Funny in Falkirk festival lined up to be best yet

Comic Raymond Mearns launches this year's Funny in Falkirk
Comic Raymond Mearns launches this year's Funny in Falkirk

TV stars including Al Murray, Mark Watson and Fred MacAulay head to Falkirk next month to perform at the district’s third annual comedy festival.

Funny in Falkirk 2012 will see more than 30 comics perform more than 40 shows at venues across Falkirk, Grangemouth, Stenhousemuir, Bonnybridge, Denny and Bo’ness from July 20 - 31.

The full line-up of this year’s event was revealed on Tuesday and tickets for all shows are now on sale.

While big names such as Al Murray - famous for his cantankerous ‘Pub Landlord’ character - will be guaranteed hits at the box office, festival organisers say that Funny in Falkirk also provides a stage for equally talented but less well-known performers.

Among them is Mark Nelson, a young Scottish stand-up who has been tipped as a future star by many critics, and Gavin Webster - a Geordie comedian whose iconoclastic attitude can be summed up by the title of his new show: ‘Bill Hicks Wasn’t Funny’.

Funny in Falkirk also gives the public a chance to see previews of brand new comedy shows before they are staged at the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

The festival was officially launched in Falkirk High Street by Glaswegian comedian Raymond Mearns.

He told The Falkirk Herald that his own show, which he’ll be performing at Behind the Wall on July 25, was inspired by recent personal experiences.

“I supported Pete Doherty on tour,” he said. “I was told to do an hour in front of 3000 fans at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. They were all baying for my blood. I lasted 47 minutes.

“I’ve also lost four stone in weight since my wife left me. But don’t feel sorry - she came back!” he joked.

“I love playing Falkirk. You’re guaranteed a great crowd. ”

Speaking at the launch, Tommy Sheppard, director at the Scottish Comedy Agency, which is organising the festival, said: “This is our strongest line-up yet with a bucketload of big names from the UK comedy circuit plus the best of Scottish comedy.

“This is the third Funny in Falkirk - it’s in danger of becoming an institution!

“It’s the biggest and best yet. We’ve deliberately kept the ticket prices low - we know it’s tough times economically for many people, but we’re expecting even more interest in the festival this year and demand for tickets to be higher than ever.”

As well as providing laughs, the festival also provides a welcome boost to businesses involved in the district’s ‘night time economy’ including bars and restaurants.

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, convener of Falkirk Council’s leisure and tourism committee, said: “We are delighted to continue to support Funny in Falkirk as part of our ongoing work to support the arts and attract people to the area.

“Roll on the first shows on July 20.”

Corrie Cuthbertson, the chairwoman of Falkirk Delivers, said: “We’re pleased to welcome Funny in Falkirk back to town for a third year running. I hope everyone enjoys the shows and their time in Falkirk.”

The Falkirk Herald is official media partner of Funny in Falkirk and will be providing all the latest festival news and reviews.

For ticket information, visit The Steeple box office in Falkirk High Street or www.funnyinfalkirk.com.