0161 205 8739info@gagreflex.co.uk

Facilitators of Mirth


Our world leading comedy industry is on the brink of collapse and runs the risk of being forgotten by emergency government arts funding

Based on the Live Comedy Association’s industry survey conducted in June 2020:

A third of comedy venues believe they’ll be forced to close within the next six months, with 77.8% facing closure within the next year.

Over 45% of the industry have already given serious thought to leaving comedy because of the pandemic, with just under 60% of all respondents predicting they’ll need to leave before February 2021 unless we’re able to get back to live performances.

73.5% of respondents have found their mental health negatively impacted by job and industry uncertainty during the pandemic.

Over three quarters of performers have earnt less than 5% of their pre-pandemic estimated income from online performances.

Only 17.1% of promoters expect that post-pandemic they’ll be running 100% of the regular events they promoted before lockdown.

Read more about the LCA’s study, sign the open letter, and download their full report, here

"Live stand up comedy changed my life. It's given me everything. My career, my house, an opportunity to see the world, create amazing friendships, and it even gave me my Wife and kids. And it's under threat. It's on a knife edge in fact. Almost 80% of comedy venues are facing closure within the next twelve months. Performers and the people running venues and making the laughter happen lost their income overnight when Covid forced us into shutdown. Yet it's not considered an artform, despite how it touches peoples lives, shapes opinion and perspective and makes a huge difference to mental health. As a result of that, it's likely to get left behind in the Governments plans to support the arts. We cannot afford to lose the laughter”
– Lee Martin, Director, Gag Reflex Ltd


" Comedy has completely shaped my life, from my 1st gig, through to roles in Venues, as an Agent, and Producer. Twenty years of devotion. Now, British live comedy is in crisis, forgotten about by our dreadful government, and our venues, performers and allies face an uncertain future. Today we launch the campaign to #SaveLiveComedy”
– Hannah Godfrey, Agent & Producer, Gag Reflex Ltd


"Comedy is often overlooked as an art form, yet we all rely on laughter as a means to escape. I don't know one person who doesn't have a favourite comedian, and I know very few people who have never seen a live comedy show. The government have announced a large rescue package for Britain's museums, galleries and theatres, but the chances of comedy receiving a slice of this is slim to none, and 80% of comedy venues are facing closure within the next 12 months - incredibly scary times for those working in the industry. Comedy has given me crazy career opportunities, friends for life and some of the best memories, so this is heartbreaking”
– Beth Mullins, Agent & Live Booker, Gag Reflex Ltd


"I have worked in a variety of live performance disciplines but none have brought me the joy, friendships and pride that comedy has. It’s fair to say that I’m newer to the industry than many, but I really hope I can still be doing this in 20 years time. Until recently I didn’t think there was any doubt that I would be. Now I’m not so sure and that is scary and sad”
– Ollie Downton, Production Manager, Gag Reflex Ltd


The comedy circuit helped change my life. British live comedy is in crisis - let’s #SaveLiveComedy!’ Lost Voice Guy

Comedy is an artform and deserves to be treated as such. Without access to financial support comedy will not exist as we know it. Through this pandemic comedians and promoters have taken a lot of their time during this horror to come up with inventive ways to keep you entertained, be it via online gigs, promoters hiring trucks for drive in shows, performers doing live gigs from their sheds, some acts doing daily updates with sketches and jokes, finding what scraps they have around the house for makeshift props and costumes, this is how hard we work, this is how important our job is AND how much respect our duty as entertainers. When this is over, we will have no platform to go back to. We are not a lazy community, we pay a lot in tax, we pay a lot in travel, we have gigged for our troops over seas in war torn countries. We have the biggest Comedy scene IN THE WORLD, throughout history comedy has been an escape for humans… for some bizarre unknown reason, we are not seen as artists or an art form, even though we put a lot into the arts industry, this isn’t about being left/right, this is about getting YOUR comedy back to where it belongsPaul Pirie

I’m proud to be part of an industry that involves a lot of dedicated, talented people serving long, underpaid (and for ages not-paid-at-all) apprenticeships. Its denizens are a mixture of creative, batshit, smart, silly, cynical, joyous, challenging, daft, inventive, lugubrious, energetic and mind-boggling... Some make it to your TVs - after a lot of graft and usually down to some special talent (even if certain individuals aren’t your cup of tea: and why would they all be?)

