Oxford Comedy Festival 2024

Matthew from QED Comedy runs us through this year's Oxford Comedy Festival and what the acts you should check out.

The 2024 Oxford Festival Fringe Preview Comedy Festival is nearly upon us and this year’s line-up is probably the best one yet. Sure, we have big names you might have seen on TV like Desiree Burch, Sophie Duker, Shappi Khorsandi, Laura Lexx, Esther Manito, Lou Sanders, Rachel Fairburn, Chloe Petts, Bilal Zafar, Andrew O’Neill, Jacob Hawley, and Tez Ilyas, but we also have a whole bunch of really great comedians that you may not know. Our comedy curators loved them and think you will too. These are the up and commers, the next generation of comedy talent. These are the people that, years later, when they are on TV or some big theatre tour, you can turn to your friends and say, “I saw them for just eight quid.”

So here are ten acts you might not know but should definitely check out at this year’s Oxford Comedy Festival:

Kate Cheka: A Messiah Comes – Sat 29 June @ 7.30pm – Trinity College - Kate wonders why she is always trying to save everything. Where does this messiah complex come from? And the burnout that comes trying to fix it? A show for anyone who is anxious about the state of the world and wonders what to do about it. While the birth of a man who thinks he's god is not that rare event... behold a woman who thinks she is too.

Katie Green: ¡AY MIJA! – Thurs 4 July @ 7.30pm – Trinity College – The debut from Latina rising star Katie Green, ¡Ay Mija! is a story about identity, family, coming of age, terrible dating choices, and throwing the best damn party ever. She finds the funny in the differences between her Salvadoran roots and her British present, by way of a childhood growing up in California.

Eddy Hare: This One’s on Me – Sat 6 July @ 9.00pm – Trinity College - Eddy Hare (BBC New Comedy Awards Nominee) serves up his debut hour. Hold your bowl steady and watch this promising uncle of three as he spoons it out with care. Eddie’s delightful, deadpan absurdity will keep fill your belly with laughs (that metaphor may have gotten away from us but just know he is really good).

Ola Labib: Polarising - Fri 12 July @ 7.30pm – Trinity College – Another debut hour from another brilliant new voice in comedy, Ola guides us through her Sudanese upbringing in Portsmouth, her outrageous experiences working as NHS Pharmacist, and how a near death experience landed her in a comedy career.

Alexander Bennett: Emotional Daredevil – Sat 13 July @ 7.30pm – Trinity College – Coming on the heels of his highly acclaimed debut hour (Can’t Stand the Man Myself), we are excited to see what tricks Alexander has up his comedy sleeves for us this year. It promises to be a show about risk, for the unsatisfied and traumatized. Sound fun!

Michael Odewale: Of Mike and Men – Sun 14 July @ 9.00pm – Market Tap - Fresh off the back of his Live at The Apollo debut and Dave Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination, Michael Odewale returns with a follow-up to his smash hit show #BlackBearsMatter. This show contains musings about death, legacy, and whether he has done enough to access VIP Heaven privileges.

Erika Ehler: I Got Some Dope Ass Memories with People That I'll Never F*Ck with Again – Fri 19 July @ 7.30pm – Trinity College – Frankly, the title alone kind of sells this one but also; Erika has been to the festival twice before and both times has blown the doors off the room with her acerbic wit and zero-f***s-given attitude. This year Erika navigates the disturbing reality of what it’s like to be young, hot and yet so alone; platonic relationships and the bittersweet transition of hangouts becoming reunions.

Amy Matthews: Commute with the Foxes – Thurs 25 July @ 7.30pm – Trinity College - A shift in lighting casts new shadows. That song you couldn’t stop playing now hurts when it comes on in Tesco. The smell of your high school maths classroom wallops you around the face decades later in the lobby of a hotel abroad. Do things have a place and how do they change if they find themselves a new one? Following Matthews's sold-out 2023 run, the critically decorated comic returns with a show exploring the transformative nature of context

Kaytlin Bailey: Whore’s Eye View – Fri 26 July @ 9.00pm – Trinity College – American comedian and sex worker rights activist Kaytlin Bailey comes to Oxford with the critically acclaimed show she has been touring the world with: Whore’s Eye View. It’s a mad dash through 10,000 years of history from a sex worker’s perspective. Equal parts stand-up comedy, history lecture, and personal storytelling, Kaytlin masterfully unpacks the age-old stigma surrounding the oldest profession.

Sam Lake: Esméralda – Sun 28 July @ 7.30pm – Market Tap - The final night of the festival begins with one of our favourite (and one of the sweetest) comedians of the festival, Sam Lake. An uplifting new show about coming out as Spanish, grief, and the Ice Age movie franchise. Sam uncovers the mystery behind his mother’s powerful last words. We have seen part of this show in various forms and are beyond excited to see the finished product this year.

So there it is, ten great shows to go and see but frankly there are going to be 54 shows you won’t want to miss at this year’s festival. So come to some or go to all but no matter which show you choose to go to you’re going to have a fun night in a month of fun nights. You can find the full line-up here.

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