Tommy’s Comedy Club founder Mark Edwards has told OVF that the club is reluctantly quitting the Tommy Cheadle’s venue due to the “total lack of professionalism” at Vale Park. Edwards reached the end of his tether when the club repeatedly failed to book PA systems, lost stage equipment and then lost the actual stage itself.
Edwards is now switching the club to The George Hotel in Burslem. Edwards told OVF that the new venue are “over the moon” with the booking and are doing everything they can to help.
This is marked contrast to Vale’s attitude to the venture. Edwards comments: “I’ve been a Port Vale volunteer since 2004 and have gladly given up my time for the club.
“I started the comedy club as another way to help the club but I can’t put up with the total lack of professionalism any longer.
Edwards has been running the comedy club for over 18 months and has invested £9,000 of his own money into the venture. He added: “I regularly get over a hundred people drinking in Tommy’s on a Thursday night. But despite that, I can honestly say I’ve received little or no support from Port Vale.”
“Bearing in mind I’m trying to help them by providing them with a full bar on a Thursday night, it is bitterly disappointing that they’ve failed to back me.”
“Unless I rang up, they never mentioned the comedy club on the scoreboard.
It was never mentioned in the programme. It got mentioned on the website twice, but only when I rang up asking. None of these things would cost Vale any money and would have taken virtually no effort, but the extra publicity would probably have increased the attendance for the shows.
“I built a stage for Tommy’s with my own money and when I got there for a show last year, it had been broken during a birthday party. I had to replace it at my own expense.
“I paid for flyers and posters and they couldn’t be bothered to put them up. When I took it upon myself to go round Vale Park to put them up, they were promptly taken down.”
Edwards is scathing about the club’s own ticketing arrangements commenting: “At least four times people have complained to me having tried to buy tickets from the club shop only to be told they don’t know where the tickets are or they don’t sell them.”
And the club’s support for the shows themselves was non-existent. Edwards told OVF: “Thirty minutes before the Christmas special with nearly 100 people sitting there waiting for the show to start and all the acts present, the bar staff told me there was no soundman and DJ booked.
“The next month I was told they wanted £65 to provide a DJ which had previously been free for the last 16 shows.”
The club also have an unhappy record of keeping hold of equipment as Edwards recalls: “The compere left his Prada stage shoes behind after the December show. He rang up Vale the next morning and they said they would save them for him. When he asked for them last week they have been lost.
“This last one takes the top prize for incompetence… when we arrived at Tommy’s last week (with my own DJ equipment to save the £65 fee), I was informed that they had lost my stage. How the hell do you lose a stage?
“Simple professionalism from the club could have made the night a roaring success but no-one working at the club seems to actually give a damn whether the show sinks or floats.
“Perry Deakin said on record that he will get involved in every aspect of the club from top to bottom but I never heard from him once.
“I honestly thought we would make money and be able to donate towards the youth team costs originally, but I couldn’t do it all on my own.
“I’m going to bill the club for my stage and the shoes but something tells me it will be a waste of a stamp.
“So I am moving the Comedy Club to The George Hotel in Burslem. They are over the moon with the idea and are fully behind me.
“On the first Thursday of the month the door to Tommy’s will remain locked, the tills will stay shut and the car park will remain empty.”
You can watch a selection of top comedians at Tommy’s Comedy club at the George Hotel venue. It takes place on the first Thursday of every month. Text INFO to 07763301081 for news and line-ups.