Ninety-nine dates, 450,000 tickets sold, 14 nights at the 10,000-capacity SSE Hydro in Glasgow: Kevin Bridges is, by any measure, a big deal. He’s also, on form, one of the sharpest, least complacent acts in arena comedy, and this autumn sees the culmination of his biggest tour yet.
- St David’s Hall, Cardiff, 8-10 September; 12-13 September, Regent Ipswich. Then touring
A journey around the UK for a new show from the great comic/agitator, itself about several journeys Thomas made around London – and beyond – gauging whether our country is in fact ours any more. His answers – spoiler alert! – aren’t much fun, but the show (previewed at last month’s Edinburgh fringe) should be as bracing, inspiring and entertaining as ever.
- Bristol Tobacco Factory, 9-12 September. Then touring
Not many acts complete the double – Melbourne’s Barry award followed by Edinburgh’s Foster’s comedy award – in the same year. The in-yer-face Australian oddball Sam Simmons has done so this year, crowning a distinguished career in very strange (think Harry Hill with added antagonism) comedy. Now his Spaghetti for Breakfast show – an absurdist litany of so-called “things that shit me” – comes to the capital for a three-week run.
- Soho theatre, London, 22 September–10 October
Her recent Edinburgh fringe run showcased a comic relishing her moment and hitting her stride. Channelling the spirit of Joan Rivers, Ryan’s new show Kathbum delivers in equal portions acerbic celebrity scuttlebutt (Bill Cosby, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Taylor Swift get it in the neck) and tales from the life of a Canadian expat singleton and single mum. Now on the road, a good show is likely to get better.
- Folkestone Quarterhouse, 2 October; Ashcroft Arts Centre, Fareham, 3 October; then touring
When he booked this short UK tour, Trevor Noah was just a fast-rising South African comic, destined for glory but not yet there. The new host of what used to be The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is there now, via a media hounding earlier this year when several ill-advised jokes were excavated from a long way down his Twitter feed. There’ll be no such thing in these performances of his Lost in Translation set, from which you can expect smooth, accomplished and culturally insightful comedy.
- Eventim Apollo, London, 2-3 October; Reading Hexagon, 9 October; Birmingham Symphony Hall, 10 October
You get several shows for the price of one with this cracking new offering from the Austentatious man. Soothing Sounds for Babies was narrowly pipped for the Edinburgh comedy award, and comes to London this autumn for a three-week run. It combines a loving spoof of Desert Island Discs (Kirsty Young cameos prominently), a hymn to obscure thrift-store LPs, and a tale of Morpurgo’s lost love. It’s brilliantly worked, and there are big laughs.
- The Invisible Dot, London, 5-24 October
Surprising to think, but TV character comics par excellence Paul Whitehouse and Harry Enfield have never toured together. Until now. We’re promised updates on the lives of Loadsamoney, Kevin the Teenager and Mr Cholmondley-Warner, among many others – which, if a one-off charity gig outing for Smashie and Nicey in 2013 is anything to go by (Operation Yewtree was tackled with relish) should keep things lively. In short: brush up on your catchphrases.
- Brighton Centre, 23 October; Plymouth Pavilions, 24 October; Oxford New theatre, 25 October. Then touring
The standout comedy show of Edinburgh fringe 2015, Kieran Hodgson’s Lance is a blissfully funny nugget of narrative comedy, tracing teenage Kieran’s amateur cycling career, and his departure from Yorkshire to the dreaming spires of England’s south. Great characters, laugh-line after laugh-line, one of the bang-on funniest comic songs you’ll have heard for ages – and no little insight, too, into the bittersweet experience of leaving home and losing friends: it’s a terrific show.
- The Invisible Dot, London, 2-7 November
As if Harry and Paul weren’t enough, another middle-aged 1990s double-act take their show on the road. In this case, it’s Britain’s grandaddies of nonsense comedy, the sub-surrealist purveyors of The Man with the Stick and bald-pate men-children Davey and Donald Stott. It may be just a nostalgia-fest. But I’d guess Vic and Bob retain sufficient anarchic spirit, even now, to ensure that a tour subtitled The Poignant Moments will be no mere love-in.
- Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, 10-11 November; City Hall, Newcastle, 12-13 November. Then touring
After two brilliantly funny, committed feminist comedy shows in two years made her one of the country’s most indispensable comic voices, this year Bridget Christie is ranging more widely over the terrain of social justice. Tory cuts, race, Nigel Farage – all are given the Christie treatment (faux-flustered outrage, heavy sarcasm, clownish sense of her own ridiculousness). Add to that extracts from her new feminist tome A Book for Her, and you’ve another campaigning, hugely entertaining standup show.
- Leicester Square theatre, London, 16 November–2 December
This sketch trio’s fringe debut last month made for one of the festival’s most eye-catching hours of comedy. I won’t pretend that George Fouracres, Phil Wang and Jason Forbes dovetail together beautifully on stage. They don’t; that’s part of the charm. But their oddly unharmonised contributions add up to a delightful, highly self-aware sketch show, featuring racist radio plays, murderous pirate captains and a spectacularly clumsy barista.
- The Invisible Dot, London, 30 November-10 December
Last year, Battersea Arts Centre’s bespoke seasonal comedy event found Daniel Kitson delivering an absolutely lovely story about bereavement, the meaning of Christmas and the myth of Santa. No pressure, then, Sara Pascoe, who this year, occupying the same slot, promises “all your favourite brand-new Christmas traditions in one show”. As one of the country’s most reliably intelligent and appealing comic performers, with a restlessly inquiring mind and an eagerness to share its discoveries, Pascoe’s more than equal to the challenge.
- Battersea Arts Centre, London, 14-23 December