FEATURE: Julian Lee on North East Comedy | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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When you think of North East comedy you might conjure up names such as Sarah Millican or Ross Noble, maybe even Chris Ramsey if you’re a Celebrity Juice/Hebburn fan. Admittedly these chaps are doing rather well for themselves, and let’s not begrudge them their successes, but what about those from the region who don’t enjoy the high profile that these do. Are there any? Or is comedy mirroring the recent barren spell that seems to have blighted our area’s footballers? (Ok, I’ll give you Jordan Henderson)

Well, for those who maybe haven’t got their faces in the bosom of north east comedy I can assure you we’re nowhere near the barrel-scraping levels of the kick the ball men. For example, Gavin Webster was recently voted the Comedian’s Comedian, and we all know that being acknowledged by one’s peers is a pretty high accolade. Just the mention of names such as Matt Reed, Lee Kyle and Si Buglass brings a smile to my face as I recall their various levels of wit and daftness, mostly daftness, that I have witnessed on local stages.

we’re nowhere near the barrel-scraping levels of the kick the ball men

I recently performed at BBC Newcastle’s Jesting About, a two night event at the Live Theatre, which is to be made into six 30 minute shows to be aired in June and July, and I can assure you that the standard was exceptional, especially given that none of the acts chosen were pro comics. Admittedly some were more “known” than others but you could have pretty much plucked any of them and popped them on at the Comedy Store and no-one would have batted the proverbial. And yes, there were funny women on the bill as well.

You could also throw in the whirlwind success of North Tyneside/Northumberland based promoters Punch Drunk to highlight that the region is indeed alive and kicking with comedy talent. Now I’m not saying that all is rosey in the North East garden, given the Hyena issues and the fact that Newcastle itself could really do with a couple more “new comedy” nights. But there’s a solid foundation there and with a little work I see a bright future for a fair few of our funny men and women.

All I would ask is that an extra few of you get along to more local comedy nights. Not just the vastly popular Red Raw at The Stand but check out sites like Giggle Beats for dates around the region. I know it’s great to go see “someone off the telly” but I assure you there are plenty of hilarious people out there waiting for their chance to prove to you how funny they are.

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