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North East comedians make a stand in honour of Charlie Hebdo victims

The Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle will host a comedy night in aid of the families of the Charlie Hebdo victims.

Nicola Mantalios-Lovett is one of the North East acts who will be performing at the Stand
Nicola Mantalios-Lovett is one of the North East acts who will be performing at the Stand

North East comedians are coming together to hold a comedy night in aid of the families of the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

The Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle will host a night of laughter and irreverence in solidarity with the 17 people - including 10 satirical cartoonists and journalists - who lost their lives in the attacks in Paris on January 7.

Half of the proceeds from the night, which is set to include three up-and-coming North East comedians, will go towards support for families of the victims.

The Stand’s sister venues in Edinburgh and Glasgow are putting on similar events. The Stand managing director Tommy Sheppard said the club wanted to make a stand with satirists all over the world.

He said: “Comedians, satirists and journalists know that courting controversy can often come with the territory.

“While not everyone may agree on what is ripe for parody and fun-poking, what we can agree on is that no one deserves to die for exercising their freedom of speech.

“We use humour to poke fun at authority and cope with the horrors of living. It is part of a democracy.

Geordie comedian Gavin Webster
Geordie comedian Gavin Webster
 

“We are proud to stand with satirists everywhere and we will make sure that laughter will not be silenced.”

The Tyneside night will feature performances from North East comedians Nicola Mantalios-Lovett, Carl Hutchinson and Gavin Webster.

Gavin, from Blaydon, said that though he isn’t a particularly provocative comedian himself, he feels that freedom of speech is crucial.

He said: “I’m not really someone who is gratuitous with my comedy.

“There are a lot of subjects, like religion, that I wouldn’t talk about because it’s not really my thing.

“But I feel we should have the right to be offensive and the right to talk about these things if we want to - that’s really important.

“It’s a slippery slope if we start not being able to talk about certain things.”

Fellow North East comedian Nicola said she wanted to be part of an event which combined two things she strongly believes in: freedom of speech and charity.

She said: “From the point of view of a stand up comedian, I know how important free speech is.

“I don’t have people who say to me ‘no you can’t say that’ and I wouldn’t expect anyone to - freedom of speech should not be stifled.

“Some of the things that were in the magazine may have been quite extreme but that’s the whole point of satire. It’s meant to be like that and there is no reason at all to justify such a response.

“I’m a strong believer in charity as well, and this event links those two passions together for me.”

The benefit will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday, January 27 at The Stand Comedy Club. Visit www.thestand.co.uk for more information and bookings.

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