A schoolboy error

'First' kids' comedy club is anything but

Comic James Campbell’s claims that he’s setting up the “universe’s first comedy club for children” have been instantly dismissed  – by organisers of an almost-identical scheme.

Campbell, pictured, who has made his reputation on his Comedy 4 Kids live show, yesterday launched what he said was ‘probably’ the only stand-up course for children, leading to gigs at what was hailed as the first club for youngsters.

But Liverpool’s Stand Out organisation say they’ve been running a similar scheme – involving both clubs and courses - for nearly three years.

It was launched at the Liverpool Comedy Festival in 2002, and includes a monthly club in the city, with a professional headliner and compere, but showcasing graduates of the six-week course.

In that time, more than 400 14 to 18-year-olds have been given a grounding in stand-up comedy by the team of tutors.

The next club night, at the Walk On The Plank boat at Pier Head takes place on Friday, and will be webcast by the BBC for Comic Relief.

Headliner John Bishop, left., said: “Having been to the Stand Out finals I’m well aware of the calibre of the young performers. Liverpool has a great comic tradition and it’s very reassuring to see Stand Out supporting a new generation of young comedians.

“It’s my first under age show so certain bits will have to be toned down a little, but I’m thoroughly looking forward to the challenge.”

Stand Out organiser Jenny Liddy, added: “The club gives budding comics the unique chance to perform for their peers in a genuine club environment. The bar is as dry as the wit, but the atmosphere at past shows has been nothing short of electric.”

The Liverpool scheme does differ from Campbell’s new London-based ‘Academy of Comedy’, which is aimed at younger children, aged seven to 13.

Campbell’s 12-week course, which starts on May 1, costs £250, while Stand Out is run in schools, and over just six weeks, with the local education authority or sponsors picking up the £100-a-pupil cost.


Published: 8 Mar 2005

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