Newbury Comedy Festival

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The Newbury Comedy Festival was a festival of comedy which took place every July in the West Berkshire town of Newbury, in England. The last festival took place in 2012 although the You Must Be Joking new act competition continues on its own steam.


It was launched in 2004. Committed to showcasing the best comedy talent working in the UK (and not exclusively stand-up), the comedy festival became an annual event (2nd week of July), and the only fully curated festival of its kind in the UK. In 2006, over 70 acts performed in 12 venues in the Berkshire market town.

The Independent described the Festival as "the premier summer comic gathering outside Edinburgh", with The Daily Telegraph urging readers "not to bypass it"

Notable acts[edit]

Acts who have appeared include Linda Smith, Emo Philips, Jimmy Carr, Alan Carr, Natalie Haynes, Al Murray, Rich Hall, Russell Brand, Barry Cryer, Laura Solon, Chris Addison, Howard Read, Janet Street Porter, Wil Hodgson, Jo Brand, Jenny Eclair, Gina Yashere, Sue Perkins, Susie Essman, Ardal O'Hanlon, Ed Byrne, Phill Jupitus and Josie Long.

You Must Be Joking[edit]

Sponsored by mobile phone giant, Vodafone, the Festival also promotes a new act competition, You Must Be Joking. The winners to date are:

In 2006, Wisecrackers, a stand-up competition/professional mentoring programme for young people was also launched. In 2006 the winner was Christian Robertson. In 2007, the winners for the 16-18 category were Jacob Guberg and Alexander Quayle.


  1. ^ Horsfield, Amy (13 July 2015). "You Must Be Joking at Newbury Corn Exchange". Newbury & Thatcham Chronicle. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  2. ^ Bennett, Steve. "You Must Be Joking! Final". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  3. ^ Reeves, Catriona. "A funny thing happened - review of the You Must Be Joking 2013 final". Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  4. ^ Haji, Tanya (15 July 2012). "Winner of You Must Be Joking is crowned". Newbury Weekly News. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  5. ^