Stand Comedy Club’s famous cowboy backdrop heading to rival venue as Daniel Sloss is outbid
It’s been a fixture of Edinburgh’s Stand Comedy Club for almost a quarter of a century – but now the venue’s iconic cowboy backdrop is heading to a rival comedy club in Glasgow.
Promoter Alan Anderson paid £7,500 for the 9ft by 8ft oil painting at a charity auction this week – having outbid Capital comic Daniel Sloss and London’s
Museum of Comedy.
The sale came about after bosses at The Stand decided it was offensive and inappropriate to have an image of the baby-faced cowboy with a gun to his head.
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Speaking to comedy website Chrotle following the purchase, Anderson said: “The Edinburgh comedy cowboy has become the second most iconic image in Scottish comedy after Billy Connolly’s banana boots.
“The decision to remove the Cowboy, juxtaposed with Glaswegian Jerry Sadowitz's shows being cancelled in Edinburgh, illustrate that comedy is losing its cutting edge.
“A comedy club should not be a safe space for ideas. It is where comedians should shoot down both themselves and the establishment.
“Glasgow is the real beating heart of the Scottish comedy scene. We will ensure that this beloved image remains intact at a Scottish comedy club to help inspire the next generation of comedians.”
The artist behind the original backdrop has now been asked to reproduce the club’s classic image, “just without the gun,” by the The Stand’s management.
Thomas MacGregor, who based his image on an old family photo of his brother Dave, was involved in the launch of the York Place club, set up by Tommy Sheppard and Jane Mackay, while he was studying at Edinburgh College of Art.
MacGregor said: “The first was a small 1ft square with the face blanked out and some cigarettes. Johnny Vegas bought that one. Then I made a series of paintings with me and the cowboy.
"The backdrop was lurking in the back of the club for a few months before Jane and Tommy asked if it could be used for publicity. Dave and his dimple probably deserve more of the credit.”
The Stand was launched by Sheppard and Mackay in 1995 at WJ Christie's, a bar off the Grassmarket. After several years using city centre different pubs, the York Place was secured.
The Stand later expanded to Glasgow and Newcastle, where its clubs will also be getting new backdrops.