Ryan Gleeson

Ryan Gleeson

The battle of Blackpool

Legal tussle could sink comedy club

 Comedians have raised more than £1,000 to help a comedy promoter embroiled in a ‘David and Goliath’ tussle with a venue he used to book.

Ryan Gleeson had been running the Comedy Station nights in Blackpool since 2002 and in 2012 moved to Blackpool’s Viva nightclub, which paid him a fee to promote the night and pay the comedians. 

However, they had a falling-out when the venue, right next to the Blackpool Tower, wanted to slash his budget.

Chortle understands that while negotiations were under way, Viva got in touch with rival promoters asking them to book comedians for the night that Gleeson had built up, but undercutting him.

The two parted ways and Gleeson set up his own night, Comedy Station, in a purpose-built venue just one block away.

Viva has now taken legal action against Gleeson, seeking what’s thought to be a five-figure sum for breach of contract and defamation over a Facebook post he made explaining why he had split from Viva

Gleeson told Chortle: ‘I believe their case has no merits, but even the costs of defending it are astronomical for a small business such as mine and that’s even before we get near a court.

‘So far, it has cost me thousands in legal fees, which is highly likely to force me out of business, before we’ve even really got going.'

Agent Adam Rushton set up a crowdfunder, which has so far raised almost £1,300 towards Gleeson’s legal fees.

He wrote: ’We all know the lovely Ryan Gleeson has put everything he’s got into setting The Comedy Station in Blackpool.  As some of us know he has now got some unexpected legal fees that are now jeopardising everything he has worked hard for. 

'Ryan is one of the most supportive people on the circuit and loves comedy and now he needs a little bit of help from the circuit.  Let's not let the little people get pushed around by the bigger boys… Let’s get behind him.’

Viva has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

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Published: 19 Jun 2019


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