A COMEDY club competition is heating up as acts take to a stage in Comet country for the first time tonight (Friday).

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Lastminutecomedy Club’s New Act Of The Year competition returns for the fourth time as around 50 fledgling acts on the Herts and Beds comedy circuit battle it out for the 2013 crown.

Organiser and compere Paul B Edwards has wittled the shortlist down after receiving more than 200 YouTube clips and CVs, with five different venues hosting heats where up to 10 comedians will take to the stage each time.

Heats have already taken place in Luton and Bedford, and it’s the turn of Hitchin tomorrow at Woodside Hall, where a member of staff from the Comet will be among the judges.

A Letchworth GC audience can sample further talent at Letchworth Arts Centre tomorrow (Saturday) before the final heat is held at the Orange Tree pub in Baldock on Sunday.

The winner of each heat will be crowned the New Act Of The Year for the town in question, ahead of a finals weekend in Stroud, Holsworthy and Tiverton where the overall title will be contested.

But runners-up in the heats will also have a chance to join them there with a ‘play-off’ at The Victoria pub in Hitchin next Thursday, April 11.

Previous winners Jay Foreman, Kate Lucas and Pete Beckley have all gone on to become professional comedians, featuring on TV and radio, and Paul B Edwards is expecting more stars of tomorrow to be uncovered this time around.

He said: “I love this competition. It’s a totally different format to our usual shows and seeing up to 10 new acts doing their best stuff only has one drawback for the audience – it means I have to get on stage up to 11 times to introduce them, and that’s a lot of bad gags.”

Doors for all four nights open at 7.30pm ahead of an 8.30pm start, with tickets for the first two shows in Hitchin and Letchworth GC priced at £10 or £8 for Lastminutecomedy Club members.

Entry for the Baldock gig is £8 or £6 for members, while tickets for The Victoria runners-up play-off show are available at the pub in advance for £6 or £8 on the night.

For more information about the competition call 07939 081391, visit www.lastminutecomedy.com or email lastminutecomedy@hotmail.co.uk

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