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it takes, so they handed out headphones. What was interesting was about 5% of the audience took headphones, but only 1% used them.’


Mick Perrin and his team are now planning a series of European tours with other comedians, but as ever, Eddie Izzard is taking it one stage further with a two-year world tour starting next year. Of course, the world has given British cultural exports a profitable stage for years, from theatrical productions to musicals and rock music. But British stand up comedy is something entirely new, particularly in Indonesia, Nepal, Malaysia, which are among the 29 countries Izzard will be touring, and it is a huge risk.

‘Basically, it costs us about £100,000 a day to keep an arena tour on the road,’ Mick says. ‘Our team here in Brighton is very small, but we have 40 to 50 people on board when we tour, plus local hires.’ The model is very much the same as a rock tour, with trucks carrying the entire set from venue to venue, except with comedy they have a far more detailed approach to sound which has to be so much more precise and crisp than for music, meaning masses more loudspeakers. Ten years on from the first Comedy Arena Tour, Mick has to put even more money on the table before he sees anything back. In the old days, someone like Mick would charge

the local promoters a fee for bringing the star to town and they would then make their money as best they could from ticket receipts – and carry all the risk. That doesn’t work on tours like this – UK comedy touring to countries where English is not the first language - so Mick has to strike deals with local promoters that mean they both share the risk.

‘Often the local partners are stand-ups themselves. They have the passion, they know who Eddie is and they want him there. They say they’ll fill a venue…they may not be making any money, but we’ll share the risk and take the hit as well if there is one. Just get him out there. As it happens, each time we’ve done that, it’s been a big success.’

The tour starts in a little over 6 months’ time and Mick freely admits he has yet to get the funding in place. In any other business that needed to raise several million pounds in such a short time, this would be cardiac-arrest territory, but this is not any other business. He just grins and says he has places to go to raise the money.

‘We’re quite prepared to take chances. Yes, it’s a balance, and we do believe we’ve got that balance right. If we don’t, we’ll be out of existence and I’ll go back to playing punk rock!’

‘People might say I’m lunatic,’ he adds, ‘and I’d say yes. But I’m a successful lunatic.’


Top: Eddie Izzard, Reginald D Hunter and Dylan Moran (photo credit Andy Hollingworth)

Centre: Tony Robinson and Mick Perrin

Bottom: Mick Perrin, Eddie Izzard and Mark Rubinstein


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