On June 30, 2012, Neil Sinclair and I started the first comedy room I’d ever run. Thanks to Josh Earl, Simon Taylor, Nellie White, John Campbell and Tegan Higginbotham for coming along that night and putting on a cracking show at Saint Roch Presents. The venue was the Dancing Dog in Footscray. Saint Roch is the patron saint of dogs so that’s why we chose the name. It was a monthly, $5 room that started off fantastic, then crashed and burned when I got greedy and tried to do two consecutive Friday night shows during Melbourne Fringe. Disaster. From a full house one week, to three in the audience the next.
We then put on a Halloween special show which was excellent. And then it was time for Saint Roch to go away forever, and Puggs in Space was the replacement project. I have a thing for dog themed rooms, apparently.
Two years on and I get to do this full time. I quit my permanent, full time job in July last year and have been working on festivals, producing and doing publicity ever since. And some food reviews. Getting paid to eat is like the ultimate Ange job.
Quite often I have people ask for advice on producing and running rooms, which leads me to believe that people think I know what I’m doing. I very blindly jumped in to producing and room running. I didn’t know anything, I just made it all up. I’m only two years in, there is a lot still to figure out. But for the minute I think I’m doing okay.
But, here is some advice for nothing. If you’re running a room, wanting to run a room, or wanting to produce or publicise comedy, make sure you actually go and SEE a lot of comedy. Go to the other rooms and see how they run. Add your own flavour to a room, but there’s no point reinventing the wheel. Also, it’s much easier to put together a lineup when you know who people are. That sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised. Here’s a thing I wrote about lineups last year. I’d change number ten to the point I just made about going to see other rooms. I went to five different comedy nights in the last fortnight, not including Puggs. 2 more stamps on my comedy club card and I get a free open micer.
Now, if you’re going to take any of the above advice, I cannot stress enough that I don’t know what I’m doing. I just made all that up.
Whats next? I’m only running two venues during the Melbourne Fringe, as opposed to the three I had for MICF. Hopefully I will actually have the opportunity to go and see some shows this year (I am a hypocrite btw, I usually never see shows during festival seasons. No time). The Imperial will be running every night of the festival except Grand Final Day, and the Provincial won’t have shows on Saturdays.