The week after my last spot at Beat the Blackout I did another one at Sam Rhodes Comedy Explosion, which was back for a one-off trial at its old venue at The Rocksteady in Dalston.
Comedy Explosion is a good old fashioned bar-show, which means Sam hijacks a section of a public bar for a night and runs an open mic for the benefit of whoever’s in the place. So as well as the usual crowd of acts and their friends, you get a random audience of punters who are in the bar and didn’t flee at the first mention of “free comedy”.
It was a fun night, with everybody in celebratory mood and happy to be back on the mic, and it was good to bump into a few old faces, as well as Sam himself. I ran through the same set as I did the week before, as I’m nowhere near ready to try new material – at this stage I’m just trying to get back into the swing of performing tried and tested stuff.
I’m not sure if the Comedy Explosion is going to be running regularly again in the near future, but I hope it does because London needs more non-bringer open mics.
That week I also went along to Comedy Virgins at the Cavendish, to support a friend who was doing a spot there (she won the clap-off!) Even with social distancing restrictions they’re managing to run a decent night. The bar area is closed but the garden is set up with outside seating and gazebos/tents to keep the rain off, and the theatre has fewer seats to allow for more space between people while they’re watching the show.
Obviously it felt a bit different to the old days when the room used to be packed to the rafters, but all the same there were enough people in for it to feel like a nice lively night. As I’m writing this it sounds like the government is going to lift all restrictions later in July, so maybe we’ll see places like the Cav return to business as usual pretty soon.
This week I spent a little time updating the open-mic listings page, and it looks like a few more nights are starting up again, although I imagine they’re all massively over-subscribed, so good luck getting spots. I expect a lot more will start up again soon now that the restrictions are being lifted. I know that We Are Funny is probably going to start again around autumn.
So it looks like the scene is starting to recover, but live spots are still likely to be hard to book for another month or two.