Nish Kumar at last year's gala

It was two years ago that Jericho Comedy ran its first gala with Oxfordshire Mind, raising £3000 at The Old Fire Station with five shows back to back.

Last year the comedy team took over the Oxford Playhouse and raised over £20,000 in a day performing two shows back to back.

“It was a glorious celebration of comedy and mental health and we’re delighted to return to the Playhouse for another day hoping to beat last year’s £20,000,’ Jericho Comedy co-founder Harry Houseman says.

On Saturday 18th January the Oxfordshire Mind Comedy Gala returns to the Oxford Playhouse. The gala is a collaboration between Oxfordshire Mind, local mental health charity, and Jericho Comedy, local comedy club organisers. 

Dan Knowles, Harry Househam & Alex Farrow photo by Chris Cox Photography

The evening show has completely sold out, over 600 tickets, but there are tickets still available for the afternoon matinee show from 3-5pm. 

We have some fantastic comedians lined up for the matinee show including Hal Cruttenden, as seen on Have I Got News For You, The Apprentice: You’re Fired, Bake Off: Extra Slice, and Live at the Apollo. Ahir Shah, double Edinburgh Comedy Award ‘Best Show’ nominee. Ahir Shah has performed stand-up on Live At The Apollo, The Now Show and Stand Up Central. Nigel Ng, who made his TV debut on Comedy Central, shortly followed by Roast Battle. Jericho Comedy regular Chelsea Birkby is also appearing, a rising star noticed at a past Oxfordshire Mind gala, who has since been made an Oxfordshire Mind trustee.

James Acaster at a previous Oxfordshire Mind Comedy Gala

The evening show also features Jacob Hawley, regularly featured on Radio 4,  Talksport and BBC 5 Live, and Isa Bonachera 2018 BBC New Comedy Award finalist.

The show is hosted by Jericho Comedy comperes Harry Househam and Alex Farrow.

“Jericho Comedy are very proud to support Mind. We’ve been fundraising for Oxfordshire Mind for the last four and a half years by running Saturday night comedy shows at the Jericho Cafe,” Harry Houseman says.

“In all that time we’ve raised over £40,000 and have been very fortunate to see first-hand some of the excellent work they’ve done for those with mental health issues – they really are saving lives and working incredibly hard to make the world a better and safer place for those suffering from mental illness.

“We couldn’t be happier working with Mind. The team at Oxfordshire Mind are so helpful, supportive and understanding, they make us incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved through our Jericho Comedy Saturday. They even gave us an award for fundraising last year!

So how did the idea come about? “The first comedy nights we ran in Oxford were charity fundraisers in Oxford University colleges. We made a list of the relevant issues shared by both Oxford students and comedians and, as it turned out, it was a list of one issue, mental health,” Harry adds.

“For us it made complete sense to fundraise for Oxfordshire Mind, mental health issues are so prevalent in both communities. Talking about mental health can be so difficult, but stand up can often be a great tool to make difficult conversations not only palatable but also engaging and entertaining.

“It can also be a great outlet for comedians to talk about their mental wellbeing.”

Many comedians have gone on to become advocates for mental health from Stephen Fry to Ruby Wax and James Acaster whose recent show ‘cold lasagne hate myself 1994’ explores his own breakdown and mental health issues.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have some great names along to do our weekly Saturday shows at the Jericho Café, and in the last five years Jericho Comedy has gone from a monthly comedy night to a weekly comedy night often performing in multiple venues simultaneously to meet demand. Not to mention we’ve won national awards, been featured on BBC Radio 4 and recommended in the Sunday Times. We never imagined two friends running shows in a café could have gone as well as it has.”

All proceeds from the night go to Oxforshire Mind to support local mental health. Book tickets at http://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/whats-on/all-shows/oxfordshire-mind-comedy-gala/13465#tickets

To find out more about Oxfordshire Mind go to www.oxfordshiremind.org.uk

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