We all like to have a laugh, and as Edinburgh Fringe came to a close on 31 August we thought it would be good to take a look at the importance of comedy. The Fringe is the largest ever arts festival in the world and was born in the wake of the Second World War, as an initiative created to celebrate and enrich European cultural life. The very essence of its creation shows the importance of laughter. Komedia has long been involved at the Fringe and for the second year running they had their children’s puppet show Pitschi; the kitten with dreams taking the centre stage.
The tale is of a little kitten, who would rather be any other animal in the world as long as it isn’t a cat. For Komedia, a really important aspect of the work they do is providing entertainment and shows for children.
“These shows are vital to Komedia in capturing the hearts and minds, to inspire children to be involved in the arts, and because they attract people of all sorts; people who wouldn’t normally go to the theater” said Colin.
These shows do need subsidy, however, and that’s where comedy comes in with Komedia using profit from sell-out comedy performances to support their children’s program.
Not only does Komedia have two beautiful venues but they offer the promise of up-and-coming stars combined with headline acts to draw you in. And if they are not local to you, why not find somewhere that is and support your local comedy club as the benefits of having a good laugh are undoubted.
Did you know that if you laugh (real or feigned) 20 times that produces a cardiovascular workout similar to three minutes of work on a rowing machine.*
Other studies show that laughing:
- Lowers blood pressure, which reduces risk of strokes and heart attacks
- Reduces stress hormone levels
- Is a fun abdominal workout
- Improves cardiac health; there are a similar amount of calories burnt per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace.
- Boosts T cells to help raise your immunity
- Triggers the release of endorphins, the natural pain killer
- Produces a general sense of well-being.
But comedy is not the only thing that Komedia has to offer. Today, Komedia continues to be an enterprising, independent and creatively thriving entertainment business. They also provide theatre, film, food and kids theatre, amongst other things “we knew we can’t rely on public funding, the only way we can do things we want to do is to cross subsidise” added Colin.
Komedia has played a part in the rise of many household names over ‘the new golden age of British comedy’ with the likes of Armstrong and Miller, Graham Norton, Mel and Sue and Jonny Vegas all making appearances early in their career.
Their aim to start and develop the careers of new talent, but that doesn’t come with out a risk.
“You have to be careful as you have a business to maintain with a desire and focus to bring in new talent” said Colin. Much of their success is down to loyal staff, supporters and comedians who continue to come back and play at these fabulous two venues. But don’t just believe me; go check it out for yourself at
Komedia started in 1994 in Brighton, with the venue inspired by the founders’ experience of European Café Theatre venues. The tiny venue proved so popular, the company needed to expand and in 1998 Komedia moved to a larger venue, with two dedicated spaces. In 2008, using the Brighton experience as a template, Komedia open a second venue in Bath with the restoration of the impressive former Beau Nash cinema, the first cinema in the West of England. Colin says that it would never have been possible without the help of bank like Triodos as ‘it is very difficult to get British high street banks to support social enterprises businesses like Komedia’.
* Laughter: The Best Medicine?
by Barbara Butler
Oregon Institute of Marine Biology University of Oregon
words Luke Bogue photography Matthew Andrews
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