First Acts Confirmed For Balham Comedy Festival

First Acts Confirmed For Balham Comedy Festival

Banana Cabaret will celebrate 41 years of live comedy with their 2024 Balham Comedy Festival which runs from Friday 12th - Saturday 20th July at The Bedford in Balham.

Now in it’s 12th year the festival will feature outstanding solo shows from masters of the craft, Kerry Godliman, Angela Barnes and Stephen K Amos alongside hot new talent, Amy Gledhill working up her eagerly anticipated new show, and Maisie Adam, who is putting the final touches to her upcoming tour.

The Best of Banana Cabaret nights will showcase four superb acts including the inimitable Harry Hill, comic favourite Carl Donnelly, the great Catherine Bohart, the mighty Robin Morgan, rising star Michael Odewale, and Eric Rushton, winner of the Sean Lock Comedy Award. 

Kerry Godliman said: “Banana Cabaret is the true North Star of the London comedy circuit.” 

Festival co-producer and Banana Cabaret king, Dave Vickers, said: “It’s a delight and a privilege to watch true comic talent grace our stage over the last 41 years. We’ve seen the likes of Stewart Lee, Sarah Millican and Michael McIntyre spring from their first open spot to closing a Banana Cabaret show, then stardom. This year’s festival is shaping up to be our best yet and I can’t wait to get started.”

The 2024 Balham Comedy Festival will present 25 acts, across 12 shows, over eight nights. All shows will take place in the iconic round Club Room at The Bedford in Balham where Banana Cabaret’s comedy club residency of 41 years is the longest in the UK. Comedy goers are encouraged to make a night of it and enjoy dinner and drinks before or after the show. There are even 15 luxury hotel rooms should they wish to spend the night. 

Balham Comedy Festival tickets can be purchased from Prices start at just £11 plus booking fee. Please note show times and prices vary.




The name Dave Vickers is synonymous with great live standup. He knows funny when he sees it, just ask any comedian. As Laura Smyth says, "He knows his onions!” Comedy promoter and all round good bloke, Dave's top tier club BANANA CABARET launched in 1983 and has been a platform for the very greatest comics, and a springboard for the best new and emerging talent, for over four decades. BANANA CABARET can also boast the longest comedy club residency in the UK, in their iconic round room at The Bedford in Balham. This is the club’s 12th annual BALHAM COMEDY FESTIVAL.

“Dave Vickers curates one of the best line-ups of live stand-up comedy on the circuit.” - JOE LYCETT


JOHN MOLONEY - compère & co-producer

Industry legend and esteemed co-producer of the Balham Comedy Festival, John Moloney has been a professional comedian for more years than he’d care to mention. John epitomises dry, dispassionate delivery and is master of the droll one-liner. He entertains audiences across the globe with his crafted, intelligent and original standup. Twice winner of the Best Live Performer award at the London Comedy Festival, John is one of Britain’s most in-demand comedians and also highly sought-after on the corporate circuit.

“It is good to know that there is still room for a comedian as gifted and unpretentious as John Moloney.” - THE TIMES


  • Door 6.30pm / Meal orders until 7.30pm / Show 8.30pm - 10.45pm / £20 + bf


It’s easy to wax lyrical about the unique comic charm of Eric Rushton. Since his comedy debut in 2014, Eric has been mixing with the best on the comedy scene, impressing audiences with his intelligent, unexpected, playful material and likeable, self-deprecating stage persona. And he’s been mopping up awards like there’s no tomorrow. In 2023 Eric was inaugural winner of the Channel 4 Sean Locke Comedy Award. He is a regular performer at the UK's biggest comedy clubs and festivals, and credits his mum with raising him on comedy.


“Your spider senses tell you someone is special. There’s something properly idiosyncratic yet inclusive about his writing and performance … incredibly exciting.” - CHARLIE PERKINS, Head of Comedy, Channel 4


UK based American Russell Hicks is a major player. Anarchic, unbridled, unfiltered and provocative, a risk-taking comic whirlwind, he captivates audiences with razor-sharp wit, acute observations and slick take-downs. Crowds are hooked instantly by his infectious and unapologetic style. Russell is a unique and thoroughly exciting performer, with a formidable gift for improvisation which is the envy of many a professional colleague. And he still can’t believe he gets to make people laugh for a living, travel the world, and most importantly, not wake up early on Monday mornings.