So many more don’t hit the big time - and not due to an absence of ability or lack of hard work. It’s just that kind of business. We go to Edinburgh for a month and 95% of us lose money even with successful shows, we don’t have holiday pay or pensions or job security, and when you’re letting your hair down at Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve we listen to you talk shit - but that’s OK: we go out there and do it and hold down other jobs and travel hundreds of miles and get home in the wee hours and we do so willingly.

So whilst it’s a great privilege that people pay their hard earned money to see us, it’s not just a career you saunter into because you’ve got a glib tongue and too much confidence. And we’re supported by venues, bar staff, backstage heroes, technical bods and all sorts who also can’t work while the clubs are shut - not gobby limelight huggers, hard working people from all sorts of backgrounds.

And those live venues feed the grassroots, so that anyone you see in big venues, arenas or on TV after the years and years it takes to be good enough has had somewhere to hone their craft. I don’t think anyone’s asking for handouts, but it’d be good if there was an infrastructure which supported everyone in an industry built on a lot of dedication and no little hard work. And at the very least, we try to put a smile on your face even if we don’t always succeed. Even your least favourite comic has tried to make your day better.’ Toby Hadoke

The comedy industry is on its knees. It feeds so much of the arts - and not just film and TV. The first time I revisited my junior doctor diaries was on a stage at the Edinburgh Fringe, which later became my book This is Going to Hurt. SAVE LIVE COMEDY.Adam Kay

Many things that captivated me about theatre as a kid - storytelling, playfulness, newness, character, shared spaces & experiences - come together in live comedy. I’m so proud to be part of this community and we need your support.Naomi Paxton (creator of Ada Campe)

Live Comedy needs your help. The circuit is in trouble.’ Jonny Awsum

The comedy industry is on an absolute knife edge. Forbidden to put on live shows, nearly 80% of UK venues considering closure within 12months.’ Steve Shanyaski

Live stand up comedy is facing it's darkest days and needs your help. It takes seconds to sign this form and makes a big difference to an industry that's being ignored by the big boys in charge.’ Barry Dodds

Reasons to save the UK's live comedy scene: - one of the best in the world - no famous UK comedians without a history of live work - slackers go nowhere, comics hustle or get nothing - nobody else will tolerate your stag do.’ John Robertson

‘to laugh together is a deep and urgent societal need.. There is nothing that can bring people together, forge real bonds, than being in the same room with them, laughing helplessly at something they know they really shouldn’t be. Victor Borger said that a laugh is the shortest distance between two people..

It is something we urgently need right now, more than I can ever remember. We are living in strange times where physical and political divisions are rife. Nothing unites like laughter – especially the live kind. I’m begging you, bring it back.’ Simon Evans for Spectator Life, Full article here

"It is difficult to see how this is not going to have a long-term impact on the comedy output of this country, something that is saddening for me both as a performer and as someone who loves comedy so much as a fan" Romesh Ranganathan for the Guardian, Full article here

The Guardian on UK venues facing closure, Full article here

BBC News Report



News story posted on 10-07-2020 14:00

Gag Reflex Presents - Private Virtual Corporate Shows

We’ve been very busy at Gag Reflex, developing a new online show for the Corporate market: Gag Reflex Presents

Life during lockdown can be very challenging, and it’s never been more vital for organisations to nurture staff morale. During these tough times, it’s important to remember to smile, and that’s why we’re offering companies the opportunity to show their staff they care, by organising a get together; an online comedy night, unique to staff, organised by us

"a massive thank you for our virtual comedy night last Wednesday. This was the first time we’ve held something like this and the response was fantastic. The work you and your team did prior to the event made sure everything went smoothly and looked and sounded great. The line up you recommended was spot on for what we needed, with all the comedians doing a great job.

We’ve had nothing but positive feedback from everyone who watched, so thanks again for a brilliant job and we’ll definitely be back in touch for another event in the near future.” John, ICEE

Re-creating the traditional set-up you would find at a comedy club, we organise an experienced MC, and two fantastic comedians to perform live, for staff members, online.

