Comedy festival has sights set on raising a few eyebrows in 2020

Announced for the festival's opening weekend is Tez Ilyas.
Announced for the festival's opening weekend is Tez Ilyas.

Just weeks after thousands of people were well and truly entertained by comedians from across the globe, the Aberdeen International Comedy Festival has announced it will return next year with an even bigger and better festival line-up from October 1 to 11.

And set to raise an eyebrow or two is the news that the first headline act is none other than Scotland’s favourite viral comedy sensation Gary Meikle.

Returning to play his biggest city gig to date at Aberdeen’s Music Hall on Friday October 2, Gary’s tour show is aptly named Surreal. The title perfectly describes Gary’s last 12 months where he started the year performing in comedy clubs, and ended it selling out big theatres in the UK as well as tours in America, Canada and Europe.

Having performed to tens of thousands of people over the past year and having become infamous for his ‘eyebrow rant’ on-line Gary has found a new confidence and level of openness on stage, meaning he doesn’t hold back on giving his opinions, no matter how warped.

The new show will cover topics such as evolution, social media, how to deal with burglars, single mums, bee sex, small man syndrome and much more.

Speaking at the announcement of his second tour Gary said: “It will be quite something to take to the stage in front of over a thousand people in Aberdeen’s Music Hall, considering just two years ago I did a double bill at Spin for just 100!

"I’m chuffed to be headlining the first Friday night for the festival and I hope that as well as making my loyal fans laugh, I’ll get the chance to tell my stories to some people who have never seen me before. As you might expect being on a bigger stage introduces you to a wider audience, but rest assured a night of stand-up with me will still feel like a night in the pub chatting with friends.”

Not one for mincing his words, Gary has been described as “playfully dark” and his cheeky chappie nature and ability to get away with talking about anything will have audiences laughing at things they probably shouldn’t be.

Also announced for the opening weekend is Tez Ilyas who in his first three years as a stand-up found himself in no less than eight competition finals including the prestigious BBC New Comedy Award and Leicester Mercury New Comedian of the Year.

Making his festival debut at the Lemon Tree on Saturday October 3, Tez will bring his brand-new stand-up show Populist to the festival. Tez will use his trademark silly, smart and subversive approach to pit ordinary people against the establishment. Audiences can expect huge laughs, groans and shocks as Tez confronts the state of the world with his cheeky, provocative flair.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, who organise and deliver the festival said “We expect 2020 to be the biggest and best festival yet.

"In just five years the festival has grown from relatively modest beginnings to be the north-east’s biggest and best celebration of comedy and has established itself as an essential part of the north-east cultural calendar. It’s fantastic to reveal that our headline comedian for the opening weekend will be Gary Meikle who has, like the festival, grown to become one of Scotland’s best loved stand-up comedians. What a thrill it will be to see him take center stage at the city’s iconic Music Hall.

“In 2019 we saw ticket sales increase by over 40% compared to last year. Securing headliners like Ben Elton, Daniel Sloss and Fern Brady to the line-up demonstrated just how much the festival has developed since it was first held in 2016.

"It has now firmly established itself in the calendar to sit alongside the other big two, the Edinburgh Fringe and the Glasgow International Comedy Festival and we as a business improvement district (BID) are honoured to have brought it to where it now sits, with an ambition to see it grow further in the years to come. The combination of cultural events like the Aberdeen International Comedy Festival, Nuart Aberdeen and the wider offering in the city are all working together to cement Aberdeen’s cultural status and put it on the map as a destination of choice.”

Organised and promoted in its entirety by Aberdeen Inspired since 2016, the festival also receives generous support from The McGinty’s Group Scotland and Balmoral Group. This year it also partnered with local charity Mental Health Aberdeen (MHA), with bucket collections taking place at shows.

Tickets for Gary Meikle: Surreal, Friday, October 2 are priced at £25.00 (including booking fee) and tickets for Tez Illyas: Populist, Saturday, October 3 are £17 (including booking fee) and on sale now.

For more information on the Aberdeen International Comedy Festival go to www.aberdeencomedyfestival.com