Colin Murphy

Colin Murphy

The Queen's is dead

Belfast comedy institution closes after 25 years

One of Belfast's longest running comedy clubs is to close its doors after 25 years.

The Queen's Comedy Club, which takes place at Mandela Hall at Queen's University, has announced that the final show will be on March 7 next year.

Resident compere Colin Murphy said: 'Most people start comedy by doing a thing called an open spot, a short five or seven-minute set. My first gig was as compere at a Queen's Uni comedy night 25 years ago and I've been there every year since.

'Whether they knew it at the time or not, audiences at Queens Comedy Club have been treated to the best acts anywhere – maybe not always the MC, but definitely the best acts.

'But after 25 years this will be our last season. It has been a great run. Mostly funny, sometimes tough, sometimes glorious, at times outrageous. It's been a privilege to have been part of so many students' college days.'

Comedians who have plated at the club have included Peter Kay, Sarah Millican, Kevin Bridges, Alan Carr, John Bishop and Russell Howard.

The venue is also being knocked down next July to be rebuilt and reopened in 2021. The club has been offered a 'very nice' replacement venue in the meantime, but promotor Donal McGilloway said: 'We thought this was a good milestone to bow out.'

He added that 'it has been getting harder and harder to book good acts. Everyone seems to be on tour.

'Audience numbers have also been down. In our heyday we were getting more than 500 every Wednesday. Now we're lucky to get 200. I think people tend to be more interested in going to acts they know than risking a comedy club line-up.'

'But there aren't many comedy clubs that make it to 25, so we've been very lucky to get this far.'

The club returns for its autumn season on Wednesday with headliner Carl Donnelly. Listings.

Where next for the Northern Ireland scene?

The state of the Northern Irish comedy industry will be discussed at an industry event as part of the Belfast Comedy Festival on October 7.

Festival director Peter O’Neill said: 'We will share practical advice and hear from some of the most successful local industry figures. We will also get an opportunity to debate what is needed to support performers and further develop the local comedy scene.'

'We believe there is a strong case to help develop the local comedy scene as it could be a major creative and economic driver with tourism, health, and other benefits.'

Click here to register.

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Published: 24 Sep 2017

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2000

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Edinburgh Fringe 2002

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Edinburgh Fringe 2004

Colin Murphy: Miraculous

Edinburgh Fringe 2011

BBC: Great Unanswered Questions

Montreal 2006

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