It’s amazing what having a natter can lead to.
For Blackpool girl Alana Jade-Dixon it is a career as a stand-up performer and a mission to bring comedy to the town.
While travelling in Australia, the 26-year-old went out one evening with a housemate and ended up in a bar.
“The barman was wearing a T-shirt that had a joke on it, one of those you had to read to the end,” she said. “He noticed us staring at him so we got talking and it turned out he did stand-up in Melbourne.
“He invited us to his gig and while I was there I got chatting again, to the bloke who ran the comedy night.
“He mentioned he had a spot available in a couple of months time, so I said I’d have a bash … and it all went from there.”
Over the next six months, Marton-born Alana did spots in comedy clubs throughout Melbourne and even wrote a half-hour show for the Fringe Festival.
She also noticed something that she is putting into practise now she’s back in Blackpool.
“There were so many comedy rooms in Melbourne, all amateur comedians doing the same thing,” she explained.
“I got to meet them, have a few beers, and they became genuine friends.
“It dawned on me that there was absolutely nothing like that in Blackpool, my hometown.
“People are getting depressed about their financial situations and the way the town is going but it doesn’t feel to me like the council does anything for the locals – it seems to me to be all about tourism.
“So basically now I’m back I want to get a scene going, something for the locals, and build it very much like the one in Melbourne.”
What makes Alana’s project all the more impressive is that during her time in Australia she suffered two strokes which have affected the left side of her body.
“I had two blood clots on the brain and I was in hospital for a week,” she said.
“You wouldn’t know to look at me but when I have to hold something in my left hand for a period of time, I start to shake.
“I’m a trained mechanic but I can’t do that job any more. I can’t even do bar work so I’m struggling to find anything to do ... which is probably why I’ve thrown everything into this comedy idea.”
Alana has set up the Northwest Comedy Collective and a Facebook page appealing for like-minded comedians has had almost 200 replies.
The first show takes place in Blackpool at Reflections bar on Thursday January 16, with weekly shows thereafter.
“I’ve got 40 comedians booked for the first four weeks – there’s 10 on each week,” explained Alana.
“The night starts at 8pm and the first five comedians – those who want to try new material – do five to seven minutes; the second four comics have 15 minutes each; then there’s a headliner.
“There is no room for egos. It’s for people who have the same goal – to make the world laugh and bring a bit of much-needed cheer.”
Angus Little, a comedian Alana met in Melbourne, will headline the opening night. Alana will act as MC.
“Hopefully it will take off and we can get something special going,” she added. “I want to contact The Blue Room and suggest doing a monthly night there, so we’ll have two venues right near each other.
“And we’re not competing with anyone else or any other comedy night – we are here to bring the town together.
“I’m really excited about it and it’s great to think that this has all started just from chatting to someone on the other side of the world!”
Entry to the comedy nights, which last three hours and start weekly from Thursday January 16, is £2.