Sonisphere UK complete comedy line-up with new additions

After an incredibly impressive run of announcements, Sonisphere completes its comedy line up with additions that perfectly showcase the organisers’ ability to combine outside-of-the-box thinking with top class entertainment, reminding the world what a breath of fresh air Sonisphere truly is amongst the sea of festivals out there.

Internationally acclaimed, smuggler and author extraordinaire, Howard Marks, described by the Daily Mail (UK Tabloid) as ‘the most sophisticated drugs baron of all time’, will be joining the line-up of the growing Sonisphere UK festival, to deliver the Sunday Sermon on the Bohemia stage (last year’s honours fell to Henry Rollins). Howard Marks has led a colourful existence, having been one of the most infamous drugs barons, and then working with the British Secret Service, with connections to the Mafia, the IRA, MI6 and the CIA. He was busted in 1988 by the American Drug Enforcement Agency and sentenced to twenty-five years at America’s toughest federal penitentiary; Terre Haute, Indiana. He was released on parole in 1995 after serving seven years. In 1996 he released his autobiography, Mr. Nice, which remains an international best seller in several languages and was the best selling non-fiction book of 1997. During 1997, he performed his first live shows, which discussed his life as a marijuana smuggler and his views on drug use and legalisation. The shows received excellent reviews throughout the national press and his now legendary one-man comedy show, An Audience with Mr Nice, continues to sell-out at venues throughout Britain and Europe. Howard Marks wrote a monthly column for Loaded for five years and has written features for the Observer, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Time Out, GQ, and the Guardian. He continues to campaign vigorously for the legalisation of recreational drugs.

The youngest ever Perrier Award winner Sean Hughes returns to Sonisphere Festival for the second year running to headline the comedy bill on the Bohemia stage on Sunday afternoon. His no-holds-barred, quick-fire wit shapes each performance into a one-off, unique experience for his audience. Best-known to TV audiences for his long-running stint in the mould-breaking quiz show Never Mind The Buzzcocks, acclaimed drama The Last Detective and guesting in Coronation Street, Sean Hughes’ eclectic TV career has also taken in two series of his critically-acclaimed sitcom Sean’s Show, and despite a nine-year break in performing stand-up, he was recently voted no. 40 in Channel 4’s World’s 100 Greatest Comedians poll. His equally wide-ranging film and theatre career includes starring roles in the film adaptation of Spike Milligan’s Puckoon, and with Sienna Miller on the West End stage in As You Like It.

Aussie Brendon Burns will be joining the comedy line-up on the Bohemia stage. Brendon Burns has been Britain’s most outspoken and number one cult comic for two decades now. Since taking away the long-awaited Oscar of live Stand up comedy: the if.comedy award for best live comedy show in 2007, Brendon Burns has been one of the most prolific and busiest men in show business both here and across the pond. In late 2008 Brendon Burns recorded not one but two live DVDs for Universal, and aired a special on Comedy Central over the spring of 2009. In the autumn of 2009, Burns made his US TV debut on Paul Provenza’s Green Rooms on Showtime as a regular contributor and panellist, appearing alongside such greats as Eddie Izzard, Andy Kindler, Andy Dick, Roseanne Barr, Larry Miller, Dana Gould and Jonathon Winters. From there Burns recorded his first US album for Stand Up Records in Chicago and tore New York a new one to boot. Here in the UK Brendon Burns put the finishing touches on his seventh album, The Thinking Man’s Idiot on the Laughing Stock label, available on i-tunes and the Laughing Stock website. He has published his first semi-autobiographical novel, “Fear of Hat Loss in Las Vegas” with trans-world publishing available now, and left the world of rock in stitches last year after presenting at the 2010 Kerrang! Awards.

Irish jester Andrew Maxwell has won and been nominated for several awards including an Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Show, a Time Out Live Award in the category of Best Stand-up, a Loaded Magazine Award for best stand-up and Chortle Award for best contribution to the live comedy circuit. He was also recently voted Best Irish Comedian by the public at the Andrew is a regular on RTE1’s The Panel. He took part in Comic Relief’s 24 Hour Panel People challenge in a special version of BBC’s Mock The Week. Andrew Maxwell has also appeared on recent series of BBC’s Have I Got News For You, ITV2’S Celebrity Juice, the Dave Channel’s Arguemental and BBC2’s Mock The Week, cementing his reputation as one of the country’s most sought after comedians. Andrew continues to dominate the live and festival circuits. Notable appearances have included several sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival, The Amnesty / Channel Four Secret Policeman’s Ball (alongside Eddie Izzard, Chevy Chase and Dylan Moran) at the HBO US Comedy & Arts Festival in Las Vegas (alongside Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock), several sell-out runs in the main house of The Soho Theatre, Kilkenny Cat Laughs Festival, Glastonbury and the Montreal Just for Laughs Festival.

