A BOLTON barrister has been given a unanimous verdict from judges —“you’re funny”.

Chris Kehoe has been crowned as the town’s top new stand-up comedian, despite being on Bolton’s comedy circuit for just six months.

The father-of-one, from Smithills, claimed victory in Comedy Club, launched by Crompton Place Shopping Centre in partnership with Octagon Theatre.

To present him with his prizes was multi-award winning funnyman Dave Spikey, who was head judge at the final staged at Crompton Place which led the search for the town’s newest up-and-coming comic.

Dave was joined on the panel by Caroline Jones and Amy Hodges from the management team at Crompton Place, Elizabeth Newman, associate director of Octagon Theatre, and Shuaib Ishaq, one of three brothers behind the franchise at Subway in Crompton Place which provided refreshments on the night.

Chris, aged 34, has now won the chance to perform his own stand-up routine during a one-off gig at the Octagon Theatre in front of a paying audience later this year.

He also won £100 in vouchers to spend at Crompton Place and a host of other great prizes from retailers at the shopping centre.

Chris, who impressed judges with his well-crafted and cohesive routine which joked about weddings, fairytales, crocodiles and the wonders of Bolton, said: “I am feeling a mixture of delight, shock and bewilderment at winning. It’s incredible, brilliant and also quite daunting all at the same time.

“If I want to progress in the world of stand-up then there comes a point where I will have to do something bigger than I have done before and so to have this opportunity to perform my own gig at the Octagon so early on in my experience is mind-blowing but very welcome.”

Character comic actress Cassie Atkinson, aged 31, of Chorley New Road, took second place and Ady Baxter, aged 35, a caricaturist and prop designer, from Kearsley, came third, both winning £50 worth of Crompton Place vouchers and also the chance to provide The supporting acts at the Octagon gig later in the year.

Dave Spikey, who co-wrote and starred in the hit comedy series Phoenix Nights, said: “The quality of the acts who have all only been performing for a very short space of time was astounding.

"Each one was well performed, well crafted, well written. All of them have got great potential.”

Dave, who is performing at the Octagon Theatre on November 8 as part of his 2014 tour, added: “It was tough for them to perform in front of a panel of judges but they were seriously good.

"Crompton Place launched this search to celebrate a strong tradition of talented comics who have come from Bolton and judging by the standard of our finalists, the town’s comic writing is in very safe hands.”

Associate director of the Octagon, Elizabeth Newman, said: “We are over the moon that we are going to be hosting the Comedy Club finalists.

"As an organisation we believe our audience should laugh and have fun.”