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Late night laughs coming to UTV with a brand new comedy series

Paddy McDonnell.

A brand new series showcasing the vibrant Northern Ireland comedy scene is coming to UTV next week.  

Called ‘Secrets of the Comedy Circuit’, the four-part series was filmed in front of a live audience in the Belfast Empire Music Hall during their ‘Empire Laughs Back Comedy Club’ nights, now celebrating 30 years.


The series showcases the best of local talent and sometimes from further afield, featuring both well-known and emerging voices, all of which will bring giggles and belly laughs as they share their unique observations and stories with the audience.


Each of the four episodes capture highlights of a typical ‘comedy club’ night.  Each evening is hosted by a well-known face on the local comedy circuit who introduces the various acts. The viewer will also get to see behind the scenes ‘banter’ among the comedians as the camera gets backstage access before and after the shows.

Paddy Raff.


The series opens with Belfast comedian Paddy McDonnell hosting the first programme. He’s no stranger to the local comedy scene and is in great company as he’s joined by local actress and comedian Diona Doherty, Kildare native Emman Idama, and Belfast’s Paddy Raff.

In following episodes the eclectic mix continues with Colin Murphy and Andrew Ryan hosting and introducing acts from England, Wales and Scotland, as well as local talent.


UTV’s Programmes Editor Tony Curry said:

“We’re very excited to be doing something new with this series and showcasing comedians from all over the UK and Ireland, from a range of backgrounds, but who all connect with the local audience through the language of comedy. Just the tonic to lift the spirits on a dark winter evening.”

Emman Idama.


Jackie Hamilton, Managing Director at independent production company Moondog Productions Ltd has produced and directed the series for UTV.  He said:

“The comedy club is seen as a rite of passage for comedians from all over the UK and Ireland. Many famous stars such as Kevin Bridges, Romesh Ranganathan and Sarah Millican along famous locals such as Paddy Kielty, Colin Murphy and Paddy Raff have cut their comedy chops at the Empire Laughs Back Comedy Club over the past 30 years. It is the natural home of comedy in Northern Ireland.


“We hope that this series gives the viewers a snapshot and a sense of what’s going on week in and week out locally on the vibrant comedy circuit.  There is a thriving creative community here and we’re delighted to bring it to a wider audience.”

Diona Doherty.


Simon Clemison Head of News and Programmes at UTV said:

“It’s great to be launching a new comedy series at UTV, giving audiences a night out in Belfast from the comfort of home. We also wanted to shed a little light on what life is like behind the scenes for those in the business of being funny. It all makes for some welcome light relief towards the end of the working week.’


‘Secrets of the Comedy Circuit’ is produced by Belfast based Moondog Productions.  

You can watch the first episode on Thursday 17th November at 11.05pm on UTV and on catch up on


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