Comedy Festival Exceeds All Expectations

The organisers of the 2023 Glasgow International Comedy Festival have hailed it a massive success thanks to the people of Glasgow and the comedy community – audiences, performers and venues alike. 

At the launch of GICF, Festival Director Krista MacDonald talked of a three year growth plan for the festival to return to pre-pandemic levels. This year, the festival saw over 450 events take place welcoming audience members to comedy shows in 40 venues across the city during the 19 day festival. These levels exceeded expectations, putting the festival within touching distance of their 3-year target in the first year. 

Out of the 450 events, over 100 sold out to capacity audiences at venues including the King’s Theatre, The Stand Comedy Club, Van Winkle West End, Oran Mor and McChuills. The festival showcased the real breadth of the comedy industry – from children’s shows, community events, walking tours, drag shows, improv and stand-up just some of the genres on offer. 

The Festival opened with Frankie Boyle, and featured a string of names including Kaye Adams, Tim Key, Jason Byrne, Craig Hill, Phil Wang, Nick Mohammed, and Maisie Adam. Homegrown talent was front and centre of the programme, with many celebrating their knockout success throughout the festival yesterday (Sunday 2nd April) at the official Closing Gala at the King’s Theatre which featured Judy Murray, Chris Forbes, Scott Agnew, Jay Lafferty, Paul Black, Scott Agnew, Liam Farrelly, Weegie Hink Ae That, Marjolein Robertson, Marc Jennings, Fred MacAulay, Susie McCabe, Janey Godley, and special international guest Rich Hall. The Closing Gala also saw the awarding of the inaugural Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award, won by Janey Godley.

The festival also announced the dates for the 21st iteration of the festival, which will be held between the 13th and 31st of March 2024. 

Commenting, Festival Director Krista MacDonald said: “Coming into this festival, we always had a three year growth plan to return and build on pre-pandemic success. 2023 has clearly surpassed all of our expectations seeing the festival return so close to pre-pandemic levels already, and Glasgow should be really proud of that. 

“From venues, acts, staff, our partners and the audiences – everyone in Glasgow has helped to make the festival a great success, under the most trying circumstances for the hospitality industry and people’s own wallets. It has been a real team effort, just going to show that nobody does comedy like Glasgow. 

“This year has been a true showcase of why Glasgow is the funniest city in the world, from packed audiences in our biggest venues, to new and emerging talent selling out more traditional smaller rooms that keep comedy alive throughout the year. 

“We can’t wait to build on this success next year when the festival comes of age at 21 years old, with more venues, acts and audiences getting to enjoy the comedy that Glasgow has come to know and love.” 

Glasgow Life Chair Bailie Annette Christie said: “Glasgow International Comedy Festival pulled out all the stops this year to be a resounding success, and the GICF team are to be congratulated on delivering such a dynamic event featuring an exciting, varied programme that wowed audiences from near and far.  

“The festival’s great popularity reflects the fact that in Glasgow, humour, quick wit and great banter are hugely appreciated and highly valued. This year’s fun-filled showcase of outstanding home-grown and international talent from established and emerging comedians has further enhanced our city’s big-name billing on the worldwide comedy stage. And as GICF starts planning for its 21st anniversary edition next year, we can look forward to another great highlight that demonstrates why the city is renowned as an outstanding destination for superb cultural events.”


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