Interview: Sarah Slater, Crofters Comedy

By steve wright, Tuesday Sep 5, 2017

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
Comedy at the Robin Hood
Bubble Comedy
The Antics Joke Show
Bristol Underground Comedy
Open Stage
Chubby White’s Variety Night
See also the Bristol Comedy Open Mic Nights Facebook page at

Pic: Henry Palmer

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