Seeing Red...

Red Redmond is attacked at his own comedy gig

My name’s Red Redmond. I’m a stand-up with four years experience, who recently tried my hand at promoting. Everyone always told me how cut-throat comedy promoting can be. I didn’t believe them…until now.

In December, I set up Dead Cat Comedy, running monthly clubs at multiple venues over Manchester. We strive to give decent comics, decent stage time, in front of a decent audience. Our shows were inspired by the Free Fringe, so all are free entry and we have a donation bucket at the end which is divided equally between the acts. This works out well; everyone gets petrol money, free drinks and a nice atmosphere to try out some new material.

Cynics of this layout have always said that this can lead audiences to become disruptive as they have nothing invested in the night. However, I personally think that as long as you’ve got a decent compere who lays out the rules, can handle heckles and is willing to ask troublemakers to leave there should be no problem.

…that being said, last night I was attacked in the interval of my own gig.

I am not a violent man. I’m a 22-year-old scrawny ginger guy with the athletic build of a pogo stick. However, that did not deter one particularly large member of the public from punching me in the face while I was strangled by his ‘friends’.

It was the second time Dead Cat Comedy Club has ran at Sandbar. We run the gig in a pleasantly sized function room to the side of the main bar. Sandbar is a pretty little Real Ale pub nestled near Manchester City Centre. It’s genuinely a rather lovely venue. The pub’s regulars are usually either bookish students, cardigan-clad hipsters or aging alcoholics… my kinda place! However, last night some rowdy lads set out to ruin both the pub’s reputation and our comedy night. It’s a shame that the only thing they actually ruined was my beautiful, blemish-free neck.

I had spoken to the ‘lads’ in question before the night had even started. They were already drunk but didn’t seem like they’d be a problem. Mainly because they were playing a game of Scrabble. Do violent people play Scrabble? Do they? Anyway, they seemed fine and we didn’t have any trouble until halfway through our opening act Peter Brush’s set when they started wailing and jeering very loudly.

I ignored it at first, it’s a pub, background noise is unavoidable. However, it very quickly became clear that it was being done on purpose to disrupt our night. I went to see what the problem was. I approached them however my friend Sye Watts (who is also Dead Cat’s graphic designer) was already talking to them. He politely asked them to keep it down as they were disrupting the show, they ever-so-politely retorted with: ‘You’re white and have dreadlocks so I’d fuck off if I were you.’ Nice guys!

Anyway, they seemed to have calmed down, I went back into the show and the first section ended without much bother. Peter had a smashing gig and the night was going well. It was going so well I decided to treat myself to a cigarette…

I walked past the ‘lads’ who decided to blow a rather impressive chorus of raspberries at me. To be honest, this was quite funny, I chuckled and approached them. I wanted to try and quash any hostility they might have for our night. I was amiable and jokingly ruffled one of the ‘lads’ hair. Apparently this is a bit of a faux pas in Ladworld. Silly me! Suffice to say he wasn’t happy about this, saying: ‘If you fucking touch me again I’ll fucking destroy you.’ Guess what I did…

I ruffled his hair again and he squared up to me. I said: ‘What’s the matter? Why are you guys angry?’ Their ‘witty’ retort was something along the lines of: ‘You’re a twat’. Again, nice guys! The next few seconds are still a bit of a blur. All I know is that one of them strangled me while the other punched me in the face… twice.

Now, as I’ve mentioned, I’m not a violent man. But if you fight me I will fight back…or at least try to. I kicked out in retaliation but his ‘friends’ were holding me back, throttling me in the process. I could have given up, fallen to the floor, surrendered. Bugger that! The red mist had descended and I refuse to be bullied by some testosterone toting, tank top wearing, bellend with the mental aptitude of a grapefruit.

I grabbed hold of his shirt and tore it open… I felt like an anorexic Hulk Hogan. However, the throttling had taken its toll and I began to pass out. Thankfully at this point one of my friends aptly kicked him in the bollocks and the fighting ceased. He was still going for me, I decided to use the only weapon I’m not afraid to use…speech. I shouted: ‘Well done. You’ve punched a skinny, ginger man. Do you feel like a hero? Cus you look like a fucking disgrace!’

I went outside dazed and spitting blood. I gathered myself, explained what had happened to the bar staff and they immediately ejected him, barring him for life. I must say the bar staff were great! They made sure I was OK and even offered to give me a few extra drinks vouchers. How’s that for hospitality?

Apparently the ‘lads’ had started trouble in there before and I was told that if I wanted to press charges then the venue would stand by me. Well done Sandbar! Thanks for the support. Not enough venues support their comedy nights. Other venues take note.

Anyway, the show must go on…

It may surprise you that the comedy night itself was a complete success. I returned to stage to start the second section. I was still shaken up however I managed to pull together a fairly amusing account about the recent violence. Chris McIlroy, Jack Evans and Pete Phillipson all went on to have cracking gigs and the audience had a ruddy lovely time. In the second interval one of my attackers’ ‘friends’ came up to me. I thought we were going to have another problem. However, to my surprise he apologised profusely for his ‘friends’ actions. He couldn’t believe how enraged he had become and couldn’t stop apologising. We chatted for a while and got on well, in fact, he said he’d definitely be coming to our next show! That’s one way to get the punters in. Anyway, Dead Cat is building up a decent regular crowd all over Manchester and it’s nice to know that a little interval violence does not deter comedy lovers from having a bloody good night of entertainment.

…So, despite the violence I’m surprisingly excited to return next month when we’ll commence our Edinburgh preview season.

If there’s one thing you should take away from this piece, it’s that you should never let bullies win. It doesn’t matter how skinny or weak you are. You can still win.

I know it doesn’t sound like I won and if you could see the scars on my neck it wouldn’t look like I won either. But I think did…somehow. I mean, I spent the rest of the evening having a bloody terrific gig, alongside some of my favourite acts on the circuit plus as many free drinks as I wanted. What’s he gone home with? The knowledge that he can’t even floor a skinny, defenceless dweeb like me… even if his ‘friends’ hold me down for him. He must feel pathetic. Good!...cus he bloody well is.

In the words of the great, wise Chumbawamba ‘I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down.’

  • Dead Cat Comedy Club runs on the third Monday of every month at Sandbar, Grovesnor Street; with other shows at The Spoon Inn in Chorlton and TV21 in the Northern Quarter. Facebook | Twitter.

Published: 19 Feb 2013

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.