NAMECHECK: Comedy headliner

THE 2011 Magners Funhouse Comedy season kicks off at the New Barrack Tavern on Sunday with the hilarious and high-energy Simon Bligh headlining.

With a Time Out comedy award and Edinburgh festival best show nomination under his belt, Bligh is one of the most popular acts in the country and indeed, across the world.

As well as working regularly at the Comedy Store and other national clubs he regularly delights audiences all over the globe, performing in Dubai, Hong Kong, the USA and many other places.

Also appearing is the very funny and genial Steve N Allen with a wealth of anecdotes about his days as a former commercial radio DJ.

Also featuring two up-and-coming acts on the circuit, plus the bouncy and likeable Tom Roche as compere.

Stories and stew

THE National Trust Penny Pot café in Edale is hosting a night of tales and tunes on Friday.

As the Penny Pot team serve up a hearty bowl of wintry stew, haunting tales of the Peak District will be told by National Trust storyteller, Simon Atherton, and live folk music will come courtesy of The Three Musky Beards.

Guests might hear the chilling tale of the mad woman’s stones or funny fables of local country characters, as well as the winning entries of the recent Moorland Plants Poetry Competition. The Three Musky Beards, Geoff Hunter and Ric Booth play traditional folk music with a twist.

Tickets for Tales and Tunes at the Penny Pot Café adjoining Edale station cost £10 per person including a bowl of stew. Book on 01344 670368 or email peakdistrict@nationaltrust.org.uk.

Laughs at university

THREE of the biggest star names in British comedy are set to appear at the University of Sheffield Students’ Union Octagon Centre as part of the Students Union’s Comedy Season.

And also making a return from February 25 to 27 – and open to all – is The Sheffield Student Comedy Festival, bringing together the best in young and student comedy from across the country for a packed weekend of stand-up, improvised comedy, sketch shows, physical comedy and interactive workshops run by the performers and industry experts.

Fresh from the latest series of BBC2’s Shooting Stars, ‘man of the moment’ Angelos Epithemiou brings his show Angelos Epithemiou and Friends to The Octagon on Saturday, February 19.

Following up on a busy year filming his own BBC2 comedy series, Stephen K Amos appears at the Octagon on Saturday March 5 with Stephen K Amos – The Best Medicine.

Finally, Tim Vine, the king of the one-liner and star of BBC1 Live at The Apollo and Not Going Out, arrives at the Octagon on Wednesday May 11, with his new show, Tim Vine – The Joke-amotive.

Film star biography

SHEFFIELD’S Tomahawk Press is publishing the first British biography of one of the UK’s most iconic international film stars, Boris Karloff.

Drawing on previously unpublished letters and interviews with those who knew him, the book dispels the often repeated myths associated with the actor – many perpetuated by Karloff himself – and reveals a wealth of new information about the private and professional life of the Frankenstein star.

Boris Karloff – More Than a Monster by Stephen Jacobs is published at £30.