TWO of the country’s most famous comedians joined forces with up-and-coming comics to help raise more than £30,000 for a mental health charity.

Nish Kumar, presenter of TV’s The Mash Report, and Ed Gamble, who regularly appears on Mock the Week, joined a bill of seven comedians for two shows in aid of Oxfordshire Mind at the Oxford Playhouse.

Last Saturday’s Mind Comedy Gala was organised by Jericho Comedy, which is based at the Jericho Tavern, and also featured sets by Olga Koch, Chelsea Birkby and Heidi Regan. Also starring, and sharing compering duties, were Jericho Comedy’s Harry Househam and Alex Farrow.

More than £22,700 was raised at the sold-out evening and matinee performances at the 640-seat venue. When added to other fundraising by the comedy club, the total tops £30,000.

Some of the biggest laughs were reserved for headliner Nish, who delivered a no-holds barred dissection of Brexit. He also attacked popular hate figure Piers Morgan and led applause for a heckler who mocked the Good Morning Britain host for his attack on high street bakers Greggs selling vegan sausage rolls.

The comic, who admitted to being a “champagne socialist” and bragged about flying business class, recounted an amusing story of being almost arrested by the New York Police Department for carrying an open bottle of booze through Manhattan.

Also hilarious was Ed Gamble, who shared tales of his father, a sensible retired lawyer, who has acquired a pet cat and insists on emailing the vet as the cat itself. His description of the cat contacting the vet at the end of its life to arrange its own death had the house in tears of laughter.

A surprise hit was Chelsea Birkby, whose innocent appearance and nervous demeanour belied an hilarious set peppered with cheeky adult humour.

Harry said the day had been a huge success, with the delight of seeing the crowd enjoy themselves mixed with relief that nothing had gone wrong. He said: “It was a great day. We had only planned on staging one show, but it sold out three months in advance so Mind organised the matinee. Both were absolutely brilliant – and I was surprised they went without a hitch.

“It was surreal seeing Nish and Ed turn up. I have seen them perform and love their shows but it didn’t feel real seeing them turn up for us.”

The event followed last year’s inaugural gala, which brought James Acaster, Rachel Parris and Ivo Graham to the Old Fire Station. Next year they hope to go even bigger, possibly graduating to the New Theatre.

Harry said: “We are on a good upwards trajectory. We want to have a different line-up every year and if you book a bigger venue, bigger names are more willing to come.”

  • Olga Koch returns to Jericho Comedy at the Jericho Tavern next Friday. Tickets from
  • Ed Gamble plays The North Wall Oxford next Saturday. The show is sold out