Comic star Jason meets his audience halfway...

Comedian Jason Manford
Comedian Jason Manford
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Jason Manford has launched a series of nights across the UK to encourage people to watch stand-up comedians – and one of the first is taking place on the Fylde coast.

That’s probably not surprising given Manford loves these parts.

He played a brilliant gig at Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion as a warm-up to a mammoth 
nationwide tour which included a sell-out date at the Grand Theatre in Blackpool.

And Manford enjoyed the Grand gig so much he announced on stage he would come back soon... and kept his promise by booking another show at the theatre on May 10 (tickets still available).

But there’s something for comedy fans happening a little sooner than that, with Manford’s Comedy Club taking place at Ribby Hall on Friday.

The idea behind the comedy club is that Manford personally selects three or four of his favourite comics to encourage audiences to go and see comedians other than those they recognise from television. He also tries to keep prices low to ensure it is affordable for all.

And although he won’t be performing on Friday, he’s hoping the night will be a big success.

“I hope the location of this venue, halfway between Preston and Blackpool, will mean that anyone from those two areas, and all in-between can come along and have a good laugh,” he said.

“Going to see big names such as Sarah Millican, John Bishop and Micky Flanagan in arenas, can become an expensive evening with £25-plus a ticket, babysitter, taxi, a meal beforehand, drinks after.

“Before long you’re spending well over 100 quid for a night out.

“There is a circuit of comics in this country who haven’t been on telly for a number of reasons – maybe they’re up and coming and haven’t made it yet, maybe they were on a late night stand up show in the 80s and called the host a rude name, or maybe they just have a severe drinking problem.

“Either way, there are funny people out there who want to make you laugh on a regular basis, and I’m gonna fix it for you to see them.”

It is anticipated Manford will make occasional 
unscheduled guest appearances at these comedy nights – so you never know, he might pop up at Ribby if he’s in the area.

His Comedy Clubs are taking place across Lancashire, Yorkshire, Derbyshire and the Midlands, with plans to extend the project to a range of other areas.

The Ribby Hall bill on Friday includes the very funny Dan Nightingale, Lytham’s finest Phil Walker and fellow comics Jojo Smith and 
Daniel Sloss.

For anyone who can’t make it, Manford’s Comedy Club is also taking place at Ribby Hall on Friday June 6, when Alun Cochrane is among the acts performing.

Tickets priced £10 are available from www.wegottickets.com and www.manfordscomedyclub.com and tomorrow’s show starts at 8pm, with doors open from 7pm. Food and drink is available on the night.