Beat off the mid January blues with lots of LOLs at the LBT’s monthly Comedy Cellar event.
This month the Lawrence Batley Theatre features comedians Shazia Mirza, who is now one of the country’s most established performers, and relative newcomer Jonathan Pelham. The event is being compered by Anthony J Brown, a BBC New Comedy Award runner-up and regular contributor to Radio 2’s The Arthur Smith Lectures.
Globe-trotting gagster Shazia, daughter of first-generation Pakistani immigrants and a trained biochemist, has become a recognisable face on TV since giving up a career as a science teacher to make people laugh for a living.
Often referencing her British Muslim status and experiences with the hijab in her material, the Brummie is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff, has appeared on Have I Got News For You and Last Comic Standing and has written for New Statesman and The Guardian. She says she honed her entertainment skills secretly, attending drama school part-time and performing late-night comedy gigs around the country while still teaching. In 2009 she was on the inaugural Muslim Women’s Power List as one of the 20 most successful Muslim women in the UK.
Young comedian Jonathan Pelham hails from Bradford, and his self-deprecating humour – centred on his ‘odd’ physical appearance – has earned him runner-up places in So You Think You’re Funny and the Chortle Student Comedy Awards. He was also a finalist in the 2013 BBC New Comedian of the Year.
He cut his comedy teeth while still at university in Newcastle, where he studied politics and sociology – subjects that have certainly proved useful for his stage material. During the Fresher’s Fair he was approached by someone from the Newcastle Comedy Society, auditioned in the Students’ Union and developed his act from there. Jonathan graduated two years ago and is now working the comedy circuit.
The Comedy Cellar event on Thursday, January 15, starts at 8 pm. Tickets cost £9 (concessions £7) and are available from the box office on 01484 430528 or online at www.thelbt.org .