THE people who enjoy making the North-East laugh, Newcastle Comedy Festival, are putting on free workshops to help the next generation of laughter-makers.

This Sunday afternoon and every second last Sunday in the month, free workshops for Absolute Begrinners are being held at Newcastle's Hyena Caf between 1pm and 4pm.

Evening performances then give new performers the chance to raise a smile during a showcase.

Budding stand-ups and writers should ring Fiona Evans on 0191-230 4406. Tickets for the Absolute Begrinners showcase are £2 and available on 0191-2326030.

The workshops are run by professional comedians and writers who have so far included Johnny Vegas, Arnold Brown, from television's Comic strip and Paul Tonkinson of the Big Breakfast.

Future dates are: April 22, Jo Caulfield; May 20, Dave Johns and June 17, Stewart Lee