A take on live gigs in 2022.


The live gig scene feels very different in 2022.

A lot has changed since 2019 and as the UK adapts, my priorities have changed a little too. With the current cost of living crisis and high fuel prices, the idea of driving long distances every weekend has become very challenging.

During the pandemic, a lot of comedy friends took on second jobs out of practicality. A year later some have stayed in those jobs, preferring the security, and treating stand-up as a professional second income. It might be my age that's changed my view, but it makes sense. One circuit comedian recently suggested on message boards that live gig promoters should try and book local where they can, in order to help the financial situation, and reduce travel costs, which again makes sense, and it's good for the environment too.

As the UK has re-established its new normal another side effect of the pandemic disruption has been a changing of the guard with gig promoters. Some venues have sadly disappeared, while new promoters flourish with outdoor gigs.

I used the time I'm doing the lockdowns to take stock of goals. It's not new news, but there's been a surge in comedians and broader comedy performers bypassing promoters as gatekeepers for exposure and taking their comedy online where they can build their audience directly.

I'm really excited by technology and I'd love to spend more time doing online stuff to build my own audience, but I'm not sure what that would look like at the moment.

I know from experience doing the podcast in 2017, there's a lot of work involved, it's not just posting a video every week, there's marketing work behind the scenes to drive traffic to your channel. It's not just about the comedy it's about the strategy, and most of the folks I see doing well operate in teams, and I think that's where the future lies.

My goal in 2022 is to promote our ComedySportz and more recently the improvised musical which is soon to have its first theatre show, and doing great guns as a new monthly comedy in Manchester.

John Cooper
Comedian & Improv coach
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