Glasgow International Comedy Festival 2015
From humble beginnings in 2002 the Glasgow International Comedy Festival has surpassed all expectations and is now officially recognised as Europe’s largest festival of its kind. Each year it welcomes the biggest names on the comedy circuit.
For seventeen days in March the funniest people in the world arrive and aim to make the people of Glasgow laugh.
GlasgowLiving caught up with Festival Manager Sarah Watson to discuss the worldwide acclaim of Glasgow’s comedy festival.
Now in its thirteenth year, and this year hosting a record 700 shows, Glasgow’s Comedy Festival has exploded exponentially, but how did it occur, and once the ball was set in motion was there ever any doubt that the Comedy Festival would be a success?
Well Glasgow has always been known for its comedy, and Tommy Sheppard after coming up with the idea, realised that it could actually work.
Sarah said. “Well Glasgow has always been known for its comedy, and Tommy Sheppard (Director of Comedy Festival) after coming up with the idea, realised that it could actually work.” She continued. “Sponsors jumped on board, we hoped comedians would be interested, and we knew Glasgow loved comedy, so we were quite positive about it.”
The Glaswegian crowd is well known for being as razor sharp with one liners and put downs as the comedians on stage. Crowds in venues such as The Stand or Jongleurs could easily break a comedians fragile psyche. “Yeah the Glasgow crowd are well known for being fearsome,” laughed Sarah, “you have to grab them in the first few minutes or you might lose them forever.”
Comedians have come to Glasgow and watched their well oiled routine fail disastrously. (King of the offensive stand up routine Roy Chubby Brown, stormed off the Glasgow stage after being offended by hecklers in the crowd.)
Sarah said in reference to the Glasgow crowd. “There’s something different about the Glasgow crowd, whether it’s the tough exterior, or the famously sturdy Glasgow mentality, they’re not afraid to laugh at some of the darker aspects of life.”
There’s something different about the Glasgow crowd, whether it’s the tough exterior, or the famously sturdy Glasgow mentality, they’re not afraid to laugh at some of the darker aspects of life.
The only city in the world who literally laughs in the face of terrorist attacks, Glasgow has seen its fair share of turbulent times but it’s in times of crisis you bear witness to the true united nature of the general public.
With 700 shows and 106,000 tickets available during the festival. If you’re a fan of comedy there will be something to suit everyone’s taste. Including some of the most popular comedians on the UK circuit (Jimmy Carr, Dylan Moran, Frankie Boyle) to more obscure acts (Jerry Sadowitz, The Amazing Bubble Man).
What is the sign of a good comedian though? How do some acts travel well while others fail to capture a worldwide audience? “The ability to adapt” said Sarah, after a little ponderance “mainly to adopt to the crowd, if a joke doesn’t get the laugh you thought it would, change accordingly, different places and countries will relate to different jokes.”
Finally have you any advice for people who fancy themselves as a potential comedian? “Be proud of your roots, your accent, take advice when offered, oh and have a thick skin.” Laughed Sarah.
Anything else? “Yeah go and see a lot of comedy.” She chuckled.