Giggles galore as top names and beginners step up for stand-up

Nina Benjamin

Nina Benjamin - Credit: Archant

There’s a real cyclone of comedy heading our way over the next week, with a stampede of stand-ups stepping up into the spotlight.

The sixth annual Lastminute Comedy Comedian Of The Year contest kicks off on Thursday night at The Orange Tree in Baldock with up to 10 comics performing short sets at the Norton Road venue vying for the Baldock crown.

On Friday night the focus switches to the Woodside Hall where a different clutch of comics will be competing for Hitchin’s title.

And the comedy contest continues on Saturday night at Letchworth Arts Centre where there’s a third award up for grabs, and the chance to see some of the stars of tomorrow before they hit the big time.

Doors open for all shows at 7.30pm with the gigs themselves starting an hour later. Entry for each night is £10 on the door, advance tickets for the Letchworth show are available via www.letchwortharts.org or by calling 01462 670788 during office hours.

For more information and line-ups visit www.lastminutecomedy.com.

Over in Stevenage on Saturday night the headliner at April’s Jesterlarf bill at the town’s Gordon Craig Theatre is Nina Benjamin, a familiar TV face and a larger than life character known for her work on the BBC’s 3 Non-Blondes, not to mention Celebrity Masterchef.

Support comes from Radio 4 favourite Thom Tuck and angry and irreverent rising star Garrett Millerick, a finalist in this year’s BBC New Comedy Award. Doors open at 7.30pm with the first act on at 8.30pm, book £12.50 tickets from 01438 363 200 or www.jesterlarf.co.uk.

Former Hollyoaks and Casualty star turned stand-up James Redmond will be part of another Saturday night comedy session, this time at Arlesey Town FC’s Hitchin Road home.

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James first stepped into the spotlight as a model in Milan, showcasing the clothes of the likes of Calvin Klein and Paul Smith before moving into acting via TV commercial work.

After two long-running roles he’s changed tack again, and now performs comedy up to six times a week – although he can still step back into soap shoes as his recent stint at Hamish Young in Coronation Street shows.

Also on the bill are the cerebral John Gordillo, Suzy Bennett and Steve Allen.

Tickets are £10 and you can book a table from £15 – doors open at 7.30pm and you can find out more by calling 01462 734504.

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