Leicester Comedy Festival has shortlisted twenty comedians following its annual search for the country’s best comedian over the age of 55, with the winner to be crowned at the Silver Stand Up of the Year Competition in Leicester on Thursday 23rd February. The competition, set up in 2012 to provide a showcase for older comedians, is supported by Jasper Carrot, Pam Ayres, Arthur Smith and Sir Bruce Forsyth.

The Shortlisted Silver Stand Up 2017 comedians are…

Sandra Hale, Herts

Sandra made it to the finals of the Silver Stand-Up 2016, Joker of The Year 2015, The Golden Spud 2014 and was crowned winner of The Herts King or Queen of Comedy 2015. She performed her first hour at the Women in Comedy festival in Manchester in October this year, which she reprises at the Leicester Comedy Festival.

Debra Heighton , Leicester

Debra got through to the final six at the Silver Stand Up 2016, and this year performs her show Debra Heighton & Friends at Peter Pizzeria, while she hopes 2017 could be the year she takes the title…

Nik Hill, Gloucester

Promoter and comedian Nick Hill has been running comedy nights in Gloucester for six years, and has performed at venues across the country, including the Cheltenham Comedy Festival.

Rosetta Delisle, London

Rosetta’s career has been in social care, providing her with plenty of material for her comedy, which she has honed on courses run by respected comedians and mentors Chris Head and Kate Smurthwaite.

Pete Teckman, Northampton

Laughing Horse New Act of the Year finalist Pete Teckman has progressed through gong shows and open mic nights through to more established comedy nights, and performed his first full show Never Too Late at Leicester Comedy Festival 2016.

Sally Firth 

Sian Doughty has been performing stand up since October 2013, mostly as the character Sally Firth, who is the mother of a young male stand up comedian. As he is unable to make the gig, she takes his place and does her version of his act, using his notebook as a starting point.

Billy McGuire, Derby

Former busker Billy took to stand up following an encounter at the Funhouse gig in Derby, where his banter with the MC brought the house down. He is looking to gain more experience and test out his material on audiences at Leicester Comedy Festival.

Geri-Raptric, Shoreham-by-Sea

Two-times Silver Stand Up runner up Geri-Rapatric is a huge fan of Leicester Comedy festival, and plans to spend more time writing and performing comedy, following his early retirement in the New Year.

Mandy McCarthy, Harrogate

Trained actress and part time radio host Mandy lived in Spain for a number of years, where she co-hosted a radio show heavily focussed towards improvised sketches. Having raised her family, she attended Paul White’s ‘Laugh at Leeds’ comedy improvisation course, and now is focused on testing her funny bones in front of Leicester Comedy Festival audiences.

Mavis Smith , Leicester

A former secondary school teacher of English and Drama, Mavis has plenty of experience in controlling rowdy crowds and performing in front of an audience, with her comic songs and literary allusions.

Kevin Hudson , Leicester

Kevin first performed comedy in 2015, having attended DMU’s Square Mile Comedy Workshop with Alan Seaman, and performed at the Showcase gig at Newfoundpool WMC.  He was a finalist in Silver Stand-Up 2015, and this year hopes to make it through to the final and beyond.

Sha Wylie , Hove

At 62, Sha completed a comedy course and has now been performing live comedy for ten years. Her comedy is based on stories about her family and the experience of getting older, and Sha finds that comedy gives her a voice that is incredibly rewarding.

Christine Crawley, Banbury

Christine Crawley has completed two stand-up comedy courses at City Lit College in London in the last three years – and has gigged at events including the London Labour Party fundraiser stand-up in Leicester.

Fred Ferenczi 

Character comedian Fred Ferenczi has been performing comedy for over five years, having gigged alongside Arthur Smith, Dominic Holland and Gregg Wallace.

Bruce Sidlo, Morecambe

Retiree Bruce Sidlo’s biggest gig was in front of 500 people at the Vegas Club in Blackpool for Radio Lancashire Comic Relief, and he now hopes to test his skills at the Silver Stand Up competition.

Pat O’Connor , Surrey

Pat has recently completed two comedy courses run by Kate Smurthwaite, and performed 14 minutes of material for the Comedy Showcase at the Comedy Pub in Piccadilly, London.  She is now looking to get more experience under her belt performing around the country.

Norman Conquest

Observational comedian Norman Conquest has been working in sporting clubs and comedy clubs such as Buzz and Funhouse, and would like to develop his act and get more gigs under his belt at comedy clubs and festivals.

Gill Thomas, Leicester

Former cancer doctor Gill Thomas hails from Northern Ireland (where funniness is necessary). Having completed several comedy courses, she hopes to develop her act about retirement in front of a supportive audience, meet new people and grow her comedy cv.

Murrae Blair-Park, Ashby
For the past 6 months Murrae has been writing, rehearsing and performing and wants to take his material about his desire to be 25 again to a broader audience.

Paul Haslam, Rochdale

Promoter and comedian Paul Haslam has experience performing on the UK comedy circuit and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and is working towards a full time career in stand up comedy.

The first Silver Stand Up competition was won by Shelley Bridgman who continues to gig regularly across the UK and was a founder member of the Trans Comedy Award, working with BBC writers to develop scripts that portray funny and positive representations of the trans community. The winning script, Boy Meets Girl, aired on BBC Two in 2015, to critical acclaim.

The 2013 winner of the Silver Stand Up competition, Marc Lucero, regularly gigs across London, and the 2014 competition was won by Peter Callaghan, a member of the comedy collective Old Folks Telling Jokes, which performs around the country. In 2015 the competition was won by Ed de Cantor.  Ed had given up performing stand up aged 40, thinking he was “too old”.  On winning the competition in 2015, he said “I am completely over the moon. Winning this competition is a dream come true.” The 2016 winner was Marguerite Grant, a Missouri native now based in Cambridgeshire, who performed in-character as a housewife and inventor.

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Great Central, John has been actively involved in Leicester's creative community for over a decade - promoting shows and releasing records under the name Robot Needs Home. He is a director of Handmade Festival, and ex member of the band Maybeshewill.

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