As regular visitors and fans will know, every year Heroes of Fringe organises a really lovely, fun thing at the Leicester Comedy Festival called the Weirdos Weekender, where a bunch of loons and idiots and odd-bods from Weirdos Comedy come up and stage a full weekend of shows at the Criterion, thanks to venue programmer and all-round legend Jason Neale. I've just got back from Leicester for the Weirdos Weekend, though I wasn't doing a show up there myself this year, because at the time the shows were being booked I was going through my annual period of self-doubt and uncertainty over whether I would ever have another good idea for a live show again. Instead, I got to watch the wonderful ideas gradually emerging from the minds of my best friends and favourite people in comedy, and it was an absolute delight. They're a bunch of shows that are coming along really well and looking hugely exciting and original already. I even got to scratch my own performing itch by filling in for Pat Cahill in 110% John Kearns & Pat Cahill, though I decided to co-host the show in disguise while pretending to be a man called Mr Fruit Salad in order to account for the fact that I wasn't technically supposed to be there this year. Here's a very quick rundown of what I saw this year. Keep an eye out for them later in the year!
Alison Thea-Skot Through The Heart And You're To Blame - Alison is one of the most infectiously funny, ridiculous performers I know. So daft, so stupid, so much fun.
Ali Brice's Lemonade Stand - Ali is, I think, my favourite person to watch just having fun. He transports everyone. He does something magic just by being up there. Loved it.
Andy Barr's Neustadt - Andy's stuff is otherworldly. It's so silly and so much fun, but conjures up such a specific aesthetic that only his mind could conjure. I think it's gonna be a really special show.
Sam Nicoresti's Bed Time Fun Time Go To Bed Right Now Show - Missed the first half of this sadly, but it was great fun and probably my favourite show concept from the weekend (everybody's at a sleepover). Sam's Dad is also the scariest thing I've seen in ages.
Beth Vyse As Olive Hands In The Hand That Rocked The Cradle - Lovely to see Olive back after some time away. Really enjoyed her new friends Gillian McKeith and Clap Hands, two of my new favourites.
110% John Kearns And Pat Cahill - This was great, although Pat looked weird and kept talking about my life, which was a bit odd. Seriously, though, it was a delight being silly onstage with John.
Adam Larter's Boogie Knights - Adam's shows always put a huge smile on his face. This one might be his most fun one yet. Very, very silly. I joined in a bit too much, I think, but it's just the sort of show you want to join in with.
Hannah And Charlie: Making It - Two very funny and wonderful people who've supported comedy for a very long time finally showing the world how great they are themselves. This was really delightful.
Matthew Highton: Please Come To The Show, They Have My Kids - Matt's brain is as brilliant and inventive and compelling as it always is in this new show, although professional comedy fan David Chapple interjected at one point and provided my favourite moment of the entire weekend.
Alwin Solanky's Spanish Omelette - Another long-time supporter of comedy finally stepping into the spotlight himself, and it was so silly and so joyous and so much fun. Best animal masks I've ever seen in a comedy show, and I've seen loads.
Ben Target: Work-in-Progress - I love watching Ben so much. His games are so silly and so much fun, and his dances lift my heart up and his stories really really move me. This was really brilliant.
Michael Brunstrom: The Great Fire Of London - Michael's the only person I know who can tell a story so ridiculously and so cartoonishly but that feels like it's coming from somewhere magical that makes my heart swell. I love his shows so much.
And here's me and John being berks: