THE Glasgow International Comedy Festival is back with a bang to cement the city’s status as the "funniest city in the world".

The programme for the new era of the festival is brimming with talent, bringing together Glasgow favourites, newcomers, and performers from around the world.

This year's edition will bring 380 events across 37 venues to the city.

Krista MacDonald, who took the reins as festival director last year with support from partners Gilded Balloon and The Stand, is excited to bring the festival into 2023.

She said: “Everything is new, to be honest. It’s a whole new era, a new organisation taking the festival forward.

“Post-pandemic, it feels like the world is a whole new place.

“Glasgow is the funniest city in the world, and humour has definitely been something that everyone has relied on to get through the recent past.

“Now we’re really ready to put that behind everyone and charge on with delivering one of the best festivals yet.”

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The "future focused" festival will have something to offer everyone, showcasing a wide range of comedy, sketches, drag, music, improv and family-friendly shows from March 15 to April 2.

Events will be taking place all over the city for the 20th edition of the festival with this year’s top talents taking the stage at the King’s Theatre.

Frankie is opening the festival which will also be marking Susie McCabe’s return to the King’s stage.

TikTok star Paul Black and Scottish Comedian of the Year winner Marc Jennings will be making their debuts at the iconic theatre.

Other highlights include a unique Mother’s Day Special version of The Duncan and Judy Murray Show.

As the economic crisis tightens its grip on households, a festival celebrating Glasgow’s storied sense of humour couldn’t come at a better time.

Krista describes how she ‘geeks out’ at the science of laughter and stresses its importance ‘against the backdrop of what we’ve been through recently’.

She said: “It’s hardwired into our bodies to laugh and be happy when the people around us are laughing and being happy.

“That moment and that thrill of a live show, when you don’t know what’s going to happen or where it’s going to go or what’s going to be said, but you’re all in the room together experiencing it, no matter where you are.

“That sense of connection, belonging, and togetherness, especially in celebration of something rather than in a sad time, is so essential to humans.

“Whether you think you’re a comedy fan or not, you don’t need to be an expert to be affected at a cellular level by the experience of shared laughter.”

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Further acts festivalgoers can get excited about are Phil Wang, Rich Hall, Jim Smith, Craig Hill, Stewart Lee, Zoe Lyons, Liam Farrelly, Maisie Adam, Nick Mohammed, Ria Lina, Jason Byrne and Marjolein Robertson among many others.

The Comedy Festival will come to a close with a Closing Gala show at The King’s Theatre where the first ever Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award will be presented to the lucky winner, chosen by an independent judging panel.

Glaswegians can find the humour in the darkest of situations and "wear it like a badge of honour", Krista says.

She added: “And the biggest form of rebellion for anyone is to laugh loud enough to drown out all the negative noise.”

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