​Come and enjoy the comedy scene at Liquorice – it’s a Hoot - Vladimir McTavish

​​I am not sure how many former patrons of Liquorice at Tollcross will have frequented the venue since it re-opened at the end of September.
The Liquorice Club in Tollcross lay empty for almost a decade.  Picture:  Greg Macvean.The Liquorice Club in Tollcross lay empty for almost a decade.  Picture:  Greg Macvean.
The Liquorice Club in Tollcross lay empty for almost a decade. Picture: Greg Macvean.

Those that have will have been in for a surprise, or a disappointment, or both. Or perhaps they fully enjoyed the show, even though it wasn’t what they had expected. This now-defunct poll-dancing bar is Edinburgh’s newest dedicated comedy venue.

Anyone expecting to see a young, attractive woman undressing on stage will now have to make do with watching some much less glamorous middle-aged bloke such as myself talking inconsequential nonsense into a microphone, as the club has now re-opened under its new name Live At Hoots.

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I performed at the club last month, and it is a space totally suited to comedy. It has perfect sight lines. No matter where you are seated, you get a perfect view of the stage. Which stands to reason, given its former use. If you can’t see everything going on at a comedy gig, you might be content to listen to what’s happening. Whereas I’m guessing very few people go to strip clubs to listen to the music.

One slightly disconcerting thing happened when I played there. I took the microphone out of the stand but when I moved the mic stand to one side, it revealed a circular hole around two inches in diameter right in the middle of the stage. “Ah” I thought to myself, ”that’s where the pole used to go.”

A few doors down from The Cameo and over the road from the eventually-to-be-opened King’s Theatre, Live At Hoots is right at the heart of Edinburgh’s cultural hub. Although off the main tourist drag, the club should become a destination for comedy fans in the Capital. Programmer and resident compere Rick Molland is intending to make the venue a platform for home-grown Scottish comedy talent.

At present, the club is only doing shows at weekends, but longer-term they are aiming to be open all week. There are also plans for a Saturday afternoon comedy whisky tasting. Anyone visiting the venue tonight can expect a high-quality line-up featuring some of the biggest names in Scottish stand-up. Just don’t expect any of them to take their clothes off.

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