THE founder of a hugely successful comedy night in Basingstoke is saying a final goodbye in her last ever show in the town after launching the event 16 years ago.

Jan Jack will host the final Laughter House Comedy Club ‘Goodbye from Us’ show at The Apollo Hotel on Thursday, November 23, when she will be joined by comedians Paul Tonkinson, Andy Askins and Aideen McQueen and MC Paul Cox.

Basingstoke Gazette: Paul Cox and Jan JackThe sold-out event will see Jan saying an emotional goodbye to more than 200 ticket holders.

Speaking to the Gazette, Jan explained why she decided to launch the club in 2007.

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The 64-year-old from Basingstoke said: “I was in corporate life and I was really unhappy. I was being bullied quite badly. In fact, they were doing it quite well. I developed a nervous twitch and my husband was really worried about me. He left me a letter saying ‘please do something else’ and ‘whatever happens we will manage’.”

Jan was earning a decent wage but her husband reassured her that her wellbeing was more important, and she took a leap of faith to launch Laughter House Comedy Club.

“I’ve never earned as much money but it’s a lovely feeling having a room full of people laughing their heads off,” she said.

Jan had limited experience of stand-up comedy, but discovered her passion after attending a comedy writing course and being told by the tutor she had a natural talent to make people laugh.

“He told me I was really funny,” said Jan, adding: “When we opened Laughter House we went for top end comedy and we have had some really great acts.”

The club started at the Red Lion at Basingstoke’s Top of Town before relocating to The Apollo Hotel in Popley to cater for a larger audience.

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Jan has decided to leave because she is hoping to relocate to the Yorkshire Dales in the new year. However, Laughter House shows will continue at the Apollo under a new promoter, Paul Cox.

Jan said her final show is set to be a special night but could be emotional.

“I have mixed feelings. I have seen so many names on the guest list of people who I haven’t seen for years who are coming along. My husband said ‘you do realise you might get a bit emotional’.”

She added: “I want to thank people from the bottom of my heart for keeping live comedy alive. Laughter, now more than ever, is so important.”