Want to try stand-up comedy? Here’s how to do it…

It’s a new year and many of us come up with wild plans to change ourselves or the world for the better. Some are more realistic than others, and trying to get into stand-up comedy often feels more like a pipe-dream than something that can actually happen. But what would a not-for-profit, makeshift local comedy website be if it didn’t help you realise your stand-up ambitions. Whether those ambitions are to force yourself to tell a few jokes in front of a couple of Welsh strangers or to rock Live at the Apollo, this article may give you the tips and the confidence to get up there. (Please note, the desired outcome is most likely to be the former rather than the latter).

We’ve got in touch with a couple of the friendly figures in the Cardiff comedy scene to help you make your first steps onstage…

Col Howarth runs Crafty Laughs at the Cambrian Tap, a free comedy night the first Tuesday of the month. He says it’s all about networking:

“Contact promoters and explain that you are starting out, and be honest about how many gigs you have done. There are spots out there for all levels. The South Wales circuit is supportive of new acts and there are a number of promoters who are always willing to give newbies their first spot.

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“My night – Crafty Laughs at the Cambrian Tap runs on the first Tuesday of every month and has run since Sept 2015. I’ve had plenty of acts do their first spot with me in front of a supportive and friendly audience, and they have come away feeling like they have been bitten by the bug, and wanting to crack on and get as much stage time as possible.

As well as that, Clint Edwards runs Drones Comedy Club at Chapter Arts Centre twice a month. I did my first spot there and countless others have too.

One of the best things to do would be to join the comedy forums and groups on Facebook as this is where promoters list their events so you can see what’s going on and who to contact. This is where they often advertise free spots too.

If you are willing to travel then join Facebook comedy groups further afield and start noticing what’s going on in the areas you are willing to travel to. If you are a driver then nothing boosts your popularity quite like offering to drive a carload of acts to a gig as this makes life easier for promoters and not a lot of acts drive. A lot of acts often book gigs first and then think about how they are going to get there – and that’s where an act who drives comes in very handy! You can spend time with more experienced acts that way and learn a lot from the car-share experience.

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Once into your first gigs the trick is to network and ask for spots from some of the promoters you meet, or to ask how you would go about getting a spot on their night. For some, the fact that you are new is not a problem, whilst for others, depending on the level of the night, they may suggest that you clock up more gigging experience and approach them again further down the line. You soon start to build networks of acts in different geographical regions: the South West, Midlands etc, and suddenly you are gigging all over the country.”

Robin Morgan runs the Buffalo Comedy night, which happens every first Sunday month of the month, but now he’s based in London writing for things like Radio 4’s The Now Show. Lucky sod. He says:

“I watched a lot of comedy before doing my first gig, both as a fan, and while working at the Glee behind the bar. I think I learnt a lot. But watching local comics is a good way to see what is expected, and what works and what doesn’t. Write 5 minutes. Keep perfecting that until it’s near-enough bulletproof. Then a 7. Then a 10. Then a 15. Then a 20.

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“And gig loads. And far away. Gig miles are really important. But other than that: don’t listen to advice. Everyone’s different. Watching loads of comedy might not be good for someone else, they could go into it with a fresh mind. So just get up there and do it.”

So there you have it laughter-lovers. “Don’t listen to advice.” And with that, the point of this article vanished into obscurity. Cheers Robin. There’s nowhere to go from here other than up on that stage.

We’ll be posting up a list of regular gigs and open-mic nights soon. Stay tuned to Cardiff Comedy Hub or risk doing the day-job forever.

Comedian buys entire Cardiff Glee Club audience donuts

They say the Christmas period is a time for giving. Well, one comic visiting Cardiff took that notion very seriously this week.

Mark Olver, who’s a comedian based in Bristol, made Cardiff Glee Club history on Thursday’s ‘Comedy Carousel’ night when he provided each and every audience member – 300 of them – with their very own donut.

He then played a sex-based postcode lottery game with both the audience and the donuts.

The game involved Mark shouting out the name of a postcode and getting people to cheer if they’d had sex in that postcode.

He told Cardiff Comedy Hub that “combining it with the donuts came to [him] earlier in the day”.

Mark said: “The donut thing was just that it was the last Carousel, I love Clint [Edwards] and Robin [Morgan] and the last time I did it I performed holding two flaming candelabras and needed to top that”.

