Exclusive: Glee comedy club announces the opening of its first Scottish venue
- Jay Richardson
- 4 October 2018
We chat to the Glee owner and comedians appearing at this new Glasgow comedy club's launch night
Scotland is about to get its biggest comedy club, The List can reveal. Rivalling the recently opened Rotunda and the long-established Stand, the 400-seater Glee opens on Friday 1 February on Renfrew Street in Glasgow, on the site previously occupied by the Highlight and Jongleurs chains.
The first bill features Scottish acts Gary Little and Jay Lafferty, plus Radio 4's 'token Tory' stand-up Geoff Norcott and a special guest yet to be announced. Well-respected in the comedy industry, the Glee already has clubs in Birmingham, Cardiff, Oxford and Nottingham.
'The Glee coming to Glasgow just shows you the appetite for live comedy in the city,' enthuses Little. A regular performer at the chain's clubs south of the border, he reckons that 'it can only be good for Scottish acts to be playing more big clubs. And, alongside The Stand, it's recognised as one of the UK's best. They know how to run a comedy club the right way.'
Lafferty agrees: 'The Glee opening in Glasgow is a reflection of the vibrancy and health of the flourishing Scottish comedy scene. Our stand-ups and writers are gaining incredible recognition nationally and internationally and there's a growing appetite for live comedy; there hasn't been a better time for another purpose-built comedy club. I'm delighted to be performing on the opening weekend and excited to work with some of the fantastic comics who've helped the Glee build its stellar reputation in England and Wales.'
Open Friday and Saturday nights initially, the Glasgow Glee boasts a standing capacity of 800, and in time will host solo shows and music gigs throughout the week. 'I've always enjoyed playing Glasgow and what the Glee do so well is provide a glitzy edge to club comedy,' Norcott reflects. 'With their showbiz staging and an up for it Weegie crowd it'll be a great night. The Glee always feels a bit like a TV gig in a club setting. It's the one you invite the in-laws to if you want to convince them you're doing alright.'
Drawing from a mix of local, UK and international talent, the Glee's weekend comedy line-ups will feature three acts and a compere. Scots Christopher Macarthur-Boyd and Billy Kirkwood have already been confirmed for future shows, as well as the likes of Rob Deering, Nathan Caton, Allyson June Smith, Jarlath Regan, Tom Wrigglesworth, Paul McCaffrey and Adam Rowe. A range of big names, including Lee Evans, Sarah Millican, Michael McIntyre, Daniel Kitson, Bo Burnham, Josie Long and Tape Face have previously graced the Glees. The fully accessible new venue will serve a variety of food, including pizza, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, with an emphasis on local ingredients, while the club's extra-long bar will stock Scottish beers, ales and cocktails.
Glee founder and managing director Mark Tughan fought a long-running legal battle with Twentieth Century Fox over the US television show of the same name infringing his venues' trademark. The Glee clubs were registered in 1999, a decade before the hit all-singing, all-dancing high school show first aired. In 2011, Tughan claimed that he wouldn't be able to open any more clubs under the Glee name as it was synonymous with the teen show, which finished in 2015. But the two sides reached a secret out-of-court settlement last year.
Tughan said: 'I can't tell you how delighted we are to secure a venue for the Glee in Glasgow city centre. I've wanted to open a club north of the border for many years and I can't believe it's taken this long. I'm really looking forward to being part of the city's already vibrant scene, and I'm excited to bring great entertainment from the best of the global stand-up world, as well as some top-class musicians to the city. The venue itself will be ideal for live comedy and music alike, and in addition to our varied multi-act line-ups, we will also be offering solo shows from the best comedians and bands currently touring.'
Tickets are available from today at glee.co.uk