Comedy: Interview: Sarah Slater, Crofters Comedy
Open Stage at the Bristol Fringe; The Antics Joke Show at Café Kino; Bristol Underground Comedy at the Arts House; Chubby White’s at the Bristol Improv Theatre; Bubble Comedy at the Grain Barge; Comedy at the Robin Hood, not to mention established nights like Oppo and A Bunch of Japes: if you’re a stand-up/sketch comic looking for open-mic and/or short slots, or a punter looking to sample the next generation of stand-ups cutting their teeth on the comedy circuit, Bristol is a pretty rich place to be right about now.
All the more so from this month, in fact, when – alongside the return of The Antics (Sept 2), Open Stage (Sept 28), Bubble Comedy (Sept 13) and the Robin Hood (Sept 12), another well-established night returns for its third season.
Yes folks, on September 24 Crofters Comedy, the popular open-slot night at the Crofters Rights on Stokes Croft, returns for its third season – and it has some big plans for the autumn. Host and founder Sarah Slater takes up the story. “Crofters Comedy has been running for two years as a comedy open mic-night, held in the back room of the Crofters Rights on the last Sunday of each month, with comics of most shapes and styles all doing short five- or ten-minute spots. These are budding comedians who need to earn their stripes in front of a live and friendly audience.”
The Crofters Rights’ back room offers a large stage, professional sounds and lighting (spotlight coming soon): the venue’s much-loved Ray’s Pizzas will also be on half-price with your entry ticket on the night.
Sarah has found the Bristol comedy landscape a supportive place. “Stokes Croft is becoming a bit of a comedy hub, with Bristol Underground Comedy at the Arts House, Antics at Kino and various other pop-up nights.” That said, she herself always feels a little outside the gang, “mostly because I’m twice their age”, having started her own comedy career in the late 1980s, quitting a few years later due to ill health – and returning now after a 25-year sabbatical.
She’s seen Bristol’s open-mic scene grow in the two years she’s been running Crofters Comedy – and, as such, she’s upping her game for this third season and booking a selection of professional acts from across the country, while still offering seven to eight spots for pre-booked and walk-up comics on the night.
Sarah comperes the nights herself. “As a compere I’m big on energy, and I like to manage the audience and acts with a firm but fair attitude – taking the piss with love.” Each night typically features some six to eight acts, all on the lower rungs of the open-spot circuit, “which doesn’t mean they are rubbish – it means that the comedy circuit is such a big place that there are willing audiences and acts who will drive across the country for five minutes of stage time. They teach stand-up comedy at degree level now, for gawd sake!”
Crofters Comedy returns to the Crofters Rights, Stokes Croft on Sept 24. More info at www.facebook.com/CroftersComedy
Comedy at the Robin Hood www.facebook.com/robinhoodcomedy
Bubble Comedy www.facebook.com/bubblecomedy
The Antics Joke Show www.facebook.com/UpAntics
Bristol Underground Comedy www.facebook.com/bristolundergroundcomedy
Open Stage www.facebook.com/Open-Stage-Comedy-Nights-994452707269650
Chubby White’s Variety Night www.facebook.com/chubbywhite
See also the Bristol Comedy Open Mic Nights Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/1624489387820712
Pic: Henry Palmer