Legendary live venue The Comedy Store – long regarded as Comedy’s Unofficial National Theatre – is set to bring a dose of British humour to India this autumn with the launch of their first international club in Mumbai.
While businesses worldwide are cowering from the economic downturn, The Comedy Store has gained record attendances over the last few years leading to the latest announcement.
The Comedy Store CEO Don Ward has joined forces with Indian businessman and entrepreneur, Amar Agrawal to open the 15,000 sq feet, 300 capacity club in the imposing Palladium building, High Street Phoenix Mills, in central Mumbai, later this year. As well as The Comedy Store club, the venue will also include a restaurant above the auditorium, serving an array of Asian fusion dishes, plus a stylish bar serving a wide range of drinks and the latest cocktails. After the comedy, the club will turn in to a music venue and will feature a state-of-the-art sound system, playing international music with a lean towards the latest in Indian sounds.
The Comedy Store in Mumbai will play host to three international comics over a four day period, performing six shows on a weekly basis, with plans to expand to open mike nights for the local amateur comics. The club also hopes to provide a showcase venue and training ground for upcoming Indian comedy talent. Indeed, local Indian stand ups will be offered master classes with The Comedy Store’s regular comedians to help develop and hone their skills.
Don Ward said: “I wanted to do something special to celebrate our 30th anniversary, and what better way than to open a club half way round the world – Mumbai is a vibrant city and feels like Manchester and London all wrapped up in one. We will be bringing the very best in British and International stand up to India and I am confident that we can replicate our success overseas. At present there is no emerging comedy talent in India, and we hope to change all of that – we’re looking for the first Indian stand up superstar and you never know, we may find the Paul Merton or Lee Evans of India! It’s an incredibly exciting venture, and I hope India embraces The Comedy Store in the same way that the UK has over the past 30 years.”
Closer to home, The Comedy Store will be celebrating its 30th Anniversary on May 19th, when the venue will host a weeklong programme of anniversary gigs, kicking off with an all star charity event on Monday 18th May, followed by a star-studded party.
Earlier this month The Comedy Store hired comedy and entertainment PR specialist Taylor Herring PR to handle the 30th anniversary celebrations.
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Notes to Editors:
The Comedy Store is Britain’s premiere comedy venue and is renowned for its ability to break new talent and its all star alumni – which spans the spectrum of comedy royalty from Eddie Izzard to Chris Rock.
In 1979, Don Ward decided to try it out a new type of observational comedy in the UK which he had observed in the US. He registered the name Comedy Store, created the iconic logo which is now recognised across the world, and scheduled an initial six-week run of Saturday shows at midnight at the old Gargoyle club in Dean Street, Soho.
Ward auditioned raw talent from adverts placed in a selection of varied publications including the Evening Standard, Jewish Chroncile, Grocers Gazette, Builders Weekly, Punch, The Stage and Evening News, and from the 150 answers to the first advert, the first one over the doorstep to be auditioned was Alexei Sayle. Ward thanked the ‘Comedy Gods’ and said to Alexei, “you’ve got the job, you are the host of the Comedy Store.”
Since its opening night, the Comedy Store has attracted the likes of big name Hollywood stars including Robin Williams, Chris Rock, Dennis Leary and Mike Myers (who was the creator of The Comedy Store Players, which is still running today). Other performers to have graced the stage in the early days include Ben Elton, Paul Merton, Jo Brand, French & Saunders, Rik Mayall, Ade Edmonson, Lee Evans, Jack Dee and Clive Anderson.
In September 2000, Ward opened a second venue in Deansgate Locks in Manchester.
In 2001 he founded the Manchester Comedy Festival, which he is now sole Director of.
Ward is the co-executive producer on the Open Mike productions of the TV show ‘The Comedy Store’ (six series) for Paramount Comedy Channel. He is producer and CEO of the Comedy Stores in London and Manchester.