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Leicester Comedy festival review – gags, groans and heckling gremlins

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Felicity Ward and Tony Law star in the event’s opening cabaret, First Night Funnies, with false starts and flat-out laughs

“Thank you all so much for coming out,” is how Prince Abdi greets us at the top of his set. If only it were so! I’m watching from my daughter’s bedroom, Felicity Ward is joking about the clothes horse in her background and Mo Omar shows us the spilled talc on his bedroom floor. None of us are out, but we all wish we were – in Leicester, say, for the first night of Britain’s second-biggest comedy festival.

The east Midlands, though, is out of bounds for anyone not already in the east Midlands. So here we are in the Zoom room for First Night Funnies, the standup cabaret that launches this year’s event, a live-streamed festival featuring 300 performances from more than 100 comedians. It probably offers a fair crosssection, of acts on form, acts not quite firing and acts still pining, I’d imagine, for real-world standup to in-person audiences.

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