCers”.

Tickets for full Festival programme go on sale Friday, September 15, via .


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