Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball search for next British comedy star- Finalists announced


The final five up-and-coming acts competing for the chance to perform the gig of their life at this year’s Secret Policeman’s Ball in New York City have been announced. The winner, to be chosen by public vote in the next few days at the Secret Policeman’s Ball Facebook page will be flown to the US and perform their winning 15 seconds of stand up at the biggest comedy show in the world on Sunday 4th March.

The judging panel of author and journalist Caitlin Moran, comedian Peter Serafinowicz who will be appearing in the show, actor and writer Simon Bird, comedian Andi Osho, 11-time Emmy Award winning writer of The Daily Show David ‘DJ’ Javerbaum, who is head writer of this year’s Secret Policeman’s Ball, and Amnesty International’s Maggie Paterson have chosen the finalists from the cream of budding UK comedians who entered their 15 second performance. The finalists are:

Christian Talbot, a 39 year old stand-up from Northern Ireland who watched the last Secret Policeman’s Ball from the audience

Haiste and Lawrence, who started performing as a duo only last year and performed their own show at the Edinburgh Festival

Piff the Magic Dragon, a comedy and cabaret deadpan dragon from ‘by the sea’ who has already performed at the Blackpool Grand and The Roundhouse

Martin Croser, the 30 year old, originally from Carlisle, who since moving to London three years ago has performed across the capital with his unique brand of stand-up

Chris Turner, a 22 year old stand-up from Manchester who has worked as a stand-up since leaving university last year where he first started performing

Comedy fans can now view all five finalists’ 15 seconds at the Secret Policeman’s Ball Facebook page and vote for their favourite. Voting closes on Monday 27th February and the winner will join stars including Russell Brand, Noel Fielding, Sarah Silverman, Statler and Waldorf of Disney’s The Muppets, Jon Stewart, and Jack Whitehall, in New York.

Quotes from the Finalists

“To appear in The Secret Policeman’s Ball alongside some of my comedy heroes would be a dream come true, especially as I was sat in the audience at the 2008 ball at the Royal Albert Hall”, said Christian Talbot from County Down, Northern Ireland.

“Being part of the great tradition of The Secret Policeman’s Ball would be utterly thrilling. If we win we promise to cheer you up and we’ll be flattered and humbled,” said Greg Haiste from Headingly, Leeds who performs alongside Marie Lawrence.

Piff the Magic Dragon said “I think Piff will go down well. According to the song there’s Englishmen in New York, so it’ll be good to have a dragon.”

Martin Croser commented, “It would be lovely to win and it’s a wonderful bill to appear on. It would be great to get my bit out of the way, enjoy the show and see New York City.”

“I’m a big fan of US comedy and especially Sarah Silverman and Stephen Colbert. To perform alongside the cream of comedy at The Secret Policeman’s Ball would be extremely special,” said Chris Turner who lives in Oxford and has worked full time as a stand-up since graduating last year.

About The Secret Policeman’s Ball

The Secret Policeman’s Ball is a world famous comedy event which celebrates freedom of expression with the very best within the arts and entertainment industry.  Established in 1976, The Secret Policeman’s Ball used anarchic humour to throw a spotlight on human rights abuses.

View latest press releases