The show lasts approx 40 minutes, ensuring ‘guests’ attention is held. All acts are specifically selected for your organisation, in order to suit the work environment and demographic as much as possible, and after a discussion over who you feel is most suitable.

We realise that venturing into the world of online comedy may seem risky, but the industry has only embraced this new challenge. With performers creating lockdown content, and technical nags ironed out, online comedy shows have been tried and tested. ‘Guests’ have the option of adding comments to a live chat room, and crucially, hear their colleagues enjoying the show.

Collectively our team has over 30 years of experience at running various clubs and comedy nights nationwide, crafting stellar line-ups for a killer night out, and we have the technology to bring an event such as this to homes across the country. There are many of options available for organisations to suit it’s size, sector and budget, and we would love to discuss their individual requirements to make an event which is a perfect and uplifting boost staff need during such a difficult time. Get in touch today; info@gagreflex.co.uk

Gag Reflex Presents - Private Virtual Corporate Shows Gag Reflex Presents - Private Virtual Corporate Shows

News story posted on 19-06-2020 12:00

Alice Fraser joins the NextUp Comedy Festival

NextUp, the digital comedy club dubbed the ‘Netflix of Live Comedy’, is staging a virtual festival throughout July, and Alice Fraser has joined the incredible line up of acts performing.

Sarah Henley, co-founder of NextUp, joked: “We’re billing this as the ‘biggest’ comedy festival of 2020, mainly because everything else has been cancelled!  But seriously, this is a fabulous feast of stand-up comedy. We’ve got 31 comedians performing on our virtual stage in a series of 50-minute nightly shows throughout July.  Our aim is to give audiences the closest thing to a live comedy festival as possible with a huge variety of comedy styles - some great names you’ll know and some brilliant rising stars to discover.

Throughout the pandemic, NextUp has provided platforms for comedians to earn income by streaming performances. NextUp even launched a ‘Heckle the Virus’ Crowdfunding initiative which raised over £120,000 to soften the impact of live events being cancelled and venues shutting. 

Sarah says: “All the money raised by our Crowdfunding has gone entirely to support the livelihoods of comedians. We’ve been doing everything in our power to keep the comedy circuit going and to bring live comedy to the masses. Over recent months there’s been lots of talk about the impact of Lockdown on our mental health and the need to combat loneliness. Laughter is a brilliant release for us all. Comedy is a great way to ease tensions and bring much-needed light relief in these turbulent times.”

Building on this momentum, NextUp is now launching its month-long ‘Edinburgh Fringe-style’ comedy virtual festival that everyone can access digitally with a different stand-up comic on every night. Using video conferencing software to put their comedy line-up in the same space as the audience, NextUp will create a ‘live gig’ atmosphere to enable comedians to be seen, heard and to interact.  Tickets cost £9 to take part in a session with a maximum audience of 200 people. Think of these as large group calls, led by comedians, with an incredible potential to create a one-off shared experience.

Sarah says: “Being part of our Zoom audience means you can interact with our performers – ask questions and take part in the banter. Proceeds of each show will be split 50/50 between the comedian and NextUp.”

Alice Fraser performs on Thursday 23rd July 2020, with tickets available here

Also appearing are many more acts including Jordan Brookes, Olga Koch, Josie Long, Abandoman, Tim Key , Ivo Graham and Maisie Adam.

Full info and tickets here

Alice Fraser joins the NextUp Comedy Festival Alice Fraser joins the NextUp Comedy Festival

News story posted on 15-06-2020 14:00

Scottish Comedy Awards 2020: Nominations

Huge congratulations to Colin Cloud and Rosco McClelland on their Scottish Comedy Awards 2020 nominations

Colin has scooped the Best Variety nomination, after another incredible year of hard work. a sold out critically acclaimed month of shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019, a performance on AGT The Champions, and a residency in Las Vegas with AGT Winner Sin Lim. Colin has also recently been featured in Forbes Magazine, for his forward thinking approach to hosting and presenting digital events.

While he’s used to astounding audiences in theatres around the world, in the wake of the global pandemic, Colin Cloud is now brin