Why does Bear Jokes exist? It’s a fact that every night you will find a handful or more “new act / new material” comedy nights running across London. They populate similar bars in similar areas and many of them don’t charge a penny for your attendance. With so many promoters doing so many nights the above question is a fair one and one I want to answer.
For the audience Many nights cram uncomfortably huge numbers of acts onto their bills simply to fill seats in the venue. It’s not unusual to find nights running for over three hours in order to cram in anything up to 25 acts doing 5 minutes each. By the tenth act it becomes a bit of a chore; when the twentieth comes in you could be watching the next Michael McIntyre, Stewart Lee or Sarah Millican and you wouldn’t care because by that point it’s become an ordeal and you just want your bed. Newcomers best suited to honing their first five minutes at open mics often confuse, bore or offend a crowd largely made up of the acts themselves and their well-meaning friends who’ve been dragged along because they can’t perform otherwise (what is known in comedy circles as a “bringer”.) Little more than glorified practice rooms, the event’s promoter spends little or nothing on advertising their event and the most common emotion come the end of the night is relief it’s all over.
Bear Jokes Comedy (home to the eponymously named night at London Fields’ Pub on the Park, Aldgate’s “Clash of the Tight Tens” and Leyton’s “Stand Up At The Leyton Star”) does not do this. I believe a real audience of people coming to be genuinely entertained deserve to see a variety of comedians with a wealth of experience mixing up new material with their finest tried and tested. Set lengths are long enough to showcase the talent on offer and there are never more than eight acts. I’m highly selective about who performs and book well in advance to secure the best up and coming acts on the circuit. It’s not unusual to find that the entire bill on a night have performed full runs at Edinburgh Festival, with many acts winners of national awards or with credits in TV, radio or print. That said; I book what makes me laugh so there’s always room for a few bafflingly good newcomers too.
For the performers As both a promoter and a performer I do everything I can to ensure every booked act enjoys their Bear Jokes experience. I spend money on actual print advertising (including decent full colour flyers and posters), I send out listings, I promote online and I work with and resource my venues to ensure they can do everything possible to let their locals know what’s going on. Past Bear Jokes events have been featured in Metro and recommended by websites such as Ents24. And, of course, not one of my events has ever or will ever be a “bringer”. It’s your ability to entertain a real audience that’s important – not how many friends you can bully into coming to support you. So… Don’t be put off by what you may have heard about new act comedy nights in the past and come and be genuinely entertained by genuinely entertaining people. I look forward to meeting you,