REVIEW: Jason Cook's Comedy Club, The Customs House, South Shields
Jason Cook's Comedy Club celebrated its first anniversary and it's certainly a night I'll never forget.
The Hebburn funnyman has spent the last year bringing some of the best comedians from around the world to the Customs House.
With a year of comedy clubs and the first ever South Tyneside Comedy Festival done, it's obvious that exciting times are coming at the South Shields venue.
The fact that the nights are increasing from every other month to every month and continue to sell out every time says it all.
Jason kicked off proceedings and as ever, his off-the-cuff banter with the audience got everyone in high spirits.
He's one of those comics that doesn't need a script, just put him in front of an audience and he'll find complete hilarity.
Between the bloke who thought the war was still going on and the amorous couple in the front row to him gifting a couple celebrating their 11th wedding anniversary with a champagne bucket, there was some real comedy gold.
Seeing Jason so overcome with laughter that he dropped the microphone and doubled over was brilliant. He always says this is his favourite gig in the world, and it's mine too. He delivers absolutely every time.
Comic Mick Ferry was the first guest of the night and was absolutely brilliant.
He was rude, crude and pushed the boundaries by asking people in the audience really inappropriate questions that had you gasping in disbelief.
His stories of sex, fatherhood and the graphic description of his girlfriend giving birth had everyone in stitches. If you were there, I'm sure that like me, you'll never be able to look at a carrier bag the same way again.
Jarrow comic Carl Hutchinson took to the stage next.
His tales of everyday life struck a chord with everyone in the audience, particularly the lads.
His boxer short relegation system got big laughs and nods of recognition too, as did anecdotes of him trying to sneak snacks passed his parents from the kitchen to his bedroom as a youngster.
He stepped in at the last minute and was the perfect addition to a cracking night of comedy. I've seen Carl a lot of times, and he never fails to make me belly laugh. The audience loves him.
The regular News From The North spot was up next and it was a cracking one.
Inspired by a recent news story that revealed Cramlington as the North East's best commuter town, Jason took on the guise of mayors of various towns to comment in pre-recorded sections.
The regional stereotypes were hilarious and demonstrated what's so wonderful about this gig. The local references and humour are something that you could only get away with here, and the audience absolutely loved it.
Jason's comedy pal Steffen Peddie usually joins this segment, dressed in some ridiculous costume, but he was sadly unable to make it.
He was still part of the show though. He sent in a pre-recorded report on dogging that was just brilliant. The police officer that showed up during filming had everyone buckled.
What happened next was something I could have never been prepared for. At the end of this week, I'll be leaving the Gazette to move to London to start a new job at a national newspaper, and as you can imagine, I'm feeling a range of emotions at the minute. I'm incredibly excited but really sad to be moving on from a job I love and from my hometown - a place I'm incredibly passionate about. I'm a huge supporter of the Customs House and really believe that the talent we have here is second to none.
Jason began paying tribute to someone and I had no idea what was going on. Lights started flashing around the room and I turned to my friends to ask what was happening. Suddenly a spotlight landed on me and Jason thanked me for my support of the club and all the stories I've done on him throughout my time at the Gazette.
I was completely overcome with emotion, and when he got the audience to take to their feet and give me a standing ovation, I just burst into tears. I honestly couldn't believe it and I was truly humbled by what he did.
Markus Birdman got up next to turn that into tears of laughter though.
No topic went untouched. Whether it was politics, religion, disability, or relationships, he made us do those 'did he really just say that' laughs.
He shocked the entire audience - it was an absolute riot. He brought the house down to end what was an incredible night of comedy.
This is the last review of the comedy club that I'll do and I'm going to miss it so much.
I have no doubt they'll continue to sell out and Jason will continue to bring the greatest comics in the world right here to South Shields.