Wivenhoe Funny Farm:”Everything we make we pay it to the acts”

By Anca Miron

This week the Funny Farm hosts the first in-person event in 2021 since UK went into second lockdown on 8 November 2020 in accordance with the government’s roadmap.

The not-for-profit comedy club in Wivenhoe turned to streaming events on their Facebook page, once UK’s restrictions further increased.

The notion behind it, Hazel Humphreys said, was: “We can all be together even though we’re all separated.”

The club honourably survived throughout the pandemic through donations, which is the main source of the acts’ revenue. The audience watching it from their home were able to go to GoFundMe page and donate either in advance or on the day of the show.

The Promoter of Funny Farm Hazel said: “We’ve got a suggested donation of £6, but is really down to what do you feel you afford to pay.”

But the event on Thursday 10 June is going to be both in-person in an outdoor space, and live-streamed on Facebook for the people who are shielding.

The Wivenhoe Funny Farm Back on Tour at the Horse and Groom show will run from 6.30pm to 8.30pm, but the pub opens at 5.30pm to welcome the audience.

Unlike in previous years in which the comedy club events were hosted by the Bowls Club, this year they collaborate with the Horse and Groom pub to bring their first 2021 face-to-face show to the locals.

People can book their seats by emailing Hazel at [email protected], and donate either in advance or on the night of the show.

There are more than 40 bookings at the moment, but another 20 people are expected to come. There are currently six tables left.

According to the government’s steps to easing Covid-19 restrictions, 50 per cent of the capacity is allowed, as the Funny Farm hosts tables of up to and no more than six people.

The cast is made up of legendary comedians Brian Damage and Krysstal, who bring a “festival feel” to everything they are doing. The opening act is led by comedian Juliet Meyers, who will have her dog coming on stage in an attempt to “steal the show”. Middle Act is played by Jo Fletcher-Cross, multi-award comedian at UK comedy competitions and long-time friend of Hazel’s.

Hazel said it would be a shame to run the summer events online, and that all the money will go to the acts.

But while she hopes this is going to be ongoing, she said the situation is “out of her hands really”.

Promoter of Funny Farm is not setting up any events for July currently, until she is “reasonably sure” that the governmnent aren’t going to change things again.

The next event, if the government allows it, is expected to run at the end of July.

New acts are expected, such as London comedian Susan Murray, and Radio4 show host Andrew O’Neill, if they fancy the idea of a gig performance in Wivenhoe.

Hazel suggested that it is really down to who is available, as she will be asking comedians on Facebook.