Laughter all the way as NextUp unveils 31-day 'Edinburgh Fringe-style' Virtual Comedy Festival
NextUp, the digital comedy club renowned as the 'Netflix of Live Comedy', is staging a virtual festival throughout July to spread some much-needed laughter after Covid-19 decimated the world of live events.
Sarah Henley, co-founder of NextUp, joked: Were billing this as the biggest comedy festival of 2020, mainly because everything else has been cancelled! But seriously, this is a fabulous feast of stand-up comedy. Weve got 31 comedians performing on our virtual stage in a series of 50-minute nightly shows throughout July. Our aim is to give audiences the closest thing to a live comedy festival as possible with a huge variety of comedy styles - some great names youll know and some brilliant rising stars to discover.
Throughout the pandemic, NextUp has provided platforms for comedians to earn income by streaming performances. NextUp even launched a Heckle the Virus Crowdfunding initiative which raised over £120,000 to soften the impact of live events being cancelled and venues shutting.
Sarah says: All the money raised by our Crowdfunding has gone entirely to support the livelihoods of comedians. Weve been doing everything in our power to keep the comedy circuit going and to bring live comedy to the masses. Over recent months theres been lots of talk about the impact of Lockdown on our mental health and the need to combat loneliness. Laughter is a brilliant release for us all. Comedy is a great way to ease tensions and bring much-needed light relief in these turbulent times.
Building on this momentum, NextUp is now launching its month-long Edinburgh Fringe-style comedy virtual festival that everyone can access digitally with a different stand-up comic on every night. Using video conferencing software to put their comedy line-up in the same space as the audience, NextUp will create a live gig atmosphere to enable comedians to be seen, heard and to interact. Tickets cost £9 to take part in a session with a maximum audience of 200 people. Think of these as large group calls, led by comedians, with an incredible potential to create a one-off shared experience.
Sarah says: Being part of our Zoom audience means you can interact with our performers — ask questions and take part in the banter. Proceeds of each show will be split 50/50 between the comedian and NextUp. More/2
And for the hard-core comedy fans, NextUp are offering Festival VIP Passes, including a NextUp annual subscription, and allowing access to every show, even when theyre sold out. The VIP pass costs just £77 with a beer delivery to your home, worth £15, to give as much of a live gig experience as possible from your sofa. *See website for full terms and conditions.
NextUp is also offering advice to all their comedians on how to get the best from their virtual performances. Sarah says: We recommend a very high level of audience interaction to help connect with audiences remotely. Our performers will be able to see everyones faces (and visa-versa) so they should take advantage of that and facilitate connection.
To enable the audience interaction, during the ticket-buying process we may ask audience members customised questions and provide our performers with the answers to use as interactive comedy ammo. However, at the end of the day audiences will have booked to see our comedians perform because of their own unique brand of comedy.
Among the comedians who have signed up to the Digital Festival of Comedy is popular Irish comic Andrew Maxwell, who appeared in last years Im a Celebrity Commenting on his recent NextUp experience Andrew says: "I excused myself from parental duties, donned my lederhosen, and took myself off to the shed with my laptop to find myself in a group chat with hundreds of strangers, looking at me to entertain them! Not my usual Wednesday night.
I had NO idea how it was going to go, or even if it would work, but these kids and their technology have given stand-up a new lease of life. It was weird and wonderful! Its a totally unique way of interacting with an audience and I loved it! It was lovely to see everyone in their houses doing the same thing as me, and we were all having a laugh, and lord knows we all need a laugh right about now!"
Tickets go on sale today. For further details and ticketing information visit: https://nextupcomedy.com/festival/
NextUp is a worldwide subscription video-on-demand platform specialising in stand-up specials. Founded in 2016, London-based NextUp showcases the full spectrum of the live comedy circuit from sketch acts, character comedians and storytellers to gag merchants, observationalists and surrealists. As well as familiar household names, there are also acclaimed rising stars and circuit legends to discover.
NextUp members have access to recording tickets and exclusive discounts whilst comedians are supported through a 50/50 revenue share model. NextUp seeks to bring a diverse range of comedians, with comedy to suit all tastes, to a wider audience by providing platforms for them to showcase their work to comedy fans without the restrictions of show dates, locations, ticket availability or cost. Since COVID-19, NextUp set-up a Just Giving campaign which has raised £120,000 for comedians and has been live streaming its virtual venue — NextUp Now - five nights a week. As a result of its vast experience in streaming and industry support, NextUp was awarded a small Government Innovate UK grant to help support its innovative Digital Comedy Festival concept. For more information visit: www.nextupcomedy.com
Media Contact: Paul Smith: email: firstname.lastname@example.org tele: 07771 623 007
NextUp Contact: Sarah Henley: email: email@example.com tele: 07515 137 564
PAUL SMITH ASSOCIATES
16th June 2020