“That was f*!*king awesome! Who put me on after him?!” - David GOWER (former England Cricket captain, after being asked to follow Russell onstage)


This award-winning firecracker is compelling, animated and unexpected. With whip-smart jokes, Catherine Bohart refines gossip to a high art, consistently garnering rave reviews and critical acclaim for her solo stand up shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on tour. Her show Immaculate is available on Amazon Prime UK and her highly anticipated new tour show Again With Feelings gets underway in 2024. Catherine's broadcasting career is rapidly on the rise and she is a regular on BBC Radio 4, where her own topical show will have a six-part series this summer.


“A performer so hair-trigger funny that we know instantly we’re in capable hands.” - THE GUARDIAN


Toussaint Douglass is one of comedy’s most exciting and talked about new names and is already making serious waves across the industry. His innovative brand of stand up mixes the personal with the political, whilst adding a uniquely absurdist slant to brilliant comic effect. Seriously talented, joyfully absurd and charmingly awkward with deceptively subversive writing and vivid imagery, Toussaint Douglass is the next big thing!

“Skilful, charming, quirky, distinctive.” - CHORTLE

JOHN MOLONEY - compère (as above)


- Door 6.30pm / Meal orders until 7.30pm / Show 8.30pm - 10.45pm / £20 + bf


Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Sarah Callaghan is an award-winning comedian, writer and celebrated spoken word artist. A complete natural onstage, effortlessly appealing, radiating confidence and with an original, refreshing voice, Sarah took the comedy world by storm. She was Named One To Watch by Time Out, and was nominated for the Malcolm Hardee Award for Act Most Likely To Earn A Million Quid. Her Edinburgh Fringe debut played to packed houses and critical acclaim. Sarah tours the globe extensively, building a reputation as a force to be reckoned with, a multi-talented and multi-faceted performer.

“The instant she steps on stage you know you’re in the presence of someone new and special.” - THE MIRROR


We defy you not to love Welsh standup comedian, writer and actor Robin Morgan. Onstage he is irresistible, with effortless stagecraft and twinkling rapport with his audience, in demand at top clubs all over the country. His friendly, disarming onstage chat, roving through marriage, fatherhood, masculinity, hometowns and more, delights and endears. He has performed several solo shows at the Edinburgh Festival, his debut in 2016 garnering rave reviews and four stars from The Times, was later adapted for BBC Radio Wales. Robin is also a seasoned comedy writer for TV and radio. His current show “The Spark” tours the UK this year.

“Bloody funny! Hard working, well-written stand-up … a massively likeable performer on the verge of fame.” - CHORTLE


We never tire of watching Carey Marx. This circuit veteran concocts his own blend of dark humour with mischief and glee. His wilful disregard for the controversial and taboo is tempered with his ability to find joy in the most unexpected places. An international multi-award winner, Carey is no stranger to screen or radio, with credits including a Radio 4 show, Intensive Carey, adapted from his wildly successful Edinburgh Festival Fringe show of the same title. With such a unique voice, Carey is in great demand as a writer. Join him this festival at his life-pondering, behaviour-dissecting, twisted, brutal and honest best.  

“Highly engaging, devilish, menacing and totally mesmerizing.” - EDINBURGH GUIDE


You can’t call yourself a comedy buff if you aint seen Tony Law. He’s been described as ‘one of the most delightfully zany and disconcerting comedians around,’ performing shows where ‘chaos has rarely been so finely conducted and so much fun.’ Tony works in the absurdist flight of fancy vein, presenting stream of consciousness-type verbal scenarios that only seem random and free flowing - there’s method in the madness! Canadian surrealist and master story-teller Tony has won awards and nominations galore, and he’s been all over TV and radio. But you have to see him live for the immersive experience!

