Comedy festival aims to get Northampton laughing

Ed Byrne
Ed Byrne
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To turn around a two day comedy festival having only set up the first event in November last year might seem ambitious, but the trio behind Comedy Crate have managed to reach that target.

The Comedy Crate Festival organised by three friends Conor Fitzhenry, Mike Chase and Kevin Bradshaw, otherwise known as KJ, takes place over this weekend in three different venues in Northampton.

James Acaster

James Acaster

The Lab, Charles Bradlaugh and The Black Princewill host the likes of Kettering’s James Acaster, Ed Byrne, Nish Kumar and Ed Gamble across the two days.

But rewinding to the start before reaching the punchline, it started off as an idea to do comedy night after the three of them went to Milton Keynes.

Conor said: “There were a lot of ther stuff around, there was things at the Derngate, there is the Picturedrome doing comedy but we wanted to provide something a little bit more alternative.

“We felt that a lot of comedy was dominated by white middle class men and we wanted to have people like President Obonjo and Frank Sanazi.

Nish Kumar

Nish Kumar

“We felt that Northampton is a big enough city to see a thriving comedy scene and there is a lot of good work going on.”

And no sooner had they started chatting among the three of them about the first night, they were talking about organising the festival.

Conor said: “I think it was quite early on that we were discussing the comedy festival. We were working out if we could get the right acts to come along, would the audience turn up and we were fairly confident we could make it work.

“It has been a lot of work getting this organisedso we are a mixture of nerves and excitement. But we know we have everything organised and we just have to roll with the punches if anything happens.”

A lot of the comedians who are performing at the festival will be doing warm up gigs before taking the finished shows to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.

This adds an extra level of excitement for Conor for the chance to see some of the material for the first time.

He said: “I like the fact that people will get to see these warm up shows, to see material that might make it into the finished show or not. It will also be a chance to see some people before they make it big at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as there are plenty of acts who break out every year.

“I am also excited for a lot of the acts who aren’t the headliners.

“Larry Dean has recently won an award and is a very funny comedian, we have people like Stuart Goldsmith who has a very successful comedy podcast. There is also Pippa Evans who has the Showstopper show and is a regular voice on Radio Four, so there are a lot of people to see.”

But what of the plans after the festival, will there be another next year.

Conor said: “We are already talking about a festival next year if this year’s event is a success.

“We are working with other comedy clubs in the area and looking to set up similar events in Kettering and in Bedford but we shall just see where it takes us.”

On the Saturday the comedy starts at 4pm and finish at 11pm, on the Sunday it will be running from 3pm to 10pm. Tickets are £16 for day passes or £27 for a wristband for both days.

For further information about the event or to book tickets in advance visit www.thecomedycrate.com.