Since Teuchter’s Comedy Club first burst onto the Highland cultural scene at the end of June 2017, to say it’s been a whirlwind few months for comedian and organiser Halde Pottinger would be an understatement for the ages.
“I’d been to lots of comedy gigs, and I’d done a few comedy gigs down south, but I hadn’t done anything in the Highlands,” the Thurso-born comedian explained. “I’d done odd gigs down south and when I was working abroad, but never organised my own thing.
“So yeah, to be fair, I didn’t know anything. Looking back, you didn’t really know anything! It’s so much more than just sticking somebody on stage and go for it – you have to think about the acoustics and the logistics and the shape of the room, the height of the room, how people are going to react...”
Over the six-and-a-half months since Teuchter’s inaugural night at the Bar on Taylor’s Street, Halde’s brought some of Scottish comedy’s best and brightest up north – Scottish Comedian of the Year winner Rosco McLelland, comedy legend Phil Kay, Paul Pirie and the Reverend Obadiah Steppenwolfe III are just a few of the headliners to take its stage.
Married to that has been a desire to showcase some of the region’s own comedy talent. Compere Kieran Lochore and regular performers Grant MacIver, Zander McNally, Mike Hendry and Scott Crichton – along with himself of course – all have their roots in the Highlands.
A few of the local lads even hit the road last year, as Grant, Kieran, Mike, Zander and Halde toured around the North Coast 500 – with near sell-outs every night.
“Yeah, that was awesome!” he said enthusiastically. “We went to Thurso and sold the place out. We got 200 people up there at the British Legion! I think they made about £1300, £1400 for three charities – that was really cool!”
And Teuchter’s are now recruiting for more local laughs by starting their own open mic nights. Taking place at La Tortilla, Halde hopes to give aspiring stand-ups in the area a taste for the stage.
“You know, Paul and Obadiah, all these guys – they’re amazing,” Halde said. “But if you don’t know them, I might as well be promoting, uh, Kyle!
“So I think we’re going to devote more drive towards kind of local things, hence the open mic thing, because there’s loads of people who’ve been in touch!
“At the moment, we’ve probably only got a few comedians in Inverness who can hold 10-plus minutes, and you can’t have the same people going on all the time.”
To that end, Halde hopes that these nights give people a chance to find a new talent within themselves for the new year. “That’s what 2018 is going to be about – finding new talent. Not even talent exactly, just finding people who want to do it and getting them on the open mic. And if or when they bomb, then we can develop them, nourish them, bring them up and support them.
“That’s a big thing, the support that they’ll have, this sort of network of fellow crazy t***s – but they’ll be there for you!”
The Teuchter’s Comedy Club open mic night takes place at La Tortilla on Wednesday. For more information, or to get in touch about performing, go to Teuchter's Facebook page or go to www.theteuchterscomedyclub.co.uk