Attending any open mic night is liking putting your hand in a dark hole; you can’t be sure what you’ll find and there is equal chance you will find some bad as well as some good. Perhaps this is a little unfair when taking in to account the Cardiff comedy scene. Ever since last year’s Cardiff Comedy festival, there is been a spotlight on Cardiff’s comedy talent. The Unsigned Stand-Up award gave platform for amateur comedians to win the chance to get on stage alongside Rhod Gilbert at the final night of the Cardiff Comedy Festival.
The idea of the open mic night is simple; it’s designed to be an environment where any man, woman or child can get on stage and air their whimsical thoughts to a crowd who are willing to listen. Cardiff’s regular nights include Drones, Dirtbox, and Phoenix Comedy Club. But is this too many? “The Cardiff scene is great in terms of talent, in terms of availability of people trying to do comedy” said Robin Morgan, a young comedian who was behind the iPanel show that took place on the 8th of November. In terms of developing talent, does a city like Cardiff need so many nights?
Ba Rooba in Cathays plays host to Phoenix, one of the longest running open mic night’s in Cardiff. Phoenix were also heavily involved in the Cardiff Comedy Festival. But does the success of an open mic night depend on the comedians playing or how busy it is? “With regard to it being busy, I would say it doesn’t bring in a huge crowd, as we have only started the sessions from the summer break. On the other hand it does draw in a different crowd to what we usually have.” said Justin Cross, manager of Ba Rooba. “ I would say it is good for business, as it is held on a Sunday night where usually nothing would be arranged in the bar, so it does bring people in where normally we wouldn’t have many customers.” So from a bar manager’s perspective, success is, of course, custom based.
In a crowded market, can all these open mic night’s sustain? Justin’s view is that they certainly can. “It does seem to be popular with aspiring comics who wish to have a set in an intimate environment with a relaxed atmosphere. They seem to enjoy that very much.”
iPanel is a conceptual new panel show based around the joys of the internet. It’s written and devised by Robin and includes two panels of amateur comics. It’s being filmed for CUTV, Cardiff University’s Television Station, and may become a monthly event.
Here’s the link for that interview:
This map shows several venues in and around Cardiff. It’s a work in progress and will be added to week on week with new venues and nights.
If you have a spare Thursday evening this week and you want cheering up, get yourself to the Glee Club in Cardiff for Russell Kane’s award winning show Smokescreens and Castles. Kane is the human version of the Duracell bunny; full of energy, bouncing around the stage like someone who has drunk far too much Red Bull. The preview on the Edinburgh Official site says:
In his new show, the triple Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee explores self, family and the consequences of his Dad buying his own council house. Sociological silliness and high energy contortions guaranteed. ‘Bold, defiant… Shot through with vulnerability’ (Sunday Times); ‘Such a gifted, distinctive comic’ (Chortle.co.uk); ‘More thought and intelligence behind his comedy than most people could ever get near’ (Mirror); ‘The kind of gags that make you snort beer out of your nose… An impressive punchline rate’ (Metro). (http://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/event/10004887-russell-kane-smokescreens-and-castles/)
Having seen him perform several times, I can guarantee a fantastic performance. Add the fact that he won this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Award (formerly the Perrier’s) for Best Show, it’s destined to be great. Ticket’s are available and doors open at 7:15.
The Leicester comedy festival is looking for passionate comedy fans to join the award judging panel for the 2011 event. If you fancy it yourself, give them an e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more details.
Having seen Live at the Apollo succeed over five seasons with veteran comedians, the BBC shone the light on the up and coming. Choosing Michael McIntyre to front it was inspired. He can simply say hello and people laugh and his arena shows consistently sell out. So the front man and the stage was set; now all they needed was the talent.
Finding the talent would turn out to be the easy bit. The United Kingdom has a rich stand up comedy circuit. Clubs like The Glee Club, Jongleurs and the Comedy Store provide weekly shows. Comedy is big business. Comedians like Kevin Bridges, Tom Stade, Mick Ferry and Andrew Lawrence all got a slot. And the effect on their careers has been fantastic. On the back of the show, these comedians had gone from stuffy clubs to arenas and concert halls.
The success of the Comedy Roadshow and Live at the Apollo has helped the clubs too. The Glee Club’s are consistently sold out and packed to the rafters. Gone are the days of stand up comedy being a specialist and out of reach event. It’s seen as a night out now. Just as you’d go to a nightclub, people go to comedy clubs. Stag and hen parties come in their dozens to see “him off the telly”.
Interest in comedy has stretched to new comedy festivals. Last summer, Cardiff hosted a ten day event culminating in the gala night at St. David’s hall showcasing the best of local and international talent. It also gave the stage to Taylor Glenn, the winner of the Cardiff unsigned stand up competition. The festival was a huge success, the closing night practically a sell out. The interest in stand up comedy is at an all time high and it seems Cardiff is at the front of it.
Open mic nights such as Drones, panel shows such as Panel 9 From Outer Space and sketch shows such as Dirtbox have provided a platform for up and coming comedians to perform on a weekly basis. They have a chance to go out there and perform for an interested public. Excitingly, a lot of these comedians have made their way onto mainstream stages. Taylor Glenn, as previously mentioned, and the Plastic Seat Company have both played the Glee club. Mike Bubbins has established himself as circuit comedian. The hard work is paying off; Cardiff is a thriving comedy city.
With tour shows galore coming to town plus the Glee club opening as usual, comedy in Cardiff is set to thrive. Recently, a pilot was filmed at the Glee club which promises to be highly original and highly hilarious. I think this only shows what the perception of Cardiff as a comedy city is.
Hello there friends and welcome to my brand new blog. I trust you are well?
My name is Ben James. Some of you may know me (I have over seven friends) and some of you may not. I hope I get to know the ones that don’t know me. This is my wordpress site. It’s nice isn’t it? It’s pretty basic at the moment but I will build on this. Consider this the first of the seven days.
The subject of this blog will be the comedy scene in Cardiff. Having worked at the Glee club for over two years now (my mum is so proud), I have come to realise that within Cardiff, we have quite the scene. With nights such as Dirtbox and Panel 9 From Outer Space alongside the famous Drones open mic night happening regularly, the scene in Cardiff is very healthy. The success of last year’s Cardiff Comedy Festival has beefed up the reputation that Cardiff is a funny place. To back this up, there’s a street in Cardiff called Fanny Street. See? Bloody hilarious.
These nights, alongside the prolonged success of the Glee club, provide Cardiff with a thriving and bright comedy scene. My aim is to utilise this blog to provide features, event listings, interviews, reviews and everything inbetween.
So keep your browser logged on to here and follow me on twitter @standup4cardiff.
Happy laughing! Read more…