RUSSELL Brand is to headline this year's Birmingham Comedy Festival.
The controversial comedian and film star joins other top names including Adam Hills, Joe Lycett, Nina Conti and Robin Ince in the annual festival, which runs from October 4-13 in venues around the city.
Brand is playing Birmingham's Symphony Hall on October 7 and 8 as part of his Messiah Complex world tour. The former drug addict resigned from the BBC in 2008 following prank calls he made to actor Andrew Sachs on his Radio 2 show.
He has starred in a string of Hollywood hits including Arthur, Despicable Me and St Trinian's.
Adam Hills, star of Channel 4's The Last Leg, plays the Town Hall on October 6. Robin Ince is at the Mac on October 10, while Nina Conti brings her puppets to Solihull Arts Complex on October 5. Other names in the line-up include Terry Christian, Tony Law, Rosin Conaty and the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre.
There is plenty of local talent on show too, from Hall Green's Joe Lycett (performing his acclaimed Edinburgh show at the Glee Club on October 10) and Kings Heath's Barbara Nice to Jo Enright, Shazia Mirza, Steve Day, Harriett Dyer and The Lovely Men.
Special events in the festival, which has been running since 2001, include Comedy in the Dark at the new Digbeth venue, the Just The Tonic Comedy Club, which will take place in pitch black darkness.
Adam Hills. There's the Laurel and Hardy Film Show, which includes the first public showing of a short tribute film to the legendary double act, Boys Behind Bars.
And if all this comedy makes festival goers want to have a try too, James Cook is offering a stand-up workshop for beginners.
A spokesperson for the festival said: "This year have over 60 shows right across the city with some great events in theatres, clubs, arts centres, venues, pubs and cafe bars. There's also a good mix, from big TV names and returning festival favourites, to new acts just starting out.
"While the big TV names are always worth seeing, we always encourage people to see what's happening at other venues to get just a taster of the Birmingham's well-established and vibrant comedy scene."
The 2013 festival concludes with the Birmingham New Comedian of the Year contest held at the Blue Orange Theatre.
For more information and tickets, go to www.bhamcomfest.co.uk
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