Pop into Maff's gaff

Published: 30 Mar 2012 09:450 comments

FROM testing out new gags to a handful of people in the backroom of a London pub to becoming one of the hottest comedy clubs with shows across the country - organiser Maff Brown tells The Guide how it was never meant to be like this.

LAUGH-A-MINUTE: Maff Brown

Fresh from completing a comedy course in the summer of 2006, Brown set-up Outside The Box Comedy Club at The Fighting Cocks pub, in Kingston-upon-Thames, to test out new material before taking it to the comedy circuit.

"There was never any pressure to be funny - as opposed to on the circuit where you always need to bring out the gold," the 37-year-old, who grew up in Staines, said. "The audience was always nice, in an intimate venue, and we got famous quick."

It pricked the ears of big-name comedians who started to use the club to road test their new gags. It all snowballed from when Frank Skinner performed here and we had an offer from a company to branch out. That was never really the plan, I'm a comedian first and foremost, but it just grew organically."

The comedy club now hosts nights at six venues in and around London - including the 'Stand Up by Royal Appointment' show at Windsor's Theatre Royal.

The next gig, in May, boasts a starry line-up, headed by Greg Davies - the instantly recognisable sadistic teacher in the hit show The Inbetweeners.

"We've been running the Windsor shows for nine months now and the audience has grown slowly," said Maff.

"We try to create the intimate vibe, that we had at the first club, but in a theatre setting. We had Milton Jones at the last gig but this is one hell of a line-up."

Davies will be joined by Sean Hughes, former team captain of BBC2's popular Never Mind The Buzzcocks, the up-and-coming Carl Donnelly, and Maff, on Sunday, May 6.

"I've always wanted to be a comedian," added Brown, who now spends his time writing for TV hit programmes Mock The Week and Shooting Stars.

"Ever since I went to the Comedy Store at 18 - I just wanted to do it but I didn't have the guts to until I was 30."

Brown used to work as a football coach and ended up managing a team in Singapore.

"Like many managers who go over to that part of the world to coach - I got sacked. But I got a pay-off which allowed me to give comedy a go full-time and I just got bitten by the bug.

"I couldn't be any happier - it's a wonderful experience to be able to do this for a living."

See the star-studded show on Sunday, May 6, at 7.30pm. Tickets are £20 from www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk or by calling 01753 853 888.

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