The laughs can never stop. Long before the year came to a close, plans were underway to put together some of the biggest, baddest and funniest comedy festivals in 2024. We love a good ol’ party, so here’s a shortlist of the best celebrations of the art form from across the world featuring some of the biggest names in the industry. So, if you’re planning on packing your bags and exploring the world, why not plan around one of these epic festivals?
SF SKETCHFEST (18 January – 4 February)
The 21st edition of the SF Sketchfest promises to be a ball! As the name suggests, this one’s for the sketch and improv comedy nerds; they’ve even managed to reel in founding member of Monty Python, Eric Idle. In fact, the legendary writer, actor and comedian will perform a never-before-seen Monty Python sketch at the festival. Expect freestyle rap, table readings, variety shows, game shows, talk shows, podcasts, lots of music and standup too. Every year, the festival boasts a formidable lineup of artists, comedians and comedy actors. Definitely worth the trip to the Golden City.
JUST FOR LAUGHS BERMUDA (February 21-24, 2024)
If you’re looking to take comedy tourism to the next level, why not visit Bermuda in February for this laugh riot? Iconic Qeubec comedy festival JFL has organised an annual outpost on these gorgeous islands since 2007, and will be celebrating its 16th edition in style with performances by comedians Alonzo Bodden, Jonathan Young, Arthur Simeon, Russell Kane and Carmen Lynch. It’s a little off beat, but we can’t disagree with comedy against a gorgeous backdrop like this one.
LEICESTER COMEDY FESTIVAL (7 February – 25 February)
The prestigious UK festival is kicking off its 31st iteration in early February, and will continue for the rest of the month. A festival in its truest sense, LCF will feature everything from burlesque to family-friendly shows (including comedy workshops for kids). Big ticket names include Stewart Lee, Mark Watson, Sindhu Vee, Romesh Ranganathan, Michael McIntyre and more. The festival will also feature the UK Pun Championship—in which comedians from across the country compete—and the Leicester Mercury Comedian Of The Year, in which the finalists are nominated by the UK’s top comedy clubs while also meeting other criteria.
JUST FOR LAUGHS, VANCOUVER (14 February – 24 February)
When it comes to international comedy festivals, Just For Laughs is a giant. They know how to throw a party and have been doing so since 1983. Now, JFL organises festivals across the world, and Vancouver is one of the mainstays. This year, Vancouver will be treated to performances by Brett Goldstein (of Ted Lasso fame), Bill Burr, Ronny Chieng, Bassem Youssef, Bob The Drag Queen, Christina P, Patti Harrison, Big Jay Oakerson, Zarna Garg, Aparna Nancherla, Steph Tolev, Joel Kim Booster and more.
SXSW COMEDY FESTIVAL (8 March – 16 March)
The SXSW festival is held annually in Austin, Texas and brings together the best of tech, film, music, education, and culture. Comedy is a big part of the proceedings, having its own dedicated festival. Between 8 March and 16 March, festival-goers will be treated to everything from standup to improv to live podcast recordings. Last year featured big names in comedy including Chelsea Handler, Nick Thune, Patton Oswalt, Tim Robinson, Todd Barry and even a special programme featuring Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show.
MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL (27 March – 21 April)
One of the world’s largest comedy festivals, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival lasts almost an entire month and features hundreds of comedians performing standup comedy as well as cabaret, theatre, street performance, film, television, radio and visual arts. Watch out for Sh!t-faced Shakespeare: a Shakespeare play performed by a troupe of actors, one of whom is entirely drunk. Atsuko Okatsuka is an international name to watch out for, and Azeem Banatwalla and Daniel Fernandes are in town for a run of 14 and 10 shows, respectively! The festival also hosts Australia’s national open mic comedy competition and features the best of Australian comedy.
NETFLIX IS A JOKE FEST (4 May – 12 May)
This isn’t just a festival. It’s literally a takeover of Los Angeles by more than 350 comedians and artists, performing across more than 35 venues. And we’re talking the biggest of the biggest. We didn’t know you could concentrate this much comedic talent into this tight a schedule, but it is apparently possible. We’re talking everyone from Kevin Hart to Bill Burr to Seth Rogen to David Letterman. The festival features the who’s who of American comedy performing ridiculous lineup shows (here’s a dream lineup for you; Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, Nate Bargatze and Sebastian Maniscalco all performing in one night at the Hollywood Bowl), conducting table reads (Chris Rock and his pals will be reading scenes from his favourite movies), taking part in roasts and doing sketches. It really is a joke.
JUST FOR LAUGHS MONTREAL (July, Dates To Be Finalised)
Montreal is the biggest, baddest edition of the Just For Laughs festivals! Planning for JFL Montreal is still in the works, but what we do know is that passes are already out and the festival itself is all set to take place in July (although the dates are yet to be finalised). Close your eyes and buy a ticket. Why? Because last year, the festival hosted the likes of Ali Wong, Russell Peters, Jack Whitehall, Anthony Jeselnik, Daniel Sloss, Tom Papa, Mae Martin. Eddie Izzard, Ronny Chieng, Neal Brennan, Jessica Kirson and many more!
EDINBURGH FESTIVAL FRINGE (2 August – 26 August)
Arguably the world’s biggest performance arts festival, the Fringe is the go-to destination for comedy that of all forms, shapes and sizes. Just how big is the festival? Well, it is only surpassed by the Olympics and the World Cup when it comes to ticketed events across the world, and around one-third of the shows at the Fringe are comedy shows. For nearly a month, the Scottish capital becomes home to hundreds of comedians (including Vir Das and Best Newcomer Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023 Urooj Ashfaq) from across the world. This is comedy’s Mecca. Make your haj this year.
THE LAUGHING DEAD FESTIVAL (👀)
Last year, DeadAnt’s Laughing Dead Festival took Mumbai by storm. Over a weekend in March, festival-goers were treated to performances by over 35 of India’s top comedians including Abhishek Upmanyu, Anubhav Singh Bassi, Prashasti Singh and Samay Raina at Mumbai’s iconic Mehboob Studio. That’s not all. Legendary comedian Daniel Sloss kicked things off with his latest hour Can’t. And we’re all set for a second, bigger, badder edition this year, so keep your eyes peeled! Something wicked this way comes.