Big Difference Company presents

FAQs (Frequently asked questions)

How much time do I need to commit to this?

There will firstly be a contestant and comedy mentor/trainer meet-up and photo-call. (1-2 hrs).

Followed by a one-to-one training session for each participant with the trainer/mentor (approx. 2-2.5 hours), which is followed by email or phone feedback & support.

The one-to-one training session will be between you and a comedian, to develop your 5 minute comedy routine; this can be arranged at a time/place to suit you, such as at your workplace or a café. Or can be done via video conferencing if preferred.

You will need to spend time writing, developing and rehearsing your material/your stand-up routine. (Time for this will vary depending on the individual).

There will be a group workshop/”try-out show” with the mentor/trainer and the other contestants (but no public), which will be for approx. 4 hours (dependent on the size of the group). This will take place approx. 1 month before the live show.

Then approximately 7 hours on the afternoon and evening of the final show, on Wednesday 3rd November 2021 (approx. 4 hours for prep pre-show and approx. 3 hours for the show).

Do I already need to be funny?

It helps but we will provide training to help bring this side of you out!

When is the closing date for entry?

Early September 2021.

I’ve performed stand-up comedy before, is it okay for me to enter?

The Stand-up Challenge is exclusively for people with no or very minimal stand-up experience. We aim to keep the challenge fair and for it to be for participants who are new to experiencing preparing their own 5 minute stand-up comedy routine and performing it live on stage to a large audience (approx. 260 capacity audience). If you have already performed at a stand-up comedy club you would not be able to enter the Stand Up Challenge. (If this is the case, you may find one of our other competitions or projects to be suitable, please visit and see the details for Circuit Breakers, The UK Pun Championships and Silver Stand Up).

How much is the Participation Fee and what is it for?

£400, with no VAT applied with this being a fundraising programme and event. This is to cover the costs of training, mentoring, venue hire and the production of a video of each performance.

When will tickets be available to buy and how much do they cost?

Tickets to support our Stand Up Challengers at the live show!

Balcony tickets – £12.50     Stalls tickets – £22.50

(No VAT is applied, as this is a fundraising event)

Stalls and Balcony seats are available to buy from The Y’s Box Office, please follow the link here to purchase.

What is the date of the show?

The date of the live show (& friendly competition) is Wednesday 3rd November 2021.

Why am I being asked to raise sponsorship money and what will that money be used for?

We ask all participants to raise sponsorship money, asking your friends, family and networks to support you for taking on the Stand Up Challenge. All sponsorship money raised goes to support the continued work of Big Difference Company charity.

The Stand Up Challenge annual event is a key fundraising event for Big Difference Company (registered charity 1135167), the charity behind Leicester Comedy Festival. We can provide you with more information about the work we do which supports the annual festival.

Big Difference Company uses comedy & humour to improve the health and wellbeing of children, young people and older people. The money will be used to support community projects targeted at improving their lives and to help sustain and grow the annual Leicester Comedy Festival.

What support will I receive?

Firstly, there will be a contestant meet-up with a photo call, to give everyone the opportunity to meet each other. With your comedy mentor & trainer there will be a one-to-one training session to help you write and rehearse your material, followed by a “try-out” show/workshop with all participants. These can be followed up with further correspondence by phone or email.

On the afternoon and evening of the performance there will be support from the Big Difference Company team.

Training, support and mentoring:

You can arrange your one-to-one training session with the comedy mentor/trainer at a time and place to suit before end of September 2021. This session can be followed by email, phone or video communication to develop your material.

There will be a “try-out” show/group workshop in early October (date TBC) with the other contestants, with a small audience of your fellow contestants and Big Difference Company staff.

Stand Up Challenge show:

Support will be available on the afternoon/evening of the event from the Big Difference Company team to help calm nerves and provide encouragement! And there will be opportunity to rehearse on the stage from 3.30pm-6.00pm.

How long does my stand-up comedy routine need to be?

A maximum of 5 minutes.

(Please don’t plan a longer set, as one of the marking criteria is Timing)

What are the benefits of doing this?

To do something different, to take you out of your comfort zone and away from your daily job, to develop performance and delivery skills and to raise money for a great cause!

How will I benefit from this?

It will help you with your presentation and communication skills and how to deal with nerves. You will have the opportunity to learn techniques and develop skills to best perform and deliver a comedy performance.

What will happen on the show day & evening?

You will arrive at the venue at 3pm  (3.5 hours before the doors open), to meet with your fellow participants and to do some filming with our social media content team. The Big Difference Company team will be available for you to talk to. You will have access to the stage to rehearse and experience what it will feel like. There will be a host for the show who will introduce each act. There will be at least one interval and then after the final act the judges will decide upon a winner.

Is this a competition?

Yes; but a very friendly one!

What will I win?

A physical award and an amazing buzz!

Who are the judges?

Yet to be confirmed.

What publicity will there be?

There will be a PR campaign around the event. The Leicester Mercury supports and reports on the Stand Up Challenge. There will be interviews if you are happy to do so. We will profile each contestant on our website and on our social media platforms.

Will it be filmed?

Yes, we would like to give you a short show reel of your performance. This can be posted on our YouTube channel if you wish, or can remain private.

How big is the audience? Who will be in the audience?

The size of the socially distanced audience will need to be confirmed closer to the date of the show, but we expect it to be in the region of 160 audience members if social distancing regulations are still in place. (The usual capacity is 260.) The audience will be made up of participant’s friends, family, staff, colleagues and clients and perhaps the odd member of the public.

Will the audience be over 18?

Not necessarily.

Do I need to write original material?

Absolutely, yes! We will help you with that when you meet with your comedian trainer/mentor. (A judging criteria is Originality.)

Can I use props?

Yes, you can but you will need to provide them yourself. You should avoid using too much technical support (such as showing films or PowerPoint presentations).

Can I perform with a colleague/friend?

We would rather you perform on your own but if you want to perform as a double act, yes you can but you will be judged together.