Green is good

Geoff Rowe on plans to cut comedy's carbon

Comedy is a serious business. It requires thought, timing and delivery; much like the problem of climate change. Unlike comedy it’s really nothing to laugh about and we at the Leicester Comedy Festival have formed a partnership which aims to promote responsible attitudes towards the environment within the comedy industry.

Part of this partnership has resulted in the Comedy in the Dark shows, which we’ve just taken to Edinburgh Fringe. For 14 nights at the Gilded Balloon we turned the lights off in a stunt show designed to promote saving energy. The response we received was amazing and we’re now talking to various other festivals about taking the show to them, as well as promoting it at our 18th birthday celebrations in Leicester next February.

So, are there any practical things you can do if you promote comedy shows and want help lower your carbon footprint? Yes, there are. You can sign up to the concept of the Greening the Laughs Charter but you can also do some very basic things to help. We’ve drawn up a list of five things everyone could do:

1. Think about the type of print you use; think about reducing the amount you order when putting on a tour or promoting a festival.

2. Think about how you travel to shows, the routing of your tour or whether you can car-share with other acts.

3. If you are lucky enough to get a rider provided, insist on tap water and fair trade drinks. If you have to ask a promoter for a drink when you arrive, ask for tap water rather than a bottle.

4. If you are a promoter, think about where audience members can store and safely lock up bikes. Then promote this on your promotional materials and website.

5. Join Dave, The National Forest, Spank!, RBM, De Montfort University, Funny Women and others and support the Comedy Wood Promote a benefit for the wood, or ask your audience members to donate

These might be tiny things but we think it’s better to start small rather than not start at all. We are trying to learn from work carried out by the music industry to look at ways in which the comedy industry should respond to climate change. Much of this work has been led by charity Julie’s Bicycle.

We want to carry out a research programme to see what else is happening and what could happen across the industry. If you’re interested in knowing more, or getting involved, do get in touch, or sign up to the Greening the Laughs.

Click here to download a copy of the charter.

Published: 14 Sep 2010

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