Top name comics perform at Brent Cross as stand up goes Drive-In

Drive through comedy at Brent Cross

Drive through comedy at Brent Cross - Credit: Archant

Drive-In comedy, DJs, films and kids shows in a car park will be ‘like going out, but staying in’

Drive through comedy at Brent Cross

Drive through comedy at Brent Cross - Credit: Archant

North Londoners who have been longing for live comedy can now get in their cars and drive to Brent Cross for a laugh.

Top names including Bill Bailey and Jason Manford are among the line-up for The Drive-In Club this summer - which is also hosting kids’ shows and DJ sets.

While Americans have long been used to watching movies from their cars, the pandemic - combined with the Government’s green light last week for drive-in entertainment - could help it take off in the UK.

Brett Vincent had the idea a few weeks before lockdown, when a ban on gatherings of 500 or more in Austria meant cancelling the Altitude Comedy Festival.

Drive through comedy at Brent Cross

Drive through comedy at Brent Cross - Credit: Archant

“Heartbroken, my team at GetComedy began to desperately brainstorm all the possible ways live comedy could still operate if COVID-19 took hold of the UK. We saw numerous business and sectors adapt to this pandemic and this is how we are adapting to this madness.”

With capacity for 400 cars, ticket holders can either sit inside or next to their car on deckchairs, with sound broadcast through a dedicated FM frequency and the live performance amplified by stage-side screens - just like a normal festival.

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Food and drink can be ordered in advance online and delivered to your car during the show which organisers promise will be safe, contact-free and within social distancing guidelines.

As well as entertaining audiences, Vincent says it will help the stricken industry.

“When the entire live arts industry halted practically overnight, we were really scared. Suddenly myself and thousands of artists, crew, venues and agencies were out of work, with few of us qualifying for government support. It was a really dark few weeks but suddenly the idea for ‘Drive-In’ live gigs no longer seemed so pie in the sky. It started to look like our best option to avoid sinking entirely.”

Events run July 3-August 9 with comedy, music, and family shows on the bill.

Five percent of tickets go free to NHS staff, and Dom Joly, Rachel Parris, Adam Kay, Jonathan Pie, Omid Djalili, Daniel Sloss, Luisa Omielan, Marcus Brigstocke, Milton Jones, Ed Byrne, Reginald D Hunter and Shappi Khorsandi are confirmed acts.

Kids shows include Rastamouse, Dick&Dom, Basil Brush and The Scummy Mummies with screenings of kids films including Moanna, Up and Life of Pi.

Meanwhile Edith Bowman and Craig Charles will play live DJ sets.

Vincent says: “When the comedians started to realise how many people they could help back to work or off furlough or give them some sort of income, they saw this as their time to be a key worker and help out. I am so proud of everyone who has got on board.” Asked if they were concerned about missing the all important rush of communal laughter he says: “Laughter and feedback were an integral part of booking the comedians and artists and the idea of people sitting in their cars and flashing lights or beeping horns wasn’t as appealing as what we have now where people can come out of their cars sit on their own fold up chairs and and laugh at the comedian in what is basically a socially distanced outdoor festival show.”

Vincent adds: “Comedy has got us through these difficult times and lifted us up as a nation. We love to have a laugh and that’s why I hope audiences will come out and be part of something special. Of course, we hope that COVID-19 won’t be around much longer and that our lives and industry will return to normal. But in the meantime we want to allow people a space to reconnect - through shared laughter, tears, excitement, education, drama, spoken word and visual storytelling. I personally cannot wait to finally get out of my house and have fun again.”

The first ever Drive In Red Carpert film premiere in the UK is happening at The Drive-In Club in Brent Cross on July 22.

The film, ‘Break’, a British thriller stars the late Golden Globe winner and Hollywood legend Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner/True Blood) in his final film role.

Tickets cost £35 upwards per vehicle from