How to get ahead in comedy

John Lloyd and others to share tips at Chortle conference

Chortle is to stage another conference for new and up-and-comings comics to get the lowdown on all aspects of the industry.

John Lloyd, the creator of QI and Not The Nine O’Clock News, producer of all four series of Blackadder and host of Radio 4’s Museum of Curiosity, is among the panelists and speakers lined up to appear.

Sessions will cover everything from getting started on the stand-up circuit to pitching ideas to TV networks; staging a show at the Edinburgh Fringe to the nuts and bolts of tax and law – presented in conjunction with performers’ union Equity.

And one session will explore whether you need ‘the industry’ at all – with comedians who have ‘gone it alone’

Other guests include Channel 4 comedy commissioner Rachel Springett, Radio 4 commissioning editor Caroline Raphael, and club bookers Alex Petty, Pete Grahame and Julia Chamberlain.

More names will be announced soon.

The all-day event takes place in the Soho Theatre, Central London, on June 21, with the £99 tickets including coffee, snacks and buffet lunch.

Book before the end of the month for the early-bird price of £85. We also have five bursary places for those out of work or on low incomes (although not students in full-time education unless there are exceptional circumstances) at just £15 each. To apply for one of these places, email with a brief description of your circumstances and what steps you have already taken to get into comedy.

Chortle Conference 2013

And for this week only, you can view the videos from last year’s course for $25 (£16.50) instead of the usual $40. Click here

This year’s sessions include the following (but like any live event, are subject to change)


The essentials you need to know about getting in to comedy with Alex Petty from the Laughing Horse, Pete Grahame from Downstairs At The Kings Head, and Julia Chamberlain, producer of So You Think You’re Funny? and booker for Highlight venues


John Robins – a stand-up who’s not off the telly – gives an honest first-hand insight into what life is like as a working comedian on the road


Tax, benefits and legal advice from a team of experts from Equity


What do they do? Do you need one? And how do you get one? With agents Christian Knowles and Chris Lander from Phil McIntyre, among others


How to get a platform at the world’s biggest arts festival with Neil Mackinnon from the Festival Fringe, Ryan Taylor, head of comedy for the Pleasance, Underbelly programmer Fiona McCurdy; and Bob Slayer, from Heroes Of Fringe


With Channel 4 commissioner Rachel Springett and Radio 4‘s Caroline Raphael among others

John Lloyd


Do you need the business at all? With James Mullinger, who puts on his own tours; Yianni Agisilaou, who is playing the biggest venue at the Edinburgh Fringe under his own steam; and Mat Ricardo, who releases his London Varieties live show as broadcast-quality internet videos.

Published: 20 May 2013

Live comedy picks

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