By Simone Scott | Freelance Writer in Worthing

Marmite comedian and presenter Jimmy Carr is never far from our screens these days.  Starting out on the stand-up circuit, he went on to cut his TV teeth as the chubby-faced co-host of Channel 4’s 2002 Your Face or Mine, soon becoming a panel-show regular.  Also hosting the hugely popular 8 Out of 10 Cats and Big Fat Quiz of the Year shows, it’s a wonder how the famously near-the-knuckle entertainer with the foghorn laugh also has time to fit in a busy two-year UK tour.

Described as a collection of his favourite jokes and reading like CD bargain bin titles, Carr is midway through The Best of, Ultimate, Gold, Greatest Hits tour.  Arriving at the Worthing Assembly Hall with a three-point promise of being 1) packed with jokes, 2) rude and offensive, and 3) a great night out, I braced myself for two hours of sniggering discomfort.  He ticked the first two off within the first minute, telling us ‘I’m in Worthing by choice; not my first choice’.  The local theme continued with a quick-fire set of rudeness, crudeness and toe-curling profanity.  Carr’s interaction with the audience formed a large part of the show, as unfortunate front-rower Glenn discovered.  With a collective air of ‘I really shouldn’t laugh at this…’, we got a stream of gags and observations ranging from the artificial insemination of pandas to a clarification that Steven Spielberg is not from Worthing.  Not a show you’d take your Granny (or Glenn’s mum) to; my jaw remains clenched at the thought of a lost golf ball story…

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Carr is the latest big name to visit Worthing. 2016 has so far hosted favourites including Ruby Wax, Russell Kane and Omid Djalili, and with visits from Ross Noble, Henning Wehn and Rob Brydon to look forward to, it seems we have some pull with the heavyweights.  So why are the stars eschewing the lure of larger Brighton venues in favour of our more intimate venues?  I’d like to say it’s down to the fact that we really know our stuff when it comes to having our ribs tickled, but given Carr’s much-publicised dabble in to the world of dubious taxation, along with a closing line of ‘thanks very much…for the money’, the more cynical may say it’s for financial reasons.  Surely not!  We’re blessed with three fantastic venues here, with the Pavilion Theatre, Connaught Theatre and Assembly Hall providing atmospheric surroundings right on our doorsteps.  Carr was vocal in his support for such venues, encouraging us to ‘use them or lose them’.  And with not a spare seat in the house the signs are good…

With a mission to provide family-friendly comedy in Worthing, Matt’s Comedy Club started life as a one-off community show at St Matthew’s Church back in 2008.  Going from strength to strength, and touring a number of venues to accommodate its growing popularity, the club arrived at its current Connaught Theatre venue in 2010.  With a range of events from open mic nights for aspiring locals, to hosting Edinburgh previews, this popular night has become a firm favourite on the comedy circuit, with Sara Pascoe already booked in for 2017.

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But it’s not just the stars of the big screen giving us reasons to be cheerful; also spreading local happiness is the Worthing Musical Comedy Society.  Formed in 1935, this charity stages two family-friendly productions every year, also at the Connaught Theatre.  With a successful run of Spamalot attracting hordes of Monty Python fans earlier this year, the group is now in rehearsals for an April production of Annie, in a mission to tunefully prove that You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile…

Who made you smile in Worthing this year?  Who would you like to see next?

Check out who’s up next in the world of Comedy in Worthing here: worthingtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/comedy