The Stand Comedy Club
|Location||Glasgow & Edinburgh, Scotland
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
|Opened||1996 (Edinburgh), 2000 (Glasgow), 2011 (Newcastle)|
The Stand hosted its first regular club night on Thursday 21 September 1995: seven people came and the total box office was £22.
The Stand Comedy Club has three venues in the UK, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, which were originally set up by owners Tommy Sheppard and Jane Mackay. The Edinburgh venue was established in 1995, in a small bar basement in the city’s Old Town, and the Glasgow venue was opened in 2000 located in the basement of an old secondary school in Woodlands in the West End of the city.
The Stand runs live stand-up comedy shows every night of the week in both venues, with a programme of contemporary comedy from Scottish and international comedians. They also stage weekly open mic nights; Monday night in Edinburgh and Tuesday night in Glasgow.
The Stand Comedy Club has a mailing list of 22,000 people. In 2009 10,000 tickets were sold to events between both the Glasgow and Edinburgh venues and roughly 600 acts a year are performed at these clubs every year. Between the two clubs an average of 1600 tickets are sold to events every week.
The club ran weekly when first set up in 1996 and relied on local talent. Expansion meant a second weekly venue in the Moscow Bar and by the end of 1997 a third weekly club had started.
In April 1997 Tommy Sheppard and Jane Mackay formed "Salt 'n' Sauce Promotions Ltd" to develop the club on a commercial basis. After two and a half years of moving around and staging shows in different pubs the club finally settled and moved into a new purpose built venue on the edge of the city's New Town.
The Edinburgh club now stages up to ten shows per week and with its connection with the Edinburgh Festival fringe it is the fourth largest comedy venue in the world's largest arts festival.
The Glasgow club opened on 14 April 2000. Initially the Glasgow club was open five nights a week and by 2003 it had joined the Edinburgh club opening 7 nights a week.
The Stand opened a venue in High Bridge in Newcastle upon Tyne on 27 October 2011. The Stand invested £750,000 in fitting out the basement venue, part of the former Waygood complex. The venue has banned stag and hen parties, and talking during the performances, in an effort to minimise disruptive behaviour so that the comedians can concentrate upon delivering their crafted material.
As the Newcastle club prepared to open, Tommy Sheppard said that he expects this venue to be the last Stand to open.
I remember this lanky, speccy guy coming down the stairs in quite an animated fashion. Trying to sound all professional, I said to him, ‘No, you can’t just turn up on the night. That’s not how it works.’ He told me he had 12 mates upstairs and they’d all pay the ticket price, I was sold. The lure of 12 paying punters made me amend all my principles — he was on the bill that night.
— The Stand Comedy Club co-owner, Tommy Sheppard on meeting Frankie Boyle, The Times Online
Over the year the Stand Comedy Club holds around ten benefit evenings which raises money for various charities such as the Red Cross and Amnesty International. Since 2005 the club has been able to raise money for these charities as the acts performing don't receive a wage and the money is then donated to the selected charity.
The Stand's programme contains an event called Red Raw beginners' night, where new comics can request to be on the bill. When asked about changes to the club over the years the original founders have noticed that comedy has become more popular as thousands will now go out weekly to see a live show compared to dozens many years ago when The Stand was set up. As a result of the growth in the audience more performers have come through to try comedy out which has seen a three or four month waiting list to get a spot on the Red Raw bill.
Without The Stand there would have been no comedy in Scotland, not because there wasn't any talent but because there was no shop window, and now there is.
— comedian Susan Morrison, BBC News Website
- Nicolson, Stuart (4 January 2010). "How taking a Stand saved Scottish comedy". BBC News.
- The Stand Comedy Club
- Fringe Festival 2010 Programme
- Kiddey, Guy (27 October 2011). "Review: The Stand comedy club, Newcastle". The Journal. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- Whetstone, David (3 October 2011). "First purpose-built comedy club The Stand for Newcastle". The Journal. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- Kettle, James (19 November 2011). "This week's new comedy". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- Daily Record Kevin Bridges Interview
- Sawers, Claire (20 December 2009). "Where Frankie Boyle got his shot at fame". The Times (London).
- Celebrity update 2006 | British Red Cross
- Ten Years of the Glasgow Stand | The Skinny
- Visitscotland The Stand Comedy Club Glasgow West End Stand Up Comedy Welcome
- "Glasgow Stand". Visit Scotland. Retrieved 1 December 2010.