Hundreds of comedy fans got a huge surprise at Hartlepool’s Hot Potato Comedy Club.
But not as big a surprise as Samantha Coxon, when her partner Dave Goodwin invited her on stage and asked her to marry him.
Thankfully, Samantha said yes straightaway – much to the delight of the almost 300-strong audience and comics led by compere Matt Reed.
Dave, a lecturer at Hartlepool College of Further Education and Samantha, a practice assistant at Havelock Grange Surgery in Hartlepool have been together for just over four years.
The happy couple had discussed marriage before, but the proposal still came as a complete shock to Samantha.
Dave said: “We’ve been talking about getting married for a while, and Samantha has always said ‘Whatever you do, surprise me.’ So I went right ahead and surprised her.
“I’d kept it very much a secret, but we’d been to Hot Potato a few times before and aways really enjoyed it. We’re both from the town, and it just seemed the perfect place to pop the question.
“The comics had been talking about relationships, and I thought ‘this is the right time, take a deep breath and go for it.’
“So I nipped backstage during the interval and asked Matt if I could propose on stage. Matt was absolutely brilliant and helped set the scene, and the crowd was
“It was a big risk, but I wanted it to be memorable for Samantha – and it certainly was.
“My legs were wobbling a bit, but I love Samantha to bits and wanted people to know it. So thank goodness she said ‘yes’ straightaway.”
Samantha said: “I had no inkling at all. Not until Dave was handed the microphone and told ‘do what you’ve got to do,’ and then I started panicking a bit – especially when the audience started cheering when Dave invited me on stage.
“But it was a wonderful surprise and I’ve been on cloud nine ever since – I just haven’t stopped smiling.
“Matt Reed was absolutely fantastic. He was so warm and funny, and really helped make it a very memorable night for us both.”
The happy couple are now taking their time before setting a wedding date.
“We’re still buzzing and getting over the surprise,” said Samantha. “The first priority is an engagement party in the new year and then crack on from there.”
Matt Reed said: “It was a lovely night. Dave popped backstage and asked if he could propose, so we plotted about how to get him onstage as unsuspiciously as possible.
“Both of them were terrified, and Dave very nearly mucked it up when I said ‘are you happy in your relationship?’ He said ‘I could be happier’ and got booed.
“So I calmed the crowd down and asked ‘well, how could you be happier?’ He said ‘well, if my girlfriend would join me on stage …..’ and the rest is history.
“The Town Hall Theatre is a gorgeous room to play, and the place obviously means a lot to both Dave and Samantha. And that made it as grand a gesture as any
location anywhere in the world. It was a memorable night all round.”
Peter Vincent of promoters Ten Feet Tall said: “We’ve been involved in hundreds of gigs over the years, but that’s the first time we’ve ever had a marriage proposal on stage. We’re absolutely thrilled for Dave and Samantha and, if this keeps up, we might have to think about putting a vicar on standby at all our gigs in future.”