“Takes post-modern stand-up to a dangerously funny new level.” – THE GUARDIAN 

JOHN MOLONEY - compère (as above)



EARLY SHOW - Door 6pm / Bowl foods until 7pm / show 7.30pm - 8.30pm /£15 + bf / £24 combo + bf

JOHN HEGLEY - “New and Selected Potatoes”

Performance poet extraordinaire John Hegley is one of the few poets in the UK likely to be recognised in the street and his poetry is just as distinctive. A poet, editor, comedian, musician, songwriter, glasses-wearer and much more, he finds poetry in the everyday and wants to put it back there. In a career spanning four decades John has captivated and devastated audience all over the country, in theatres and festivals, at gigs at the Edinburgh Festival, and with countless appearances on radio and television. He has written a number of collections of poetry, ranging from the surreal through the humorous to the personal and emotional. Recurring themes in his poems include, notably, glasses, dogs, romans and reminiscences of his childhood in Luton. This new compilation shows the breadth of his appeal, with seriously funny, cleverly comic poems on everything from love, family, France, art and the sea, to dogs, dads, gods, taxidermy, carrots, spectacles and - of course - potatoes.

”Family life would be a lot easier if you could just open the cupboard and pull out your Hegley every time things got fractious, heated or miserable.” - THE LIST

LATE SHOW - Door 9pm / No food orders / Show 9.15pm - 10.15pm / £15 + bf / £24 combo + bf

MARK THOMAS - “Gaffer Tapes”

Mark Thomas is 61 and has been doing stand up and theatre for 39 years and this show is back to stand up. Jokes, rants, politics, play and the occasional sing song. If you don’t know what he does ask your parents. In his time he has won awards (current total is now officially ‘fuckloads’), forced a politician to resign, changed the laws on tax and protest, become the Guinness Book of Records world record holder for number of protests in 24 hours, taken the police to court 3 times and won, walked the length of the Israeli Wall in the West Bank and generally mucked about trying to have fun and fuck the right people off.  This show is more of the above. 

“One of the few stand-ups still to carry the political standard of alternative comedy.”  - CHORTLE


EARLY SHOW - Door 6pm / Bowl foods until 7pm / show 7.30pm - 8.30pm / £14 + bf

LUCY PORTER - “No Regrets”

Returning to the festival, here’s a brand new stand-up show from TV and radio favourite Lucy. Frank Sinatra had too few regrets to mention, but Lucy’s got hundreds, and she’s prepared to go into graphic detail about all of them. Disastrous dates, professional calamities, ruined friendships and parenting fails. ‘No Regrets’ sees Lucy reveal all the mistakes she’s made, work out why they happened, and ponder how her life would have turned out if she’d acted differently.

“Impeccably punchlined anecdotes… genuinely delightful.” - THE TELEGRAPH

LATE SHOW - Door 9pm / NO FOOD ORDERS / Show 9.15pm - 10.15pm / £14 + bf


Maisie Adam brings a brand new Work in Progress show to the Balham Comedy Festival, trying out new jokes to find out which ones work and which ones we’ll never speak of ever again. After her sold out, highly acclaimed debut tour, Maisie Adam will be heading back out on tour later this year with a brand new show, Appraisal. It’s been a meteoric rise through through the comedy ranks for Maisie and she’s fast on her way to becoming a household name. Stand-up is what she loves most and she’s now five years into her job as a comedian, so perhaps she’s due an appraisal. Appraisal will be the ultimate performance review, where we’ll see just why she was awarded Best New Act and nominated Best Newcomer…or, is she heading towards an “organisational restructure”?

“Energetic, charismatic, fantastic storyteller, who plays well off of the audience.” THE VOICE MAGAZINE


EARLY SHOW - Door 6pm / Bowl foods until 7pm / show 7.30pm - 8.30pm / £11 + bf / £18 combo + bf

ANGELA BARNES - Is Getting Worked Up (WIP)

Join Angela Barnes as she tries out some new ideas she’s had. There will be thoughts, there will be stories, there will be successes, there will be failures, and there will be jokes - so come along to find out which is which… Angela swapped a career in health and social care for stand-up in 2010 and hasn’t looked back. With an assured stage presence and joyful performance, Angela mixes warm autobiographical material with plenty of strong jokes. She has a knack for finding humour in the ordinary, infusing her routines with genuine charm. She attacks her one liners and punch lines with confidence, quickly endearing herself with her audience with her no-nonsense easygoing manner. She is, quite simply, great company, great fun.

