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Stortford comedy club in birthday spirit on Royal Wedding day


By Paul Winspear


Junior Simpson headlines Laughing Bishops Comedy Clubs first anniversary gig on Saturday May 19
Junior Simpson headlines Laughing Bishops Comedy Clubs first anniversary gig on Saturday May 19

Bishop's Stortford's own comedy club celebrates its first anniversary this weekend, with the usual beer and curry supplemented by balloons and cake.

Josh Howie is the writer and star of BBC Radio 4 sitcom Josh Howies Losing It, which was nominated for a BBC Radio Award
Josh Howie is the writer and star of BBC Radio 4 sitcom Josh Howies Losing It, which was nominated for a BBC Radio Award

Laughing Bishops Comedy Club was launched in the United Reformed Church hall in Water Lane by compere Paddy Lennox, a Stortford resident, in May last year – three-and-a-half years after he started Dunmow Comedy Club.

In that time, it has played host to an assortment of stand-ups, including TV’s Hal Cruttenden, globe-trotting Gordon Southern, musical comic Christian Reilly and Britain’s Got Talent Welsh auditionee Noel James.

Paddy said: “It’s a first birthday gig on Saturday for Laughing Bishops. There’ll be cake and balloons! So forget the FA Cup and come on down for a Royal Wedding wind-down and enjoy type II diabetes and a helium high!”

The bill will be headlined by Junior Simpson, a familiar face from TV, supported by Josh Howie and Barry Castagnola.

Barry Castagnola at Laughing Bishops Comedy Club on Saturday May 19
Barry Castagnola at Laughing Bishops Comedy Club on Saturday May 19

Luton-born Simpson headlines at comedy clubs around Britain, gigs in South Africa and Australia on a regular basis and has performed at festivals all over the world, including Reading, Brighton and the Edinburgh Fringe.

His numerous television and radio credits include Lily Savage’s Blankety Blank, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and The 11 O’Clock Show. He has also been a warm-up artist for shows including I’m Alan Partridge and Dead Ringers.

Simpson has variously been described by critics as “a vigorous raconteur and vibrant mimic with lots to say” (The Guardian) and “the new Lenny Henry” (The Times).

Howie is the writer and star of BBC Radio 4 sitcom Josh Howie’s Losing It, which was nominated for a BBC Radio Award. He is currently on his UK tour, Josh Howie’s Messed Up. The Scotsman newspaper said of him: “Howie is brilliantly clever, honest, utterly engaging and absolutely fearless.”

Comedian, actor and writer Barry Castagnola has established himself as an accomplished comic performer. He has been performing stand-up in the UK and internationally for more than six years since blagging his way onto the stage at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles.

Northern Irish-born compere Lennox, who turned 50 this year, first burst onto the stand-up stage in 2001, only to press pause on his comedy career to perform at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre and to film overseas, before returning to his new-found passion.

The engaging and likeable comic has supported touring acts including Micky Flanagan, Rhod Gilbert, Lucy Porter and Omid Djalili.

* Laughing Bishops Comedy Club is held at the URC hall in Water Lane this Saturday (May 19). Doors open at 7.30pm and the comedy kicks off at 8.30pm. Tickets are £15 on the door or £16.50 online at http://bit.ly/StortfordTix. There will be a cash bar and, for £6 extra, Rekha Joshi’s Indian food. Over-18s only.



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