CH1ChesterBID has teamed up with the organisers of the Southport Comedy Festival to create a week-long celebration of comedy in Chester, with Jo Caulfied named as one of this year’s headline comedy acts
Top comedian and writer Jo Caulfield has said she “can’t wait” to perform in Chester this summer as she prepares to headline a brand-new city centre comedy festival.
The comedian, who features regularly on TV shows including Mock the Week and Have I Got News For You, will be performing a stand-up act at the Macdonald New Blossoms Hotel on Wednesday, July 4, as part of the CH1 Chester Comedy Festival.
She plans to debut her new ‘Killing Time’ stand-up act ahead of an appearance at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival and revealed that Chester holds some amazing childhood memories for her.
“When I was younger, my dad was in the RAF, and we lived at MOD Sealand for a while” said Jo.
“My mum loved organising family day trips to Chester as she thought he city was so beautiful. Now I’m older, I can really appreciate her point of view – it’s very dynamic, but also a traditionally ‘British’ city with lots of heritage.
“Before a gig, I like to get to know the city I’m performing in, so will often take a wander on my own, observing the people and the culture and seeing what the city has to offer. It usually provides great material for my show that night and keeps it fresh, lively and relevant for local people. Chester is a great place to explore because there are so many quirky places and landmarks so I’m really looking forward to that.
“I’ve performed in the city several times throughout my career and always found the audience to be extremely warm and very open. They’re willing to get involved with the show and share their relationships with me, so for some it can turn into a giant marriage guidance session, which I absolutely love!”
Chester also holds a special place in Jo’s heart as it was the place where one of her best professional relationships blossomed. She explains: “When I was just starting out my career as a comedian in the 90s, I lived in London but was gigging all throughout the UK. I was fortunate at the time as I drove and owned my car, so would often drive other comedians to gigs too and get to know them over the hours in the car. It was a great way to make friends on the circuit and also helped me hone my skills early in my career.
“One particular trip has stuck with me, as I was driving up North to perform in Alexanders in Chester and I’d agreed to take another new, emerging stand-up comedian with me called Graham Norton.
“We spent hours in the car together over the weekend, as I’m not the fastest of drivers, and from that point on, we became firm friends. Several years later he went on to secure his own show with the BBC and I worked with him as his studio warm-up and also his head writer, as our observational humour was so similar. It was a relationship that blossomed on a drive to Chester and secured me one of the most important jobs of my career.”
The CH1 Chester Comedy Festival is being organised by CH1ChesterBID in partnership with the team behind the Southport Comedy Festival. Jo has worked with the team five times before in Southport and has nothing but praise for their capabilities, saying: “It’s great to be back working with Bren and Val who organise the Southport Comedy Festival.
“They completely understand the logistics needed to make a comedy gig work. People think it’s the material that makes comedy, and whilst it often is, the venue and atmosphere is equally important too. Comedy needs a cosiness. You want to feel connected to your audience, but also have them feel connected to you.
“That’s why I was so keen to work with the team again. I’m really looking forward to being one of the first performers at the festival but also visiting the charming city of Chester again.”
Nominated as funniest women (Lafta Awards) Jo is also known for appearances on some of Britain’s top comedy shows such as The John Bishop Show and Michael McIntyre’s Roadshow. This August Jo will be at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and she’s also set to perform in a satirical, political play around Brexit later in the year.
Jo Caulfield’s Chester gig, ‘Killing Time.’ will be at the Macdonald New Blossoms Hotel on Wednesday, 4 July, 2018. Tickets are priced at £13.50. For more information on the comedy festival or to purchase tickets, visit:www.ch1chestercomedyfestival.com