Monday, 21 September 2015

Hattie Hayridge - the First Monkhouse 21 Sept 1987

The Monkhouse comedy club launched on September 21st 1987 at the Magazine Pub, Newarke Street, Leicester, Don't look for it, it's not there anymore.

For the first and only time Alan and I took out an advert in the Leicester Mercury. And for the first and only time nobody turned up. Although the Monkhouse was going to go on to great success over the coming two years, its opening night was a washout. I have memories of us sitting round chatting with Hattie Hayridge - who come to play at the massive expense of £25, the going rate for headliners in 1987 - and Arnold Bolt, local comedy hero, who was probably playing for a doorsplit.

This wasn't our first effort at staging comedy shows at the Magazine. It had formerly been known as The Magazine Jokespace, run by The Great Alphonse and the Handsome Herbert, two actors who had been working at Phoenix Arts, across the road. Alan and I discovered it in the summer of 1984, and started appearing regularly in the Autumn of 84, when it was being run by Cathy Dunning, who went on 15 years later to co-create The Weakest Link. After Cathy moved on, the club was run by Julie Jokespace (whose surname I have only ever remembered as Jokespace) under the name Witsend. How successful those shows were I can't recall, but if this poster designed by me is anything to go by, it's amazing that it dragged in more punters than the fabulously well-promoted first night of The Monkhouse.

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