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The BroadwayWorld Beginner's Guide To: Stand-Up Comedy

The BroadwayWorld Beginner's Guide To: Stand-Up Comedy

The BroadwayWorld Beginner's Guide To: Stand-Up Comedy

There has never been a better time to get into stand-up comedy. Many of the hard-working touring comics have taken their work online where you can find versions of their full-length solo shows or club set-ups.

Much of the content is available for free or for a small donation but as comedians have lost the majority of their income for the last year, I'd recommend paying what you can especially if you consider what you're saving in travel and bar snacks.

I don't think live comedy is for me.

Do you not like laughing? Do you not like JOY? Comedy clubs can be a little bit daunting if you're not used to them. One of the reasons I so love The Stand in Glasgow (also venues in Edinburgh and Newcastle) is the strict no stag do /hen night party rule: mobile phones stay turned off during the shows and there's no talking during the acts. The respect given from the venue and the audience sees the club at the top of the list of favourite spots for touring comedians and makes for a more comfortable place to go along by yourself if you want to.

Live touring shows are quite a different experience, as typically you will be seeing a comedian you're familiar with and already like. While the comics that tour arenas will most likely release their latest show on DVD, there's nothing quite like being that bore telling everyone at Christmas that you saw Kevin Bridges do the work-in-progress for it in a one hundred seater club.

What kind of comedy do I like?

It can be difficult to recommend comedy to someone when you don't know exactly what they're looking for. Observational, storytelling, physical comedy, dark humour, surrealist and character comedy appeal to different people so it's a good idea to watch a variety of acts, especially just now when there's so much online content.

I do quite like that person off the telly.

While television panel shows and the likes of Live at the Apollo are excellent for finding new comedians that you might like, there is a wealth of acts who have been honing their craft in Edinburgh and on the touring circuit for years.

Twitter is a great place to find funny people with the likes of Stephen Buchanan (@stephenbucomedy); Ray Bradshaw (@comedyray); Sooz Kempner (@SoozUK); Rosco McClelland (@rossisacoolguy); Christopher Macarthur-Boyd (@macarthurboyd); Lauren Pattison (@laurenpattison); Laura Lexx (@LauraLexx) and Harriet Dyer (@HarrietDyerCom) posting great content. If you enjoy their Twitter feeds you can subscribe to Patreons, podcasts, youtube channels, Twitch streams and donate to Ko-fi accounts to support them.

Where else can I find new comics I might like?

At the moment you can enjoy a night out pretty much every day of the week from the comfort of your living room. Always Be Comedy has a weekly programme with a regular Tuesday night club hosted by Rachel Parris and Marcus Brigstocke. Catherine Bohart hosts Gigless - a weekly comedy night featuring the best in the industry and taking place on Thursdays. Susie McCabe runs Susie McCabe's Comedy Cellar on Saturday nights starting Feb 6 with a stellar line-up.

The Covid Arms is a very popular online comedy night hosted by Kiri Pritchard-McLean that boasts a fantastic line-up and splits proceeds between the acts and the Trussell Trust. During the pandemic, The Stand has provided excellent online content hosted by Mark Nelson which is available for free but donations are encouraged to keep the club afloat during its closure. There is also an on-demand service for recorded shows.

Nextup comedy is the Netflix of standup and they have a large selection of hour-long solo shows by established and up and coming comedians such as Jessica Fostekew, Ashley Storrie, Ed Byrne, Fern Brady and Jordan Brookes. Nextup hosted their online comedy festival last summer and are partnering with the Leicester Comedy Festival this month with an incredible programme featuring the likes of Rachel Fairburn, Jen Brister and Tom Allen.

What next?

Well, hopefully, live comedy will be up and running again at some point in the not too distant future and now that you're an expert on the UK live comedy scene, you'll be able to recommend in-person club nights and touring shows to your friends and continue to support the acts that helped you laugh during a year of misery!

We would love to know your thoughts on this; have you been to a stand-up comedy show? What did you think? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

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From This Author Natalie O'Donoghue