EP 02 – Alex Petty (Founder of Laughing Horse Comedy Clubs and the Edinburgh Free Fringe)

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EP 02 – Alex Petty (Founder of Laughing Horse Comedy Clubs and the Edinburgh Free Fringe)

Total run time: 2 hours 44 minutes.

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About Alex Petty…

Alex Petty co-founded Laughing Horse in 1999. Originally a comedy club and gig promoter the Laughing Horse brand has moved into producing and running fringe festivals all over the globe.

Here are a list of the questions we covered…

Edinburgh (and other festivals)…

  • What festivals are you at? [0 mins 45 sec]
  • What are the biggest / smallest festivals you’re involved with? [1 mins 32 secs]
  • Are you planning on doing any paid shows in Edinburgh? [2 mins 59 secs]
  • Description of all the different Edinburgh Fringe model [3 mins 15 secs]
  • What is the minimum spec for a free venue? [5 mins 25 secs]
  • What is the selection / vetting process for performers and how do you assign venues? [7 mins 20 secs]
  • What type of show do you like in Edinburgh? [9 mins 45 secs]
  1. Adam Belbin
  2.  Liam Williams
  • What type of show is good to do in Edinburgh? {11 mins 10 secs} (11.55)
  • What do you look for in marketing in Edinburgh? [14 mins 00 secs]
  • Benefits of being in the Fringe Programme. [14 mins 43 secs]
  • What do you think about flyering, how effective do you think it is and people hiring flyerers? [18 mins 22 secs]
  • What do you think of posters and what would you recommend to do in posters? [20 mins 40 secs]
  • What makes an eye-catching poster? [21 mins 50 secs]
  1. Ian Fox Poster design
  2. Austentatious
  3. Huggers and Shaggers.
  • Is Brighton Fringe good for Edinburgh previews? [25 mins 09 secs]
  • If you could give one bit of advice to someone thinking of taking up a show in terms of applying for Edinburgh / PR / getting noticed etc what would it be? [27 mins 05 secs]
  • Is there a Laughing Horse service to help performers write their show description? [28 mins 52 secs]
  1. Julian Hall – The Rough Guide to British Cult Comedy book.
  2. Julian Hall PR website. 
  • What are your thoughts on Freestival? Do you see them as competition? [30 mins 40 secs]
  • Why did you fall out with PBH? [33 mins 15 secs]
  1. Edinburgh Fringe Room Photo Map Project
  • Do you think you acted ethically in the way you set up the Laughing Horse Free Festival?[2 hours 7 mins 57 secs]
  • How would I get you to come down and watch my show? [38 mins 36 secs]
  • Any plans to expand into other festivals around the UK? [40 mins 27 secs]
  • Do you go to other festivals for fun? [41 mins]
  • How do I get a hold of you? [44 mins 37 secs]
  • Why is the process for applying for Brighton so confusing? I don’t understand why I have to register with you and the Fringe. [45 mins 05 secs]
  • Any advice for someone who wants to apply for the Oz festivals? What is the main difference between the UK and abroad festivals? [46 mins 44 secs]
  • What do you think of smaller festivals that have started up (like Laugh Kingston) [50 mins]
  • Do you see more “big names” going to the Free Fringe over the paid venues now? [1 hours 9 mins 14 secs]

