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Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year

Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year contestants with host Sindhu Vee, 2024. 

Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year is our flagship competition that has been running for over 30 years.  Competitors are nominated by agents and promoters which means that you cannot apply to take part in this competition. It has a stellar line-up of past winners including Romesh Ranganathan, Josh Widdicombe, Seann Walsh and Johnny Vegas. ​The competition takes place at The Y Theatre every year on the final Saturday of the Festival. ​​

Fun Facts

  • Tickets for the first Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition cost just £2.50

  • Steve Knuckles won the first competition back in 1995; he then disappeared without trace

  • Reginald D Hunter was runner up to Mitch Benn in 1998

  • Jimmy Carr performed a rap when he entered the competition in 2001

  • John Bishop entered in 2001; the Leicester Mercury review said “we think we’ll be hearing more from him in the future.”

  • Greg Davies was runner up in 2003

  • Leicester based comedian Matt Hollins beat Russell Kane, to win the competition in 2004

  • Shane Allen, big cheese of comedy at BBC, was on the judging panel in 2005 when he worked for Channel 4

  • Jack Whitehall was runner up in 2008

  • Luke Benson is the only comedian to have made it through to the final twice; once in 2008 & then again in 2011

  • Over 6,500 people have watched the competition over the past 21 years; 200 comedians have taken part

Past Winners

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