Doing tour support for a bigger act is a key way to hone the craft and increase the fanbase for a lot of up and coming comedians. For fans it's a great way to discover comics they wouldn't have otherwise known about - sort of like a real-life recommendation engine for fans - if you liked the act you've booked for, you'll probably like their support.
The ins and out of being a support act was something I thought our fans would be interested in, so I caught up with Brennan Reece, who has supported some of the best comedians in the UK including Joe Lycett, Micky Flanagan, Jason Manford & John Bishop, to let us in on what it's like.
What are the best things about doing tour support?
There’s so many things. First of all, the rooms. I have done tour support at every level from Arts Centre studios to Arenas. And it’s an incredible insight of why these acts play these rooms, it requires a different skill. A next level ability. Second, you are exposed to a brand new audience, and if you do well, they will become your fans too. And finally, the experience, the circuit is great, but to make 18,000 people laugh who are not there to see you is like nothing else.
How do you get that sort of gig?
Various ways. Comedians might see you and love you. It might be friends you have made along the way. And sometimes an act will have no clue who you are as you’ve been booked by the promoter via your agent.
What challenges do you face doing tour support?
The first 2 minutes. You are in the way of the night the audience want. They have looked forward to seeing their favourite comedian, and then you pop up. But if you have the ability and poise and jokes…you’ll be fine!
Any funny stories?
Less funny. More daunting. I was booked to support Steve O from Jackass. I turned up to a room full of people who wanted someone to staple their balls to their legs rather than tell stories of growing up on a Manchester council estate. 500 people, no one was sat down. I panicked and did a cartwheel. That’s as exciting as it got!
What makes a good tour support act?
Depends on the act. Some want to hang out. Some want you to turn up and do the job. But the main thing they all want - is you to be respectful to their audience and absolutely smash the gig.
Brennan's got two shows on NextUp - Everglow and Evermore - would highly recommend! And also, he's got his own UK tour next year, with his next hour special, 'Crowded', soon to be released. You can follow him on insta @brennanreece