CROYDON has been the butt of many a comedian's jokes in the past - but now a trio of local funnymen are proving our comics are able to raise a laugh or two of their own.
Three Croydon comics have made it to the final of a renowned comedy competition, previous finalists of which include Catherine Tate, Russell Brand and Harry Hill.
Paul Taylor and comedy ensemble Four Screws Loose, two members of which are from Norbury, will take part in the final of the 30th New Acts of The Year Showcase (NATYS).
The comedians were selected from 175 entrants.
Thom Ford and Conan House live together in Norbury, and are one half of the physical comedy act Four Screws Loose, along with Joseph Elliott and Richard Caine, who live in Mile End.
The ensemble, who have gained a credible reputation thanks to performances at the Edinburgh Festival as well as other appearances around the country, are looking forward to their five-minute spot in the show.
Conan, 24, who like all of his cast mates is a special needs teacher, said: "I don't know about the others but my long-term goal is to be able to do this full time.
"The guys really are my best friends. I love working with them and making people laugh. We decided to enter the competition because it is quite prestigious and if we win another good thing to put on the CV.
"I think Croydon has a lot of young creative people out there. It is such a diverse place and with many sorts of different people, of course comedians and artists and that kind of thing are going to come from here."
The comedy troupe will be doing a routine that they know gets the crowd laughing every time – a five-minute music mash-up telling the story of the Titanic.
Thom, 24, said: "Some of the people who have performed and won at the NATYS before are legends, which is why it was so exciting for us to get picked.
"We all enjoy our day jobs, we wouldn't do them if we didn't, but the real dream is to be able to perform with my friends full time. We are also writing television shows which we are really hoping will get picked up, and this can only help. We aren't traditional comedians so to speak, we are very physical and think out of the box. I hope everyone enjoys it."
Four Screws Loose are up against Upper Norwood's Paul Taylor, who has described his routine as "a little bit out there and abstract".
Paul, 34, is so committed to his art that he will gig up to five times a week and does odd jobs here and there to keep himself afloat. He said: "I know a lot of comedians come out of Croydon, I'm not sure why but I love living here. I can see all over London from where I live.
"It is a renowned show so to be a part of it is really exciting, though I've been doing this for five years now so I don't know if I will be nervous.
"I just always wanted to be a comedian but I got a normal job as everyone does and I just wasn't satisfied. I got to 29 and I thought well, I'm getting older, so if I don't do it now I never will. I'm really hoping this will help me in the future."
The Croydon comedians will perform along with the other finalists at the Bloomsbury Theatre on January 27.
An industry judging panel that includes programmers, reviewers and bookers will declare one act the 2013 winners.