Thoughts on the Aberystwyth Comedy Festival


On 30th September, I was lucky enough to see six comedy shows in one day. Every performance was a work in progress in which the comedians debuted some great material. I had a great day despite suffering from fresher’s flu, which is quite the accomplishment. 

The Aberystwyth Comedy Festival brimmed with queerness this year. Aberystwyth is suited to these kinds of laughs; it was confirmed as the gay capital of Wales in a 2023 consensus. Heidi Regan and Kuan-Wen Huang are two gay comedians I saw. Regan mentioned her wife a few times before confirming, ‘I am gay... which is good, because so is my wife.’ Huang had lots of material about his mother and a string of jokes about a gay orgy. He also incorporated audience participation into his routine, so I had cold shakes for most of it. Jodie Mitchell/John Travulva was a non-binary act who performed as a drag king for about half of their set. They told us they wanted to ‘keep in line with the almost famous names.’ Their set even featured a dance as Santa, which was awe-inspiring enough to make me feel festive in Autumn. 

On the opposite end of the scale, unassuming white men also featured prominently at the festival. I started my day at half-past twelve in Bank Vaults with Eric Rushton. Before his set, he was chatting to the staff at the bar. I had not looked him up before and I didn’t look twice at the bar. That made it even more impressive when he got on stage at just gone midday and really made me laugh. Most of the comedy shows I watch happen at night, when it’s dark outside. Seeing such a funny show in the daytime was a new experience for me – it made the performance even greater.   

Later in the day, I saw Crizards at the Coopers Arms. In their introduction, they explained to the audience: ‘We want you to feel like you’re at a really good house party, but you’re stuck in the kitchen with two guys playing guitar.’ This unsettled me a bit, but they proved to be hilarious. Technical difficulties happened consistently throughout the show, but they improvised and styled it out in a way that made their set even funnier. 

I finished my day at the Commodore Cinema for the showcase, hosted by Robin Morgan. Eight comedians performed for about 20 minutes each. It was great. They were all incredibly different - it was such a diverse show. There was an agony aunt, a comedian who sang Punjabi MC and a lady in the audience who told us she’d had sex on Constitution hill five times.  

The showcase was a great end to the day. Aberystwyth can feel like a well-kept secret, so it was lovely to see so many people who had travelled here for some laughs. Everyone was smiling although the weather was as grey and wet as it usually is here in Aberystwyth. I will be spying on all these comedians’ Instagram pages to see what they get up to next. Here are their pages: 

  • @heidi_regan 

  • @kuanwencomedy 

  • @jodiemitchetc 

  • @ericrushton96 

  • @crizards 

  • @robinjmorgan