During the mid-1990s a stream of comedy clubs sprang up around London and the UK in general. Tottenham was no different – and yet it was! It’s No Trouble To G-R-I-N was the first female-led comedy club to open in north London in 1995. It was run by me, director of Avril’s Walks and Talks, at the Shady Grove Club in Bruce Grove. During the time the club ran, almost every well-known black comedian of the time appeared there. The first headliner at the club was Curtis Walker. On the first night almost 300 people turned up and many had to be turned away. Sheba Montserrat was the MC for the night and she got the audience in a good mood by inviting them to come on stage and play some games, which had the audience in stitches.
Open mikers and well-known comedians such as Gina Yashere took to the stage and ensured that the first night went down well. The club ran for well over a year featuring such acts as: Eddie Nestor and Robbie Gee, Felix Dexter, Rudi Lickwood, Roger D, Kat B, Toju, Felicity Ethnic, Joycelyn Gee, Glazz Campbell, Geo Schumann, Glenda Jaxson, Stephen K Amos and Richard Blackwood.
I used to be a stand-up comedian and worked on the circuit for six months, doing open mics at many venues. My last performance was at the Tabernacle in north Kensington but whilst on stage bottles were thrown and I soon left.
After that I decided it wasn’t for me. By then, however, I’d made contact with all the other comedians and after doing a quick phone around, realised I could get together with them to put on a show. That was how it all started.
Each show ran for three hours once a month on the third Sunday of each month. The shows featured a variety of acts including singers, dancers and magicians. I would spend time between each show working on the next show, including designing flyers, cutting them out, handing them out along Tottenham High Road outside the market and generally getting to know my audience.
The shows were sponsored by Audie’s professional hairdressers, which would offer prizes for winner of each show. This chapter of Tottenham’s history is not well known and is included as part of Avril’s Walks and Talks around Tottenham. The walk also covers other unknown or unusual stories that are little known in Tottenham.
If you think you know Tottenham… you ain’t seen nothing yet.
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