Critically acclaimed Tiffany Stevenson has worked with some of comedy’s glitterati, for example with Ricky Gervais in The Office, John Bird in Chambers and Stephen Fry in Absolute Power. From the Comedy Store to Glastonbury, Tiffany has since made her presence felt on the club and festival scene and in 2006 she made her entrance on to the hallowed comedy turf of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Talk Radio directed by Stewart Lee. The following year Tiffany, and Talk Radio co-star Phil Nichol, brought their sell out London comedy night Old Rope to the Fringe thereby building the profile of the new material show and helping to make it one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures of the comedy circuit. As well as her Fringe and circuit work Tiffany Stevenson has starred alongside Paul Foot in the ‘standup sitcom’ CrashPad for a 6 week run at the Arts Theatre in 2008. Meanwhile Tiffany’s TV career has flourished in tandem with her comedy career and, other than those already mentioned, her roles have included the agony aunt Montana Mounds in Footballers Wives. Meanwhile, on film, Tiffany played the lead role in the earthy indie Britflick Spinning Candyfloss and among her various other credits is an appearance in Dizzee Rascal’s Dirty Cash video.

Award nominated comic Nick Helm has been making waves in the comedy arena, wowing audiences with his unique and hilarious blend of one-liners, stories, poems and songs since starting stand-up comedy in 2007. In 2010, Nick headed up to Edinburgh in two shows, one of which, ‘Keep Hold of The Gold’ became one of the must-see shows of the festival, garnering huge attention from across the industry and rave reviews from the press. Alongside his solo stand up, he is also half of the double act ‘Helm & Taylor’ (with Paul F Taylor) and reached the final of the Laughing Horse Competition 2009. He is the creator of the innovative ‘My First Gig’: a live comedy night where stand ups dissect their first ever performances. My First Gig has recently enjoyed a stint on Resonance 104.4 FM radio and has just been given a second series. Alongside all of this, Nick is also a regular contributor to the Fix Magazine as the Film Editor. In 2001 Nick formed Bad Ash Productions and has since written, directed and performed in several plays under the Bad Ash name, as well as writing and performing in a couple of poetry and music shows in the Edinburgh festival.

Tattooed award nominated comic Jim Smallman will be joining his counterparts on the Bohemia stage at Sonisphere UK. Over the past four years Jim Smallman has established himself as one of British comedy’s most intriguing young comics. After reaching the final stages of both the Laughing Horse and Leicester Mercury new act competitions, he is now a regular face and voice on local TV and radio around the East Midlands (for both his comedy career and his sporting affiliation with Leicester City). Jim has in recent times become something of a comedy ambassador for all things Leicester, and is a stalwart of the city’s annual comedy festival.

They above will be joining the already massive line up of Bill Bailey, who is headlining the Saturn Arena and Jackass’s Steve-O who will be making his UK stand-up debut on the Bohemia stage.

Sonisphere Knebworth takes place 8th – 10th July 2011 at Knebworth House. For tickets and more info go to

Line Up So Far

The Big 4 – Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax
Biffy Clyro

Bad Religion
All Time Low
The Answer
Arcane Roots
Arch Enemy
The Black Dahlia Murder
Black Tide
Cancer Bats
Cavalera Conspiracy
The Crave
Demonic Resurrection
Diamond Head
Four Year Strong
Glamour Of The Kill
Hayseed Dixie
House Of Pain
In Flames
Kids In Glass Houses
Killing Joke
Limp Bizkit
The Mars Volta
Me Vs Hero
My Passion
One Minute Silence
Orange Goblin
Paradise Lost
Parkway Drive
Protest The Hero
Pulled Apart By Horses
Richard Cheese
Rise To Remain
Rolo Tomassi
Saint Jude
Six Hour Sundown
Sum 41
The Sisters Of Mercy
The Treatment
Title Fight
The Virgin Marys
You Me At Six

Comedy Line-Up So Far:
Bill Bailey
Sean Hughes
Howard Marks
Brendon Burns
Andrew Maxwell
Andrew O Neill
Tiffany Stevenson
Bob Slayer
Jarred Christmas
Jason John Whitehead,
Jason Rouse
Jim Breuer
Jim Smallman


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Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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