“A gloriously down-to-earth, straight talking and extremely funny comic.” - THE GUARDIAN

LATE SHOW - Door 9pm / No food orders / Show 9.15pm - 10.15pm / £11 + bf / £18 combo + bf


Join Kerry as she tries out some brand new material before she heads out on tour! Perhaps best known for her superb performances as an actor, Kerry Godliman is also a phenomenal stand-up comedian, her onstage persona a mix of next-door-neighbour, busy mum, and that friend from uni who knew how to live it large. She always leaves the audience wanting more. Charmingly straight-talking and quick-witted, Kerry Godliman is simply one of the country’s best performers. She is all over the TV and BBC Radio 4, and her acting talents have seen her receive critical acclaim. She’s just got funny bones!


“Forthright of opinion, always happy to chuck herself under the bus. Vigour, charm and plenty of good gags.” - THE GUARDIAN



EARLY SHOW - Door 6pm / Bowl foods until 7pm / show 7.30pm - 8.30pm / £15 + bf / £24 combo + bf

AMY GLEDHILL - “Make Me Look Fit On The Poster” - Edinburgh Preview

Making her first appearance on the Balham Comedy Festival stage, we are delighted to welcome the wonderfully talented Amy Gledhill, with a preview of her brand-new show. Expect insights about self-confidence, romance and bin bags. Amy is a vivid and hilarious storyteller, conjuring proper belly laughs and coaxing an audience into the palm of her hand within seconds. Known for her unique mix of everyday observations and off-beat tangents, Yorkshire-born Amy is a multi-award winning comedian, actor and writer brimming with natural warmth and charm. Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee, National Comedy Award nominee and 1/3 of cult double-act The Delightful Sausage. As seen all over the telly.

"Jaw-droppingly good.”***** – THE TIMES

LATE SHOW - Door 9pm / No food orders / Show 9.15pm - 10.15pm / £15 + bf / £24 combo + bf

STEPHEN K. AMOS - “Oxymoron”***

Loverly! Stephen K Amos is back with a brand new show, after treading the boards of London's West End in the smash hit musical My Fair Lady, playing the iconic role of Alfred P. Doolittle and straight from ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ Australia and a nationwide tour. What a mad couple of years it’s been! How did you get through it all? Stephen’s solution... find the funny. The opportunity in the crisis, the joy in the sadness, the wisdom of fools, after all comedy equals tragedy. Join him for an hour of solid jokes and guaranteed belly laughs. As seen on BBC2's QI and Pilgrimage: The Road to Rome, ABC TV's The Project and BBC1's Live at the Apollo. So what are you waiting for? He’s awfully good!

***A serious comedian

“If only a broadcaster could bottle the magic.” - THE EVENING STANDARD


- Door 6.30pm / Meal orders until 7.30pm / Show 8.30pm - 10.45pm / £20 + bf


Surreal and disjointed, madcap and mind-bending, we welcome Harry Hill back to our stage. Best-known for his surrealist, absurd comedy style, Harry has been one of the UK’s most unique and beloved entertainers for nigh on 30 years. With a gift for spoofing pop culture, he’s probably best known for creating a raft of hit TV series. He recently completed a sell-out live tour, and with long-term collaborator Steve Brown created the critically acclaimed Tony! [The Tony Blair Rock Opera]. He embarks on a new UK tour later this year. Harry is a best-selling writer; as an artist he has shown at the Royal Academy; he holds three BAFTAs and a Level 4 BAGA Gymnastics Award (forward roll, cartwheel, crab and roundoff).

