All systems go for James’s joke-off

James Alderson is launching a new comedy contest.
James Alderson is launching a new comedy contest.

ParkFest preparation is now under way

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A new contest aims to find the best up-and-coming stand-up comedians on the south coast.

Denmead comic James Alderson, who previously started the Spinnaker Tower Comedy Club and Horndean’s Comedy All-Stars, has now lauched the South Coast Comedian of the Year 2014 .

The competition will draw dozens of comics for a series of gigs at The Cellars in Eastney.

Tell us about the contest.

There are going to be nine heats. The first heat will be in March and the final is in July.

There’ll be eight comedians on each night doing stand- up and I’ll be hosting. They’ll be coming from all counties along the south coast – Hampshire, Sussex, Kent and so on.

What will happen at the final?

That’ll take place at the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea. We’ll have Angela Barnes from Russell Howard’s Good News performing as well.

She spent a large part of her life living in Brighton so we thought it would be good to get another south coast comedian down as a special headliner.

The nine winners of the heats will do stand-up and there’ll also be a 10th wild card entry – someone who should’ve got through but didn’t manage to.

Who’ll decide the winners?

Audience members will each get a little slip of paper to decide who was the best, second best and third best for each heat. Then we’ll add up all the points.

The judges will have the final say just in case an entrant brings along 30 of their mates just to vote for them.

Will there be any big names taking part?

We don’t want somebody who’s already a big star to be crowned the South Coast Comedian of the Year, so it’s just for comics who have been going for less than four years.

It’s about unearthing some new talent. They might be comics who are just about to turn professional or have been on TV once or twice.

It’ll be exciting for people who come because they’ll be able to see some fresh talent – the stars of tomorrow.

What else have you got in the pipeline?

I’m in the middle of writing a new show for the Edinburgh Festival. It’s called The Hunger James and it’s about me keeping fit and healthy as I get older.

The first heat will be at The Cellars in Eastney on March 6. Tickets: £5 including a drink. Visit thecellars.co.uk or go to Fosters South Coast Comedian of the Year on Facebook for more details.