CLYDEBANK will play host to the Glasgow International Comedy Festival for the first time next month. 

Awestruck Art Gallery will be the venue of choice for Barbed Wire Tongue, a satiric play written and directed by Thom McKeown.

The production brings Lenny Bruce, an American stand-up act who was known for his open, free-style, critical form of comedy, back to life in the context of present day current affairs. 

Allan Rutherford, director of the Awestruck Arts, spoke of his excitement about being the first venue outside of Glasgow to be involved in the festival.

He told the Post: “I can’t actually believe we have the opportunity. When we first had the idea of putting a show on for the festival they were absolutely ecstatic because they have been trying to promote outside Glasgow. 

“It’s the very first time it’s been outside Glasgow. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, to have the platform of the festival come to Clydebank. 

“It’s actually putting Clydebank on the map and letting people know that there are events available.”

The three shows will be held by Awestruck Arts on the weekend of March 9, kicking off at 8pm. 

Actor Henry Campbell will be playing protagonist Lenny Bruce. The main character was born in Mineola, New York, on October 13, 1925 and began doing live comedy at the age of 22. 

He found some success before joining the US navy during the Second World War. But after an honourable discharge he married and resumed his stand-up career.

But he did so with a twist, this time giving edgier and more controversial performances. Authorities soon took note of the content of Bruce’s act and arrested him a number of times for obscenity. 

As the 1960s rolled in, so did trouble for Lenny Bruce. In 1961, he was arrested for possession of prescription narcotics and for obscenity while performing onstage. 

He was acquitted of the latter charge in 1962, but police began monitoring his shows. He was banned from playing Australia and was again arrested for drug possession and twice on obscenity charges.

The fascinating individual became a symbol of free speech as his career advanced but would die of an overdose in 1966. 

The show has had rave reviews and was described as a brilliant piece of writing. One reviewer wrote: “Sublime, encapsulating so many facets of contemporary existence. I was laughing, crying, moved, jaw-dropped in amazement and completely immersed.”

Tickets are still available from glasgowcomedyfestival.com.
The Glasgow International Comedy Festival will run from March 8 to 25, which is now in its 16th year. 

Comedy stars from around the UK come to the area to make audiences cry with laughter, and they are complemented by the best of home-grown Scottish talent.