Foka Wolf joins Birmingham Comedy Festival bill

Famed street-art hero added to festival line-up

Q&A interview available now

Street artist Foka Wolf has been revealed as the latest addition to Birmingham Comedy Festival 2020.

Responding to the current pandemic, the long-running festival has shifted its emphasis online, with 10-days of special commissions, streamed shows and chats.

The new commission, Birmingham Comedy Festival Meets Foka Wolf, is available to view online today (8 Oct).

Produced in close collaboration with Foka and Tat Vision, the interview finds the heavily disguised artist discussing his career, influences and future.

Foka Wolf’s bold posters have been appearing unannounced across outdoor spaces around Birmingham (and increasingly other cities), for several years. Combining the language of advertising with the power of humour, his works explore complex subjects, such as corporate greed, class divisions, fake news and conspiracy theories.

Often mistaken for legitimate ‘real’ adverts, they regularly go viral, prompting widespread mirth – as well as confusion, and even anger, from those who miss the joke.

Among the artist’s ‘greatest hits’ are posters advertising voodoo classes for kids, a mooted Greggs theme park (compete with Sausage Rollercoaster), and a culling of the poor. A recent project has seen him stray into the grounds of Warwickshire art gallery, Compton Verney.

A spokesperson for Birmingham Comedy Festival said: “We’ve been long-standing admirers of Foka Wolf and love the way he uses humour to explore some pretty big themes about contemporary society and the way we live. Many of his pieces highlight gross inequalities and divisions, and challenge misconceptions; they can be both sharp and dark, yet are typically very very funny too – it’s an impressive skill.”

Birmingham Comedy Festival 2020 officially began on Friday 2 October and continues until Sunday 11 October. Highlights include a surprising and textural new soundtrack for Charlie Chaplin’s landmark 1916 comedy The Vagabond by Black Country musician Dan Whitehouse, alongside a look at Chaplin’s possible West Midlands birthplace, and special episodes of the Mrs Barbara Nice and Friends Podcast (all available now).

Further daily online activities include Episode Two of The Birmingham Comedy Festival Sketch Show, featuring Josh Pugh, Linda Hargreaves, Jumprov, Craig Deeley, Harvey Hawkins and Celya AB (available from Fri 9 Oct), and an interview with cult Stewart Lee-endorsed Brum band The Nightingales (from Sat 10 Oct), while BBCWM’s Daz Hale selects some of his favourite personal items for Objectivity (Sun 11 Oct, via Switch Radio).

All online events are free to watch or stream (although donations are gratefully accepted) and will continue to be available for catch-up/ on-demand after the festival has concluded.

Birmingham Comedy Festival Meets Foka Wolf, and the accompanying A Brief Introduction To Foka Wolf, are available to watch now.

For full listings and more information, see: www.bhamcomfest.co.uk

NOTES FOR EDITORS

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READ: Birmingham Comedy Festival is back with 2020 line-up (press release)