Glasgow International Comedy Festival announces judging panel for Sir Billy Connolly Spirt of Glasgow award

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The star-studded judging panel has been announced for the Glasgow International Comedy Festival

With only one month to go until Glasgow International Comedy Festival (GICF), the event has announced a star-studded judging panel for the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award and revealed a sneak peek at this year’s Comedy Gala line-up.

This year’s judges include Sharon Rooney, Tony Curran, Jonathan Watson, 2023’s winner Janey Godley and more, whilst Raymond Mearns, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Janey Godley and Susie McCabe will entertain the King’s Theatre on one of the final days of the festival at the prestigious Comedy Gala.

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There are 560 events now on sale, meaning that GICF 2024 is officially the biggest year in the festival’s 21 year history with talent including Frank Skinner, Caroline Rhea, Ed Gamble, Leslie Liao and more set to perform across the city.

Joseph Sinclair

Showcasing the very best of 2024’s festival, the Comedy Gala means audiences have another chance to see sets from sold out GICF shows including Glasgow favourite Raymond Mearns, West End Mum Zara Gladman and Some Laugh’s Stuart McPherson. Co-host of popular podcast All Killa No Filla, Kiri Pritchard-McLean will keep the King’s laughing, whilst Susie McCabe will close out her GICF run on a high following three headline shows, plus winner of 2023’s Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award, Janey Godley will delight audiences with an appearance.

2024’s judging panel will review this year’s applications and choose a shortlist for the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award, making a recommendation to Sir Billy Connolly himself, who will ultimately choose the final winner. Applications were submitted from GICF acts, venues and promoters, now set to be whittled down to a shortlist of only six by the judges.

Sharon Rooney said, “As a massive comedy fan myself, I’m so excited to help judge this year’s Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award. Glasgow’s comedy scene is one of the best and as a proud Glaswegian it's a joy to watch it get bigger and better each year. Good luck to all of this year’s applicants.”

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Tony Curran said, “As a proud Glaswegian I’m delighted to be part of the judging panel for an award associated with Sir Billy Connolly himself, celebrating the very spirit of the city. Glasgow’s sense of humour is one of a kind and so is the Big Yin - I’m thrilled to be involved and am looking forward to plenty of laughs along the way.”

Glaswegian Tony Curran will also be a judge at this year's Glasgow International Comedy Festial Glaswegian Tony Curran will also be a judge at this year's Glasgow International Comedy Festial
Glaswegian Tony Curran will also be a judge at this year's Glasgow International Comedy Festial | Getty Images

Glasgow’s Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren also joins the judging panel alongside: Aarti Joshi (Go Radio), Catherine Salmond (Editor, The Herald), Cassi Gillespie (Clyde 1), Laura Boyd (STV News), Laura Marks (Channel 4) and Norry Wilson (Lost Glasgow).

The award recognises a person, not a show, meaning any GICF performers, venue staff, promoters or anyone otherwise involved in this year’s festival can apply. Applicants do not have to be from Glasgow or live in Glasgow, but instead must embody the Spirit of Glasgow as defined by the award criteria. The judging panel will analyse applicants and curate a shortlist, before revealing the winner at the GICF Comedy Gala on Saturday 30 March.

Festival Director, Krista MacDonald said: “With the presentation of the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award, GICF celebrates those participating in the Festival who embody characteristics defined so well by Sir Billy Connolly, and of Glasgow itself.

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"Being funny, of course, but also to be self-starting, mould-breaking, bold and brave, curious and challenging, warm but tough, proud but unpretentious and open to all. With the calibre of this year’s applicants, it’s going to be a tough job for our judges but we’re looking forward to revealing 2024's winner live on stage at the GICF Comedy Gala in front of such a brilliant line-up."

Taking place from 13 - 31 March 2024, GICF will welcome international comedians, rising Scottish talent and the very best of live comedy to 50 venues across the city. Some of the UK’s biggest comics will perform including Frank Skinner, Ed Gamble, Fascinating Aïda, Kieran Hodgson, All Killa No Filla and more, alongside homegrown talent like Susie McCabe, Craig Hill and Mark Nelson and international acts including Caroline Rhea and Leslie Liao. 2024 marks GICF’s 21st birthday, as well as the festival’s biggest ever year - Glaswegians can enjoy over 560 shows from live podcasts, traditional stand-up, musical comedy, theatre and more.

Glasgow International Comedy Festival takes place across the city, with shows in Blackfriars, Drygate, King’s Theatre, The Garage, The Glad Cafe, Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow Science Centre, The Glee Club, McChuills, O2 Academy, Oran Mor, Saint Luke’s and the Winged Ox, Sloans, The Stand Comedy Club, Van Winkle West End, August House and more.

Tickets are on sale here.

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