THE host of Sunderland’s first gigs at a new comedy club has spoken of his hope for a revitalised comedy scene in the city.
Lee Kyle will host the first four gigs at the new club that launches at The Dun Cow on High Street West on Friday night (November 26).
The organisation behind the new club is Felt Nowt, a not-for-profit comedy collective set up by a group of well-known North East comedians to reinvest any profits into building and supporting the region’s comedic talent.
The Dun Cow will host Felt Nowt’s comedy club every other Friday and Saturday night, with two shows a night – at 8pm and 11pm.
Lee said: “We just can’t wait to get started. Sunderland has a great history in comedy and we hope to revitalise that – it has to be one of the biggest cities in the country that doesn’t have a regular comedy club and it’s time we put that right.
“We first spoke to The Dun Cow about a year ago and they’ve turned an upstairs room into the perfect stand-up venue for us. It’s just the right size and hopefully it’s the right time for us to launch – we think Sunderland is ready for a regular comedy club.
“Culturally, the city is buzzing at the moment. There is so much happening – the opening of the auditorium is only weeks away – and we want to tap into that vibrancy.”
Felt Nowt Director Si Beckwith added: “We’re starting fortnightly, but hope to make it weekly as soon as we can. We think a city the size of Sunderland is ready for a new comedy scene that acts not just as a platform for comics, but also for other creatives and writers. The work and effort that has gone into making Sunderland a vibrant city and cultural hotspot was something Felt Nowt wanted to be part of.”
Felt Nowt was launched during the pandemic when a group of out-of-work performers came together to look at ways they could create new opportunities. Their original plan was to generate income, but they quickly realised the potential of their combined skills and experience to create something bigger.
Their comedy co-op concept brings together dozens of comedians into one place, making it easy to find and book a comedian for events, workshops and corporate jobs. Felt Nowt has already established a new club at Laurel’s Theatre in Whitley Bay.
The first four comedians on the Dun Cow roster are Louise Young, Neil Harris, Omar Abid and South Tyneside-based Lee, who will be the evenings’ host. Louise has recently been supporting Alan Carr on tour; Neil is a home-grown comedy favourite and Omar was a Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Nominee 2020.
Sunderland Culture Chief Executive Rebecca Ball said the new comedy club will bring further diversity to the city’s growing cultural community.
“The new comedy club at The Dun Cow is a welcome addition to Sunderland’s cultural offer and will undoubtedly bring more vibrancy, energy – and people – into the cultural quarter. Sunderland has a history of welcoming and celebrating comedians and we hope the comedy club will put us firmly back on the map for stand-up comedians.”
The Dun Cow has a long history with comedians, with many acts appearing at the Sunderland Empire popping into the pub for post-show drinks. Laurel and Hardy are among comedy royalty known to have dropped in for a pint.
Rhys McKinnell, CEO at Pub Culture, which owns and runs Dun Cow, said: “Pub Culture is passionate about promoting the arts and providing great hospitality in cultural venues, so we’re delighted to have the opportunity to showcase the best regional comedy talent in our beautiful and historic pub.
“We look forward to hosting Felt Nowt at The Dun Cow this week and welcoming guests into our newly refurbished drawing Room for a night of laughs in the heart of Sunderland’s Cultural Quarter.”
For tickets, go to Felt Nowt’s website at www.feltnowt.co.uk