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A Magazine for Sheffield

Queer Comedy Sheffield: Laughing out loud and proud

Queer-centric open mic night QUACKS is challenging the norm in Sheffield. Now the community is looking forward to Queer Comedy Sheffield's first programmed event, this Saturday 5 August.

Comedy has historically been a heterocentric boys club. Not everyone can see themselves in the likes of Lee Mack or Michael McIntyre, and even the more ‘woke’ comedians like James Acaster or Nish Kumar have gaps in their representation. For many of us, a traditional comedy show is just not somewhere we feel safe.

Comedy is culture. It offers us fresh perspectives on current times, so it’s important that those perspectives come from a wide spectrum of performers, not a select few. We need more queer comedians to vocalise their queer experiences – and we need more queer comedy spaces outside of London and Manchester.

QUACKS queer comedy night
QUACKS open mic night at the now sadly closed DINA.

That's why we started up QUACKS, a queer-centric open mic night originally hosted at the now sadly closed DINA, in March 2022 – to bringing together the LGBTQ+ community of Sheffield once a month to enjoy comedy in a safe and inclusive environment. Named after the small but distinct rubber ducks each performer is gifted after taking the stage, QUACKS has become a real community hub, seeing new and regular faces through the door each month.

It’s a genuine pleasure putting a night like this on. It’s been especially heartwarming watching as people make connections and pluck up the courage to take the mic themselves. A highlight of every evening is not only the endless amount of talent we see on stage, but the people who approach us to express their gratitude for putting on a regular night like this.

Comedian Vix Leyton had the night recommended to her by a bartender when she was visiting Sheffield, after she told them she hadn't had much luck finding nights to perform at:

From the second I arrived, everyone was so warm and welcoming.

The quality of acts was amazing. I gig mostly in London and so I see a huge spectrum of talent, and I think the relaxed, inclusive vibe really contributes to acts finding their own unique voice quicker than you would otherwise.

We took to Instagram recently to ask the community about their experience attending the open mic. Some of our favourite comments have included:

Impeccable vibes, wholesome and welcoming atmosphere! Everyone is so friendly.

An amazing show! A delight! Excellent friend time, great acts, and everyone present left me with gender envy in all directions.

Maybe one day I’ll do an [open mic] somewhere else, but not until they get as good and as queer as this one.

We’ve carved out a wholesome pocket of the city's queer comedy scene, but we knew there was more we could do with it. Enter: Queermageddon.

We wanted to create a night that was a true celebration of all that we have achieved in the past 16 months – both the immense talent we’ve seen on our stage and the community that keeps us going. Our first programmed event will see comedians from Sheffield and beyond take Theatre Deli’s stage, telling stories and jokes about their lived experiences and coming together in collective queer joy.

Hosted by Lucy Smith-Jones (co-founder of Queer Comedy Sheffield), performers will include Emerson Young, Raymond Petty, Taylor Le Fin, Hannah Braggins, Stevie Yardy, Paisley Boyd and me, Ella Nobre Watts (also of Queer Comedy Sheffield).

After the laughter, the night will end with a DJ set from Nightowls, often seen at Sidney & Matilda, so that performers and audience members alike can dance the night away, mingle and connect with this community we’re so proud of.

Learn more

Join us at Theatre Deli on Arley Street this Saturday 5 August from 7pm. General admission is £15 (no fees).

Theatre Deli is wheelchair accessible and has a calm room for anyone needing a designated space to relax and self-regulate throughout the evening.

If you have any questions, contact us via email or find us on Instagram.

Our monthly open mic night, QUACKS, will return to Theatre Deli on 28 September.

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