New Zealand's finest Flight of the Conchords return to the UK in 2018
A dozen funny acts you should consider catching next year
From Jason Manford to Joe Lycett and Chris Rock to Katherine Ryan, 2018 looks set to be a vintage year for live comedy. We pick out highlights including a controversial Australian, a pun-lovin' Englishman, an absolutely fabulous actress and a rabblerousing campaigner.
Bridget Christie Dates: Fri 16 Mar–Sat 30 Jun Having penned a full new show about mortality for 2016, the Edinburgh Comedy Award winner shelved all those plans once Brexit was confirmed and swiftly wrote a whole new set, Because You Demanded It. Now, she's taking further stock on the madness of the modern world with What Now? Get tickets for Bridget Christie.
Chris Rock Dates: Thu 11–Sun 28 Jan As part of some warm-up gigs in November, the outspoken US comic and actor made some gags in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations which were deemed by some to be, and this is charitable, ill-advised. It'll be interesting to see if they make the cut for the real thing as Rock enlightens us with his Total Blackout tour. Get tickets for Chris Rock.
Flight of the Conchords Dates: Mon 5 Mar–Tue 3 Apr New Zealand comedic musical duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement make their first appearances in the UK for aeons, with new songs and classic banter from the men who have gone on to make names for themselves in the movie world (McKenzie has an Best Song Oscar for his 'Man or Muppet' from 2011's The Muppets while Clement has appeared in everything from to Eagle vs Shark to Men in Black 3). Get tickets for Flight of the Conchords.
Jason Manford Dates: Sun 21 Jan–Wed 19 Dec Of all those big-theatre filling acts you get these days, the Salford-born wag is surely the most palatable by some way. Manford may have broadened his palette with all his singing business of late, but with Muddle Class, he's back where he belongs, with a mic, a smile and top-notch observational shtick. Get tickets for Jason Manford.
Jim Jefferies Dates: Thu 18–Thu 25 Jan As he approaches his 40th birthday, the US-based Aussie comic shows few signs of losing his rougher edges. As part of his Unusual Punishment tour, this week-long UK drop-in features more thoughts on the world at large and matters closer to home. Get tickets for Jim Jefferies.
Joanna Lumley discusses her fascinating career in It's All About Me
Joanna Lumley Dates: Sat 6 Oct–Fri 9 Nov Less a straight stand-up show and more one of those 'in conversation' type affairs, the legendary star of Sapphire and Steel and Ab Fab discusses her long and fruitful career and takes questions form her adoring crowd. Not for nothing is her debut solo tour called It's All About Me. Get tickets for Joanna Lumley.
Joe Lycett Dates: Tue 13 Feb–Fri 30 Nov The Brummie comic whose show titles generally feature some of the finest puns known to humanity is at it again. I'm About to Lose Control and I Think Joe Lycett will be another gem for fans of his cheeky bravado and tremendous wit. Get tickets for Joe Lycett.
John Robins Dates: Thu 25 Jan–Fri 4 May Along with Hannah Gadsby, Robins became the first ever joint winner of the Edinburgh Comedy Award last August, and this tour gives the rest of the country the chance to see what the fuss was about. His victorious show, The Darkness of Robins, focuses on a painful relationship breakdown. Get tickets for John Robins.
Katherine Ryan Dates: Thu 18 Jan–Sat 24 Mar Taking refuge in the Glitter Room, this Sarnia-born comic is now one of the most familiar comedy faces on telly, but her stage work is where she can fully unleash her humour which veers from savage to warm. Get tickets for Katherine Ryan.
'A local shop for local people'. The League of Gentlemen's return to the stage has been greatly anticipated in the comedy world.
The League of Gentlemen Dates: Sat 25 Aug–Sat 29 Sep After the glories of their festive TV comeback, messrs Gatiss, Pemberton and Shearsmith (with the non-performing Dyson scribbling in the wings) return to the live stage with more darkly comedic sketches and characters roaming what they're dubbing 'our increasingly local country'. Get tickets for The League of Gentlemen.
Mark Thomas Dates: Tue 30 Jan–Sat 21 Apr Not one for making life easy for himself, Thomas' new show is Showtime From the Frontline, a Joe Douglas-directed play about his attempts to set up a comedy workshop and club in the Palestinian city of Jenin. Get tickets for Mark Thomas.
Tim Vine Dates: Tue 6 Feb–Sat 9 Jun He may be a true master of the pun, but don't look for one in his new show title, Sunset Milk Idiot. There may not be one there but his show will be packed with quickfire set-ups and punchlines greased lightly by terribly clever (and occasionally groanworthy) word-play. Get tickets for Tim Vine.
The actor, director, writer and producer returns to stand-up, with his new show The Total Blackout. Rock was a cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1989–1993 and has since written, directed and starred in Top Five, directed Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo and lent his voice to chirpy zebra Marty in the Madagascar…