Nothing But Culture: Leicester Comedy Festival Preview Show kicks things off in style.

The annual Leicester Comedy Festival returns February 6 to 24, with some of the biggest names playing shows alongside upcoming talent in venues such as bars, cafes, restaurants as well as some of the city’s theatres.

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This year’s Gala Preview Show couldn’t have got things off to a better start.

The evening was a somewhat camp affair, with the tone set from the outset by host Tom Allen and his co-host for the evening Suzi Ruffell. Between them, the two of them found plenty of material from the audience, picking out individuals and referring back to them throughout the evening with razor sharp observations.

Local lad Alex Hylton was a class act and definitely one to watch. We loved his joke about Jamie Vardy being found under a carpark in Leicester! His tales of dogging and and stories about sharing a flat had the audience in hysterics.

We also loved Jack Gleadow - a kind of modern-day Steptoe. His act is a breath of fresh air and his routine involving his scooter and a member of the audience was pure class. His use of tinder during his set was nothing short of genius.

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Our final highlight from the night was Steven Bailey. Bailey’s meteoric rise to fame has seen him host stints on Zoe Ball’s itv show and Channel 5’s Do The Right Thing, and he can also be seen currently on Channel 5’s Celebrity 5 Go Camping. He came across like a real established professional at the Gala and his filthy jokes and polished delivery was fantastic.

Everybody on the night was brilliant, including Myra Dubois, Darren Harriott, Rosie Jones and Catherine Bohart. The Gala preview did exactly what it set to do - offer a full range of acts taking part in the main festival itself and to whet the appetite of the audience. It worked - we can’t wait to get back in the city this February to see many of tonight’s acts again - and many more too.

This year’s festival includes shows from Jason Manford, Jo Brand, Brennan Reece, Tom Rosenthal and many more which plenty of shows which are free of charge. See for full listings and details.