It’s so good to see the Newport FESTIVAL OF COMEDY back, after a huge success at the last event. The line up this year is, as you would expect, top-notch with comedian, actor and Masked Singer finalist JASON MANFORD announced as the headline act for the festival today, Sunday 17th July at Tredegar Park.

The beloved Mancunian comedian is also a writer, actor, radio and television presenter, seriously, is there nothing this bloke can’t do. But it’s when you see him in element, on stage, doing what he does best with his stand up, that he really comes to life. Maybe because he’s been doing comedy for so long now?

He began his career back in 1999 when he was working at the Buzz Comedy Club upstairs at the Southern Hotel in Chorlton, Manchester. At the time he was collecting glasses, great job for a teenage boy. When a performer didn’t arrive for an evening set, Jason, who was 17 at the time stepped in to fill the gap, an event which marked the beginning of his comedy career. Unbelievably, only six gigs later he was crowned The City Life North West Comedian of the Year. So I guess you really can be born with funny bones.

His inspiration is about as good as it gets. He cites Billy Connolly as the first comedian he saw when he was 9 years old, and as the very first motivation for him to become a comedian. He has a love for family friendly entertainers like Eric Morecambe, Tommy Cooper and Les Dawson. Later on comics like Jasper Carrott and Dave Allen influenced him, but it wasn’t until he saw Peter Kay he decided to have a go himself.

Of course he’s now a regular TV host favourite too, fronting shows like Big Heads (ITV1), The Olivier Awards (ITV1), and Sunday Night At The Palladium (ITV1), Jason is a familiar face on television, he has performed stand up sets on Live at the Apollo (BBC1), Michael McIntyre’s Big Show (BBC1), 3 appearances on The Royal Variety Performance (ITV1) and many others.

In 2011, Jason was crowned the winner of Born to Shine (ITV1) showcasing his not-so hidden talent of opera singing. He has since starred in the musical Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End, as well as the UK tour of The Producers and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. 2017 saw Jason enter the top 10 in the UK charts with his debut album A Different Stage. The Salford born comic is currently a judge on prime time television show Starstruck (ITV1).

Jason has previously hosted a reality comedy competition Show Me The Funny (ITV1) as well as his own comedy variety show, Comedy Rocks (ITV1). Other television appearances include QI, Big Fat Quiz Of The Year, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Celebrity Juice, Mastermind and Would I Lie to You.

Speaking about getting back on tour with his own show, Jason said……

“After the fun we had on my last tour ‘Muddle Class’, I’m excited to get back on the road with my new stand-up show. In these trying times, it’s always important to be able to get away for a couple of hours and exercise the old chuckle muscle! We can have a good laugh together. See you then!”

But the Festival is a full on day with some of the finest comedians, and joining Jason will be HAL CRUTTENDEN, DALLSO CHAPONDA, SALLY ANN HAYWARD and returning as our MC is JARRED CHRISTMAS.

Hal is one of the top touring stand up comedians working in the UK and Ireland today, as well as being a highly accomplished writer, presenter and actor. He has made several appearances on ‘Live at the Apollo’, ‘Have I Got News For You’, ‘The Royal Variety Performance’, ‘Would I Lie To You’ and more. Daliso Chaponda shot to fame on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, making it to the final of the 2017 series and has now amassed over 300 million views of his stand up online, Sally-Anne is an award-winning comedian (Best UK Compere 2019 and Holsten Pils ‘Fans of Comedy’ award) and co-hosts a podcast called ‘Spit or Swallow’.

Accompanying the stellar line-up of live comedy will be a live house band, street food, a fun fair and so much more to be announced alongside a special guest!

Festival of Comedy Director Mark Hopkins told us…….

“We’re delighted to be returning to Newport for another edition of The Festival of Comedy. Last year’s acts set a high benchmark with thunderous roars throughout the evening, so we’re delighted to have Jason Manford headline this year’s hilarious line-up.  We’re looking forward to delivering another excellent experience for those in attendance.

The Giggling Goat and Just The Tonic are teaming up for this event. Just the Tonic is a comedy club with branches in Nottingham and Leicester, which also takes acts to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Johnny Vegas has claimed that Just the Tonic is “the best comedy club in the country”. The club also promote their own shows across the UK and have over 25 years of experience.

The FESTIVAL OF COMEDY is at Tredegar Park in Newport on Sunday 17th July from 5 to 10pm and you can get all the details, and tickets – HERE.