Chuckles for charity is the aim of a Stevenage stand-up comedian who has organised a Comic Relief fundraiser next week.

The Comet: Stand up comedy for Comic Relief at Mulberry Tree, StevenageStand up comedy for Comic Relief at Mulberry Tree, Stevenage (Image: Archant)

And Ben Crampton’s good cause gig will give punters a chance to see what’s new at an historic pub which has just had a makeover, and been given a new name.

The White Lion in the High Street opens its doors today, Thursday, after a facelift, with brewery giant Greene King deciding that a name change to The Mulberry Tree is the best way forward for the watering hole.

Ben has been building his experience as a stand-up after stumbling into comedy almost by mistake.

He said: “I started three years ago after appearing on the TV dating show Take Me Out.

“I ended up being their unofficial freak of the week – but their plan backfired and I ended up actually getting a date.

“As anyone who might have seen the episode could see, I wasn’t taking it too seriously and had so much fun.

“After the show was aired I spoke to a promoter for a stand up comedy night in Lincoln, where I was living at the time.

“He had seen me on the show and thought I would be great on the mic so should come along to his event and give it a go.”

At university in Winchester Ben had been the leading light of a live sketch improvisation group but the idea of being a solo stand-up was a very different challenge.

But, as he recalled: “I gave it a go however and haven’t looked back since.

“I have gigged around in the north, in places like Derby and Leeds, and I have also performed some gigs at the Edinburgh Fringe – I would really love to have my own full show up there one day.”

Ben organised a similar event in Lincoln to support the last Comic Relief push two years ago, and after moving back to Stevenage, where he grew up, he’s now keen to stage a repeat performance in aid of the nationwide event which supports charities both in the UK and abroad.

The Merc With A Mouth event at The Mulberry Tree event takes place next Thursday, March 12, from 7.30pm to 10pm.

Ben will be hosting, and also on the bill will be Richard Gilbert and Matt Smith, who used to organise comedy nights at the Cinnabar further along the High Street before moving to London.

He’ll be bringing along pals Ian Lane and Chantal Feduchin-Pate.

There’s no charge to get in but fans who find their funnybones tickled will be encouraged to make a contribution to Comic Relief.