5 NI Comedians sell out shows at the SSE Arena  

Northern Ireland's burgeoning comedy scene!

In the times we’re living in, the ancient ‘laughter is the best medicine’ proverb seems to ring true more powerfully than ever.   

It’s a scientific fact that laughter releases endorphins that improve our mood and protect us from the damaging effects of stress.   
And thankfully, stand-up comedy has spread like wildfire in recent years, helping to give people a much-needed laugh, and temporary escape from life’s challenges.   

Watching stand-up comedy on TV is great and all. But it doesn’t quite hit the same as being there in person.   

Maybe it’s the fact that you get to witness the raw and unedited version of the show, and the hilarity of crowd interaction.   

Or perhaps it has more to do with connection – a group of strangers who collectively bond over the atmospheric joy and contagious laughter in the room.   

Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Northern Ireland has recently developed itself a bona fide burgeoning comedy scene, based in Belfast.   

The Empire Laughs Back is still welcoming some of the biggest names in comedy after 30 years, and Lavery’s Comedy Club showcases both seasoned comics and up-and-coming acts and usually sells out every Wednesday and Thursday.   

After many years of Paddy Kielty being the lone face of Northern Irish comedy, a fresh new crop of talent has joined him.   
Legendary comedian and Blame Game regular Neil Delamere commented, "Years ago, you had to find someone in radio or TV in a suit who liked your comedy. Now in Belfast, you can go direct to market, which is brilliant.”   
And that’s exactly what Northern Ireland’s best local comedians have done. From hilarious viral sketches on social media, to podcasts that have built-up cult followings, Northern Ireland’s sharp-tongued local comedy circuit is on fire.  

Not only are comics collaborating on projects and opening for one another, but they’re selling out arenas, too.   
Here are 5 comedians who have recently sold out Belfast’s biggest venue, the SSE Arena…  

Paddy Raff
Paddy Raff

Paddy Raff   
Dubbed the ‘comedy king of the Coronavirus lockdown’ by the Irish Times, Paddy has been on a whirlwind journey since beginning his stand-up career in 2018.   

In 2021, Paddy smashed the SSE Arena record, being the first Northern Irish comic to sell out 5 nights in a row – a feat only equalled by legendary Scottish comedian, Kevin Bridges, in the venue’s 21-year history!  

He’s back on tour in 2024, with his brand new ‘Gimme a Minute!’ tour. Get your tickets here  

Paddy McDonnell 
Paddy McDonnell 

Paddy McDonnell  
Bringing raw energy and excitement to NI’s stand-up scene, Paddy McDonnell is well known for his hilarious stories and viral clips from various 
podcast appearances.  
He’s recognised as one of Ireland’s best storytellers, so it’s no surprise that his hysterical ‘Stories’ show sold out two nights at the SSE Arena.
Paddy’s new show ‘DAGGER’ will hit the SSE Arena on Friday 4
th October 2024. Get your tickets here. 

Colin Geddis
Colin Geddis

Colin Geddis 

Colin’s infamous ‘Barry the Blender Henderson’ character earned him over 15M views on YouTube back in 2010. Since then, he’s become one of Northern Ireland’s most in demand comedians, garnering a huge fan base for his hit podcast ‘General Banter’ and selling out big shows in Belfast and beyond.  
Colin was the support act for the Irish leg of American superstar Kevin Hart’s tour, and as the man behind Lavery’s Comedy Club, he’s helping to pave the path to success for up-and-coming talent.

If you’d like to catch Colin’s latest ‘Overkill’ tour, there’s a handful of tickets left here.   

Shane Todd
Shane Todd

Shane Todd 

It’s hard to believe Shane Todd is only 35, given the air miles he has racked up in the comedy business. 

Through viral online sketches and hit podcast ‘Tea With Me’, Shane has become one of Ireland’s most established and beloved stand-up comedians. 
Shane’s ‘Chancer’ show sold out the SSE in record time back in 2021, and he made history again recently. In September this year, Shane brought ‘Tea With Me, LIVE’ to a crowd of over 6,000 people. That’s the biggest live podcast event that Northern Ireland has ever seen. Class.
No 2024 dates announced yet, but keep your eyes peeled.


Ciarán Bartlett
Ciarán Bartlett

Ciarán Bartlett 
Last but by no means least, it’s Belfast’s premier musical comedian, Mr Ciarán Bartlett.  
Regularly taking to the stage with his acoustic guitar, Ciarán rewrites pop hits with outrageous new lyrics, drops knockout one-liners, and has a cut-throat comedy style which has gained him a loyal following.  
Hot on the heels of two sold-out SSE Arena dates, Ciarán announced that his new regional tour ‘GIANT’ is coming to stages across NI in March 2024. Find out more here.   


At NI Connections, we love celebrating all the things that make Northern Ireland place a brilliant place to live or visit.   

As a nation, we have a rich storytelling history and are known for our quick wit and dry sense of humour. So we’re absolutely thrilled that a new generation of home-grown talent are selling out major arenas, making history, and helping us to embrace the lighter side of life. And quite possibly laugh until we weep.   

Cheering you on all the way, lads!   


*Note: we do not condone the content of these stand-up comedy shows. Performances may contain language or controversial subjects not suitable for all audiences.    



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