YORK’S Burning Duck Comedy Club will present no fewer than 26 free/pay-what-you-want shows at the 2016 Great Yorkshire Fringe.

“Last year we booked a handful of free compilation shows at the first Fringe festival, which were very successful and this year we’re looking to build on that success,” says Burning Duck promoter Al Greaves.

“We want to take this opportunity to showcase a selection of the weirdest, wisest and most wonderful local and national ‘up-and-coming’ musical, character, sketch, spoken word and stand-up comedy performers, some of whom you may have already seen at our regular night, held every second Tuesday in the month upstairs in the Black Swan Inn.”

Eleven shows will run at The Tea Pot stage in Parliament Street, while 15 more will take place from July 22 to 24 at Burning Duck’s Woodsduck Comedy Festival at the Black Swan.

Greaves’s gigs kick off on July 18 at The Tea Pot with a Burning Duck Comedy Showcase compilation show at 6pm, followed by David Stanier bringing his Silly Party at 7.30pm, and Burning Duck regular MC Red Redmond’s alter ego, Scarlet SoHandsome And Fiends, presenting an hour of high-octane humour from this “drag queen, stand-up comedian and bitch” at 9pm.

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“Our Black Swan room holds 50, while the maximum capacity of the Teapot venue is 200, so it’ll be exciting to see some of our regular acts step to performing on a bigger stage” says Al.

On July 21, The Tea Pot plays hosts to Fast Duck, a 9.30pm showcase for acts performing at Woodsduck, featuring rising acts Kiri Pritchard Maclean, of Gein’s Family Giftshop, and Stephanie Laing.

Woodsduck opens on July 22 at 6.30pm at the Black Swan with Kiri Pritchard Maclean: Hysterical Woman, her ambitious debut hour that tackles genetics, gender and being a comedian who happens to be a woman and finds her sticking her white, middle class nose into racial inequality.

At 8pm, in Mad About The Boy, Stephanie Laing discusses mental health problems and boys for an hour. “But it’s totally funny I promise and won’t be as awkward as you think it will,” she says.

The mental health theme continues at 9.30pm in Harriet Dyer’s Barking Tales: Comedians, Storytelling, Mental Health Palavers & Extraordinary Occurrences, wherein she gives fellow comics a platform to speak openly about these issues with a humorous perspective.

On July 23, day two of Woodsduck sends in the clowns, opening at 2pm with Melancholy Poontang, a preview of Burning Duck MC Jack Evans’s dark-humoured debut Edinburgh Fringe show. Expect silly stand-up, absurd animation and weird characters.

Burning Duck favourite Seymour Mace, a hit at last summer’s festival, returns with Seymour Mace: Sh*t Title. What will be in the show, Seymour? “Not sure really. Maybe pretending I’m on a ship? Something out the window?

And I’ve got a miniature Christmas village, can’t think what to do with that though,” he says.

Newcomer Joey Page presents his imaginative, surrealist, ridiculous debut show Jowie at 5pm with this endorsement from The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding: “He has a head like a fantasy hand grenade”.

Manchester maverick Cheekykita’s Tittitular Town is on at 8pm and Leeds cult sensations The Not So Late Show with Ross & Josh close the night at 9.30pm with their sketches and guests.

Day three of Woodsduck, on July 24, is led off at 2pm by Burning Duck favourite James Christopher, from York, looking back in anger at a government driven by greed, for the benefit of the privileged few in What’s The Tory: Mourning Glory.

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Deadpan Peter Brush returns to York at 3.30pm with Dreams With Advert Break, a new show about dreams, nostalgia, terrorism, The Muppets and trying to save an octopus from Western oppression.

Affable oddball Bruce Edhouse looks back at some of the most rubbish sci-fi merchandise ever made in The Jon Pertwee Recipe Book and Me at 5pm.

Daniel Nicholas: Scripted asks you to “imagine if Tim Burton made a stand-up game show, it might be like this” at 6.30pm; and Al Greaves himself and Becky Walker are among the acts in the North Yorkshire Moors Comedy Showcase at 8pm. The spotlight turns to improv at 9.30pm in Discount Comedy Checkout with Chris Lumb, Natalie Smeaton, Eddie French and Terri Shaw.

Burning Duck returns to The Tea Pot stage on July 25 with a variety of shows, hosted by the maverick Geordie Lee Kyle, starting with The Burning Duck Kids Comedy Club at noon and 1.30pm.

“I’ve been wanting book the versatile Lee for ages, along with Sammy Dobson and Hal Branson, who also have lots of experience of presenting comedy for kids, and between them will be performing in three children’s shows, two compilation shows and a game show that will feature gunge,” says Al, introducing Lee Kyle’s Gunge!, A Show With Gunge In It (3pm).

At 6pm, Hal Branson, from the sketch group Hot Gulp, and Sammy Dobson present 30 Minutes Of One & Half An Hour Of The Other at 6pm, featuring Branson’s internal monologues made external and Sammy’s confessions of still having an extensive Lego collection and crying with delight at sea lions at 29.

“We’re also looking forward to Lee’s solo show at 7.30pm, I Came Here To Burn This Place To The Ground And Build A Table And I’m All Out Of Table Making Equipment And Matches,” says Al. “In fact it’s difficult to pick any highlights as I’m genuinely looking forward to watching all the shows.

“It’s great to be able to offer additional shows to our regular acts, and give them the chance to perform longer sets and really develop and unravel themes which interest them – as long as they remember to write some jokes as well!”

Tickets are free, but to guarantee a seat, they can be bought for £5 at greatyorkshirefringe.com/whats_on/free_fringe/. Alternatively, turn up, and if there are any seats left, Pay What You Want on exit.