EP78 – Ryan Taylor – Head of comedy at the Pleasance – What makes a “Pleasance act”.

Ask The Industry Podcast Comments

EP78 – Ryan Taylor – Head of comedy at the Pleasance – What makes a “Pleasance act”.

Ryan Pleasance


Total run time: 1 hour 28 mins 57 secs.

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About Ryan Taylor…

Ryan Taylor (@Ryan_Taylor_) is the Head of Comedy at the Pleasance (@ThePleasance) in both London and at the Edinburgh Fringe. He is in charge of gets slots at the venue but more importantly he’s passionate about bringing through new talent and building a circuit for the newer performers as well as the established ones. 

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Here’s a list of questions we covered…

Who are you…?


  • Bob Slayers episode [0 mins 0 secs]
  • Comedy Programmer / Head of comedy. What is that? [4 mins]
  • What do you do you outside of the Edinburgh Fringe?
  • How do you pick which performers and shows get into the line up? [49 mins]
  • What are the biggest errors / mistakes you see people doing when applying for a slot at the Pleasance? [49 mins]
  • Rumour / misconception busting of preconceptions of the Pleasance. [29 mins]

    The Pleasance…

  • Manchester Comedy scene…

      • I think it’s really easy for people to group “the big 4” into one and ignore that you’re all individual organisations, so I’d love to start with what you think makes the Pleasance unique, why you enjoy working for them and where you see the Pleasance fitting into the Fringe against the other venues… [8 mins 20 secs]
      • Why are you still in the big 4? [ 7mins 24 secs]
      • Do program listings still work in an age of mobile phones / social media? [7 mins 50 secs]
      • The Pleasance is a charity. How does that operate? [10 mins]
      • What other things make the Pleasance stand out from the others in the big 4? [5 mins 54 secs]
      • Marketing advice at the Fringe [20 mins onward]
        • Jonathan Pie
        • Bella Youngs instagram
      • How the Pleasance deals with acts not selling enough tickets. [21 mins]
      • Why doesn’t the Pleasance do free shows? -[20 mins]
        • Would it ever do free shows? [24 mins]
        • Or pay what you want?
        • What do you think of the Gilded Balloon’s move into PWYW? [26 mins\
        • There was an article about Bob Slayers venues and how acts like Glenn Wool have “gone PWYW” and Brendon Burns talked about “going free” in his Chortle speech last year… do you think this move will continue? Are you / the Pleasance worried?
      • Do you have a minimum price for show tickets and what happens if an act doesn’t sell enough tickets for the split to work? [22 mins]
      • Do you need an agent to get a show at the Pleasance? [36 mins 30 secs]
      • Why he is friends with so few comedians. [39 mins]
        • Louisa’s pod
        • JD – Sweets Venue Pod
      • Do you think that certain rooms can’t be venues? [48 mins 15 secs]
      • How do you see the Pleasance evolving in the next year / 5 years?
      • Do you think comedy has become too big at the Fringe as it now eclipses all the other genres.
      • What are the most underused features / facilities the Pleasance offers performers?  [50 mins]
      • At the 2015 Chortle Conference you said “Edinburgh works because there is an audience who wants to see shows – you just have to get them into yours.” What hints, tricks and tips would you give a performer to get people into their show beyond Flyering ? Do you find PR works? [44 mins 30 secs]

    Dr Who / podcasting…

    • Why he started podcasting? [50 mins]
    • How his Doc Who show at the Edinburgh Fringe changed his life. [56 mins 20 secs]

    Other questions…

    • What are the best books on comedy, writing, stand up etc you’ve read? [1 hour 0 mins 16 secs]
    • Best show you’ve ever seen?
    • A lot of comedians call themselves comedians but they make more money from voiceover work or writing that live performing, so they’d self identify as a comedian but their income would define them another way, how close is your self identity to your actual income identity? [45 mins 30 secs]
    • What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made and how did you get over it? [1 hour 0 mins 16 secs]
    • What are the common misconceptions people have about what you do? [1 hour 1 min 22 secs]
    • What is the most interesting thing you do that nobody else ever seens?
    • Who do you think is the most underrated person in your industry? [1 hour 0 mins 16 secs]
    • When you look back over your career, what memory makes you most happy?
    • What do you think is the biggest problem in the comedy industry and how would you go about solving it? [1 hour 3mins  10 secs]





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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