Festival set for side-splitting weekend as comics descend

CAT Laughs festival revellers have begun arriving in the Marble City for five days of non-stop comedy and side-splitting craic, beginning tonight.

Tickets for the Kilkenny festival, now ranked as Ireland’s No 1 comedy festival, are selling faster than ever as more than 25,000 people prepare to converge on Kilkenny for the 2003 Murphy’s Cat Laughs Comedy Festival.

An unprecedented demand for tickets has seen a huge number of the 18,000 available tickets snapped up by comedy lovers from around the world in only a couple of weeks. Most shows are booked out.

On stage tonight are Rich Hall, Jim Gaffigan and Jason Byrne at a gig in the Rivercourt Hotel which is hosted by Dara Ó Briain. Just up the road at Langtons are Bill Bailey, Kathleen Madigan and Tommy Tiernan in a show hosted by Eddie Bannon.

Owen O’Neill hosts a show at Cleeres with Dom Irrera, Tig and David Feldman while David Cross, Will Durst and Des Bishop will be kept on their toes by Deirdre O’Kane at Kytelers. The fifth gig tonight sees Lewis Black, Adam Hills and Orny Adams in a show hosted by Barry Murphy, again at Cleeres.

“Shows for celebrated comics such as Tommy Tiernan, Bill Bailey and Deirdre O’Kane have been in heavy demand, and the likes of Perrier-winner Daniel Kitson, Phil Kay, Rich Hall, Dara Ó Briain and Barry Murphy are also popular,” a festival spokesman said.

This year’s event has drawn even more new names. But there’s also plenty of familiar faces for those well used to lapping up the cream of the world’s best comedy.

Top festival tips include Britain’s foremost satirical comic, Jeremy Hardy, Australia’s Adam Hills, Men In Black star David Cross and one of the best from the US, Kathleen Madigan.

The Book Soup literary showcase also returns after a successful debut in 2002 featuring five celebrated writers including Tony Hawks, Melissa Bank, Sparkle Hayter and Rich Hall.

A top draw promises to be Helgrimur Helgason, the Icelandic writer whose novel, 101 Reykjavik won an Icelandic Literature Prize.

lFestival-goers who haven’t booked tickets yet should call the Murphy’s Cat Laughs box office on 056-63837 or try www.murphyscatlaughs.com.

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