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A Magazine for Sheffield

A new stand-up comedy night centring queer voices

What better way to champion queer joy in Sheffield than to create a night of creativity and laughter that is especially for us?

Trying something new for the first time is always daunting. When the thing you’re trying is stand-up comedy, it’s enough to give anyone sweaty palms, regardless of their surroundings.

I spent my teens watching fuzzy, low-res YouTube clips of French and Saunders sketches and bootleg Edinburgh Fringe shows. After school, I would rush home to watch shows like Mock The Week and Who’s Line Is It Anyway? In adulthood, I started keeping notebooks in my bag, writing down stray thoughts and observations I thought were funny. I spent commutes and long journeys rehearsing a tight five-minute set in my head.

I’ve loved comedy for as long as I can remember, but there was always something holding me back from trying it out for myself.

DINA 2022

DINA Venue.

Though the stand-up landscape has seen improvements in diversity in recent years, it’s a space that is still largely taken up by straight, white, cis men. When you grow up marginalised because of your race, gender or sexuality, entering these kinds of spaces can be really intimidating.

I certainly felt that way when, met with a sea of male faces, I entered a pub basement in London for my first open mic. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw two women tucked in the corner, and I sat with them once I’d written my name down on the line-up. When I didn’t completely bomb my very first performance and decided to sign up for other open mic nights around London, I found there was always a shared understanding and a sense of camaraderie among the minority of female and queer comedians in the room.

When I moved to Sheffield, I knew I wanted to create something different. So with my friend Lucy, we pitched an inclusive, open mic comedy night to DINA, a hub for the LGBTQ+ community in Sheffield and a venue known for hosting alternative arts and culture.

We aren’t professional comedians by any means. We’re just two queer people wanting to create an inclusive space to continue exploring stand-up comedy; to host an evening where, whether you’re performing or just watching, you are in community with others who just ‘get it’.

Queer joy is revolutionary. What better way to champion that joy than a night of creativity and laughter curated especially for us, in a space where we feel safe to explore a hidden passion without fear of retaliation and jokes made at our expense.

The first Queer Open Mic Comedy Night is happening on Wednesday 16th March, 7:30pm at DINA Venue, and it’s ‘pay what you feel’. There’s no obligation to perform, though you can throw your name in the hat at any point in the evening if your change your mind. You are more than welcome to just watch and be in community with other queer comedy nerds.

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