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Bringing the funny to Barnard Castle

A cluster of comics including Lee Nelson, Susan Calman and Romesh Ranganathan help make up the autumn season at The Witham

Lee Nelson
Lee Nelson

I don't think many people would argue with the notion that, funerals and frowning competitions aside, there are few occasions where you can have too much laughter.

So the announcement of the autumn season from Teesdale-based comedy promoters, Funny Way To Be was always going to be seen as good news by most people.

Add in the fact that the organisers have gathered together a crop of top talent comprising award-winning comedians, TV stars and rising stand-up names for a sprinkling of gigs to take audiences at The Witham, Barnard Castle, through until Christmas (Hooray, I may be the first to get that word on the Culture pages in a non-retrospective manner in 2014), and I think we have a passport to good times.

Kicking off the comedy club’s new season is star of BBC Three’s Well Funny People, Lee Nelson, who brings his top class character-driven stand-up to the venue on Wednesday October 29.

Audiences are advised to prepare themselves for a night of jokes, ‘legendary’ audience interaction, games and banter as Lee - who is brought to life by for real life former doctor Simon Brodkin - brings a side of himself to the stage which has never been seen before. Intriguing.

Award-winning comedian Susan Calman will be next up at Funny Way To Be, as she embarks on her first stand-up tour of the UK following rave reviews at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

A regular on TV panel shows including QI and Have I Got News For You?, the Scottish comic brings her Lady Like tour to Teesdale on Saturday November 29. She will also play The Stand, Newcastle on October 12 if you can’t make the November date, but back to The Witham in hand.

The autumn season finale, on Saturday December 13 will see a duo of the comedy circuit’s current ones to watch sharing the stage.

Romesh Ranganathan, winner of the Leicester Mercury New Act Award in 2013 and star of Channel 4’s hit comedy show Stand Up For The Week, will arrive with his latest show, Rom Wasn’t Built In A Day, while Suzi Ruffell, tour support for Alan Carr, Kevin Bridges and Josh Widdicombe, will round off Funny Way To Be end-of-the-year-offering on the same night with her spanking new show, Social Chameleon.

Peter Dixon, of the Funny Way To Be Comedy Club, said: “All four comedians in our autumn season are playing Barnard Castle for the very first time so we’re very excited in that respect.

“Their styles are varied but all have one thing in common in that they are tremendous talents and greatly respected in their fields.

“Lee (Nelson) is arguably the top character comedian on the comedy circuit, Susan Calman has vast stand up, TV and radio experience behind her and is embarking on her debut tour.

“The double-header show of Romesh (Ranganathan) and Suzi (Ruffell) brings two of comedy’s rising young stand up stars as they also embark on their first UK tours. These are shows not to be missed.”

* Tickets and details for all shows are available from funnywaytobe.com

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