Stand-ups start Crawley WORDFest 2016 with night of laughter

Stephen Bailey. Picture by Steve Ullathorne
Stephen Bailey. Picture by Steve Ullathorne

The organisers of Crawley’s annual literary festival have announced the line-up for the Crawley WORDFest 2016 launch evening at Crawley Library.

The comedy night, featuring seasoned comedians from the UK’s comedy circuit, starts at 8pm on Tuesday, April 12.

The acts will be:

Ola: Young, driven and talented, Ola (whose real name is Olawale Gbaja-Biamila) is a stand-up comedian, writer and actor with enviable stage presence.

He has appeared on Comedy Central, London Live, ITV4 and MTV Base and written for BBCR4’s The Now Show, The News Quiz and Nathan Caton’s Can’t Tell Me Nothing. He performs all over the UK and as well as in Europe and Dubai.

Ola’s most recent work, The Comedian and His Future Wife, received five stars at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is renowned for his intelligent, edgy humour and will be the headline act.

Stephen Bailey: Stephen is a comedian, television presenter and writer.

Familiar to many for Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother’s Bit on the Side, he is making noise on the comedy circuit by being fun, charming and sassy. A skilled improviser, Stephen is “annoyingly sharp”, according to The New Current, and can be seen supporting Katherine Ryan on her UK tour, where no topic is off the table. He will be the middle act.

Adam Riley: Winner of the London Comedy Store’s King Gong Show in June 2015, Adam Riley is dead-pan, straight-faced but funny with it.

With more than 200 shows behind him, including at London’s Up The Creek open-mic comedy club, he has entertained audiences across the country with his straight-talking kind of humour. He will be the first act.

Russell Hicks: One of the most exciting comics to come out of America, Russell is branded one of the Top Six Comics to Watch by LA’s Stand Up Talk Magazine and is considered to have a very sharp wit, with “the pessimism of Jack Dee mixed with the deadpan aggression of Denis Leary”, according to

Russell has headlined the nationally acclaimed US student circuit, has many TV credits in the USA and is in high demand this side of the pond too, appearing at venues across the UK.

He will be compere for Wordfest’s comedy night.

Tickets for this free comedy evening (ages 16+ only) can be booked through

Crawley WORDFest 2016 features a range of exciting author talks, creative workshops, spoken word performances, recitals and more (mostly for free) running from Tuesday, April 12, until World Book Night on Saturday, April 23.

Visit for the full 2016 programme.

Alternatively, people can follow the festival on Twitter or Facebook.

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