Another belter of a June bank holiday at the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival

Kilkenny is gearing up for a cracker of a bank holiday weekend when The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival returns with a world-class comedy programme, taking place across the city from Thursday May 31 – Monday June 4. Now in its 19th year, The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival continues to be one of the most eagerly anticipated festivals on the summer calendar.

Kilkenny is gearing up for a cracker of a bank holiday weekend when The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival returns with a world-class comedy programme, taking place across the city from Thursday May 31 – Monday June 4. Now in its 19th year, The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival continues to be one of the most eagerly anticipated festivals on the summer calendar.

Kilkenny will welcome a handpicked selection of the world’s top comedians. This year’s line-up sees the return of our top resident funny folk together with a collection of internationally renowned comics from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. Ever mindful of audience’s purse strings, the festival has substantially reduced ticket prices so everyone can enjoy more comedy for less. Tickets are on sale now at www.thecatlaughs.com

This year’s hot news from Cat Laughs HQ is the debut performance from the comedy’s much loved grump, Jack Dee. Following a six year absence from stand-up, one of Britain’s finest comedians is back, agonising over the slightest of annoyances and misdemeanours. Famous for his surly expression and sardonic humour this grouchy, deadpan comic genius is sure to be a highlight of this year’s programme. Another exciting debut is Al Murray. The UK’s favourite ‘Pub Landlord’ will serve up his premier brew of ale-inspired acumen and bar-room banter.

Rising UK stars Doc Brown and Josh Widdicombe will give the line-up a healthy dose of wise-crackin’ and smooth-talkin’ in their highly anticipated debut performances in Kilkenny. In a previous life rapper Doc Brownrubbed shoulders with the likes of Mark Ronson, Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen. This June he’s set to take Kilkenny by storm with his slick lyrics and clever rap skills.

Following the success of his last visit, the intensely vulnerable and painfully honest Simon Amstell returns to Kilkenny with his new show ‘Numb’, and attempts once again to heal himself in public. Other frequent festival fliers from across the water include king of the one-liner Milton Jones, flirty and feisty Shappi Korshandi and everyone’s favourite jester from Wales, Lloyd Langford.

Local Irish talent will be out in force again this year, headed up by Irish-American comedian Des Bishop. One of the most enigmatic forces on the international comedy circuit today, Des returns with his latest routine which showcases his new-found passion for drumming and his love of wordplay. Jason Byrne is also back with a bang! The outrageously funny and excitable comic returns to Kilkenny with his trademark brand of high-octane intelligent lunacy sure to tickle your funny bone. And Offaly’s finest and master of off-the-cuff delivery, Neil Delamere will be back in the Marble City to share his hilarious anecdotes and topical story-telling blended with his usual witty audience interaction. Joining Neil is Colin Murphy who will add his distinct fusion of topical satire and acute observational material to the mix. Other household favourites flying the flag for Ireland are Barry Murphy, Karl Spain, Chris Kent, Fred Cooke, Colm O’Regan, and Gearoid Farrelly.

As well as our exceptional local contingent, comedy fans can expect top notch performances from the cream of the international comedy crop when the great and the good descend on Irish shores from across the globe. Regular crowd pleasers and unsung heroes of the Cat Laughs Festival Dom Irrera and Adam Hills both make a welcome return to the festival this year. Joining Adam all the way from the Southern hemisphere is the 2011 Melbourne Comedy Festival People’s Choice Award winner, Wil Anderson. These internationally acclaimed comedians will be back to lift our spirits and distract us with their uplifting comedy and rampant spontaneity, just what we Irish need to beat the recession blues.

But the fun doesn’t stop there....for those looking for something a little different there’s some extra special shows that are bound to tickle your fancy.

Lover of all things factual, David O’Doherty is back (with help from some comedy friends) to present Pecha Kucha_KLK in Langton’s Set Theatre at 5.30pm Sunday 3 June. Devised in Japan and invented to liven up the drudgery of the classic office presentation, Pecha Kucha has become a global sensation. Join David and friends as he launches Kilkenny as the world’s 500th Pecha Kucha city. Participants have just 400 seconds to present their topic of choice.

Ever wondered what life was like for our favourite Irish comedy superstars before they became rich and famous and succumbed to glittering showbiz lifestyles? Imagine Karl Spain asking you if you want fries with that, or Colin Murphy giving you detention? Well, come and hear the gory details about a time when our favourite comedians were just mere mortals - no microphones, no stages, just a polyester uniform and the minimum wage. ‘Service With A Smile’, takes place in Langton’s Set Theatre at 5.30pm Saturday 2nd June.

If table quizzes float your boat, then we’ve got just the thing. Jarlath Regan presents a pub quiz like no other.Standup & Answers in Langton’s Set Theatre at 9.30pm in Langton’s Set Theatre will be a fantastic night of stand-up comedy and trivia combined. Pens and paper at the ready people, this is the perfect way to kick start your comedy weekend with special performances from Barry Murphy, David O’Doherty, Chris Kent, Foil Arms & Hog and not forgetting Fred Cooke’s musical round.

And how could we forget the Mammies of Ireland! Colm O’Regan, creator of the @irishmammies Twitter phenomenon brings the world of the Irish Mammy to life. Make sure you bring along your own Irish Mammy to the world premiere of Ireland’s Got Mammies in Langton’s Set Theatre, Saturday June 2 at 2.30pm. Warning – this show may be best accompanied with tea and a bun.

Speaking at the launch, Rebecca Austin, Festival Artistic Director said; ‘We’re really excited about the programme for this year’s Festival. It’s a great balance of people’s favourites and exciting new shows, curated exclusively for Cat Laughs. I’ve had fun working on new ideas with some of Ireland’s most inventive comics. We are happy to be welcoming some of the UK’s best comedy talent. We’ll be showing them what all the fuss is about in Kilkenny this June.’

Tickets the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival 2012 are on sale now! For full details on the line-up, tickets and venue information visit www.thecatlaughs.com