In 2017, I turned 50 years old…

My home city is Carlisle, but I have lived and worked in London for the last twenty eight years.  For the last forty-five years I have been sitting in audiences watching and laughing at live comedy. I saw my first comedy show at the age of eight in the mid-seventies when acts played end of the pier seaside variety theatres, folk clubs, pubs and working men’s clubs to make a living. One of my earliest memories was looking in awe at the variety posters from major UK seaside resorts like Blackpool, Scarborough or Torquay hoping that one day I could see these great comedians performing at one of the ‘twice nightly’ shows in summer season. The music hall entertainment circuit where stand-up comedy had evolved was virtually non-existent in the seventies. As well as performing live, acts could now be seen on television where the more successful comedians became popular stars. Throughout the late seventies and into the eighties, I witnessed the growth of ‘alternative’ comedy and the new wave of comedians performing in purpose-built comedy clubs. In the nineties and beyond, I have watched the increase of the great story tellers and pun masters on stage through to the comedy superstars of the twenty-first century.

There is something very special about sitting in an audience waiting in expectation for a comedian to appear on stage. The excitement and buzz of the crowd suddenly falls silent as the lights go down and the spotlight falls on the act. The confident walk onto the empty stage to an expectant crack of applause as the act approaches the microphone. The opening line has got to be engaging, warm or funny if the comedian is going to win over the audience. The crowd wait in anticipation and then hopefully the erupting noise of laughter that resembles a drug, fuelling the comedian and his crowd for more. Whether it is a five-minute newcomer or a twenty-minute solid routine, a one-hour show or even a six-hour marathon, comedians love to entertain and as long as I am able, I will do my very best to support.

This blog is dedicated to anyone who tries to make a crowd of people laugh. I hope that the blog will be an accurate, invaluable resource and insight into the history of modern live comedy from my perspective as a member of a paying audience. A stand-up comedian is one of the hardest jobs in the world and I thank you and salute you all.

In this ever-changing world, laughter is and will always continue to be the best medicine.

Enjoy the read!

Richard Gill

March 2020