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Comics prepare to Smile; Local funnymen in line for top award.

Byline: By CATHERINE JONES

HEAVYWEIGHT comic Johnny Vegas is up for a top comedy award.

The St Helens funnyman is lining up against other big names from Merseyside in the shortlist for the prize.

Keith Carter and John Bishop are also in the running to be named top comic for the north west The hotlyfought contest for the Smile gong will come to a head at an awards ceremony in Manchester next Friday.

Vegas is up against the Early Doors cast, Shameless star David Thelfall and Steve Edge, from the show I'm With Stupid, in the best comedic performance on film and TV category.

Carter, best known for his stage creation Nige, is one ofthe contenders in the best breakthrough in comedy section.

Liverpudlian John Bishop, a winner in 2004, is nominated in three categories for 2005 - best stand-up on the northwest circuit, best comedic writing, and best comedy content in a radio show for his regular appearance on Radio City.

He said: "I'd rather have a big egg-andspoon race with winner takes all."

They are going head-to-head performers well-known to Liverpool audiences including Alan Carr, Seymour Mace and Chris Addison.

Meanwhile, Liverpool's Laughter House is in the running for best comedy club, taking on the likes of Manchester's Comedy Store.

Christine Petyt from sponsors Smile said: "The awards reflect the growing profile of comedy. There are so many gifted comics coming through the ranks I'd be hard pushed to pick a short-list, let alone a winner."

Judges include Laughter House founder Adam Franklin and Tom Hunter of Radio City and the Liverpool Comedy Trust.

The public have the chance to vote for their favourite in the best comedic performance in a soap category.

Cast your vote by logging on to www.thenorthwestsmileawards.com

CAPTION(S):

IN THE MIX: Keith Carter; FUNNYMAN: John Bishop; HEAVYWEIGHT: St Helens comic Johnny Vegas
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 21, 2005
Words:310
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