“Reliably, joyously madcap… for Hill, some corner of a comedy stage will forever be nonsense.” - THE GUARDIAN


Here’s an irresistible performer who never disappoints. Carl Donnelly’s conversational, silly sense of humour has secured the high respect of his peers and a host of prestigious awards. The supreme and enviable skill of his relaxed and chatty style is that it seems unscripted; he might be mistaken for some bloke who has just stepped up onto the stage for a chat. Carl finds the funny in anything and everything, especially the minutiae of his personal human condition. A prolific writer and an authentic voice, this accomplished standup comedian is regularly in demand at the finest comedy clubs in the world.

“One of the most engaging and bendy-minded comedians on the circuit.” - THE GUARDIAN


Sharon Wanjohi secured our attention immediately she hit the circuit. She’s happy to shock, and toys cheerfully with absurdity. She talks (maybe too much) about children's films and the cartoon dilfs that inspired a generation of sexual awakenings. And she thinks Ratatouille is a commentary on race. A finalist in an array of prestigious award categories, and with an Edinburgh Fringe Festival debut under her belt, Sharon has quickly become a well known and requested name on the circuit, her comedy career is well and truly up and running.

“She impresses with plenty to say about race and gender, laced with sarcasm, delivered with a smile.” - CHORTLE


As we know Andrew so well, he can speak for himself: “This is to be read out at my funeral. We are here to remember Andrew. I would love to say all the usual things, like ‘He was always full of life and put others first’ - but that wouldn’t be true. He was alright wasn’t he? He was from Northampton, so probably not even worth bringing up. As an under-age drinker in the local pub he tried to make the older men laugh. After a few non-starter years, trying to make people laugh really seemed the only option. So he got a job in a London pub* while starting out in standup. Slogging around the circuit he did establish himself, did many Edinburgh solos, and wrote on various TV shows. He got married, bought a car and a house, and had two children during the worst recession since the 1920s. This pressure fuelled his slightly moaning stressed sense of humour but ultimately contributed to his untimely death.” - *Reader, that pub was our venue.

JOHN MOLONEY - compère (as above)


- Door 6.30pm / Meal orders until 7.30pm / Show 8.30pm - 10.45pm - £20 + bf


Joe Wells is blessed with natural comic timing. He’s clever, insightful and funny, a man of integrity delivering jokes with intelligence and candour. An impressively prolific writer and performer, he has garnered over 2.5m views online for his video 'Having a non-autistic brother’ as well as plethora of 5-star reviews for his live shows. He is a unique and compelling comedian, with a formidable intellect and beautifully crafted material littered with killer jokes. One of the finest political comics doing the rounds Joe is bold, cunning and, at times, ruthless. You can also find him online with more personal material about mental health and being autistic. He’s so good we’re closing the festival with him.


Roger Monkhouse is one of the most original and distinctive acts on the comedy scene.  A consummate stand-up with a deadly combination of charm and menace he exerts a masterful control over any audience.  Highly original and quirky, Roger’s trademark stage-prowling style and curious, inimitable manner have established him as one of the hottest names in comedy. Distinguished by his eloquence and keen eye for a fine phrase, Roger’s easy observational style is spiked by the signal flares of an accomplished gag writer.  Happy to improvise, engaging in deceptively easy banter, never short of first class observational material.


A charming and affable stage presence, Michael’s is a fresh and unfiltered voice delivering sharp and beautifully delivered content. He has well and truly established himself in the comedy world, and takes to the stage with confidence and playful swagger. He’s clever, he gets an audience thinking - no topic is off-limits: politics, economics, racism, pigeons. From one-liners to jokes that slowly build to an eruption of laughter, his versatility, likeability and talent make him very much in demand not only as a performer but also as a writer.


An impressive stage presence, and a regular at comedy clubs all over the country, Alexandra expertly walks the fine line between cheeky and outright smut. She skewers hilariously the juxtaposition of her working-class upbringing and her current life as an East London based, freelance writer and comedian. Performing regularly at the big UK festivals, Alexandra has also supported a number of comedy icons on tour. A prolific performer and content creator, her hotly anticipated debut show sold out its entirety at the Edinburgh Fringe 2023, including two extra shows, receiving critical acclaim. She takes the show on a UK tour this year.

JOHN MOLONEY - compère (as above)

All tickets can be purchased from 

Maisie Adam picture by Matt Crockett



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