Elvington Comedy Festival, Elvington Village Hall, September 20

Elvington Comedy Festival, Elvington Village Hall, September 20

Steve Harris, one of the guest comedians

Pharmacist and promoter Andy Owen

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LAUGHTER is the best medicine, as the saying goes, and to prove it, pharmacist Andy Owen has set up a regular comedy night at Elvington Village Hall.

"Residents of Elvington, Pocklington and surrounding villages now have the chance to see top-class comedians on their doorstep," says Elvington villager Andy, who has a past in pop promotion.

“We simply wanted to organise a top night out for the locals and we found we could afford to put on the same kind of acts that are regularly found on the bill at top-notch comedy clubs, such as the Comedy Store in London or the Hyena Lounge in York.”

Launched in March, the Elvington Comedy Evening takes place every two months, bringing Eddy Brimson, from Absolutely Fabulous, The Thin Blue Line and the comedy hotbed of EastEnders to Elvington in the latest bill on September 20.

Steve Harris, who has supported Peter Kay, Lee Evans and Johnny Vegas, will be in action too, as will Nicky Wilkinson and master of ceremonies Rob Riley, who will introduce the 8.30pm show. Doors will open at 7.30pm; the laughter will conclude at around 10.45pm.

"I decided to organise comedy nights at Elvington Village Hall after I'd lived in the village for a couple of years," says Andy.

"I'd been inside the hall and noted the lighting rig and stage and thought we could do something with it.

"Asking around, people seemed to keep coming up with the comedy night idea. As it is, we only have the pub in the village for entertainment and the bus service is poor, to say the least, so it seemed obvious to try to organise something for the local villages."

Each show has a format of three comedians plus regular MC Rob Riley, who also books the acts. "Usually the middle act is an up-and-coming comedian but the first and last acts are top-line professionals," says Andy.

He describes a typical Elvington comedy night as being an intimate experience for comedians of a similar calibre to the Hyena Lounge at The Duchess in York. "We'd like to think we look after the acts well too and are getting a reputation as a friendly evening," he says.

Before promoting these comedy bills, Andy worked part-time within the live music industry, mainly with 1980s artists.

"Probably the best gig I organised was a Howard Jones gig at the O2 in London, which we sold out to a multinational audience," he says. "I've also organised tours and gigs for Nick Heyward and Haircut 100, my friend Nick Beggs and Kajagoogoo and Howard Jones."

Tickets for September 20 are on sale in advance at £10 at wegottickets.com, Elvington Village Stores or by phone on 07967473533. A licensed bar will be available on the night. Admission is restricted to over-18s only.

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