Why the cream of cutting edge comedy are coming to West Yorkshire

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Have you heard the one about West Yorkshire being a hot spot for new comedy? Well, this is no joke.

In mass collaboration, echoing the early punk scene, diverse comedians across the region are working together to make comedy events in the region’s towns and villages a success.

Latest to enter the ring is Laffers at Loafers, bringing entertainment every second Thursday of the month to the award winning Loafers Vinyl and Coffee at the historic Piece Hall from October 10.

Run by comedian Jane Doe, Laffers at Loafers is the latest regular event to start in West Yorkshire, adding to countless others, meaning Yorkshire comedy fans can be entertained every single day of the month.

Jane said: “When I started out in comedy 12 years ago I was tagging on to musician open mics and playing as the last act to half empty rooms with disinterested audiences.

“There were nights running in Leeds, but outside of those events, experience was hard to come by. After a seven year hiatus I have returned to find a bustling, energetic comedy scene with new nights popping up in Halifax, Keighley, Huddersfield, Idle, Batley, Bradford and beyond.

“There’s a surge of new comedians who are setting up events in their local towns attracting comedy talent from across the north and beyond.

“Laffers will be a monthly event with each night having a different theme including politics, beliefs, gender and family. Each night will also support a different charity, the first event supporting Mothershare in Halifax.

“Theming the nights has attracted a wide range of comedy talent including an RE teacher, a former mayor and Teaser Mayhem, as seen on Britain’s Got Talent.”

Laffers at Loafers joins Introducing Funny on the Halifax regular comedy scene. Established for over a year, Introducing Funny is hosted by Callum Jarvis-Jones at Stod Fold Brewery at the end of the month.

Graeme Rayner

Graeme Rayner

Originally learning under the tutelage of Jay Sodegar, Callum has found working with such a wide range of comedians helps him learn and develop his own style.

He said: “My goal was always to give Halifax its own comedy scene. Leeds has one that thrives and even Huddersfield has multiple nights, but when I looked at Halifax I saw a blank canvas ready to be entertained.

“I’m honoured to think that from this, other events like Laffers is able to be viable and will only help increase Halifax’s presence on thecomedy map.”

Jane said: “Callum’s support of Laffers at Loafers and our shared aim of establishing a Halifax comedy scene is typical of the co-operative, can-do attitude of comedians setting up events across the region.

“Not only are these nights providing audiences with exciting new comedy, but they’re giving new comedians the opportunity to hone their craft before willing punters.

“In addition, these events and their enthusiastic audiences are attracting some big hitters to test out their material before heading out to Edinburgh or off on tour.”

Rising star Graeme Rayner is gigging two to three nights per week to packed out crowds. His personable style and anecdotes from everyday life have made him a firm favourite with comedy crowds whilst his support of up and coming acts has earnt him respect within the industry.

“Graeme runs ‘The Laugh Supper’ at The Parish Pub in Huddersfield, ‘Turk it or Leave It’ at The Old Turk in Dewsbury and ‘Live From the Cellar Bar’ in Batley.

Graeme entered comedy by taking part in a course run for charity in memory of his mum, and hasn’t looked back.

“I’m that typical guy whose friends always said should be doing stand up and never had the guts to do it,” he said. “Until I did. It’s going better than I could have dreamed - I have started earning a little cash from it, have performed alongside household names and have set up my own comedy nights in towns with little or no live comedy.

“Laffers at Loafers looks set to be a great regular night and I’m chuffed to be on the first bill.”

It’s not just up and coming comedians who are fuelling the fires of West Yorkshire as a comedy destination. Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont just finished filming their new comedy sitcom for Dave in Hebden Bridge.

Lucy said: “We’re very excited to be producing comedy content in Calderdale. The area has seen an upturn in media interest over the last few years and it’s great to be able to show the opportunities for hilarity that this corner of the world offers.

“As I was preparing for Edinburgh this year I was able to practice my material at many of the open mics and comedy events in West Yorkshire.

“I even hosted my own preview events at Mytholmroyd Community Centre, with great turn outs. The community in West Yorkshire is as enthusiastic for comedy as the comedians performing.”

The jewel in West Yorkshire’s live comedy crown this autumn will be The Richardson’s Comedy Gala taking place on Sunday, October 20 at the Victoria Theatre from 3m onwards.

With new acts regularly announced, already confirmed to perform alongside Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont are  Tez Ilyas, hot off the heels of his successful run on Channel 4 with the Tez O’Clock Show;  Barbara Nice, comedy creation of Phoenix Nights actress Janice Connolly; and Pete Firman, magician and comedian as seen on Tonight at the London Palladium.

The Richardson’s Comedy Gala will also be raising funds for Calderdale charity Mothershare who provide vital support for families in poverty, regularly handling referrals for support from West Yorkshire Police, the local community and drop-in services.

Lucy said: “As a supporter and trustee of Mothershare I am so excited to host this fantastic event raising funds for the charity. With such a stellar line up I can’t wait for what will be a fantastic afternoon.”

COMING UP

- The Halifax Comedy Festival, during October, 01422 351158 or www.victoriatheatre.co.uk

- Laffers at Loafers, second Thursday of the month, 7.30pm from October 10, pay-as-you-feel, @laffersloafers and www.facebook.com/loafersvinyl

- The Richardson’s Comedy Gala, October 20, 3pm, tickets £20.25 available from www.victoriatheatre.co.uk/whats-on/richardsons-comedy-gala

- Introducing Funny at the Stod Fold, usually the last Wednesday of the month, www.facebook.com/stodfolddeanclough

- Comedy at the Exchange, usually Wednesday or Thursday in the last week of the month, www.facebook.com/exchangearts

- The Laugh Supper, first Thursday of the month at The Parish Pub in Huddersfield, www.facebook.com/laughsupper

- Turk it or Leave It, last Friday of the month at The Old Turk in Dewsbury, www.facebook.com/turkitorleaveit

- Live From the Cellar Bar in Batley, last Thursday of the month at the Cellar Bar in Batley, www.facebook.com/livefromthecellarbar