Top 5 world comedy festivals


If you are looking for laughs you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to comedy events around the world.

Five of the best comedy festivals include:

Just for Laughs – Montreal, Canada

Held annually in July, the Just for Laughs Festival sees some of the world’s top comedians jet in from all corners of the globe.

This is the largest comedy event in the world and over 2 million fans pack into 1,500 shows to enjoy the crack. From theatre to films and street comedy, this lively event transforms Montreal’s streets into a giant open-air theatre.

Previous performers have included Jim Carrey, John Cleese and Rowan Atkinson to name but a few. It’s also a showcase for new talent – so you may get to see the stars of the future.

Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland

If you haven’t heard of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where you been hiding?

Held annually in August, the Fringe is the world’s biggest arts festival with over 1.5 million tickets sold each year.

Comedy makes up a big part of the Fringe. Russell Brand performed recently but you will also get the chance to see more grass-roots acts at the smaller venues.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Australia

What would the Melbourne Comedy Festival be without Dame Edna Everage?

Still touring, Barry Humphries has been making fans laugh with his alter ego, Dame Edna since 1987. Melbourne’s comedy festival is now one of the top three in the world.

Almost 500,000 people attend the event which includes stand-up, workshops, theatre and cabaret.

Aussie talent will of course be strong on the ground but there’ll also be a hefty UK and Irish comedy contingent. Highlights to look out for this year include

Smithwick’s Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, Kilkenny, Ireland

Taking place annually in late May/early June, Smithwick’s Cat Laughs may well be the best small comedy festival in the world.

With a cult following, this festival has a laid-back vibe and is one of the favourite events for comedy fans in Ireland. Small venues including the back rooms of pubs feature heavily.

As Jimmy Carr said: “Kilkenny is what a festival should be. It’s just a weekend and it’s in pubs. Everyone’s pissed so they laugh anyway.”

The Cat’s Laughs runs for five days over the June bank holiday and the beautiful town of Kilkenny is a reason to go in itself.

Leicester Comedy Festival, Leicester, England

Held annually in February, the Leicester Comedy Festival brightens the winter days and is the longest running comedy festival in the UK.

Over 800 performers regularly attend at venues across Leicestershire, including pubs, restaurants and galleries. A varied programme includes theatres, exhibitions and a rich helping of stand-up comedy.

National and international acts appear alongside new and emerging performers.

If you are interested in comedy festivals or you would like more information about major UK and European events and attractions, please click here.