International stars such as Steve Martin and Trevor Noah will be mixing it up with homegrown heroes such as Jim Smith and Janey Godley as the Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival kicks off. Here's our pick of the shows

John Shuttleworth's Back!

King's Theatre, Sunday 17 March, 7.30pm

Graham Fellows created the mild-mannered, but painfully lacking in self-awareness, Sheffield organist John Shuttleworth back in the 1980s and has been making audiences laugh with him ever since. John has appeared – accompanied by his trusty Yamaha keyboard – on stage, TV and radio and is back on tour (with a back that is sadly giving him gip). Get along to the King's for an evening of his comic songs, plus some new ones, as well as regular breaks to apply deep heat cream.

Dane Baptiste: The Chocolate Chip

Tron Theatre, Friday 27 March, 9pm

Dane Baptiste is something of a comedy pioneer. As a newcomer he was the first black British nominee for the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, which somewhat shamefully only happened in 2014. Since then he’s performed on shows like Live at the Apollo, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, and Live at the Palladium, and been called Britain’s answer to Chris Rock. Now facing middle age, his new stand up show should be simultaneously provocative and packed full of punchlines.

Alan Bissett: The Red Hourglass

Òran Mór, Thursday 26 & Friday 27 March, 8pm

Alan Bissett is so talented – a playwright, novelist and performer, and the creator of the hugely popular and critically acclaimed Moira Monologues, he’s a real force on the Scottish cultural scene. This show sees him (a self-confessed arachnophobe) inhabit the creatures that scare him most – playing five characters, three male, two female, and none of them human, who have found themselves locked up together in a research lab.

John Hegley: Hegley's Hop Scotch

Tron Theatre, Thursday 26 March, 9pm

John Hegley is sort of like a comic poet laureate. He manages to be both very clever and very silly, and he has perfected the art of seemingly-simple-but-actually-pretty-deep poems. Having started off as a busker (he even recorded two sessions for John Peel) his show combines words and music, a good one for older kids as well as grown ups.

Des Clarke: Happy Place

Garage, Saturday 28 March, 8pm

Clarke is a firm festival favourite, and everyone who’s enjoyed him on their airwaves and TV screens should jump at the chance to see him live where he can really let loose. This year he’s promising to help us all to find our happy place, and given the state of the world right now we think you’d be a fool to not take him up on the offer.

Tim Renkow Tries To Punch Down

Tron Theatre, Saturday 28 March, 9pm

‘Don’t punch down’ is one of comedy’s golden rules – as long as your target is better off than you there’s not much you can’t get away with. Tim Renkow is a self-described “crippled, redneck, Mexican Jew” who never wants to get a pity laugh again. He’s on the hunt for a group he’s not allowed to make fun of, and if you enjoy your comedy dark, smart and cathartic you should join him.

Josie Long: Tender

Òran Mór, Monday 16 March, 8pm

Josie Long started doing comedy at the irritatingly young age of 14, but that fact that she is so talented and heartfelt makes it easy to forgive this precociousness. She has always been great at mixing her social consciousness and political activism with openness and vulnerability, and this show inspired by her experiences of new motherhood should be as hilarious as it is uplifting.

Eleanor Tiernan: Enjoying the Spotlight Responsibly

Blackfriars Basement, Sunday 15 March, 8.30pm

Irish comedians always do brilliantly at GICF and Eleanor is definitely one to catch this year. She’s been on shows like BBC Radio 4’s News Quiz and Comedy Central’s The Alternative Comedy Experience and has been chosen as support by acts like Stewart Lee, Tig Notaro, and Ardal so comes very highly recommended and can be trusted to put her unique spin on everything from dealing with millennials to Dyson Airblade dryers.

Dr. Phil Differ: Ego

Òran Mór, Friday 20 March, 8pm

That fact that Phil, sorry, Dr. Phil, has prominently mentioned his honorary doctorate from Caledonian University in a show all about trying not to be too big headed should give you an idea of the kind of sly wit you can expect from an evening in his company. A legend in the Scottish comedy industry, he helped bring shows like Rab C Nesbitt, Only An Excuse? And Chewin’ the Fat to our screens so you’re in more than safe hands with him for this night at Òran Mór.

Abigoliah Schamaun: Peaked (WIP)

Blackfriars Basement, Sunday 29 March, 8.30pm

One of the brilliant things about the festival happening in March is that it’s perfect timing to catch work in progress shows from top comedians preparing for their assault on the Fringe. Schamaun’s show is a great chance to do just that and this story of her repeated attempts to climb a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado with her father should be equal parts fear and laugh inducing.

Jesus L’Oreal: Still Nailing It!

Tron Theatre, Tuesday 24 March, 9pm

Obviously, the run up to Easter is a very important time for this particular performer, who needs to get into tip top shape for all that attention and large stone rolling action. Presenting himself as the ultimate lifestyle guru, Jesus L’Oreal floats into town to celebrate the launch of his new fitness and well-being video, Get The Jordan Look with a high-octane hour of song, dance and interactive Jehovah’s Fitness. Halleberrylujah! Indeed.

Phil Kay

Blackfriars Basement, 20 & 21 March, 9.15pm

If you’re a comedy fan in Scotland and you haven’t been to see at least one of Kay’s freewheeling, unpredictable, wildly creative shows, well no offence but you should have a wee word with yourself. He’ll be right at home in the Blackfriars Basement, and you can expect the unexpected from a great storyteller with more live shows under his belt than you’ve had hot suppers.

Rosie Jones: Backward

Blackfriars Basement, Sunday 15 March

Rosie Jones describes herself as a triple threat – disabled, gay and northern. It’s an indication of her particular comedic style, and the fact that this will not be your run of the mill stand up show. She’s appeared on The Last Leg, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Hypothetical, Comedy Central’s Roast Battle and, somewhat more unusually, Silent Witness. Rosie even has a podcast, Daddy Look at Me, where she and fellow comedians discuss the lengths they have gone to to get attention from grown ups, so it feels like it would be rude not to give her some of yours.

Marlon Davis: Emotional Black Male

Blackfriars Basement, Saturday 14 March

To be honest, Marlon had us at first glance with his excellent show title – we’re suckers for a neat pun, and it’s always good to see someone fly the flag for gents who can talk about their feelings. He comes highly recommended having supported the likes of Kevin Bridges, Michael McIntyre and Alan Carr on tour, and appeared on Live at the Apollo and Comedy Central's Comedy Store Live. Expect a skilful hour of stand up inspired by his upbringing and unique take on urban Britain’s social issues.

The Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival is at venues across the city March 12 – 29