News: London Club Goes Free

London comedy promoters We Love Comedy have decided to turn their clubs into free nights. WLC puts on gigs in venues in East London, Islington and Balham, but has been struggling to attract large audiences for a while now so has opted for an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" tactic. This is thought to be a comment on the ongoing success of Angel Comedy which has been running free gigs in Islington for over a year.

WLC's Sean Brightman made the following statement this morning: "It was about half way through watching last night's show in the Ballroom of Balham Bowls Club that I decided to make a change. Seeing a brilliant show play out to seventeen people in a room that could comfortably seat 130 will do that to you. With all the 'Pro Free' comedy comedy clubs putting on acts such as Abandoman, Richard Herring, Mark Watson, Tony Law, etc, regularly for 'free' on one hand and the bigger clubs with marketing power on the other, being stuck in the middle is not the way forward. Especially when the nights end up costing me around £200 to put on.

Where just a year ago, we were regularly getting a decent audience on a weekly basis (twice weekly for quite a while), this is no longer the case, so I'm cutting back to running a far less London shows a month and I'm changing the model to a 'FREE' pro night. I hope we can cover some of the costs in donations on or before the night. The ethos for We Love Comedy has always been to mix pro acts with cracking newcomers people may not have seen before – AND hopefully pay them! We've given a fair number of acts their first ever paid gig over the last four-and-a-bit years, for example. But losing a small fortune per month I can't afford either! We shall see if this experiment works... Hopefully this gives us more of a chance of getting noticed and getting a decent audience, until more follow suit and this becomes the new 'normal' way to promote comedy in London. Time will tell." 

Update: after publication the debate over whether going free was a good idea continued on Facebook here.

The following gigs will now be free, though there will of course be a collection. Further venue details and up-to-date line-ups can be found here.

Pipeline (near Liverpool Street) Friday 23rd May: 

Brian Gittins, Mark Dolan, Geoff Alderman, Sean Brightman, Lea Emery (more to be announced)


Pipeline (near Liverpool Street) Tuesday 27th May: Magnus Betner, Joe Rowntree, Milo McCabe, Sean Brightman

Balham Bowls Club – 29th May

Tony Law, Holly Walsh, David Mills, Ant Dewson, Ben Target, Sean Brightman (MC) 


Balham Bowls Club – 26th June 

Adam Riches, John Luke Roberts, Mark Silcox, Stuart Laws, Sean Brightman, Joe Davies (MC)


Balham Bowls Club – 25th Sept

Will Franken, Mark Stephenson, Ben Target, Gerry Howell, Annie McGrath, Sean Brightman (MC)


Wenlock & Essex, Angel – 2nd June, previews: 

Tony Law, Milo McCabe, Sean Brightman



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