THE weather was dreadful last June but the gloom was slightly lightened by the presence of nearly 40 comedy gigs in the county. Let’s hope the weather is better this year because there are fewer dates. No stand-up at the big city centre theatre but the biggest factor is the scaling down of the comedy element of Oxfringe, a festival that swelled the numbers last year.

Some of the events have already taken place and those that remain are mostly at George Street’s Old Fire Station. A warning – don’t front up on spec for 7.30pm or 8pm. There are late sessions and times vary.

Tomorrow and on Saturday Beta Males do their stuff. Showcased on Radio 4 Extra’s sketch programme, the self-deprecating name of the troupe gives a clue to the content.

Alfie Brown is also there tomorrow with his brand of anti-elitist political comedy. For obvious reasons, there’s been a revival in left-wing stand-up lately, but I prefer cleverly reasoned material to generalised rants.

Comic and musician, Ben Champion, on the 1st and 8th might be a little more mainstream but it could be that the pick of the whole crop turns out to be Fanny Whittington, an alternative pantomime from the 6th to the 8th.

Yet another choice on the 1st is Henning Wehn, the ‘German Comedy Ambassador’ paying another of his frequent visits. As I’ve mentioned before, I hope that he’s leaving his comfort zone more often these days.

Female Aussie duo Sugar and Vice unravel the travails of love on the 6th and the 8th, two of the same days as Fanny Whittington – possibly an unfortunately clash. But note, the duo is to be found at the Turl Street Kitchen.

Also in the city, Glee has dates on all five Saturdays. In my view the best might come last as Bethany Black and the hugely witty James Ancaster hit the club on the 29th. Rob Beckett and Tom Rosenthal are the latest stand-ups in the So Comedy series at the North Wall on the 13th.

But after the end of the festival, attention turns to towns outside the city. My pick would be the new but talented Ivo Graham and fast rising Josh Widdicombe at the Wallingford Corn Exchange on the 2nd. There is also a comedy gig on the 19th with Joe Lycett and Paddy Lennox.

And staying in the south of the county, much-travelled Ian Stone is at the Venue at Shush in Newbury Street, Wantage, on the 1st. Alfie Moore is at the Didcot Cornerstone on the 7th – they choose their comics well there. Abingdon Guildhall has a bill including Matt Richardson on the 27th. Nick Page and Ria Lina are at the Chipping Norton Theatre on the 13th.