With only one month to go until Glasgow International Comedy Festival (GICF), the event has announced a star-studded judging panel for the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award - and revealed a sneak peek at this year’s Comedy Gala line-up.

This year’s judges include Sharon Rooney, Tony Curran, Jonathan Watson, 2023’s winner Janey Godley and more, whilst Godley, Raymond Mearns, Kiri Pritchard-McLean and Susie McCabe will entertain the King’s Theatre on one of the final days of the festival at the prestigious Comedy Gala.

With 560 events now on sale, GICF 2024 is officially the biggest year in the festival’s 21-year history with talent including Frank Skinner, Caroline Rhea, Ed Gamble, Leslie Liao and more set to perform across the city.

Janey Godley, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Raymond Mearns, Stuart McPherson, Susie McCabe and Zara Gladman are all set to entertain the audience at this year’s Comedy Gala, where the winner of the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award will be announced live on stage.

READ MORE: Glasgow International Comedy Festival: Everything you need to know about 2024 edition

Showcasing the very best of 2024’s festival, the Comedy Gala means audiences have another chance to see sets from sold out GICF shows including Glasgow favourite Raymond Mearns, West End Mum Zara Gladman and Some Laugh’s Stuart McPherson.

Co-host of popular podcast All Killa No Filla, Kiri Pritchard-McLean will keep the King’s laughing, whilst Susie McCabe will close out her GICF run on a high following three headline shows.

2024’s judging panel will review this year’s applications and choose a shortlist for the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award, making a recommendation to Sir Billy Connolly himself, who will ultimately choose the final winner. Applications were submitted from GICF acts, venues and promoters, now set to be whittled down to a shortlist of only six by the judges. 

The panel includes some of Scotland’s biggest on-screen stars, comedians, journalists and famed Glaswegians including  BAFTA Award-winning Scottish actor Tony Curran and legendary comedian and actor Jonathan Watson, plus Janey Godley. 

The Herald: Elaine C Smith, Zara Gladman and Mark Nelson Elaine C Smith, Zara Gladman and Mark Nelson (Image: Colin Mearns)

Sharon Rooney said: “As a massive comedy fan myself, I’m so excited to help judge this year’s Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award. Glasgow’s comedy scene is one of the best and as a proud Glaswegian it's a joy to watch it get bigger and better each year. Good luck to all of this year’s applicants.”

Tony Curran said: “As a proud Glaswegian I’m delighted to be part of the judging panel for an award associated with Sir Billy Connolly himself, celebrating the very spirit of the city.  Glasgow’s sense of humour is one of a kind and so is the Big Yin - I’m thrilled to be involved and am looking forward to plenty of laughs along the way.”

Glasgow’s Lord Provost Jacqueline McLaren also joins the judging panel alongside: Aarti Joshi (Go Radio), Herald editor Catherine Salmond, Cassi Gillespie (Clyde 1), Laura Boyd (STV News), Laura Marks (Channel 4) and Norry Wilson (Lost Glasgow).

The award recognises a person, not a show, meaning any GICF performers, venue staff, promoters or anyone otherwise involved in this year’s festival can apply. Applicants do not have to be from Glasgow or live in Glasgow, but instead must embody the Spirit of Glasgow as defined by the award criteria.

READ MORE: Glasgow International Comedy Festival launches for 2024

The judging panel will analyse applicants and curate a shortlist, before revealing the winner at the GICF Comedy Gala on Saturday 30th March. 

Festival Director, Krista MacDonald said: “With the presentation of the Sir Billy Connolly Spirit of Glasgow Award, GICF celebrates those participating in the Festival who embody characteristics defined so well by Sir Billy Connolly, and of Glasgow itself.

"Being funny, of course, but also to be self-starting, mould-breaking, bold and brave, curious and challenging, warm but tough, proud but unpretentious and open to all.

"With the calibre of this year’s applicants, it’s going to be a tough job for our judges but we’re looking forward to revealing 2024's winner live on stage at the GICF Comedy Gala in front of such a brilliant line-up."

Karen Koren, of GICF corporate director GB Festivals Ltd, said: “We are honoured to be working with Sir Billy again to celebrate that which makes both comedy and Glasgow so special and can’t wait to present the winner as part of GICF’s Comedy Gala at the King’s Theatre in March.”

Taking place from March 13 to 31, GICF will welcome international comedians, rising Scottish talent and the very best of live comedy to 50 venues across the city - including The Garage, Glasgow Film Theatre, The Stand Comedy Club and more.

Glaswegians can enjoy over 560 shows from live podcasts, traditional stand-up, musical comedy, theatre and more. 

Tickets are on sale at www.glasgowcomedyfestival.com