However, Mark didn’t quite plan to buy that many donuts: “I thought there would only be about 50 people in so I thought a big fun stupid gesture would be funny and appropriate. I then found out there were 300 people in but by then I’d already decided and so I bought 300 donuts.”

 

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A couple in the audience enjoying their holy treats. Photo credit: Robin Morgan @robinjaymorgan

Mark doesn’t just buy donuts for everyone. He just has a real thing for Cardiff Glee: “It’s a great club, ace staff, great sound and lights – just made for comedy. The gigs I’ve ran have always had an informal air where anything can happen. This was just something silly to do at the Glee because I like it so much there.”

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Mark Olver describes the sexy-donut-postcode-lottery game to the Cardiff Glee audience. Photo credit: Robin Morgan @robinjaymorgan

Of course, ’tis the season to stuff one’s face, so the donuts went down a treat. The stunt received a raucous reception. Cardiff Glee’s manager James Allen even said the words: “Won’t ever forget that!”

So there you have it folks, if your New Year’s Resolution is to see more comedy then what bigger incentive do you need?!

Cardiff Glee Club are saying goodbye to their Thursday ‘Comedy Carousel’ night. New plans for the night will be decided on in the new year. We’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Happy New Year Cardiff laughter-lovers!

 

A Christmas message from Santa’s standby Sarah Breese

Sarah Breese bloody loves Christmas. She also bloody loves Cardiff comedy. As well as regularly co-hosting at Comedy Carousel at Cardiff’s Glee Club, she runs Odd Night Out which produces and promotes nights across South Wales. Sarah also recently performed stand-up for Made in Cardiff TV for Comedy Sheep and joked about how archeologists from the future would see her “as an 11-year-old boy from Primark”. It’s very funny.

As the above suggests, she is a very jolly lady. Therefore it seemed only right to grant her a festive message on Cardiff Comedy Hub this festive season:

“I bloody LOVE Christmas!

It’s not necessarily the presents. Because if you’re a comedian, surviving December is usually reward enough. But it’s been a hell of a year.

We’ve all seen gigs go well, gigs go badly. Unplayable rooms. Badly timed buffets. The dreaded raffle. Jokes going wrong, and brilliant comics turning it around. Jokes going right, and brilliant comics ignored anyway.

Car shares. Controversies. Cancellations. Competitions (because apparently we weren’t shitting it enough before gigs already). Solo shows with local acts smashing it on a whole new level, and familiar faces getting some (much deserved) national recognition.

Promoters running gigs for no money, no thanks, and sometimes, no audiences, but putting in the hours anyway because they’re legends.

And those lovely stupid bastards who come out in all weathers just to watch us tell jokes, whether we’ve finished writing them or not.

So, thanks, 2016. Cardiff comedy, you did great.

The rest of the world, on the other hand…

Merry Christmas you comedy fucks. xx”

If regular TV just isn’t doing it for you this festive season, you can catch up on Comedy Sheep’s stand-up here. It features Sarah as well as a handful of other brilliant Cardiff comics.

Merry Christmas to all you laughter-loving Cardiffians from Cardiff Comedy Hub! Have an alcohol-induced day of joy!

Comedians coming to Cardiff in 2017

We’re a big fan of home-grown comedy here at Cardiff Comedy Hub but that doesn’t stop us from getting a little excited when someone from the tele’s in town. If you’re stuck for that last minute Christmas present for someone who loves a laugh, have a gander through the big names bringing tours to the Welsh capital next year and get booking.

MILES JUPP – Tuesday 24th January, St David’s Hall

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“Astronauts. Regrets.  The sexes.  Social Media.  Hipsters.  Poo.  Rage.  Medicine.  Manners.  Identity.  Lost stuff.  Other stuff.

Miles Jupp, (stand-up, actor writer, thinker, father, husband,, worrier, fool, star of Rev. and host of The News Quiz) hits the road in a freshly-ironed shirt and some robust trousers and tries to make some bloody sense of it all.”

Tickets are £17. Book them here.

STEPHEN K.AMOS – Thursday 26th January, St David’s Hall

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“Globe-trotting laughter master Stephen K Amos returns with his new tour show. In the last twelve months, Stephen has performed his unique brand of feel-good comedy all over England, Scotland, Wales, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Spain, Australia, Tazmania, New Zealand, and the Seychelles. And what did he find when he got there? People. People like you and me and some of them said the most ridiculous things. To his face! All that, and more in a brand new tour show for 2016-2017.”

