Blackpool’s much travelled comedy club, Comedy Station, is celebrating its 15th birthday this weekend.
The regular show, now at the Round Room at Viva Blackpool, has been run by comic Ryan Gleeson, 36.
Ryan has just taken up a new role – as the maze master at Manchester’s Crystal Maze attraction based on Richard O’Brien’s famous TV series – but is delighted his stand-up night is going strong in Blackpool.
Ryan, who lives in Bispham but who grew up i n Thornton, went straight into comedy after leaving Blackpool Sixth Form.
He said: “Somebody said to meat college you should be in stand up so I did.
“On Valentine’s night in 1997, I found myself doing a gig in Barnsley.
“The Blackpool comedy club started in 2002 with Michael Sands and we were in the function room above West Coast Rock Cafe once a month on a Thursday.
“Then we moved to The Station, where Ma Kelly’s is now.
“That’s where we got the name Comedy Station.
“Then when that closed we moved to Poulton at The Edge, now Wetherspoons, then the Winter Gardens and finally we are now at Viva every Saturday.
“We have seen some brilliant comedians, Jason Manford, Lee Nelson, Justin Moorhouse, Tape Face (Sam Wills) and Gary Delaney.
“It has been a privilege and a lot of fun.
“We have three comedians and the compere, me, and this weekend I am delighted to welcome back Danny Deegan who was one of the first people we ever worked with on our Blackpool shows.
“He is in great demand these days and we have not been able to get him again until now.
“Supporting Daniel, is Pete Phillipson and Tom Taylor.
“Michael and I got started thanks to a bit of campaigning by the Gazette’s former showbiz reporter Robin Duke who was keen to get a comedy club started in Blackpool.
“I had been doing stand up for about five years, mainly in Manchester and I was getting sick of all the travelling so it was good to come home.
“At first we were pleased if we broke even.
“There were days when there were more comedians than audience members!
“I guess we were just too naive to give up and that’s why we survived.
“Now thanks to the marketing skills of Martin and John at Viva we are a stable footing and we virtually sell out every week with 140 people.
“I went full time professional in 2010 – before that I had a proper job too and was working 70 hours a week.
“But that was killing me and my wife stepped in and told me to give it up and go full time with the comedy.
“The Crystal Maze is massive. It is on the old Granada Studios site and very popular.
“I have the perfect career really now, I get paid for just being me!”