I owe you all an apology. If you attended the last gig, you may recall how I laughed in the face of COVID-19. Who is laughing now? Well, I’m still laughing. This morning I watched a video of cats knocking dominos over. Oh, how I chuckled! But, figuratively, please know that I am very solemn.

At the last show I also compared comedian Jimmy Carr to the Coronavirus. This was a sick and heartless comparison to make. Yes, both exist at a considerable cost to the exchequer. Yes, both seem to be unavoidable without completely disengaging from British cultural life. But ultimately, one is a microbial life-form devoid of compassion, and the other is a molecular pathogen.

Clearly, I’m writing to tell you what you will already have assumed. It is highly unlikely that we will be able to gather in April for our scheduled Square Hole. This may be for the best. It would fall on the day before a bank holiday, and chances are I would drink more liberally than usual and be even more ‘on my bullshit’ than a typical gig.

In the meantime, I am going to create and update this page on our website entitled ‘Carronavirus’ on which I will do something Jimmy Carr has commendably done during the course of his career: make other comedians look good.

Part of the reason I gave up on even trying to ‘do comedy’ properly (as opposed to ‘talk rubbish’ as I do every month at the Red Deer) is because it’s financially fucked. I was on JSA when I started doing comedy. When I found work, it helped support the cost of travelling to gigs, but it instantly became much harder to maintain a balance. To travel back from every corner of the country late at night and then get up and do social care support work the next morning was hard. Never mind the time it takes to develop material, hone it, and get better at the job of doing comedy. So I gave up, because it was too hard to carry on (and I am ultimately lazy, weak and feeble). But all those people who overcome such barriers, and even greater barriers than I faced, are now being fucked over.

The government has left so many of the incredibly determined and talented people who perform at Square Hole and gigs across the country in the shit, by giving them access to the equivalent of the pitiful amount of money that people are supposed to live on when sick. You can also expect that there will be massive delays in accessing even this sub-minimal level of financial support.

To kick us off with recommendations through this people, check out Sheffield-based comedian and comrade Sean Morley is doing fun stuff online via his Twitch channel. Go here:

The Delightful Sausage were going to close the next gig. They’re doing stuff via their Patreon:

Another valuable thing I’d like to you do as Sheffield dwellers is check on on the Red Deer and make use of their home delivery service – within a 3 mile radius of the pub. This may now become my lifeline:

Something else you can do right now to support comedians and to stay entertained during isolation is consider subscribing to Next Up – a UK based comedy streaming service. Quite a few Square Hole luminaries are already on there, as are many I would love to have join us post-pandemic:

I’ll get to work on this page over the weekend. I’m going to have a shower now, and hold the cats to my bosom.

Not simultaneously.

I hope you and your loved ones are all very well. Speak soon.

Your host and compère,

Rich Milner x