Dalston off the wall sketch act performs in top comedy competition tomorrow

The Dog-Eared Collective can be seen in New Act of the Year audition

Dalston-based off-beat comedy sketch group, The Dog-Eared Collective, hope their surreal anarchic sketches will make them stand out from the crowd in this year’s New Act of the Year (NATY) competition.

Heats are underway for the 29th Hackney Empire New Act of the Year, which is spending its first year away from the theatre that used to bear its name.

The show, which has acted as an industry launch pad for the likes of Little Britain’s Matt Lucas, and stand up comedians Eddie Izzard, Russell Brand and Harry Hill, is now known as the New Act of the Year (NATY).

The Dog-Eared Collective quartet - Kathryn Hanke, James Huntington, Joanna Hutt and Jenny Thomson – bask in the “joyous silliness” of life.

“In our last show we had extreme Morris dancing, we danced with dynamite and knives, we think that makes us larger than life and that is what our audience come back for,” said Kathryn.

“Anything we parody is a celebration of the things we find ridiculous in life, but we don’t do sarcasm, we want to give our audience a sense of being uplifted.

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“A lot of sketch groups are more satirical, it’s got an inherent negative quality, but with our stuff we always like to be enthusiastic so the things we mock are often the things we really enjoy,” she explained, admitting they do all enjoy Morris dancing on the side.

Being a sketch act has its ups and downs - if the get a bad gig they’re able to support each other, but they’ve found that in live gigs it can be harder for the audience to connect with their surreal take on life.

“Stand ups work from observations, which are easy for the audience to ride along with, and it can be difficult for the audience to submit themselves to a wild parody abstract act,” said Kathryn.

“We would all love to give the jobs up and do this, but as long as we keep making people laugh it’s all worthwhile.”

The Dog-Eared Collective can be seen in The Comedy Caf� in Rivington Street, Shoreditch tomorrow (Monday, February 21.)

Auditions run every Tuesday until March 8 at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green Road and Monday February 21 at the Comedy Caf� in Rivington Street, Shoreditch, Monday February 28 at Greenwich Theatre Bar, Crooms Hill, SE10, and Monday March 7 at Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Twelve acts from the 150 entrants will go through to the final at the Barbican on Saturday March 19 hosted by Arthur Smith.