A COMEDIAN is in with a chance of being crowned the funniest woman in the country.

Comedian and actor Jane Postlethwaite of Hove is through to the Funny Women finals next Wednesday (September 23).

Starting out as one of 300 entries, she has emerged from each heat, including one in Brighton, to become one of ten finalists from across the UK.

Past winners and finalists include Brighton-based comic Zoe Lyons, Radio 4 panellist Susan Calman and celebrity Sarah Millican.

Miss Postlethwaite said: "I am so thrilled to be in the final. I am totally in love with comedy and feel I have found what I'm supposed to be doing.

"I am slightly obsessed - I read everything I can about comedy and watch as much as I can, especially live comedy.

"The previous winners are some of my favourite comedians around. Even the finalists have gone on to do amazing things.

"If I could follow in their footsteps, I'd be very happy."

The overall winner receives £2,000 cash, £500 of cosmetics, mentoring from a former winner, a session with a digital marketing agency to enhance their social media profile, a showreel and supported shows. It would be a welcome gift for Miss Postlethwaite, who turns 34 the same day.

She said: "I really want to win - it would be the best birthday present ever."

Miss Postlethwaite performed her first solo show Made In Cumbria at Brighton Fringe in May. It was inspired by her roots and was made up of five female comedy characters that were Northern, or associated with the North.

In Brighton Fringe 2014, where she performed as part of a troupe, she was nominated for a best female performer award.

For the Funny Women finals Miss Postlethwaite performs one of her characters, Joy Hope, who is a children's author and illustrator.

Her comedy influences include Julia Davies, League Of Gentlemen, Julie Walters, Victoria Wood, Maria Bamford and Chris Lilley.

Miss Postlethwaite added: "I think this year I feel confident and that is because of writing and performing at Brighton Fringe.

"Winning the competition would mean I could put the money towards taking my show to Edinburgh."

Miss Postlethwaite is currently writing a radio play, starting a podcast and has set up a free comedy night called the Bad Book Project at the Marwood Cafe, where comedians and actors read from awful books.

She added: "I have made some of my best friends on the circuit and would encourage people to see as much live comedy in the city as they can."

The final of this year's award will be held in King's Place, London, on September 23 and is hosted by the comdedian Kerry Godliman, a star from Ricky Gervais's show Derek.