Comedy club opens up in Sunderland

Comedy club comedians, from left; Liam Grahame Olsen, Andrea Whitaker, and John Mabon in Sunderland City Centre

Comedy club comedians, from left; Liam Grahame Olsen, Andrea Whitaker, and John Mabon in Sunderland City Centre

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KNOCK, knock. Who’s there? Sunderland’s only dedicated comedy club.

Though touring comedy clubs often visit the city, Wearside has been missing a set club of its own – until now.

Stand Up and Mackem Laugh hosts shows up to twice a month at Venue, formerly Ku Club, on High Street West.

It’s proving popular with punters and is attracting big names from the comedy world, including South Shields success story Chris Ramsey and Tiffany Stevenson from ITV’s Show Me The Funny.

In the coming months, the club will host the other two top three finalists from the reality comedy TV show, Patrick Monahan and Dan Mitchell.

John Mabon, Stand Up and Mackem Laugh marketing manager, said: “I’m a fan of stand-up and was in the audience for the first comedy night here, which was Chris Ramsey.

“It was only supposed to be a oneoff but it proved really successful. I got talking to Stephen Cuthbert, who’d staged the night, about how there was no dedicated stand-up venue in Sunderland and now I’m helping to run regular nights here.”

The shows are helping to keep Venue, which runs as a multi-purpose community venture, afloat.

Previous to opening as Venue, the building had lain empty for two years, but now has a community cafe and space for community and charity events.

The comedy club, on the top floor, is managing to fill its 120-people capacity, while also providing a platform for Sunderland comedians who haven’t had the chance to perform in their home town before.

John said: “We’ve had an influx of comedians contact us, wanting to perform. People like Mark Rough, who is a regular on the comedy circuit.”

Stand Up and Mackem Laugh was also a launch pad for Sunderland City Council worker Lee Ridley, who’s now been asked to perform his Lost Voice Guy routine around Britain.

Lee, who has cerebral palsy, uses a special speech machine to communicate and tell jokes.

The club is also branching out and is staging nights at Amore in Tavistock Place and hopes to eventually bring a family-orientated Comedy Festival to Sunderland.

Stephen, founder of the club, said: “People can come here and see six comedians over the course of a night for £7. Because we’re a community club, we’re just happy to have the fees paid and put on a good night.

“We’re about the funny, not the money.”

Twitter: @sunechokaty

WE’VE teamed up with Stand Up and Mackem Laugh to give away five pairs of tickets to each of the next two shows.

They are Mark Rough on April 6 and Dan Mitchell on April 14.

To win a set of tickets, answer this question?

Where is Venue?

a)At the former Ku Club

b)At Liquid nightclub

c)At the Glass Spider

Fill in your answer on the coupon and return it to Katy Wheeler, Echo House, Pennywell Industrial Estate, Sunderland, SR4 9ER.

Closing date: Friday, April 6.