Last first laughs at Sheffield new talent comedy night

Chris Ramsey, who has appeared at Abbcom open mic nights
Chris Ramsey, who has appeared at Abbcom open mic nights
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After five years of giving comedians their first chance to make an audience laugh, Abbcom is bowing out.

Organiser Simon Gunnell is now calling time on the open mic show that allowed new comedians to try out at Bar Abbey on Abbeydale Road.

He said: “The numbers in the audience when it started were quite high. It was quite a new idea at the time in terms of the way we structured the comedy.

“I decided that five years is long enough to be able to sustain a new act night. I think that nowadays a lot of people prefer to go and see someone they know and have seen before, probably on TV, which has changed things a bit.”

Simon has run other comedy nights around the city including in Stocksbridge, the University of Sheffield, the Fleur de Lys pub in Totley and the Lantern Theatre in Nether Edge.

He’s also stood at the mic himself in his time but gave up when he didn’t make the breakthrough into the professional circuit.

He said: “Over the last five years we have had some of the best new acts from across the country performing at Bar Abbey, with many becoming household names or well-established professional acts – Joe Lycett, Hebburn star Chris Ramsey, Kai Humphries, Carl Hutchinson, Alfie Moore, to name but a few.

“To be fair we have also had a load of rubbish as well but that was half the fun.”

He added: “I’ll maybe look at relaunching it in a couple of years but at the moment it’s had its time.”

Simon, whose day job is at Sheffield City Council, is also busy as the dad of a two-year-old son. He’s looking at fitting in the odd comedy night here and there.

In the meantime, Abbcom’s last laugh takes place next Thursday, July 25. Closing the final show is a multi-award-winning exponent of interactive stand-up, Sully O’Sullivan.

The New Zealander is known for his sharp-witted political satire and getting audiences to look at their own prejudices and laugh at them.

The show starts at 8.30pm and doors open an hour earlier.