Personal Stuff…

  • Who are your favourite comedians? [51 mins 28 secs]
  1. Daniel Kiston.
  2. John Gordillo.
  • What DVDs do you have in your comedy collection? [52 mins 12 secs]
  1. Monty Python
  • What books on comedy would you recommend or have you enjoyed reading? [53 mins 04 secs]
  1. Phil KayThe Wholly Viable
  2. Malcolm HardeeI Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake.
  3. Benny HillFunny, Peculiar
  4. Jimmy CarrThe Naked Jape.
  5. Tony AllenWana make something of it? (book on writing). (great book on joke structure and finding your voice)
  • Which shows are your favourite that you’ve ever seen? [54 mins 48 secs]
  1. Daniel Kitson.
  2. Anvil Springsteen
  3. Boothby Graffoe.
  4. Chris Addison
  5. Mark Thomas
  6. Dave Gorman
  7. Shelly Cooper
  • What style of comedy, if any, do you feel is under represented among the current crop of comedians? [55 mins 50 secs]
  1. Mark Thomas
  2. Dave Gorman
  3. Shelly Cooper.
  4. Craig Shaynak ‘I am Google’.
  5. ‘Wheel of accents’ show.
  • Which comedians will you go out of your way to go and watch? [58 mins 23 secs]
  1. Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho show
  • How often do you go to watch comedy for fun? [1 hours  0 mins 48 secs]
  • What’s your favourite venue(s) to go to outside of the LH venues? [1 hours 3 mins 56 secs]
  1. The Comedy Pub.
  2. The Stand.
  • What is mainstream comedy (as in the most popular form) going to look like in 5 years? {01 hour 05 mins 31 secs} (1.6.16)
  1. Gary Delaney.
  2. Milton Jones.
  3. Chris Lynam.
  4. Malcolm Hardee.

Comedy Course…

  • What was the reason for starting it? [1 hours  15 mins 10 secs]
  • What would you say makes your course different to the others on offer?  [1 hour 15 mins 10 secs]
  • How did you select the course tutors? Why Jay Sodagar? [1 hour 17 mins  27 secs]
  • Do you think funny can’t be taught? [1 hour 18 mins 55 secs]

Comedy Competitions…

  • How many courses do you run? [1 hour 18 mins 30 secs]
  • In the initial rounds of New Act of the Year, how influential are the audience votes? Also, If a comic who clearly shows more potential/is a better stand up than a comic who has probably a load of mates in the audience, will the judges step in and make the ‘right’ decision? [1 hour 21 mins 34 secs]
  • How do the wild cards work? [1 hour 23 mins 30 secs]
  • How faulty is your system? [1 hour 25 mins 13 secs]
  • Why is it 4mins at the heats and 6 minutes at the final? [1 hour 26 mins 23 secs]
  • How would you define a “new act”? Is it going for less than 5 years? [1 hour 27 mins 25 secs]
  • Can I be seen as a negative thing if you only see them in a new act competition? [1 hours 29 mins 50 secs]
  • How do I use the Laughing Horse final to get more gigs? [1 hour 31 mins 43 secs]
  • Do you enjoy being a judge? [1 hour 36 mins 49 secs]
  • How does Laughing Horse pick their judges? [1 hour 38 mins  23 secs]
  • Do you have any plans to create any new competitions? [1 hour 39 mins 02 secs]
  • Do you think there are too many comedy competitions? [1 hour 39 mins 13 secs]

Bookings / Gigs…

  • If you’ve emailed in for a spot and not heard back, is it worth emailing again or does that annoy you? [1 hour 40 mins 01 secs]
  • if comics repeatedly ask you for gigs despite not getting replies do you view this as positive persistence or simply annoying? [1 hour 42 mins 50 secs]
  • How do you turn a successful comedy event that happens every four-six weeks to a successful comedy event that happens on a weekly basis? How long does it take? Are there any steps, appropriate for Central London, that you would recommend? [1 hour 44 mins 13 secs]
  • When you’re recommended an act, what’s the minimum web presence you’re looking for? [1 hour 45 mins 55 secs]

Laughing Horse Clubs…

  • What is the best way of getting into the free circuit of Laughing Horse gigs? [1 hour 54 mins 10 secs]
  • How long should you wait before applying for paid work with Laughing Horse? Or do you only offer it to people you know?
  • Do you have any tips for people wanting to start their own club? [1 hour 56 mins 28 secs]
  • How do you make money from free gigs? [1 hour 57 mins 18 secs]
  • Realistically how often are you likely to book an act per year? [1 hour 58 mins 12 secs]
  • What’s the difference between Laughing Horse and Comedy Point? [2 hours]
  • How many gigs do Laughing Horse run? Are you more interested in the festivals that you are involved with rather than circuit gigs? [2 hours 00 mins 46 secs]
  • How would you describe your role in promotion shows? [2 hours 01 mins 48 secs]


Nope. [2 hours 3 minutes 58 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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