Why North Road is now Bristol’s funniest avenue stuffed with laughter

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It has lengthy been one in all Bristol’s quirkiest streets, with enormous works of avenue artwork, loopy tales of stuntman ‘demon barbers’, lions consuming prospects in pub backyards and maids claiming to be Indonesian royalty.

However now North Road in Bedminster can declare a brand new title in 2022 – Bristol’s funniest avenue. For within the area of only a few hundred yards, there’ll shortly be not one, not two, however three totally different comedy venues providing a variety of stand-up comedy, from new would-be funnymen or ladies on their first time on the mic to established stars visiting Bristol as a part of a nationwide tour.

North Road is maybe greatest identified in Bristol as the house of the town’s avenue artwork scene, with Upfest’s headquarters co-ordinating the annual pageant that provides the lengthy highway from Ashton Gate to the Dean Lane skatepark a brand new ornament yearly. However now the road is quick turning into a centre for stand-up comedy.

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Stand-up comedy in Bristol has had one thing of a curler coaster experience because the days when Jesters first opened in Stokes Croft within the Nineteen Nineties. Different bespoke comedy venues adopted and pale out, and as Bristol re-emerges from the covid pandemic, there are solely two larger-scale comedy venues or nights – the pre-club evening each Saturday at Pryzm within the metropolis centre, and the common Saturday evening comedy on the Hen & Hen, midway down on the Southville aspect of North Road.

Just about each massive, nationwide stand-up comedy title has graced the upstairs stage there over time. Right this moment (Saturday, March 26), Mock The Week’s Rhys James is headlining, whereas on Thursday (March 24) the Hen & Hen performed host to a different regional showcase – the South West Comedy Gala – which boosted the careers of everybody from Russell Howard and Stephen Service provider to Invoice Bailey and Josh Widdicombe.

Hen and Chicken, North Street Bristol
Hen and Hen, North Road Bristol

Simply earlier than the very first Covid lockdown two years in the past, a brand new weekly comedy evening opened simply down North Road, within the Pleasant Data Bar that’s hooked up to Tom Pal’s vinyl document retailer. It’s known as Chops Comedy and is run by David Hoare, offering the possibility to see new and established acts in fairly an intimate setting.

“We had 4 nights earlier than the lockdown, and we’ve had about 16 since,” David stated. “It’s a very intimate venue, however we’re in Pleasant Data, so we attempt to make it pleasant. It’s good as a result of it’s a probability to get a extremely, actually good comic and see them in a small area, usually they’ll be making an attempt out actually new materials.”

Prior to now few months, Chops Comedy has seen the likes of Bristol’s personal Jayde Adams, together with nationally well-known comedians like Ed Gamble and Mike Wozniak, who grew to become a cult-hit final 12 months on Taskmaster.

“The concept is to provide individuals the possibility to see actually good comedians who they might usually need to pay by means of the nostril to see, play someplace small,” Dave added.

Chops Comedy at Pleasant Data Bar begins at 7pm for 8pm each Tuesday, and often has 5 comedians – three with ten minute slots within the first half, a 5 minute spot for a more recent or native act after the interval and earlier than the headline act.

“North Road is turning into a little bit of a comedy hotbed, and it’s good as a result of there’s a number of totally different venues now all providing one thing barely totally different,” he added.

And now, only a quick stroll additional up North Road, there’ll quickly be a brand new comedy evening coming to the road. Native South Bristol comic Dani Johns is beginning up a comedy evening on the North Road Commonplace, after issuing a public enchantment for an acceptable venue.

Pleasant Data Bar, North Road, Bedminster

Dani, who grew up in BS3 and went to Ashton Park College, began out as a comic a 12 months earlier than the covid lockdown. After a 12 months or so of Zoom gigs, she is now throwing herself again into the comedy circuit. However she’s additionally on a mission to make comedy as accessible to everybody as potential.

“There’s an enormous comedy scene in Bristol, and it has grown, however it tends to be weekly or month-to-month nights in pubs or venues relatively than comedy golf equipment, and it’s far more unfold out,” she stated. Dani co-runs the established comedy nights on the Smoke and Mirrors in Clifton Triangle, which was began by the Godfather of the Bristol comedy scene, Mark Olver, a few years in the past.

“That’s nice, however I wished to start out my very own comedy evening someplace. There was additionally another excuse for this – once I began doing comedy about three years in the past, a extremely good mate of mine stated they wished to return and see me.

Comedian Dani Johns at the North Street Standard in Bedminster Bristol
Comic Dani Johns on the North Road Commonplace in Bedminster Bristol

“However they’re in a wheelchair, and I very quickly realised that there was nowhere in Bristol that was doing comedy or the place I used to be performing, that was accessible to my pal as a result of they’re in a wheelchair. So he couldn’t get to see me.

“It’s at all times been on my thoughts that comedy must be accessible to everybody, and there’s additionally comedians who’re disabled who get booked for exhibits however then discover they’ll’t even entry the venue themselves. This isn’t actually ok.

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“There was nowhere I’ve been capable of finding that my pal may come too, out of all of the unbiased venues which can be placing on comedy,” she added. So Dani determined to put up a couple of tweets asking for strategies or for a venue that’s accessible, to place themselves ahead, and rapidly heard again from the North Road Commonplace. She’d solely just lately performed there as a part of Mark Olver’s Stomach Laughs collection, and the landlords of the bar have been eager to do one thing extra frequently after it was so successful there.

And, crucially, the North Road Commonplace is totally accessible – vast doorways, no steps and a disabled bathroom. Dani’s new comedy nights on the North Road Commonplace, entitled Are You Having A Chuckle?, will initially be on the second Sunday of each month, and all of the acts have been booked for the primary three – beginning on April 10, then on Might 8 and once more on June 12.

Comedian Dani Johns at the North Street Standard in Bedminster Bristol
Comic Dani Johns on the North Road Commonplace in Bedminster Bristol

And in addition to the comedy being accessible to all, the stage shall be too. “I’m at all times making an attempt to get a various line-up, and it might be nice to have a disabled or neuro-diverse comic on each line-up. This isn’t making a ‘disabled comedy’ evening, it’s simply merely about placing on comedy that tries to be for everybody.”

The primary evening has Dani compering, Bristol’s Louise Lee and Cardiff’s McClaine Beirne showing, with Salisbury’s Andrew White because the headliner.

“It’s nice that that is taking place in North Road – I’m very a lot a South Bristol lady,” stated Dani. “My mum lives in Ashton and I’ve at all times gone out in North Road, so that is nice. We had a extremely good gig on the North Road Commonplace earlier than, so hopefully this shall be a success. North Road has received some nice venues, so possibly there’ll be extra following us,” she added.

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