EP70 – Barry Ferns and Sarah Pearce – Angel Comedy – How to build a community-led comedy club.

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EP70 – Barry Ferns and Sarah Pearce – Angel Comedy – How to build a community-led comedy club.


Total run time: 1 hour 28 mins 57 secs.

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About Barry Ferns and Pearce…

Barry Ferns (@barryferns) started Angel Comedy (@angelcomedy) 6 years ago in 2010 as an open mic night to give himself more stagetime. Since then it has expanded and now runs comedy shows 7 nights a week. More recently the core team and their volunteer army have crowdfunded to lease their very own venue, just down the road from the original. They raised £46,643 from 1049 in 30 days. I got on Barry and former comedian, now Angel booker / show manager / venue manager / everything Sarah Pearce to talk about how they did it and what we can learn from them. This interview blew me away and by the end we were talking philosophy and finding what you want to do in life, and always working towards that.

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Here’s a list of questions we covered…

Angel Comedy…

  • How did it get started? [0 mins 0 secs]
  • Lesson they’ve learned.
  • Why are they free? And how does free make maey? [7mins]
  • Why open a new venue? [10 mins 58 secs]
  • Do you think Angel can help bridge the gap between the circuit and TV acts given the agendas at play? [13 mins]
  • Can anyone ever be blacklisted? [33 mins]
  • How did you build the community around Angel? [55 mins]

Barry Questions…

  • You’re a comedian first and foremost but a lot of promoters dislike that they get called a promoter rather than a comedian. Does this bug you? [22 mins 38 secs]

Sarah Questions…

  • Why do you think the model works? [17 mins 30 secs]
  • What would you say to a paid club who says free nights are ruining the circuit? [17 mins 30 secs]
  • Do you think the change in economy and people having less money has helped? [20 mins 30secs]
  • Have you ever lost gigs as a result of running a night? [33 mins]

Other questions…

  • Favourite books? [53 mins]
  • The most underrated person in the industry? [54 mins]
  • The biggest problem in the comedy industry and how would you solve it? [56 mins]
  • The biggest misconception about what you do? [1 hour 1 mins]
  • One bit of advice for people wanting to start a comedy night. [1 hour 2 mins]






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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