Johnny Armstrong

Johnny Armstrong

Hardly a new act...

Comic kicked out of competition final after truth emerges

A comedian has been kicked out of a new act final after misleading organisers about how long he had been performing.

Johnny Armstrong had been due to take part in the final of tonight’s You Must Be Joking competition, run by the Newbury Comedy Festival in Berkshire.

However, the contest is only open to comedians who started performing since September 2010 – and Armstrong has been a comic since at least early 2008, when he took part in the Manchester heat of the Chortle Student Comedy Award.

When a fellow competitor originally raised the issue with organisers, they told him they had assured them he was eligible – and said there were no grounds for expelling him from the competition.

Even when presented with evidence of his experience, the producers said they would not be drawn into the issue.

However, once Chortle made an inquiry, Armstrong was dropped.

In a statement, the management of Newbury Comedy Festival said: ‘Having received information that one of the performers in this year's You Must Be Joking did not fit the original entry criteria, the organisers have decided to remove one of the finalists from this week's competition. Newbury Comedy Festival are committed to supporting new acts in the early stages of their career.’

But they said they would be making no further comment.

You Must Be Joking – which comprises four heats and the final – has run for nine years, and previous competitors have included Imran Yusuf, Russell Kane, Vikki Stone and Carl Donnelly.

Armstong’s online CV refers to his student comedy appearance, and winning new act nights at Liverpool’s Rawhide in June 2008 and the London Comedy Store in February 2009.

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Published: 10 Jul 2012

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