Three cheers for Pocklington Arts Centre, booking Omid Djalili, Mark Watson and Gary Delaney in Punderland for comedy uplift

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre has confirmed its first live shows since Tom Rosenthal’s Manhood comedy gig on March 14 last year.

The East Yorkshire venue, in Market Place, Pocklington, has been closed to the public since March 17 2020 but comedian Omid Djalili is to perform twice on Thursday, July 22.

Significantly too, those 7pm and 9pm performances will be without social-distancing measures.

British-Iranian comedian, actor, television producer, presenter, voice actor and writer Djalili, 55, originally had been booked for July’s now-cancelled Platform Festival at the Old Station, Pocklington.

When Pocklington Arts Centre’s festival organisers, director Janet Farmer and venue manager James Duffy, decided not to stage the large-scale indoor festival under the continuing pandemic cloud, award-winning Djalili agreed to do two shows in one night at PAC to ensure all those who had purchased tickets for the festival gig would not miss out.

Pundemonium: Gary Delaney promises oodles of one-liners in his new show next year

Janet says: “We’re over the moon that despite having to change our plans for putting on a full-scale Platform Festival this year, Omid Djalili will perform at PAC twice in one night, and those performances will be non-socially distanced. 

“In the event of Covid restrictions being reintroduced, we will let customers know in advance.” 

Djalili’s comedy is at once intelligent, provocative, boundlessly energetic and rooted in cultural observations, wherein he explores the diversity of modern Britain.

Tickets for the original event at Platform Festival remain valid and any ticket holder needing further information should contact the box office. Remaining tickets for the new shows cost £25 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Looking ahead, Janet says: “We have some outstanding live comedy lined up as part of our forthcoming live events programme, and Omid is the perfect addition to this. 

“We have more exciting announcement coming up and we cannot wait to be able to bring our audiences some incredible live shows once again.”

What’s on for Watson? A third show for Mark Watson at Pocklington Arts Centre next February after earlier visits in 2016 and 2019

Newly in the PAC diary for 2022 are two more comedy shows: Mark Watson on February 12 and  Gary Delaney on May 26 on his newly extended Gary In Punderland tour.

Bristol stand-up comedian, novelist and sports pundit Watson, 41, will be completing a hattrick of Pock appearances, prompting Janet to say: “It will be an absolute joy to welcome Mark Watson back to the venue, having had him perform live here in 2016 and again in 2019. 

“After the year we’ve just had, I think we could all do with some laughter, so Mark is the perfect addition to our forthcoming programme of live comedy.”

In the ever-innovative Watson’s latest show, spiritual enquiry will meet high-octane observational comedy as the Taskmaster survivor and No More Jockeys cult leader attempts to cram a couple of years of pathological overthinking into an evening of stand-up.

Watson has made his Mark not only on Taskmaster but also on Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Have I Got News For You and emerged safely from his Celebrity Island experience with Bear Grylls.

Stream team: Compere Tim FitzHigham, left, and comedian Mark Watson in their living rooms for the first Your Place Comedy online show

During the first lockdown last year, Watson was part of the first double bill for Your Place Comedy, the virtual comedy club set up to support independent venues across the Yorkshire and Humber region, including PAC. 

On April 19 2020, a pyjama-clad Watson and Hull humorist Lucy Beaumont performed live online from their homes, in his case, in the living room, in hers, down the pub, The Dog And B**tard, that she and fellow comedian husband Jon Richardson have set up in their Hebden Bridge garden.

In Gary In Punterland, longstanding Mock The Week guest Gary Delaney will “dive into a rabbit hole of the best jokes in the world”.

Delaney’s last tour was extended four times, eventually playing more than 200 venues. For the follow-up, apparently Delaney has been through the laughing glass, re-emerging to deliver a new show tooled with punch after punch of knock-out one-liners.

Janet says: “We’re delighted to announce that Gary Delaney will be bringing his new show to our stage next year as part of our live events programme that we can’t wait to resume, welcoming everyone back and having our auditorium filled with laughter once again.”

Tickets for Watson and Delaney’s 8pm shows each cost £20 at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk; seetickets.co.uk are selling Watson tickets too.

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