The Comedy Crate, masterminded by Mike, KJ and Conor, has taken the Northampton comedy scene by storm. Ahead of their New Material Night at The Lamplighter on June 5, we’ve grabbed a quick word with Mike to see what else is on the comedy horizon…
What was the inspiration behind The Comedy Crate?
We’re all massive comedy fans, and decided that there wasn’t enough stuff in Northampton that we wanted to watch ourselves. There didn’t seem to be a middle ground between the free comedy nights and the big mainstream acts at The Derngate. Rather than moan about it, we decided to do something about it. It all started as a hobby putting monthly nights on in The Lab, and has grown from there, and now we have nights at The Charles Bradlaugh, The Picturedrome and The Lamplighter.
You appear to be going from strength to strength, with a number of different nights across each month now, and a whole Comedy Festival to look forward to! How are plans for the festival going?
The line-up is online and tickets are on sale. We have 25 acts performing over the weekend of July 21st and 22nd in The Bradlaugh, Black Prince and Lamplighter. We are really excited to be bringing The Comedy Crate Festival back for its second year, there was a lot of positive feedback after our first attempt from the comics and the crowd and we all had so much fun putting it on. It’s a bit less stressful this time round as we already have one under our belts. We’re delighted to have a great mix of TV names and those that will be TV names before too long. We hope everyone has an even better time this year.
Which acts are you most proud to have had at one of your gigs?
We love all of the acts that we’ve had on, and it’s been great to have acts such as Gary Delaney, James Acaster, Nish Kumar and Tom Stade in our venues, but to get Ed Byrne on in The Bradlaugh was amazing when we’d been going for under a year. It’s always really nice to see acts that we’ve had on go on to do better things as well. We had Larry Dean on well before his Live At The Apollo appearance and recently had Robert White on before he came 2nd on BGT. The next one to watch is Lauren Pattison, who will be a regular on your screens before long.
What would be your ideal line up?
That’s such a difficult one. Comedy is so subjective that what we like isn’t necessarily what other people would like, and we’re very conscious when we’re booking to make sure that our line-ups are diverse. Not just in the sense of gender and race diversity, also different styles of comedy. If you look at the festival line-up there are story-tellers, one-liner comics, musical comedians, sketch comedy, it’s really important to try different things.
You’ve just started a New Material Night at The Lamplighter, and had some pretty impressive names turn up for the first night! Is this going to be a regular feature in the Northampton comedy scene?
Thank you. We intend on having this run once a month, we want to build a safe environment for any act at any level to come along and try out new material. We also want this to coincide with our other projects so the acts have room for progression. Ben Briggs is happy to MC it monthly so we will put it on every month for as long as he can do it. Ben has been a great friend and sounding board to us while we’ve been growing, and we’re really happy to broadcast that as he will absolutely hate the public recognition.
What’s next for The Comedy Crate?
We have recently signed an exclusive deal to provide comedy at The Deco Theatre. This is an opportunity for us to bring bigger shows and bigger names to Northampton. What we’ve done from the very beginning is offer an alternative. We started in The Lab where the capacity was around 50, then went onto a 120 capacity room at The Charles Bradlaugh. All the acts we’ve had have said how lovely the rooms are to play and how nice the audiences have been. The goal is to keep that ball rolling just on a larger scale, not competing with the likes of the Derngate but offering an alternative. We’re also fully aware that there are other comedy nights running in Northampton, also being run by people that are in it for the love of it, and would urge people to support all live comedy in Northampton as much as possible. This is a big town and there is room for everyone.
Huge thanks to Mike for chatting with us! Tickets for The Comedy Festival are on sale now here. The New Material Night on the 1st Tuesday of each month at The Lamplighter is free entry – check out The Comedy Crate site for more details, and how to book a slot for future nights.