Leicester Comedy Festival: "It's second only to Edinburgh, say comedians Josh Widdicombe and James Acaster
Leicester's annual comedy festival is second only to Edinburgh, say two comics who will be performing at this year's event.
TV panel show regular Josh Widdicombe will be in Leicester next week and is looking forward to returning to the city that helped make his name.
Three years ago, Josh's performance earned him the title Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year, which in turn led to him hiring his first agent and getting on the road to success.
He said: "I'm looking forward to coming to Leicester because in 2010 I got the Leicester Mercury award and that was my breakthrough.
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"It's something I always remember fondly.
"But it's also great to perform at Leicester just because the festival is mammoth now.
"Leicester and Edinburgh are definitely the big two, but Leicester is more fun because you just come to do your show.
"In Edinburgh, you have to hang around for months."
Josh, like many comedians, starts his annual tours in Edinburgh, but the material comes from performances earlier in the year, including at Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival.
This year, he will be on stage twice – his sold-out Work in Progress show at the Crumblin' Cookie, High Street, on Tuesday, where he will try new material, and the following night at the Y Theatre, in East Street, where he will perform a set from the tour that began in Edinburgh last summer.
He said: "The stuff I do at Crumblin' Cookie will go through the long process of being worked on right up to the next Edinburgh Festival."
Another comedian looking forward to a boost from the Leicester festival is James Acaster, who performed with Josh earlier in their careers.
He said: "It's my third Leicester Comedy Festival and I'm really looking forward to it.
"It's perfectly placed in the year. February is a great time to do a show and coming to Leicester is always great.
"I came to Leicester quite a bit when I was starting out, five year ago, doing gigs at Kayal restaurant and other places.
"Coming back takes me back to those days.
"It's also a friendly crowd and if a show goes well it's a great feeling and it's not as competitive as Edinburgh."
James will be at the Crumblin' Cookie on February 23, at 7.30pm.
He said: "It's a great venue. We all do stand-up comedy because it's fun and it's a very nice vibe when you do the Leicester festival.
"You bump into other comedians you know and spend time together. It's a nice little treat and relaxed."