Tickets are £16. Book them here. 

JACK WHITEHALL – 7-8th February, Motorpoint Arena

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“The follow up to his ground-breaking debut arena show, JACK WHITEHALL: AT LARGE will be the biggest tour ever from one of the UK’s hottest comedy stars. Fresh from hosting the Royal Variety Performance and starring in Bad Education and A League Of Their Own, this is your chance to catch Jack at his dynamic best, live on stage!”

Tickets from £25.50. Book them here. 

BIANCA DEL RIO – Wednesday 8th February, St David’s Hall

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“Season 6 winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race, self-professed “clown in a gown”, Bianca Del Rio brings her new stand-up show, Not Today Satan to the UK for the first time! This hilariously hateful comic is known for her foul mouth and unapologetic humour with The NY Times calls her “The Joan Rivers of the Drag World,” and Joan Rivers herself called Bianca’s humour “So funny! So sharp!” Based on her sold-out world comedy tour, her first standup special, “Rolodex of Hate”.”

Standard tickets are £35 (VIP tickets available). Book them here.

PAUL FOOT – Tuesday 16th Feb, The Glee Club

 

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“In Paul’s first new show in two years, Professor Ketchup and his camembert piglet join forces as he tackles the big issues such as terrorism. Plus Ant ‘n Dec, Immigration X-Factor and breakfast.”

Tickets are £13. Book them here.

IAIN STIRLING – Thursday 23rd Feb, The Glee Club

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You may recognise his voice as the narrator of ITV2’s “Love Island” or recognise his face as the host of Scottish BAFTA (best children’s show) award winning panel show “The Dog Ate my Homework” (CBBC). Join Iain for a brand new show about the perceptions of a generation and whole host of other topics.” 

Tickets are £12. Book them here.

SUE PERKINS – Sunday 26th Feb, Millennium Centre

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“Based on her hilarious Sunday Times No. 1 best-selling memoir Spectacles. Join Sue for an evening full of sparkling wit, tall tales and a user’s guide to Mary Berry. Sue is best known for being one quarter of double act Mel and Sue. In 2008 she won the BBC show Maestro culminating in her conducting at The Last Night of the Proms. She has created the acclaimed travel documentary The Mekong River with Sue Perkins, hosts new shows Insert Name Here and Spelling Bee and is a regular on Have I Got News For You, Just a Minute, QI and The News Quiz ….and there’s that cake show on BBC1.”

Tickets are £23.50 (only a few left). Book them here.

RICKY GERVAIS – 6-7th March, Motorpoint Arena

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“Considered one of the most influential British comedians since Charlie Chaplin, (received the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy 2016 BAFTA/LA) Ricky Gervais is returning to stage with his first stand-up tour in seven years: Humanity.”

Tickets from £25. Book them here.

LEE NELSON – Sunday 12th March, St David’s Hall

 

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“After getting into trouble for sneaking into places he shouldn’t be, Lee Nelson is back where he most definitely should be: live on stage with his brand-new, laugh-out-loud, best ever stand-up show.”

Tickets are £20. Book them here.

RUSSELL HOWARD – 13-14th March, Motorpoint Arena

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“The new tour will see Russell, wherever possible, performing ‘in the round’ to the audience as he plays to his existing fans and new global viewers of Russell Howard’s Good News.”

Tickets from £25.50. Book them here.

STEWART LEE – Sunday 26th March, Millennium Centre

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“After four years writing and performing his TV show Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, Content Provider is Stewart’s first brand new full-length show since the award-winning Carpet Remnant World.”

Tickets are £23.50. Book them here.

 

TOM ALLEN AND SUZI RUFFELL – Thursday 30th March, The Glee Club

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“Tom, fresh from supporting Sarah Millican on her UK tour brings his hilarious, slightly acerbic and always unique point of view to the Glee. Alongside Tom is Suzi Ruffell (Official tour support for Alan Carr and Josh Widdicombe) presenting her third full length show, ‘Common’”

Tickets are £12, £10 for students. Book them here.

