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Howlers Comedy Club introduce new kids comedy show

All Areas > Entertainment > Comedy

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Friday, 27th September 2019, 09:00

Howlers has been running for nearly 15 years Howlers has been running for nearly 15 years

Over the years, Howlers Comedy Club has brought some of the biggest names in the business to venues across Gloucestershire.

Founded in 2005 by husband and wife Paul and Becky Creed, the club holds monthly shows and regularly attracts big audiences.

“Howlers started almost by accident,” said Paul. “Our children were at Naunton Park School in Cheltenham and they were looking at ways to raise funds for the playgroup.

“We were big fans of club comedy and regularly went to shows at places like the Comedy Store in London, so we considered the idea of putting on a night of club comedy at the school.

“They had light, sound, and a stage, plus some of the other parents were licensed publicans so we had all the raw materials needed to create a ‘pop up’ stand-up comedy club. By chance I emailed Steve Lount who runs The Comedy Box club in Bristol who offered to help out and book a line up.

“At the time there was a clutch of unknown comedians who all lived together in Bristol which included Jon Richardson, Russell Howard and John Robins, and he went about booking them in.

“Our first show was compered by Jon Richardson who was an immediate hit with the audience. John Robins went on to be almost a resident compere for us as the club got bigger. Around this time Russell Howard started appearing on ‘Mock the Week’ and his career went stellar.”

From there, Howlers started running regular nights in the Wheatsheaf in Leckhampton and The Royal Oak in Prestbury.

This was followed by a residency in the Pillar Room at Cheltenham Town Hall, which still runs today.

Paul continued: “The aim when we started was to plug a gap that had existed in Cheltenham for many years since the demise of a club called ‘Pillar Talk’, which was run by Frank Skinner in the early nineties.

“Frank’s career really took off and the club slowly faded away, but we were aware that the ‘Pillar Talk’ audience was still there, just waiting for something similar to come along.

“At the time we had young children and on the rare occasions we had an opportunity to socialise we wanted a bit more than just a night in a pub or a meal in a restaurant.”

In nearly 15 years of running, the club has proven to be popular with the Gloucestershire locals, who have seen some of the modern-day greats of comedy making their first steps into the industry.

“There have been many stand out performers over the years, many of which you just knew were going to be big stars,” said Paul.

“Sarah Millican, Rhod Gilbert, Josh Widdicombe – Romesh Ranganathen was one performer who appeared to come from nowhere but clearly had star quality right from the get-go.

“You feel a mixture of emotions when you put on these acts because you are obviously pleased that they have played your club as part of their trajectory to fame, but you’re also a little sad because they are unlikely to play smaller clubs like ours again.”

But of course with big personalities can sometimes come tricky situations, as Paul explains.

“In some ways we have been victims of our own success because we are good at spotting acts with potential, but there is always the risk that they could cancel once they are playing bigger venues.

“We did once have to pay for a taxi to and from Brighton for a very famous act who tried to cancel us on the day of a sell-out show but it was worth it to not disappoint our audience.

“Sarah Millican was booked as a support act initially but she was rapidly becoming a national treasure. I approached her agent suggesting she should headline but I was half expecting a cancellation at this point.

“She still took the gig despite the fact that she had become incredibly famous, which was a huge relief as we could have sold that show four times over and she was a delight to work with.”

This month the club is introducing a brand new night of comedy, designed especially for kids.

‘Little Howlers’ will be at Cheltenham Town Hall on Tuesday 29th October and the Sundial Theatre in Cirencester on Wednesday 30th October.

“Little Howlers is a new venture,” said Paul. “We have been going to the Edinburgh Fringe for many years where you often see acts such as the ones we book for Howlers performing to children.

“It’s a really interesting and unpredictable dynamic and lots of stand-up acts love taking on the challenge of trying to pitch their skills at a much younger audience.

“These shows are ideal for ages eight to 12 but that’s just an approximation. We are going to put on some shows in the October half term and see if it takes off, with headline slots from the brilliant Jarred Christmas and Hobbit the Beat Boxer.”

Also performing at Little Howlers will be Matt Green and Cerys Nelmes, the latter of whom will also be compering Howlers’ first show at The Sundial Theatre on Thursday 17th October.

That night will see Matt Richardson, Paul McCaffrey and musical comedian Rob Deering taking to the stage.

“Hopefully those days in the rain at Edinburgh Fringe this summer have all been worth it when you look at the quality of the line ups we are booking this autumn and beyond,” added Paul.

With shows set to continue into the winter and the new year, Paul is excited for what is to come.

Feedback from audiences is almost universally positive, and he says shows like theirs are the perfect way to spend an evening.

“Comedy is highly subjective and audience opinions on who was good and who was not can sometimes be divided.

“For us that’s part of the reason we do this as we always try and book a line up that has a little something for everyone. Hopefully the fact that we are still here after fourteen years is a good indication that we get it right quite often.

“Young or old, comedy still offers an opportunity to meet with friends, have a few drinks and unwind, whether you are coming to a small club like ours or watching a touring show in a big theatre.”

For more information on Howlers and their upcoming shows, visit www.howlerscomedyclub.com

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