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Hebburn comic to perform at Sunday For Sammy

FAMILIAR FACES ... Jason Cook, second left, will be performing at this years Sunday For Sammy concert in Newcastle. He is pictured on the Hebburn set with, from left, Graham Duff, Tim Healey and Chris Ramsey.

FAMILIAR FACES ... Jason Cook, second left, will be performing at this years Sunday For Sammy concert in Newcastle. He is pictured on the Hebburn set with, from left, Graham Duff, Tim Healey and Chris Ramsey.

HEBBURN funnyman Jason Cook is returning to the stage that kick-started his comedy career to say “thank you”.

The comic is set to perform at this year’s annual Sunday For Sammy concert at Newcastle City Hall.

It will be a special day for the 40-year-old Hebburn lad, as it was the Sammy Johnson Foundation which gave him funding for his sketch show a decade ago.

It was also while performing in the concert that Jason decided he wanted to pursue a career in comedy.

The Sunday For Sammy concerts began in 2000 and were originally staged as a one-off performance to celebrate the life and work of Tyneside actor Sammy Johnson, who died in 1998.

His friends and colleagues, Tim Healey and Jimmy Nail, decided to invite Sammy’s friends to take part in a memorial concert, and it’s gone ahead annually ever since.

Jason said: “We applied to the Sammy Johnson Foundation for a performer’s grant. We had been going about three years by then, performing at the Hyena, in Newcastle.

“We sent in a video of some of our stuff just to show them what we were doing.

“They liked what we put in our application so we went in for a meeting with them and they asked if we’d do a five-minute sketch for them.

“We were absolutely over the moon and really nervous. The theme for all the Sunday For Sammys is a celebration of being Geordie and everything about the area, so we wrote a sketch about the Venerable Bede living in modern times and having a go at his agent for not getting him any more book deals.”

He added: “On the day we were terrified. None of us had slept a wink the night before, but once we got to the City Hall, all the Auf Wiedersehen, Pet lads made us feel very welcome, which calmed us down a bit.

“It was performing on that stage, to 2,500 people and getting laughs, I just thought, ‘I want more of this, this is want I want to do’.

“It was the next day that I decided to concentrate on nothing but comedy, and take it from a hobby to something I devoted pretty much my every waking hour to.”

Jason says that 10 years later, the nerves are still there.

He said: “I feel nervous all over again. I think it’ll feel weird on the night, like going back to school to say thank you to the headmaster or something.

“So much has changed in my life in the last 10 years and I can chart most of it back to that night. If I hadn’t done Sunday For Sammy, I don’t know where I’d be today.”

Jason was recently reunited with Tim when the actor appeared in his BBC2 sitcom, Hebburn.

He said: “It was great to have Tim on Hebburn. We had a laugh about the last time we had met and he was just the same, down-to-earth bloke I’d met all those years ago.”

He added: “We’ve got a third series all planned out. It’s got some of the best things we’ve ever thought of in it.

“The reception for series two was great, it felt like there was so much more love for the show this time round, and our audience is growing, so it’s nice to know new people are enjoying the little story of my wonderful home town.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki

 

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