RICHARD HERRING – Sunday 2nd April, St David’s Hall

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“Richard Herring, King of the Edinburgh Fringe, Metro columnist and the UK’s Podfather (RHLSTP, AIOTM) picks his favourite routines from his 12 one-man shows and crams them into 90 minutes for your delectation.

From his deconstruction of the genealogy of Christ to him proving that racists are less racist than liberals, via some of the best knob jokes in the business. Will your favourite routine make the cut?”

Tickets are £15. Book them here.

CHRIS RAMSEY – Thursday 27th April, St David’s Hall

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“A brand new stand up show for 2017 from the comedian you’ve seen on The Royal Variety Performance, Celebrity Juice, Hebburn, Live At The Apollo and various newspapers when he was wrongly arrested in a hotel in his underpants. Is that Chris Ramsey? Yes it is. On his biggest UK tour yet. Get tickets while you can.”

Tickets are £20. Book them here.

OMID DJALILI – Thursday 11th May, St David’s Hall

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“Award-winning comedian and actor Omid Djalili known for his legendary stand-up performances is aback on a nationwide tour! Intelligent, sometimes provocative and always entertaining, his stand-up is a hugely energetic and captivating comedy masterclass.  His credits range from Hollywood to television and live on the West End stage.  Earning praise across the world for his performances Omid recently starred in Dickensian BBC1 and Lucky Man Sky1.”

Tickets are £24. Book them here.

JEFF DUNHAM – Saturday 20th May, St David’s Hall

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“International and critically acclaimed comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham has announced his first UK dates since 2014. The tour entitled “Perfectly Imbalanced’ will feature Jeff alongside a whole host of characters – old and new.  This is his fifth UK tour that will  take in 5 dates starting on 20th May 2017 at Cardiff’s St David’s Hall.

The ‘Perfectly Imbalanced’ tour has already sold out hundreds of thousands of seats across North America and Canada. Jeff’s fans came out in masses to find themselves intoxicated by the non-stop hilarity, proving his continued overwhelming popularity.”

Tickets are £35. Book them here.

JIMMY CARR – Tuesday 6th June (and again on 28th October), St David’s Hall

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“Jimmy is gathering a selection of his very best jokes along with brand new material for the ultimate comedy show. A man who has devoted his life to crafting perfect jokes and has left a trail of laughter in his wake, Jimmy Carr’s new tour will distil everything we love to laugh at and be shocked by, into one incredible, unparalleled night of entertainment.

Now all that experience is being put to good use – you can see all the greatest material from his extraordinary career in one show – this is the very best of Jimmy Carr.”

Tickets are £27.50. Book them here.

SUSAN CALMAN – Thursday 15th June, Chapter Arts Centre

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“It’s Susan Calman’s tenth year in comedy and she’s back with a brand new show.  You may have seen or heard her on shows like QI, HIGNFY, News Quiz, Listomania or Mock the Week, now you have the opportunity to see her in person, life size if you will.  For information Susan is taller than a borrower but shorter than the average thirteen year old child.

The show?  Well she’s ready to create a storm, to set the record straight, to give it to the man (whoever he is).   Incidentally she would also like to be Batman.  Sixty minutes of comedy that you will enjoy if you’re over 16, like what she does, and won’t be so drunk that she has to throw you out.  Sounds like a terrible personal ad doesn’t it?  She also likes fine wines, kittens and walks along the beach. Seriously.  It’s going to be epic.”

Tickets are £16. Book them here.

MICKY FLANAGAN – 25-28th October, Motorpoint Arena

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“One of UK Comedy’s biggest names Micky Flanagan will bring ‘An’ Another Fing…’ 2017 tour to Motorpoint Arena Cardiff. This follows his record breaking “Back In The Game” tour of 2013 which took in an incredible 129 shows – making it the biggest comedy tour in the world that year – having sold an unbelievable 500,000 tickets in the UK and Ireland alone.”

Tickets from £32.50. Book them here.

MILTON JONES – Thursday 26th October, St David’s Hall

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“Milton Jones is Out There. No, really out there and this time he hasn’t just forgotten his keys. He’s holding up the mirror of truth to society, and he can see right through it, which means its probably just a window. In his brand new show he’ll be putting his foot down and lifting the lid on the pedal bin of lies of the media (which doesn’t include this press release obviously). He will also be scaling the heights of fashion at the risk of falling into a terrible cravat. Milton will be talking about his life so far – the ups, the downs and why buying his own see-saw was the best decision he ever made. But perhaps he should give all this up and seek the highest office in the land – but how do you get a desk and a swivel chair up a mountain? Oh and now he wants to be Prime Minister too. Can we do worse than the politicians we already have? Yes we can!”

