FEATURE: Hitchin’s ‘bizarre characters’ result in great humour as it makes top ten of ‘funny towns’

Ryan Milner

Ryan Milner - Credit: Archant

Hitchin has been voted in the top ten of ‘funny’ towns in a poll this week – but we asked people from the town why they thought that was – and received some interesting comments.

The view looking south west from the top of St Mary's church tower towards the market square

The view looking south west from the top of St Mary's church tower towards the market square - Credit: Archant

In a poll of more than 26,000 singletons, the town – better known for its large number of independent shops and businesses, its community spirit and its picturesque centre – came ninth in a list of the UK’s funniest towns.

Hitchin, which has a population of around 33,000, was revealed as having more jokers-per-head than anywhere else in North Herts.

People taking part in the Elite Singles poll were asked if they ‘often made other people laugh’ – with Hitchin nearly claiming top honours.

Ryan Milner, who runs the Facebook page This is Hitchin with added laughter, agrees. Ryan, 37, who was born and bred in Hitchin told the Comet: “Having a sense of humour is about being able to laugh at yourself. British humour is the best in the world. It’s about being able to lighten the mood.

“I also think social media has played a big part in sharing the fact people from Hitchin have a sense of humour.

“I started the group because not everyone wants to know how long your pants take to dry in the launderette. Although my wife and kids normally just roll their eyes when I make a joke.”

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Hitchin local Eoin McSorley – who carried a placard with a Father Ted reference which read ‘Down with this sort of thing’ during the Save Top Field march, explains: “There is a collective frivolity in the town, and a real culture where no-one takes themselves too seriously.

“Hitchin is a place where a lot of people know each other. There’s a number of cracking characters including ‘Rubbish Billy Idol’ and Laurie the cycling guy. There are also two funny scriptwriters in Mark O’Sullivan and Miles Chapman who live here who are on the verge of big things.”

Mark said: “Hitchin’s jam-packed with weirdos. There’s some extraordinarily odd people in the town. We pick up a lot of our material from listening to people in supermarkets.

“There’s Jockey Man who we believe weighs one pound. There’s also the man who looks like a Welsh miner from 1976. And the man who looks like a 1970s landlord. I think Hitchin humour is rooted in reality but with a real sense of the bizarre.”

“And don’t forget the man who looks a ghost,” adds Miles. “I’m sure he can walk through walls.”

For a slice of Hitchin humour visit Ryan’s Facebook page This is Hitchin with added laughter.

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