Shortlist announced for Sir Billy Connolly Award at Glasgow International Comedy Festival

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The biggest ever Glasgow International Comedy Festival (GICF) in the event’s history has officially kicked off, with over 560 shows set to take place across the next 17 days as the Festival also announces 2024’s Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award Shortlist

Acts including Raymond Mearns, Susie McCabe, Zara Gladman and more are now in the running to win the prestigious prize, plus more top comedians like Craig Hill, Susan Riddell and Luisa Omielan are announced to perform at the Festival’s Comedy Gala. 

The winner of the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award will be announced at GICF’s Comedy Gala on Saturday 30 March at the city’s King’s Theatre.

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Craig Hill said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be nominated for this award, not only because it’s about the Spirit of Glasgow, which definitely feeds into the way I look at life and the things I laugh at, but it’s in the name of Glasgow’s comedy hero Billy Connolly. It’s an honour to be nominated for an award in his name. When it comes to awards, this is the Big Yin!”

GICF

Raymond Mearns said, “Surprised and delighted to be nominated for this award. To make my living as a stand up is already a dream come true and coming from Glasgow with Billy Connolly as my inspiration, I was able to stand on the shoulders of a giant.”

Susie McCabe said, “To be nominated for the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award is a massive honour - not only an award with the Godfather of modern stand-up comedy associated with it, but a man who defined this city. And what a wonderful city it is! If you're from this city you have been blessed (maybe not so much with the weather though..)."

Zara Gladman said, “I am in complete shock. For Sir Billy Connolly to even read my name on a piece of paper is a huge honour. My Glasgow West End mum will be boasting about this for years to come.”

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A mainstay of Scotland’s comedy scene, Craig Hill’s uproarious live shows have kept audiences laughing for over 25 years with countless sold out Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs and shows around the world under his belt. Glaswegian comedian and one of the country’s top stand-up performers for the last 15 years, Raymond Mearns is on the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Shortlist for the first time, as the beloved ‘Godfather of Comedy’ is recognised for his huge contribution to Scotland’s comedy scene. Previously winning Scottish Comedian of the Year in 2016, Rosco McClelland has made a name for himself as a sure-fire hit at comedy clubs around the world as well as appearing in the top 1% of Twitch streamers in the world, whilst fellow Glasgow comic Susan Riddell also makes her debut on the Shortlist, making a name for herself in stand-up as well as with writing credits on Scot Squad and online sketches reaching over 30 million views.

One of Scotland’s most successful comedy exports, Susie McCabe is Shortlisted for 2024, in the midst of a record run of her brand new show at GICF. Having supported the likes of Kevin Bridges and John Bishop on tour, Susie’s recent Live at the Apollo appearance cemented her as one of UK comedy’s biggest names. Rounding off 2024’s Shortlist is newcomer Zara Gladman, with two sold out shows at this year’s GICF after finding an audience online with her witty takes on Glasgow’s ‘West End Mum’. 

2024’s esteemed judging panel for the Sir Billy Conolly Spirit of Glasgow Award, made up of Scottish comedians, artists, journalists and more, narrowed down this year’s applications to a Shortlist of six. Judges included 2023 award winner Janey Godley, Barbie star Sharon Rooney, legendary comic Jonathan Watson, STV News presenter Laura Boyd, actor Tony Curran, Glasgow’s Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren and more. The panel reviewed applications from GICF acts, venues and promoters to curate a Shortlist, before they will make a recommendation to Sir Billy Connolly himself who will ultimately choose the final winner.

In addition to the highly-anticipated winner announcement, GICF’s Comedy Gala will also see the very best of the fest perform on the mixed bill, with new additions to the line-up including: Billy Kirkwood, Craig Hill,  Jin-Hao Li, Luisa Omielan, Rosco McClelland and Susan Riddell. These acts will join some of Scotland’s most well known comics like 2023’s award winner Janey Godley, Raymond Mearns, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Stuart McPherson, Zara Gladman and host Susie McCabe to entertain the crowd at Glasgow’s iconic King’s Theatre. 

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As one of Glasgow’s most renowned cultural events officially kicked off this week on Wednesday 13th March, GICF has already seen performances and sold out shows from the likes of Maisie Adam, Vittorio Angelone, Fascinating Aïda, Fiona Allen, Sam Campbell and more.

Thousands of comedy fans descended upon venues in the festival’s opening few days, including Oran Mor in the city’s West End, the King’s Theatre, The Stand Comedy Club, McChuills and many more. GICF offers a range of live comedy from traditional stand-up to live podcasts, musical comedy, theatre, kids shows, clowning and more, meaning there is something for every type of comedy fan at this year’s event. GICF’s upcoming opening weekend includes a mammoth three-show run at the King’s from hometown hero Susie McCabe, a sold out show from Craig Hill plus solo shows from Tamsyn Kelly, Elliot Steel, Caroline Rhea and even the Festival’s first ever comedy wrestling show with ICW’s The Great Glesga’ Bash. 

Festival Director Krista MacDonald said: “We’re thrilled to open the metaphorical doors of this year’s Glasgow International Comedy Festival as it officially gets underway in more than 50 venues across the city. As we celebrate 21 years of the Festival, it’s fitting that we do so with the event’s biggest year ever - with over 560 comedy shows set to take place across 19 days. Over the next few weeks Glasgow will showcase exactly why we think it’s the funniest city in the world as locals and visitors alike are entertained by some of the very best comics around. We hope to see old friends old and new out and about at GICF shows celebrating our thriving comedy scene. 

“Plus, a huge congratulations to this year’s Sir Billy Conolly Spirit of Glasgow Award Shortlist - the calibre of entries was outstanding so it’s a real achievement to be recognised in this way. We’re looking forward to celebrating the Shortlist and final winner at this year’s Comedy Gala.”

 

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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, 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.

Tickets are on sale here. 

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