Comedy favourite Al Murray heads north on his national tour. But the aggressive, in-your-face Pub Landlord of TV fame is quaking at the thought, as Keith Newton reports.
Comedy is serious business in North
COMEDY has become seriously big business in the North East. In Middlesbrough it has single-handedly rejuvenated the town centre’s night-time economy, adding around £200,000 to the collective bottom line since September, according to the local council.
Where pubs were once the only source of night life, comedy and cultural activities are the new engines of regeneration.
"The opening of the Big Mouth Comedy Club in the Town Hall Crypt has had a great effect, not only in providing a whole new strand of affordable, accessible quality entertainment but also in diversifying the night-time economy," says Juliet Farrar of Middlesbrough Council.
While the Crypt, like Liverpool’s famous Cavern, has that intimate atmosphere so loved by anarchic fringe entertainers, the main stage at the town hall attracts top billing stars like Rob Brydon, Peter Kay, Jimmy Carr and Jack Dee.