Get ready to laugh... top comics are heading here

Micky Flanagan
Micky Flanagan
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With the recession showing little sign of budging and bad news every which way you turn – even the Pope got fed up and did a runner – never have we needed cheering up as much as we do now.

Thankfully us Blackpool folk are in luck.

This year will see some of the biggest comedians in the UK and beyond head to the resort for a series of shows.

In fact it’s probably no exaggeration to suggest this year might just be the best yet in terms of A-list comics heading to these parts. So here’s a little round up in case you want to buy tickets (though be warned, some are already sell outs).

The big guns kick off on May 18 at the Opera House with Micky Flanagan. Britain’s finest pub landlord Al Murray is in town in July, and Jimmy Carr arrives in August. Sarah Millican has two dates – November 16 and December 7, a second night added after the first sold out.

Paul Merton (come on, it doesn’t get much better than that), Omid Djalili, and Mark Watson are among the comics heading to the resort for this year’s two-night Comedy Carpet Live.

Over at The Grand, Bill Bailey, generally recognised as one of the best joke-tellers in the business, plays two nights at the venue at the start of November, while Milton Jones - king of the one-liners - appears on October 30.

Reginald D Hunter (a man any Have I Got News For You? viewer will probably be familiar with) is at the Grand next month, with another comedy A-lister Jason Manford also booked. His Grand gig isn’t until next January, though – if you’re prepared to pay a small fortune on eBay – you might be able to snaffle a ticket for Manford’s sell out gig at Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion on June 6.

North Pier has also got in on the act, booking two top comedians. Chris Ramsey will appear there on May 25, with Lee Nelson following him in June.

Add to that all the usual favourites like Ken Dodd, Joe Pasquale and Roy Chubby Brown, and it looks like 2013 is going to be a pretty decent year.

I can’t end a piece all about comedy without mentioning the best joke I’ve heard in the last week: “Breaking news: There has been a mass brawl at a petrol station. Police have arrested 23 people in Total”.

Actually, on second thoughts, I’ll leave it to the professionals...

l Duggie Chapman, a man who knows enough about music hall to write a 10,000-page book, is passing on his expertise once again on Wednesday when he appears at Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion.

The show is called 100 Years of Music Hall but is concentrating on the stars of the 1950s and the speciality acts that aren’t seen any more in variety theatre.

Duggie will introduce rare clips of the likes of Adam Faith, Mike and Bernie Winters, famous juggler Nino Frediano and Norman Wisdom.

There will also be an exhibition in the Lowther Pavilion foyer of photographs from music hall years gone by. The show starts at 2pm, tickets are £8.

l I’d like to draw your attention, if I may be so bold, to a couple of interesting bands playing fairly locally.

The Sidekicks are at Wah! Bar in Manchester on Friday. They play guitar punk-pop and are pretty good indeed.

The wonderfully titled Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band are at Friezland Church Hall in Saddleworth on Saturday May 11. They play vintage blues with a shot of dance music that makes for terrific records.

Tickets are £15.