£10,000 raised as live crowd returns for charity comedy gig

The first indoor comedy gig to be performed in front of a live audience since lockdown has raised £10,000 to help support struggling comedy clubs, performers and promoters amid the pandemic.

Al Murray, Ed Gamble and Kerry Godliman were among the comedians who took to the stage in front of the socially-distanced crowd at The Clapham Grand in London on Sunday night for the second event in the Save Live Comedy series.

The venue live-streamed the first Save Live Comedy show as an online fundraiser last month without an audience present.

But a small crowd will also be allowed for the final show in the series on August 23.

The proceeds of the three shows will be split across a network of comedy clubs and promoters who are financially struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ally Wolf, manager of The Clapham Grand, said: “It was amazing to have a live audience back in The Clapham Grand tonight, after four-and-a-half months of being closed.

“With a limited capacity due to physical distancing it was brilliant to be able to combine a live audience with one watching around the world online.

“It’s paving the way for a positive future for the venues, performers and most importantly our customers, the audience, fans of all kinds of live entertainment who’ve been starved of the very thing that gives them escapism from the stresses and strains of everyday life.

“We are delighted to welcome them back doing what we were built to do – provide them with an amazing night out. We raised £10,000 to Save Live Comedy tonight and can’t wait to raise more with the final save live comedy show next week.”

The Government had previously given the green light for performance spaces to welcome back audiences last month, however the move was delayed amid a rise in the prevalence of coronavirus in the community.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this week gave the go-ahead to resume indoor performances from Saturday, except in locations such as Manchester, where additional restrictions have already been imposed.