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Face off; A new addition to South Wales' burgeoning comedy scene launches in Cardiff next week. Dave Owens speaks to the men behind Piste Off Comedy - Liam Schewitz and Jordan Brookes - about the state of grassrooots comedy locally.

DO: How did the new night come about? LS: The new night came about because the team at Face 11 Bar in Cathays, Cardiff, run an open mic music night successfully and wanted to open a comedy night. One of the musicians, Callum Ross, recommended me and I wanted Jordan on board too.

DO: Jordan, you also run two other Cardiff events - Vagabond Comedy at Gwdihw and Comedy Storage at The Moon. Isn't one club night enough for you? JB: It's all part of my masochistic plan to become the beleaguered dead-eyed kingpin of Cardiff comedy. Each night offers something different so it never gets boring. I think it's important to provide a variety of platforms for acts of all experience.

DO: Do you think there's a gap in the market for your club night? JB: There is a gap in the market insomuch as Cathays is underserved with most of the nights being either in town or south of the town centre. The night is aimed at a mixed audience but wants to specifically bring in the student crowds and allow new talent to cut it's teeth. The night will be geared towards progression as we push to pro headliners.

DO: How will it be structured in terms of the line-up? LS: Line-up structure is to maintain a welcoming host with a strong experienced opener and closer book-ending three acts doing five minutes, whether they be new acts or even experienced acts looking to experiment with new concepts and material. Add to that a true open spot for a brand new punter on a first come first claimed basis.

DO: Who do you have playing on the opening night? LS: We have concentrated on the local talent, that deserves recognition.

Opening is Gareth Brand who is something of a veteran, consistently pushing out excellent performances with what could only be described as endlessly inventive off-kilter performances. I will host and Jordan will close. We felt it was important to demonstrate the belief that we both had in the night by appearing on the bill and hosting the nights as much as possible to give the night a common thread of identity. In the middle we have three very different but very promising talents. Luke Smith is inventive and abstract with some really impressive ideas and a high performance standard, Bryan Ghosh brings an intellectual strength to his writing that means he takes the audience on a journey with many unseen twists, and the homely affable comedy of Col Howarth, an exuberant guy who delivers his musings with the broadest smile.

DO: What's tougher - promoter or comedian? LS: Promoting is much tougher, mainly because there is no immediate gratification. With the comedy, the rewards are immediate DO: How healthy is the South Wales comedy scene right now? JB: I think that the scene boasts some of the finest talent in the UK, I think that the general public really doesn't know how good some of the local entertainment quality is. Generally we find that when a punter visits for the first time, you will see that person return time and again, which is a testimony to the quality of the fayre served up by Cardiff's finest.

? Piste Off Comedy launches Face 11 Bar, Cathays, Cardiff on Tuesday. Entry is free. Find out more at Liam Schewitz


Jordan Brookes
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 14, 2014
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