The TV channel Comedy Central has chosen Southampton as the home for its first ever comedy festival, Comedy Central Live! The event will feature a lineup of big-name comedians from all over the world including Jimmy Carr, Russell Howard and Katherine Ryan. There will be a wealth of entertainment including live versions of Comedy Central shows, a Takeshi’s Castle style giant obstacle course and stand-up from newcomers to A-listers. Comedy Central Live will be taking place in the heart of the city at Southampton Hoglands Park on 5th, 6th and 7th October, 2018.
To celebrate the event coming to the city and warm residents up for a week of laughter, the city’s Business Improvement District GO! Southampton is running a fringe festival – Go Giggle – in the lead up to and during the event. With an expectation that Go Giggle will grow in future years, venues through the city will have their own comedy events and there will also be street entertainers popping up at locations across the city. From stand-up to musical comedy, funny film screenings and a gong show, there’s something to tickle everybody’s sense of humour.
Southampton has always been a happy city. As a port, the city has welcomed people from all over the globe with a happy smile for generations. Southampton came eighth in a survey of the UK’s happiest neighbours 2015. Employees rated Southampton as a top place for work happiness, according to a survey by business psychologists OPP in 2016, and in 2017 the city was in the top ten of the rankings of happiest areas in the UK, according to the people who live there.
Comedians regularly pay to packed-out audiences at venues throughout the city including The Stage Door, Southampton Guildhall, NST Nuffield Theatres Southampton, and The Mayflower Theatre – the biggest theatre outside of the capital.
It’s not just the modern stand-up comedian who feels at home in Southampton – there’s a rich comedy heritage in the city. The legendary comedian and actor, Benny Hill, best remembered for his an amalgam of slapstick, burlesque, and double entendre were born in Southampton and his grave is at Hollybrook Cemetery near his birthplace in the city.
Red fez wearing comedy legend, Tommy Cooper became a shipwright in Southampton after leaving school and was a regular visitor to the city as his mother lived at 124 Shirley Road.
Tim Keeping, Chair of GO! Southampton said: “We are delighted to be supporting Comedy Central to bring their inaugural Comedy Central Live event to Southampton. This is just the kind of high-profile event that the city deserves to attract, and we expect our work in getting it here to translate into direct economic impact for city centre businesses. We look forward to assessing this impact after the event with a view to attracting and holding more similar events in the future.”
According to last week’s survey from the Office for National Statistics, people in Southampton are happier than they were a year ago, and with the city hosting the first Comedy Central Live festival the happiness rating is bound to be on the upwards direction this weekend. With laughter in the air, it’s a laugh a minute in the city.