John Pendal is going viral with his stand up comedy shows.

You performed at Darklands, was it your last performance?

Performing at Darklands was my last gig before lockdown. I came home and all my work had been cancelled for this year and next. I stayed home for 4 months and actually performed my first comedy gig last Sunday (12th June) in a farmers field full of dung! The audience were spread out on blankets and chairs in family groups. Everyone was temperature checked as they entered the site. The MC and I had separate microphones so there was no cross contamination. I was even heckled by sheep bleating in the next field. It was very strange.

How did you experience the lockdown?

My household went into lockdown very quickly. Fortunately my husband’s work wasn’t cancelled and he could work from home, so we could pay our bills. I’ve taught some BDSM workshops over the internet with kink groups in different countries. I normally have jetlag when I teach at events, so it was nice being in my normal time zone. The downside is it’s much harder to do demos without someone else in the room with you.

I also had some people approach me about private “kink coaching” (like “life coaching” but kinkier) – so I started working as a kink coach: – this has got more important as people’s fears and worries have increased during lockdown.

Did you had many shows cancelled?

All my work was cancelled for 2020 and 2021. All the kink events around the world where I was due to teach or perform, all the comedy clubs and all the fringe festivals have closed. I’m now doing my very first outdoor comedy gigs as promoters adjust to restrictions easing.

What is Monster about?

“Monster” is a very personal show about things that make me lie awake at night full of guilt and shame. There’s a lot of sex and sexuality mixed in too as I was put through gay conversion therapy for a while. I wasn’t sure anyone else would respond to the show – but I took it to the Edinburgh Festival in 2019 and it received 4 five star reviews. I guess more people feel guilt and shame than I realised!

You can watch the full show at (18+ age restriction due to content).

Have you got any outlook on new shows?

I think indoor comedy shows will be the last thing to return. Ideally for a comedy show to be really funny you need to hear the laughter of the person next to you. That’s why comedy clubs tend to be in basements with low ceilings and no windows, and the audience tightly packed in. If people are spread out in a field it doesn’t matter how funny you are – people will be laughing in isolation. It’s much more of a challenge. Also comedians tend to get paid because the venue made money on alcohol sales – and if you’re in a farmers field there’s no bar!

But we will find a way to get through this. Even if everyone in the audience has to wear a hood – we need to laugh and now never more than ever.

Please stay safe and well everyone. I hope to meet you in person when this is over.

Written by Jeroen Van Lievenoogen

Jeroen is publisher of Alphatribe magazine

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