HAVE you heard the one about the ailing patriarch? It's a cracker! Picture the scene in the Great Wall Sheraton, Beijing, in March when entertainment-starved expatriates and locals alike will be slapping their thighs and rolling about the floor as part of an intriguing promotion by STAR TV's John Moorhead. Moorhead, who has been trying to keep the flames of comedy burning in Hong Kong over the past year, has finally managed to secure a couple of healthy sponsorship deals which mean he can bring top international comedians to this part of the world. And by that, we mean the capital of the PRC. Thanks to some help from those funny guys at Finnair, Moorhead will be introducing three top comedians from London's The Jongleurs club on March 21, 22 and 23. Tipped to top the bill is Bob Mills, who has just launched his own TV show in Britain. 'The people there [Beijing] guaranteed me they would be able to attract 300 to 350 people each night,' said Moorhead. 'They reckon there are 20,000 expats up there starved of entertainment.' So confident are all those involved that they intend to stage comedy shows four times a year. So what does all this mean for us down in Hong Kong where all Moorhead's efforts to secure sponsorship came to nothing? 'At the moment, the whole thing is totally separate from Hong Kong,' said Moorhead. 'But it would be nice to make it part of a tour.' It's not all gloom and doom down here, though. The Hong Kong Comedy Club re-emerges on February 12 at the Godown (for the first time since the restaurant/bar moved). Heading the bill will be Irish comedian Owen Kavanagh, who recently emigrated to Melbourne (there's got to be a joke there). The local supporting artistes are Harry Finger, folk music deejay Marshall Hughes and Weston Jost.