IN 2010, seemingly healthy 40-year-old stand-up comedian Markus Birdman woke up blind as the result of a stroke.
Still partially sighted, it's a brush with death he's seized hold of as part of his stand-up show.
He said: "Let me tell you, there's nothing like something like this to hammer home the point that life is precious and you need to enjoy it – and stick your fingers up to your own certain demise."
Indeed, Birdman, who headlines the Christmas show at Leek Comedy Club tomorrow, Thursday, December 5, and who's featured on television, and is a regular at London's Comedy Store, is one always to seek the absurdities in life.
He said: "I lost all three of my parents at an early age when they leapt from a hot air balloon wearing parakeets.
"They weren't dyslexic, they were idiots.
"Only my father left a goodbye note saying he would miss us all. Sadly this proved not to be the case when he landed smack bang on top of my elder brother."
An original and highly talented stand-up, opening act Dominic Woodward, meanwhile, gave up his job in McDonald's to pursue a career in stand-up.
He's been 'lovin' it' ever since, a circuit regular previously nominated for 'best breakthrough act' at the Northwest Comedy Awards.
With support from Adam Rushton and Pete Phillipson, and ever bubbly compere Lou Conran, it's the best way to get an early festive laugh this Christmas.
Leek Comedy Club will be staged at the Foxlowe Arts Centre in Market Place, Leek.
Doors open at 8pm for an 8.30pm start. Tickets £7 available at www.funhousecomedy.co.uk, or on the door.
After six years of running the successful Leek Comedy Club, organiser John Woodhouse has decided to step down.
He said: "I'd like to thank everyone who has come along to support live comedy in Leek over the years.
"I've had lots of fun doing it and made a lot of new friends.
"After six years making people cringe I'm moving on from running the club but hope it will carry on in some shape or form."