Tickets are £26. Book them here. 

JOHN BISHOP – 14th November – 2nd December, Motorpoint Arena

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Tickets from £25. Book them here. 

Comedian’s Corner: Chris Chopping

Who are you?

I’m Chris Chopping, things go well for me when I remember that.

Describe your humour in three words.

Playful, wordy and self-deprecating.

Most embarrassing moment on stage?

My most embarrassing moment on stage was dying on my arse for 10 minutes at a gig in Southampton. The guy who booked me was sat at the front and he was the only one laughing. I couldn’t tell if he was enjoying my jokes or my discomfort.

Best compliment you’ve been given from an audience member?

An audience member once told me I look like Harry Potter if he was in the Rolling Stones, is that a compliment?

Worst job you’ve ever had?

The worst job I ever had was working in a call centre. Then they fired me. I don’t want to sound bitter buy I still talk about it most nights on stage. Apparently I’m not good at letting things go.

Snog, marry, avoid: Macaulay Culkin (the drug addict version), Nigella Lawson (the drug addict version), Honey G 

I would snog Macaulay Culkin for the story, marry Nigela for the food and avoid Honey G. I had to google who she was but I’m not keen on sunglasses indoors.

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Favourite Cardiff venue?

My favourite Cardiff venue is Drones Comedy Club at Chapter Arts Centre. It’s where I had my first gig and still my favourite place to try new material.

Why do you do comedy? (Oooh philosphical)

I do comedy because I’ve always loved making people laugh one on one or in a group, making a room full of people is even better. Plus if I have a microphone it’s harder for them to interrupt. Let’s not overanalyse what that answer says about me.

What’s your tipple?

I like red wine, good cider(not strongbow for starters) or rum and coke.

Where can we watch you be funny?

You can see me being funny as my various alter egos at Face 11 this money, Smoke and Mirrors Christmas Party in Bristol on the 19th and on Gwerthu Allan live from The Richard Burton Theatre on S4C, 9.30 5th January or catch up after on the S4C Website.

You can follow Chris on Twitter @MrChrisChopping

 

“Cardiff has a thriving scene” – An interview with Comedy Sheep’s Ignacio Lopez

Comedy Sheep’s Christmas Special went ahead on Sunday night and we grabbed the headline act, Ignacio Lopez, for a few words afterwards.

Watch the video below to hear how the Spanish get festive and how you can see more comedy in Cardiff!

Glee Club criticised for not booking enough women

The Glee Club has come under fire for the number of female acts it books.

A Twitter spat has broken out between Glee, one of the UK’s most popular comedy brands, and two Twitter users criticising the lack of female comics it books.

The criticism was mainly levelled at the Birmingham Glee Club but general attacks were made on all Glee venues – which also include Cardiff, Oxford and Nottingham – for their lack of support for female comics.

The Glee account, which is run by Head Office in Birmingham, responded asking ‘Plashing Vole’ if they could suggest some female comics to book.

Then ‘What The Frock Comedy’, an account that promotes “brilliantly funny women”, got involved.

Glee defended themselves by saying more men than women go on comedy tours.

What The Frock Comedy said that’s because women “find it harder to break through”.

Glee said that they book women regularly, even from What The Frock Comedy.

After being contacted by Cardiff Comedy Hub for comment, James Allen, Manager of Cardiff’s Glee Club, said: “The disagreement was specifically about the touring shows we book. Those shows depend a lot on the availability of acts and their willingness to play our venue.

“This differs greatly to the way we book our weekend shows, where we’re happy to say we are able to book more female acts. Local act Sarah Breese is the co-host of our regular Comedy Carousel shows.”

He added: “This last year in Cardiff, we’ve managed to secure the touring shows of Luisa Omeilan, Bridget Christie, Sara Pascoe, Isy Suttie.

“There are nowhere near as many professional female acts as male acts at all levels of the industry but in the next 3 months we’re excited to have Jen Brister, JoJo Smith, Allyson June Smith, Angela Barnes and Bethany Black performing at our weekend, Christmas, and New Year shows. “