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Tuesday 29 August 2017

A UK Wide Search For Next Generation Of Comedy Performers Dropped In On Brighton

A UK-wide search for the next generation of comedy performers has hit the south coast.

Comedian Scott Capurro, who starred alongside Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire, hosted the auditions on Brighton's Jubilee Library Square with fellow comic, Steve Furst.

Capurro said: "We're just trying to encourage people in a different sort of performance space to get up and do what they do best."

The funnyman hoped the auditions were less intimidating than a traditional comedy club: "They can be quite intimidating if you are a newcomer or a novice."

Furst said he wanted to see performances where: "you have no idea what they're going to do - if someone surprises me I"ll be happy."

Twenty local comics and satirists turned out for the talent search, which kicked off in Bristol last week.

The tour will see a Routemaster bus visit three more UK cities as part of a reincarnation of the Establishment Club, the famous comedy haven founded by king of satire Peter Cook.  

Trainspotting star, Keith Allen will be judging with producer Victor Lewis-Smith of the Associated-Rediffusion production company and Mike O'Brien of Laughing Stock Productions. 

The best of the performances will go up on the Establishment Club website - - and the cream of the crop will join Allen on an Establishment Club TV show which will be screened in the UK on the Russia Today channel later this year.

Allen said:  "The comedy circuit is in desperate need of a cattleprod in the bollocks, 
and to then be slapped about a bit with a fetid badger cadaver, just to make sure it's fully alert.

""The Establishment Club is taking to the road in search of exciting new talent to deliver the beating to the British comedy scene, kinky bugger that it is, it so desperately craves.

"We want fresh voices - angry, passionate, original, razor sharp. We want state of the nation stuff- whether it"s anecdote or poetry, performance or something else that doesn"t fit any of the boxes. 

""We aren't interested in a dissertation on social justice, and if it"s a diatribe about the media, it better be stroke-inducingly funny.

""We are on the lookout for vibrant, virile new acts. 

""Anyone and everyone with something to say on the state of the nation is invited to give it their best, but what is likely to make you stand out is having a unique take, or a routine that isn"t just an offshoot of the tired old political commentary of the day.""

Discussing the state of the UK's comedy, Allen, who played a drug dealer in Trainspotting in 1996, blamed TV companies for stifling young talent due to political correctness:

""Most major TV networks have given up on satire. 
""The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 now deal almost exclusively in comedy designed not to offend anyone, which is something entirely different from comedy." 

Allen, father to singer Lily and actor Alfie, who plays Theon Greyjoy in Game of Thrones added: 

""Moreover, they have fallen into the trap of only relying on established names who can be trusted to tow the party line, not giving chances to anyone 'untamed'."" 

The idea is a reboot of the original Establishment Club, founded on Greek Street in Soho by the legendary Peter Cook in 1961.

And has been revived at various times since then and featured names such as Stephen Fry, Terry Alderton, and John Cooper Clarke.

Producer Lewis-Smith said: "In recent years, mainstream broadcasters seem to have given up on investing in edgy and boundary-pushing satire.

""Satirical current affairs show News Thing makes Have I Got News For You look like Blue Peter, just without the coked-up presenters.""

The Establishment Club bus, will continue its UK tour over the coming weeks, stopping off in:

• 30th August - Manchester, Exchange Square, 10am-4pm  
• 6th September - Newcastle, Grainger Street, 10am-4pm

Those who are not able to make it to the bus are invited to submit their performances via the Establishment club website - and join the conversation via the campaign hashtag #EstClubTour

by: Mike Cobley

Related links

The Establishment Club


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