THE Mayor of Henley took to the stage at a charity comedy gala on Saturday night.
Stefan Gawrysiak warmed up the audience before the proper acts with some jokes by his favourite comedian Tommy Cooper.
Click here to see the Mayor in action
Wearing his mayoral chain and clutching a sheet of paper with his jokes written on it, he encouraged audience members to shout out the punchlines.
His gags included the classics “I went to buy some camouflage trousers today but I couldn’t see any” and “I went to a seafood disco last night and pulled a mussel”.
The Mayor namechecked the Three Tuns pub and Tesco and said Henley Partnership chairwoman Julie Perigo couldn’t be there because she had the norovirus.
“That’s meant to be a joke,” he said before adding that he wished her a speedy recovery.
Cllr Gawrysiak completed his routine with an original joke: “There were two caterpillars sitting on a leaf when a butterfly flew past. One caterpillar said to the other, ‘You’ll never get me up in one of those’.”
The gala, which took place at the town hall and was attended by more than 100 people, was in aid of Camp Mohawk, the children’s day centre near Wargrave, and raised more than £3,000.
The Mayor said: “It was a really enjoyable night and I think people appreciated the old-school type of jokes I told. It was a brilliant evening for Mohawk with some really good comedy acts.
“I was actually quite nervous because this was a paying audience who had come to see comedy and they had to watch me stand up and tell jokes.
“It went okay but I think a quick stint once a year is about the limit of my abilities. I can promise I won’t be pursuing comedy as a career!”
The evening was compered by Reading comedian Russ Powell and also featured Carly Smallman, Laura Lexx, Tom Glover and James Alderson.
The comics were keen to get the audience involved in the evening, including forming a guard of honour for acts and taking part in a heads and tails game where they had to guess the result of a series of coin tosses. The last man standing was Peter Douglas, who won a bottle of wine.
One of the biggest laughs of the night came when Lexx asked one man in the audience how long he had been married and he had to be told by his wife that the answer was 27 years.
Powell, 28, said: “It was a great night. We had a lovely full room with a really receptive audience. Everyone was laughing.”
Luke Jansen, general manager of Camp Mohawk, said it was better night than last year’s inaugural gala.
“It was a spectacular night with a really good turnout and everyone had a good time,” he said. “I hope we can make it an annual event.
“It’s wonderful that the Friends of Camp Mohawk get together and put on fund-raisers for us and we have come to rely on them.
“The money will go on supporting all the work we are doing as well as stuff like heating and bills. It’s not exciting but we need it to keep going.”
thought it would be good fun to enter so I gave it a try.
“I thought about doing some people in rowing boats but then I thought it would be a bit hard so I decided to do people on the bridge. I’m quite excited but quite nervous about standing in front of everybody next week.”
There were about 130 entries this year, which were judged by Cllr Gawrysiak, town councillors Jeni Wood and Pam Phillips and Henley Standard editor Simon Bradshaw. They will all be displayed in the foyer of the Regal Picturehouse cinema in Boroma Way for the next three weeks.
The two runners-up, who are yet to be announced, will win £30 worth of art supplies from Bagatelle Toys or a £30 voucher to spend at the Bell Bookshop.
Cllr Gawrysiak said: “I thoroughly enjoyed announcing the winners. It was great to go back into a school and do an assembly. The competition is a great stimulus for creativity — the children can talk among their friends about what their design will look like. The more creative things we can get into schools, the better.”