Good Night: Comedy Knights ride to the rescue

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London's most hydra-headed comedy night...

Fancy some comedy? Then odds are you won't have to look too far to find one from Comedy Knights. You can find their shows all over London, including Cafe 1001 on Brick Lane and Whirled Arts in Loughborough Junction, between Brixton and Camberwell. If you're in south London and haven't been to the Whirled Arts one then you really need to get on with that as it is one heck of a space to be doing comedy in. This Tuesday (18 February) you'll find Pat Cahill, Stephanie Laing, Twayna Mayne, Gary from Leeds, Jason Simmons and Mark Daniels there, so best you get on that. 

 

We asked Bobby Carroll, the first knight of Comedy Knights, what will be going on there...

 

Describe Comedy Knights in five words. 
Fun, fresh, affordable comedy events.
 
Name one (ONE; 1) comedian who best represents the spirit of the whole shebang. 
Toughie as there's tons of people we gave their first spot to (some of them are still going), their first paid gig to (some of them are still struggling), their first headliner set to (some of them are massive now) or their only date when they were adamant they were quitting so they could try a new direction (some of them are quite big now). But... if I had to pick then James Acaster. He's probably the only genuine comedy genius to emerge since Comedy Knights started booking gigs and I look forward to every new hour like a latest album from my favourite band. His crowd work is immaculate, his writing elegant and his voice unique. He's the epitome of what a great comedian should be and I'm always proud to book him and watch him. 
 
What is the most unexpected thing that has happened at a night so far?
Sell outs are pretty unexpected. We run so many gigs and try to make comedy work in so many venues that you get used to the ghost towns and middling numbers as you build things up or back the wrong room. To be turning people away as you are full, in this climate and saturated market, is a rarity yet we have at the Foundry in Camden the last four Mondays.
 
Who has turned in the best set?
I like giving hungry, undervalued acts their first paid closing set as it always produces the best comedy. Richard Stainbank (runner up in our Fresh Comedian comp) closed a gig for us recently and just watching a funny act, who has been constricted a little too long by open mic nights or unpaid middles all his career, have the freedom and confidence to shake off all those frustrating years and do the set of his life is just electric to watch. It helps he's has a very honest, uncompromising voice onstage. Excellent writing too. Punchline, punchline, punchline. He's something special. Comedy is what he's born to do. 
 
And who you want to get in that you haven’t had before?
I've never booked Glenn Wool. Don't think I ever will but he's just great. Loads of swagger and insight. Punchlines, punchlines, punchlines.
 
What’s been the most ludicrous piece of audience warming up you have witnessed?
When we first started we used to take almost avant garde risks with the MC and there's a very distant, cold act called James Mason... James tried to get the audience to re-enact the heart pulling scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The chanting, the drum thumping. That audience were not into the black death of the Kali. Incredibly awkward. I feel bad bringing it up as we're really good friends but yeah... ludicrous. Wish I thought of it.
 
Describe the most likely way a venue would get damaged by your night.
We're very careful people. If anything, we leave venues in better shape than when they came to us. We're like that old dude in Toy Story 2 who restores Woody. We really try to make venues feel fresh again via the love and craft of great stand up.
 
What is the one thing about running a night that no-one ever tells you?
The more you pay someone the more likely they are to pull out. There's TV level guys who never show up for a proper fee when their names on the poster and the fee is a week's wage... yet offer the same "big name" an unpaid material slot where the audience isn't expecting them and it is like Pringles from someone else's mini bar. They can't get enough of it. Madness. But true.
 
The opposition! Whose night are you most jealous of?
The Stands are pretty special, aren't they? That's the dream... our own venue, bricks and mortar ours, built for alternative acts.
 
Sum up Comedy Knights using an internet meme.

 

THANKS BOBBY. Find out more at the Comedy Knights website.

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