EP 21 – Alfie Noakes – How To Build A Community Around A Comedy Club

Ask The Industry Podcast Comments

EP 21 – Alfie Noakes – How To Build A Community Around A Comedy Club

Total run time: 1 hour 43 mins 25 secs.

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About Alfie Noakes…

Alfie Noakes started the We Are Funny Project after working in TV and radio production with the goal of offering comedians an open mic with a real audience. It’s one of the most consistently attended open mic gigs in London. He offers more open spots than almost anyone else (an average of 350 per month). Now the Project is going into it’s third “phase” which involves crowdsourcing a purpose-build comedy club to continue to offer performers quality stage time but also the potential to get paid for their work.

If you would like to support Alfie’s crowdfunding campaign you can do so on IndieGoGo here.

Here are a list of the questions we covered. 

We Are Funny Project

  • What’s the selection process for performers? [55 mins 16 secs]
  • Realistically how many gigs per year / season will a perform get? [27 mins 35 secs] [55 mins 16 secs]
  • What’s the progression ladder?
  • Eshaan Akbar has been killing it at every gig he’s done for you. If anyone has progressed through your project it’s him. Have you given him a penny? [51 mins 45 secs]
  • If it is a project for progression, then surely it’s meaningless when you don’t have a single representative of WAFP watching the show?
  • Why did you start the project? Didn’t you used to make films?
  • Bankers?
  • What advice do you have to other people who might want to set up comedy nights?
  • What’s the long term plan for the Project?
  • Why “project” as a term isn’t what most people would put in the title for a comedy night. Why is it in yours? [0 mins 0 secs]
  • How big is the Project at the moment? [55 secs]
  • The birth of the Project and why he left his job in TV to create an open mic Project [9 mins 47 secs]
  • How did you locate the venues for the Project and do you think they helped with audiences? [20 mins 11 secs]
  • What factors make your night so successful? [23 mins 06 secs]
  • Do you want to be an agent? How do you see your role in comedy? [28 mins 52 secs]
  • The “phases” of the Project [1 hour 05 mins 11 secs]
  • How to Crowdsource a comedy club [1 hour 07 mins]
  • The art of crowdfunding [1 hour 24 mins 24 secs]

 Free Shows In London

  • How do you make money from a free show? [50 mins 25 secs]
  • Why do you make me feel like a criminal for not wanting a video of my set? Ulta-harsh salesman techniques for a video that I don’t want is only one step away from pay-to-play [30 mins 13 secs]
  • What do you have to say to people who think free shows are less valuable than the paid ones?
  • How do you encourage word-of-mouth for the club?[34 mins 02 secs]
  • How do you track where your audience comes from?[35 mins 07 secs]
  • Do you think free shows go on too long / have too many people booked on?
  • How do you get a consistent audience? [30 mins 13 secs]
  • What advice would you give people who want to start a good comedy night? [36 mins 35 secs]

Themed Nights

  • Hecklers – do you think this is a good idea? [9 mins]
  • Why the themes? Is it for the comedians or for your marketing or both? [ 2 mins]
  • What advantages does theme nights have for generating an audience? [5 mins 42 secs]
  • Would you ever do comedians rap battles? [8 mins 10 secs]


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Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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