Are you looking for something to go to on a Friday Night In London then this may be the event for you as it is not just a night of comedy, all the proceeds go to charity as well. Tomorrow night Wingspan Comedy are holding a night of stand up comedy to raise money for their charity partner BIRD at the Taproom in North London. I caught up with compere Stephen Mawhinney to find out all about it.
Hello tell us all about who you all are and a little bit about yourselves?
I’m Stephen Mawhinney, the person who oversees the ‘comedy’ bit of Wingspan. I’ve been writing comedy for about 10 years (usually radio but occasionally TV) and doing stand-up for just over a year.
How did the show come about?
The main aim of Wingspan is to raise money for a charity called BIRD but we wanted to do it in a different way to normal. As BIRD is about mentoring young people using the creative arts we wanted to use the creative arts to fundraise but also to reward the artists as well.
Rather than expecting people to perform for us for free or doing it ‘for exposure’ we wanted to reimburse the creatives for their efforts. So the profits are shared between BIRD and the performers, we raise money for charity and we recognise those taking part.
Tell us a little bit about the show that are happening this week?
This Friday we’ve a fantastic bill of stand-up comedians from people who have TV and radio credits to people for whom this will be one of their first paid gigs. Our show doesn’t have household stars or established names but great up-and-coming comedians. We’ve personally selected a ‘best-of’ so although you almost certainly haven’t heard of any of them we know they’re going to make you laugh.
Over the last year I’ve made a list of fellow acts I’ve really liked and invited some of them to take a risk and try something a bit different with us.
Tell us about the charity BIRD?
BIRD mentors 16-25 year olds in the creative arts as a way to improve their lives and help with their wellbeing. The name comes from its 4 values: Brilliance, Integrity, Relationship and Delight.
It’s a small charity for whom the one-to-one relationship is important so it really is the case that every pound raised makes a difference!
What comedy styles do you think are most underrated?
Far too many people say they don’t like musical comedy. Then they see a good musical comedian live and that’s the acts they’ll be talking about after. That and I’ve got no musical ability whatsoever so admire it in others.
What acts do you have performing?
I think between the acts we’re covering the main styles of comedy – observational, surreal, deadpan, musical and Irish.
What is the best thing about a night at your show for the audience?
If you’re one of those people who likes telling people you saw so-and-so before they were famous this is the show for you. Not only will you laugh but you’ll be able to brag to your friends in about 12-18 months time.
If people want to find out more about you where can they follow you on social media?
They can follow us on twitter on @ComedyWingspan @WingspanGroup (for all our gigs not just comedy) and for the charity itself @tweetsfromBIRD
And our facebook page is:
And Finally in three words – Why should people come and see the show?
3 Fs – Fresh, Funny and Philanthropic
QUICK FIRE ROUND
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
If you could trade lives with anyone for a day who would it be and why?
Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool centre-back)
What would your autobiography be called?
It’s him from that thing
What is the most delightful word you can think of?
Life is Beautiful
Who is your comedy hero and why?
Stewart Lee – Funny and Clever, I can only be one or the other
What is your favourite movie quote?
You stay classy San Diego
If you could be any flavour of ice cream what would it be and why?
Lime – It’s the best but only true connoisseurs appreciate it
Currently watching on netflix?
Rewatching Community. One of the best sitcoms ever written.