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Newcastle’s best comic relief

Written by Arts

Joe Molander discusses comedy with North East-based comedians Raul Kohli and Jordon Best.

Featured image from The Stand Comedy Club, Newcastle

What’s the North East comedy scene like?
Raul: It’s lit. We have one of the best comedy clubs in the world in the Stand. You have Grinning Idiot still running in coastal parts of Newcastle: Tynemouth, Cullercoats etc. There’s also the Jesterval Festival where you have a mini Fringe shoved into a weekend of shows every summer in the city centre of Newcastle. Bobiks has started over in the Ouseburn too which looks to be a really different type of stand-up with their DAFT! chat nights. You’ve finally got Kai & Gav Humphries running Punch Drunk North of Tyneside, who are literally starting a revolution. It’s not just the biggest names in comedy they bring down. They also raised money to help a kid get lifesaving medicine in America and do an insane amount of community work.
Jordon: On a personal level, having moved from another country, it’s been the easiest way to meet people and make friends. It’s a warm community to walk into. It’s a bit like being a kindergartener: “you like jokes? I like jokes! Let’s be friends”.

Has it changed since you started performing?
J: I’ve only been gigging in the UK for about a year: what’s changed then is jokes have moved from Trump to Boris.
R: Nights rise and fall in the blink of an eye in comedy. One of the big losses was the Hyena Cafe. Older than the Stand and an absolute battleground. You could go to The Stand to see more leftfield creative comedians, or go Hyena to see a comedian earn their stripes battling hecklers. The biggest loss for me was Long Live Comedy at The Dog & Parrott: The Longest Running Open Mic in Newcastle. George Zach used to run it. Sarah Millican, Chris Ramsey, Reginald D Hunter even. Everyone who’s anyone in the North East Comedy scene has cut their teeth there. Losing that was gutting ‘cause while Red Raw is the nicest comedy night out there, it has a long waiting list.

How do you think it compares to the comedy scene in the rest of the country?
J: It’s one of the best, the acts are absolutely brilliant and it’s super well-saturated with great talent.
Raul Along with what the uni students are doing, the spoken word, hip hop & techno scenes and the Lindisfarne Festival, I’d say it rivals most big cities for comedy within Europe, and creativity within the UK.

Where are the best places to watch comedy in the North East?
J: Absolutely The Stand, they put so much energy into making sure gigs are good and I can never get over how special and wonderful Red Raw is considering it’s an open mic night and takes place on a Wednesday. The North East is a wonderful crowd. The Fell Comedy Club is one to watch, too. The Punch Bowl is hosting nights run by Bobiks, and that is just an insanely cool place to watch comedy.
R: Best places in my opinion is The Stand, any TenFeetTall and Hilarity Bites nights! I have not been to Bobiks but I would like to check it out.

Are there any good open mics to perform at?
R: Red Raw is great.
J: Axolotl Laughs at Ernest is class! I think there is soon to be an open mic night with Bobiks, too, which I would keep an eye on.

Last modified: 17th September 2019

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