WHEN asked what it felt like to be handing over the Comedy Club, AIDS awareness activist and Comedy Club founder Mike Sinclair claimed ruefully: ''It's like a mother being wrenched away from her infant child. ''Actually, I've got rid of a bloody headache in my life,'' Sinclair added quickly. The two responses probably sum up the fun and frustrations of establishing Hongkong's - and apparently Southeast Asia's - one and only regular comedy spot. On March 29, 1992, Mike stood up at the Godown and delivered the first of what was to become a regular, once a month Sunday attraction for comedy-starved Hongkong. The demand was soon obvious - the last Sunday of every month soon found 200 people packed into the restaurant-cum-nightclub's dungeon-like premises taking in whatever was on offer. And sometimes it has not been world class standard - ''There have been a lot of slow, painful deaths,'' Sinclair admitted. But the Comedy Club night has proved that ''people do like live humour, even if it is of a varying, questionable standard.'' Sinclair has made his exit because his workload is too demanding and his health is suffering. Entertainment promotions company, Wild Palms, is stepping into the spotlight. While their aim is to keep the raw essence of the Comedy Club, a little tightening up and the luring of sponsorship deals is planned - and a decent sound system is top of the list. The two women behind Wild Palms, Ann Houston and Bambi Watkins, were approached about three months ago when word got around that Sinclair was looking to hand over his baby. Scouts are now looking for talent in Los Angeles, London and New York and it is hoped that within two months, the first overseas guests will make their appearance. They'll be looking for ''professionals on the way up'' who, for an airfare, accommodation and the chance to see Asia, will take on Hongkong, said Watkins. ''Word is spreading that Asia is the place to be,'' said Houston, who has just returned from the States. ''They still see Asia as exotic. I think they'll definitely be interested in playing to a different kind of audience and having a way of getting here.'' Locally, popular regulars John Moorhead and Paul Harrington will be on stage on Sunday June 27 when the new management presents its first Comedy Club. Acting as MC on the night will be Matt Hackett. Sinclair has warned against attempts to turn it into a ''Broadway spectacle'', and Wild Palms agree with the thinking. ''We plan to build on it, let it take a natural progression. The formula which exists is very successful - we're not going to turn it glitzy,'' Watkins said. But they are looking to give it a more stable financial footing and hope that within a short period of time, there will be up to three regular comedy nights every month around Hongkong. And offers of venues are already coming in - a far cry to just one year ago when Mike took to the stage for what he thought would be a one off event. ''When I was given the offer of the Sunday spot at the Godown, everyone said it was ridiculous, that it wasn't going to work,'' Sinclair recalled. ''But I prepared one hour of sketches and hoped that I'd do it, survive and not have to leave Hongkong the next day . . . we've packed the audience in ever since.'' While stand-up comedy is not a traditional part of Chinese live entertainment as it has become in the West, the new team wants to expand the now predominantly expat audience and offer performances that a Chinese audience can relate to. And they want to get the audience more involved - get them heckling and booing off the dud acts, while giving a loud reception for the ones who give them a good laugh. Sinclair remembers the first few nights when audiences ''didn't know how to respond in this sort of situation and were generally very polite. They actually had to learn how to react''. But the true spirit of stand-up comedy seems to be catching on and a heckling, more discriminating comedy audience is evolving in Hongkong. The plans of Wild Palms sound ''good and distinctly possible'' to creator Sinclair as he hands over the reins. But he won't be out of the limelight completely, he hopes to be back for a spot now and then.