Comedian’s Corner: Karen Sherrard

Who are you?

Woman, comedian, actor, animal-lover, gardener, traveller and drummer.

Describe your humour in three words. 

“Hopefully it’s funny”. Or does that count as 4 words? This is why I can’t cope with Twitter.

Most embarrassing moment on stage?

I once wet myself trying not to laugh performing in a dreadful play about Vikings. It was a theatre in education project in a school, so thankfully many of the audience had also soiled themselves. I also tripped up as I walked on at a comedy night in Builth Wells, launching myself face first onto the stage. It got a laugh, though.

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

“You should be on telly”. I’m still not on telly.

Worst job you’ve ever had?

I’m lucky that I’ve mostly done interesting jobs that I’ve loved, but when I was still looking for acting work, I had a job wrapping roses in cellophane (the kind that people used to go round selling in restaurants or at traffic lights in the 90’s). I got £12 a day, thorns in my thumbs and a real sense of failure for my troubles.

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Favourite Cardiff venue?

The Glee is set up perfectly – no empty seats at the front, you can see the audience and they can see you, great sound, free food and you’re well looked after. All you need to do is perform well. I’m also fond of Drones at Chapter and Fun at the Flute at the Flute and Tankard.

Why do you do comedy? (Oooh philosophical)

Unlike acting, you can get out there and get spots on a comedy bill fairly easily. So I’ve been able to develop my act and build up a profile, make contacts and build an audience on my own terms, without having to wait for someone to cast me in a role. The way a gig works is that you are often performing with acts you have never met before and you are all equally responsible for putting on a good show. There’s no rehearsal, just a lot of respect and a bit of magic. There’s no separation from the audience, you’re seeking an immediate and direct response from them and there has to be a collaboration between all the acts and the audience to make the night work. It’s extremely compelling and without it, I feel pretty empty!

What’s your tipple?

Rum. Havana Club 7 year. A nice ale if I’m in a pub. But if I need to party til dawn, rum it is.

New Year’s Resolution?

I don’t really do resolutions. I often try to get stuff sorted out in September as I think that’s an easier time of year to make changes. However, I want to counteract the Trump / Brexit atmosphere with positivity. I feel really fired up with the challenge of re-uniting people again, getting people together with shared experiences and understanding each other better. And what better way to do this than with comedy?

Where can we watch you be funny?

Come along to Fun at the Flute (Flute and Tankard) on January 19th where I’ll be headlining with my character Eirys Evans. There will be a raffle.

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.

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

 

Birthday Girls: “People blame us for their hangovers”

Comedy sketch troupe Birthday Girls are three women taking the comedy world by storm one slut-drop at a time. With characters ranging from a sadistic Air BnB host to Jamie Oliver’s babysitter they’re a Tour de Force in female-led comedy.

Cardiff Comedy Hub grabbed a chat with the three self-acclaimed “sh*t hot party legends” after they performed at Chapter Arts Centre last night.

Keep up to date with the Birthday Girls on Twitter @BdayGirlsComedy and Facebook.