THE increasingly popular TFI Comedy Club will return this week at Westhoughton’s Carnegie Hall.
And MCing will be 26 year-old Katie Mulgrew.
The Rochdale lass became a full-time comedian last year, after having worked in education.
But her former career does not provide as many punchlines as could possibly be expected.
“For the most part I worked in a special needs school, where the pupils were absolutely lovely,” said Katie. “But I did supply teaching and came across some quite challenging pupils.”
Joining Katie on stage will be Danny McLoughlin (who she describes as “brilliant”) and Susan Murray, plus a surprise special guest whose name has yet to be confirmed.
And with Katie in charge you don’t have to worry that sitting near the front means that your choice of outfit or penchant for old man pints is going to be mocked.
“The compere’s job is to get everybody warmed up and make sure they’re happy,” she said. “You’re the ambience director. I want to make a relaxed and happy environment — a lot of comperes put people down but I don’t want to do that. I want everyone to have a good time.”
Mulgrew might have been a finalist in 2007’s Funny Women competition, but she says her gender doesn’t really make a difference to her on stage.
“I can deal with drunken heckles — I’ve had a fair few in my time,” she said. “I’ve had guys that sit down the front necking shots of sambuca and just shouting over you, you deal with them quickly. I don’t think it really makes a difference that I’m a woman though. If you’re going to be a nasty compere that’s what you do no matter what sex you are, I’m just not like that.”
She decided that she fancied trying her luck as a comedian while a student, after watching some of the current crop of big names while they were still up and coming hopefuls.
“I used to work behind the bar at a comedy club in Manchester,” she said. “I was really lucky because it was about the time when John Bishop, Michael Macintyre and Sarah Millican were compering regularly. I would watch and think ‘I’d quite like to do that’.”
And her first live gig was a suprisingly untraumatic experience.
“All my friends and family were really supportive and came along which gave it a really nice feel,” she said. “It was probably a mistake to be honest, because they love you they’ll laugh at anything you say, so you think your a born standup. Then you go to Beat The Frog on your own and no-one laughs, and you think ‘oh God...’”
Since then, she has appeared alongside many of the comedians who she initially hoped to emulate.
“It’s quite nice, because you get to be friends with your peers and the people you aspire to be,” she said.
And the Bolton gig will be a particularly special one — as it will be Katie’s 27th birthday.
“I’m going to be spending my birthday with 200 people I don’t know,” she said. “Just the way I like it.”
• TFI Comedy is at the Carnegie Hall, in Westhoughton, on Friday, March 16. Tickets cost £10 and can be booked via alberthalls-bolton.co.uk or by ringing 01204 334400.