Viz creator gig opens Sunderland comedy festival

Simon Donald
Simon Donald
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LAUGHTER rang out around city venues as Sunderland’s first comedy festival kicked off in style.

Paul Savage and Tony Basnett opened the festival with free sets at Arizona in Park Lane, while Viz creator Simon Donald and Seymour Mace tickled ribs at The Place in Sunniside.

As part of the festival, The Place has also been taken over by character comedy We Are The Brethren of Levity, while Ian Cognito and Sully O’Sullivan have taken to the stage at The Queen Victoria in Roker.

For the week, venues across the city will play host to 40 comedy acts for Sunderland Comedy Festival, which is a mixture of free and ticketed gigs.

Highlights include Patrick Monahan, winner of ITV’s stand-up comedy contest Show Me The Funny; Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Carl Donnelly, at The Quayside Exchange tomorrow; and Paul Foot at Independent, Holmeside, on Friday.

The festival will close on Sunday with a double headliner of Jason Cook and Steffen Peddie, from BBC2 show Hebburn.

Co-organiser Steve Cuthbert said: “With the comedy festival, we wanted to bring something different to the city, and with Newcastle and Gateshead having a comedy festival it seemed the right thing to do.”

Chris Alexander, chief operating officer for events company Sunderland Live, said: “Sunderland Comedy Festival is a fantastic new event, and a brilliant opportunity to expand the city’s cultural horizons.

“With such a wide variety of shows and performers on offer, there truly will be something for everyone to get involved with.

“Everyone loves to have a laugh, and we’re proud to be able to bring such great comedy names to our city.

“We hope that this festival will not only bring a smile to the people of Sunderland, but also attract comedy fans from outside the city, and continue to shine a light on the outstanding culture and events we enjoy.”

For the full line-up and ticket details visit