Jason Manford's new ITV1 series Show Me The Funny kicks off next week with 10 comedians competiting for a top prize, including £100,000 and their own headlining stand up tour. With less than 7 days until the series starts, here we profile the comics hoping to make you lot laugh from your sofas!
From the old to the young, the British to the world's first half-Welsh-Spainish comic, these comics all come from different backgrounds - some have been plyaing gigs for years; for others this is their first time in front of anyone other than friends and family.
Regardless of how they've got here, all 10 will be put in front of the same audience from next week and challenged to make them laugh. A hard task that sees more than a few fall at the first hurdle - a crowd full of Liverpudlian women!
Check out the contestants below and tune into Show Me The Funny from 9PM on ITV1 on Monday, July 19.
By day, Alfie is a serving Police Sergeant; by night, he is a stand-up comedian. Comedy was firstly a hobby, ignited by Alfie 3 years ago, after a night out at a local comedy gig with his wife. He was very inspired by the acts and desperate to get up on stage and give it a go. Alfie is now performing regularly and over the past two and a half years has done over 250 comedy gigs and 50 after-dinner speeches.
Alfie Says: “The general perception is that cops take themselves too seriously and are too stuck-up and secretive. But if they see a copper who can laugh at himself and his organisation, that could do a lot of good.”
Cole started his stand-up career at the age of six after entering a talent contest in Norfolk. Despite coming second, Cole was undeterred and a love of stand-up was born. Something of a bad-boy, Cole has a reputation for being a smart, solid act who can handle any audience. Popular on the comedy circuit, he regular plays all the big clubs country wide and internationally.
Cole says:“I’ve had this terrific passion for stand-up since a very young age. In the past, I have been maligned as an alpha male, but you should not judge people by appearances.”
Charity worked Dan is a former Undertaker who sites “boredom” as the reason for his move into stand-up five years ago. Dan has since performed over 500 gigs after starting in small pubs in the rural Welsh countryside. He has performed at a variety of places from the Green Man Festival where he was critically acclaimed, to being booed off stage in a strip joint.
Dan says: “What do I love about stand-up? When it’s going well, the buzz is unlike anything else. When it fails, of course, you blame the audience!”
After seeing a friend perform a five minute set, ex-model Ellie decided she should give it a go. A keen drama student at school, Ellie went on to study at York University and has recently given up her job in corporate events to concentrate on comedy full time. She has never been paid for a gig.
Ellie says: “I know I can perform, but I have never gigged outside London! Please don’t say I’m brave – that’s just a polite way of saying stupid!”
After University, Spanish barman, Ignacio got a job as an usher in a cinema, to get him closer to short films; another of his big passions. His colleagues at the cinema pushed him into comedy at the end of 2009 and he hasn’t looked back, despite being only paid for two gigs so far.
Ignacio says:“My goal is to play to as many people as possible. It will really help me progress and I see this as a way of jumping a few steps ahead.”
Patrick may well be the only stand-up in the world of Irish-Iranian decent, but brought up on Teeside. He sees his background as a real bonus and credits talking about it as his breakthrough. Patrick has headlined the prestigious Comedy Store and performed around the world from the west of Ireland to Dubai.
Pat says: “There are no other Irish-Iranian comedians with a northern upbringing on the circuit – I’m all three rolled into one!”
A Somalian-born, former primary school teacher who was once on Millwall FC’s books, Prince Abdi won the Your Comedy Star competition at the Edinburgh Festival in 2007. Despite only just going full time, he has been on the circuit for four years and recently came second in the Barbican New Act of the Year competition.
Prince says: “I love doing stand-up. I could be a role model;I’m from a deprived area of London where opportunities are limited.”
Rudi has been on the circuit for the best part of two decades after first coming onto the comedy scene as an Eddie Murphy look-a-like in 1989 aged 26. Through this, he travelled all over the world, and when Beverley Hills Copwas released he was sent to Scandinavia, where he basically lived a celebrity lifestyle.
Rudi says: “Not everyone will like everything I do. I know I’m challenging the status quo in comedy. I’m not saying step over the line – I take my responsibilities very seriously, but my comedy is there to make you think.”
When he was younger, Stuart ran away to join the circus, but upon discovering that the circus entailed more press-ups than he deemed reasonable, he fled! He moved on to street performance and acting, before settling on stand-up. He has gone on to perform all over the UK and Europe and he has supported sell-out comedians Mark Watson and Paul Sinha on their national tours.
Stuart says: “I’m used to having to claw an audience out of thin air! You walk onto a deserted street with just a suitcase and your wits, and you have to make things happen or you can’t pay the rent!”
Tiff’s route to stand up has been quite diverse, but since taking the mic in 2006, where she initially performed as her WAG character ‘Savannah Dior’ she has been ahead of the curve. Tiffany also runs and co-hosts “Old Rope”, a weekly new material night with the award winning Phil Nichol at The Phoenix in London.
Tiffany says: “All comedians love trying out new material. There is nothing more satisfying than performing something and getting an instant response. I hope I can rise to the challenge.”