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Stage Editorial

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The Stand Comedy Club Bar & Kitchen are running their Newcastle Alternative Comedy Festival throughout October and it’s sporting more highlights than a Wham video.

The Stand really are moving through the gears this October with top comedy seven nights a week. And their packed programme is set to deliver the kind of laughs that will be coming at you from every angle you can think of.

We can’t list every act playing here, but I’ve picked out a few of my personal favourites. Tom Stade, for instance (Friday 4). This Canadian superstar of stand-up has spent 30 years on the comedy frontline and will be delivering all new material in which he – after his kids have left the family home – will be looking to the future with renewed vigour.

I fell in love with Ed Gamble (10 October) because of his ‘Off Menu’ podcast, which he does with James Acaster, and I can’t wait to check him out in the live arena. He’s appeared in snippets on ‘Live at the Apollo’ and ‘Mock the Week’ but at The Stand we’ll get his full 90-minute show.

A fellow I’ve seen live on many occasions is the brilliant Richard Herring (11 October). His interview podcast – RHLSTP – is usually recorded at the Leicester Square Theatre, but he’s now taking it on the road. Previous guests on the show have included the likes of Bob Mortimer, Dawn French and Stephen Fry and I’m looking forward to seeing who he brings with him to Newcastle. And, yes, it’s great to listen to previous shows on iTunes, but I’m especially interested to see (and hear) all the bits that are too libellous to podcast.

Fern Brady (12 October) was recently featured in Vogue as one of the top 5 female comics on the circuit and her career has went into overdrive over the last eighteen months or so. Tackling everything from sexuality to Brexit, Britishness to feminism, the Scottish comic has starred on ‘Live from the BBC’ and ‘The Russell Howard Hour’ as well as supported Frankie Boyle and Katherine Ryan.

Abigoliah Schamaun (13 October) is a myriad of paradoxes. She grew up in the conservative Midwest of America, but has now become an unashamedly liberal comic in the UK. She’s also a “hardcore yoga bunny with surprisingly squishy things” and a “boring heteronormative disguised as a luscious lady lover”. On the back of appearances on the top-rated ‘The Guilty Feminist’ and ‘Global Pillage’ podcasts, and a sell-out Edinburgh Festival run, this eagerly awaited show is part of her first nationwide tour.

Many a comic has fallen by the wayside when it comes to music in comedy but Vikki Stone has absolutely nailed it (18 October). Blending songs with stand-up she has been variously been described as a “musical genius” (Absolute Radio) and “the lovechild of Victoria Wood and Tim Minchin” (Scotsman) and has been a wow on everything she has appeared on from BBC One’s ‘John Bishop Show’ to Radio 4’s ‘The Now Show’.

Londoner Dane Baptiste (pictured - 20 October) is perhaps best known for his easy-going sitcom ‘Sunny D’ but you really need to see this fella live. One of the most exciting acts to break in years he has charm in buckets and is one of those comics you instantly warm to as soon as walks on stage.

Dave Johns (22 October) should need no introduction to local comedy fans. A real stalwart of the stand-up scene, he became an international star in recent years for his lead role in Ken Loach’s BAFTA award winning film ‘I, Daniel Blake’. He also starred in this year’s feel-good comedy ‘Fishermen’s Friends’ and his cinematic career has given him a whole new avenue to explore in his stand-up, which remains as infectious and funny as ever.

Ashley Blaker and Imran Yusuf (26 October) are teaming up for their latest show ‘Prophet Sharing’ in which the two great comedians tackle two great religions. The descendants of Abraham may have gone their separate ways but these two stand-up mates – both stars of their own BBC shows – have now formed the most unlikely double act since Kermit and Miss Piggy (neither of whom, incidentally, they can eat…).

Another double act well worth getting on board with are Louise Young Anja Atkinson (27 October) who are presenting their Edinburgh Fringe ‘Big Div Energy’ show. These rising stars from Newcastle have been been described as fiery, caustic and dynamite, but first and foremost, they’re just downright hilarious. I’ve just touched on about a third of the great acts coming to The Stand this October – including some of my personal favourites and hot up and comers – so be sure to check out their website below to grab the whole programme. If there isn’t something among that lot to tickle your fancy then maybe laughter just isn’t for you…

The Stand Comedy Club Bar & Kitchen, High Bridge, Newcastle. thestand.co.uk