|Date of birth||Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä sub-region, Central Finland, Finland|
Ismo Leikola (born 22 January 1979) is a Finnish stand-up comedian. He started his comedy career in 2002 in his home country of Finland.
Leikola wrote and starred in two seasons of his own sitcom, ISMO. He filmed three DVD specials from 2008 to 2016, and has sold-out numerous concert halls and theatres across the UK and Finland. He has been gaining attention at the biggest comedy festivals around the world, including Just For Laughs Montreal, Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the New Zealand International Comedy Festival. In 2018, he will be debuting his one-man show "Words Apart" at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
Leikola made his US debut in 2014 at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood where he won the title of "The Funniest Person in the World." In 2015, he moved to Los Angeles and performs regularly at the Laugh Factory, the Comedy and Magic Club, the Melrose Improv and the Ice House. He has appeared on NBC's Last Call with Carson Daly and became the first Finnish comedian to perform on Conan in 2018. Leikola is unique in how he uses his outsider's point of view to find humor in the most ordinary things.
Awards and reviews abroad
- "Leikola is the Scandinavian Mitch Hedberg; an oddball with a few extra twists." **** - The List
- "An excellent ambassador for stand-up." **** - ThreeWeeks
- "For a man speaking his second language, Ismo Leikola is uncannily incisive, charismatic and entertaining." **** - The Dubliner
- "The wonderful Finn, Ismo Leikola bringing the house down with his daft "foreigner abroad" shtick. Even something as apparently obvious as us Brits using pounds for currency and for weight was given unexpected twists. He's got an entertaining off-kilter mind and a gift for comic misunderstanding which probably made him the hit of the night." - Chortle
- London Laughing Horse (2008) New Act of the Year, 3rd place.
- London Comedy Store (2013) in King Kong Show, 2nd place.
- Laugh Factory, Hollywood / Las Vegas (2014) winner of The Funniest Person in the World competition.
Gigs around the world
- Edinburgh: One man show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2007, 2008, 2014.
- London: Soho Comedy Club, Top Secret Comedy Club, Comedy Café, London Comedy Store.
- Ireland: International Bar, Galway Comedy Festival.
- Norway: Oslo Stand up Festival, Latter Comedy Club.
- Iceland: Comedy Club at National Theatre.
- Sweden: Stockholm Comedy Festival, Raw Comedy Club, Norra Brunn Comedy, Maffia Comedy Club.
- New Zealand: Classic Comedy.
- Singapore: Comedy Masala.
- Australia: Mic at Hand, Happy Ending, Cafe Lounge.
- Others, including Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Belgium.
- London Comedy International Showcase at Pleasance, Islington 2014.
- USA: Laugh Factory in Hollywood and Las Vegas 2014.
TV-shows and movies in Finland & United States
- Conan (TV series, 2018)
- Last Call with Carson Daly (TV series, 2016)
- "Ismo" (Fictional comedy series about Leikola) (2015, Elisa Viihde, now filming)
- Love FAQ, panelist (2014, Liv TV)
- Show Me the Funny Finland (stand up-competition for beginners), guest judge in 2013 and 2014 and special performance in the final 2013 (2013–2014, TV2)
- The Truth about Love (2013, TV 1)
- The Good and Bad News, guest panelist (2012, TV 4)
- Kristiina's Election Grill for politician's, roaster (2012, TV 4)
- Have I Got A News For You, guest panelist (2011, TV 1)
- Elixir, losing weight and hosting (2011, TV 4)
- National Treasure, host (2010–2011, TV 2)
- Smoking booth, writer, performer (2010, Voice / TV 5)
- Bolt the movie, voice actor (2008)
- Finland for Sale, co-host, writer, actor (2009, TV 1)
- Comic Factory, stand up-comic (2006, TV 2)
- Act!One (Stand up/Comedy show), writer, performer (2006, TV 2)
- Talk show Hyppönen-Enbuske Experience / later Tuomas & Juuso Experience, performer and writer in show's stand up-section (2003–2006, TV 4)
Awards in Finland
Six times winner of the Audience Favourite Comedian Award at the largest annual stand-up festival in Finland. Best New Comer 2003.
Leikola has written and co-written sketches and jokes for TV and a play for theatre. Occasional columns for newspapers. His comedy, of course.
Released DVDs and singles (comedy songs)
- "Good Gig and Hell of Extras" (2008) - sold platinum.
- "Ismo Leikola Grows as a Person" (2013) - sold gold right after its release.
- Pendolino - single (2013)
- Mitä jos me silti voitetaan - single (featuring Pirjo Heikkilä) 2013
- Moottoritie on kesken - single (2015)
In December 2015, Leikola moved with his wife to Los Angeles, California.