What Makes You Laugh?
Let’s be honest, we all like a good old laugh, and for many of us it has been a sense of humour that’s helped us through the past few months.
And here’s the good news: small venues are THE best place to experience live comedy so as lockdown eases, if you have the chance to go to a show it’s an opportunity you should grab with both hands!
Of course you want to see Peter Kay or Michael MacIntyre live, but unless you’ve re-mortgaged your house for a front row seat, you’re basically going to be watching them on a big TV screen a couple of hundred foot away.
Smaller venues let you see the act as they’re meant to be seen: up close and personal. You, them, and a small audience, all connecting. You are as much a part of the experience as the person on stage.
Comedians love small audiences because they can get a feel for them and play to them. It makes every show unique and everyone in the audience gets to feel they’re a part of the show.
And by this, we mean heckling! A bit of polite(ish) banter makes a fun night for everyone but only if you can hear it properly, so this is where smaller venues come into their won.
Here’s a tip: if you’re with mates and one of them has a birthday coming up or you’re on a stag or hen do, make sure you get word to the act about it. Your mate will love you for it! 😉
Smaller venues are the venue of choice for new talent AND established comedians to try out new material. They love seeing the audience’s reaction and will make it as fresh and cutting edge as they can. And if you like it controversial, this is the place they’ll see how far they can go!
Every single top comedian started out being heckled in smaller bars and clubs. And if you’re lucky enough to have a venue like the Comedy Store or The Glee Club close by, even better. You could be seeing the birth of the next Lee Evans, Lenny Henry or Sarah Millican.
Do look out for the big names doing a test run in a smaller venue. Some will be advertised – and some won’t! You might be enjoying a pint at your local open mic night and someone like Eddie Izzard or Micky Flanagan will suddenly appear.
Or there are international acts who are huge stars in their own country and little heard of here in the UK. People like Basile the Greek, whose brash style of comedy packs out the Las Vegas Strip but recently did a run of small but hugely successful shows over here.
Living Off the Wall
So far we’ve talked about stand-up comedians but comedy comes in all shapes and sizes – solo, duos, troupes. Conventional, alternative, controversial. Satire. Slapstick. Sometimes for families – sometimes blue! There’s all sorts of weird wonderful ways to make people laugh – George Egg, for instance, the comedy cook whose show entails demonstrating how to use hotel facilities like an iron, trouser press and kettle to produce a three course meal, which the audience can then eat. That sort of thing.
It’s a Great Night Out
Comedy in small venue is a different experience to a big one. In a small venue not only do you get a great show but it’s more of a night out with your mates. Have a drink, have a laugh, bit of banter, and you’ll still have change for a quick kebab and taxi after.