Andrew Dipper

Stewart Lee takes on ticket touts

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Stewart Lee says ticket touts are ruining the live comedy experience.

In a blog post on Lee’s website – which was also sent to his mailing list – he said the likes of Stub Hub, Viagogo and eBay have allowed tickets for his Room With A Stew tour to be sold at up to £99, a 400% mark-up on the actual ticket price.

He wrote: “As you may have noticed Stub Hub, Viagogo and E-bay have been touting tickets for the current Room With A Stew Tour at up to £99, a nearly 400% mark-up on seats, many of which are in publicly subsidised venues, the utter bastards.

“I have contacted Stub Hub and Viagogo about this, they have of course pointed out it is all technically legal, and will not be drawn into discussion about the difference between law and ethics.

“If you go into Stub Hub’s office on Great Portland St you can try and eat as many free sweets off the desk as possible while you argue with the bloke there, even though it’s not his fault and he just has to use words like ‘platform’ over and over again to avoid commenting on anything.

“The culture secretary Sajid Javid has said the only people that oppose touting are ‘chattering middle classes and champagne socialists’. He also wants the arts to be more ‘accessible’ to justify subsidy. He has not replied to any of my e-mails, and nor has the shadow culture secretary.

“I oppose touting because I want my shows to be accessible to all, so that everyone can come and hate them as equals, and I cut corners to keep tickets as cheap as venues will allow me to make them (don’t play ATG theatres, no ad campaign, Premier Inns etc etc.) I don’t see why this is ‘champagne socialism’, and if it is, I am all for it.

“Also, let’s face it, I don’t write £99 shows. That said, I don’t think they will shift these mark-ups to my audience anyway.

“Iron Maiden, who have a giant robot of a monster on their side, are now taking on this issue, God bless them, and I urge you to support them and fill in the forms below. Also, drink their Trooper beer. It is ace. I will not pretend to be a Maiden fan but who cannot like Run To The Hills and 666?

“Incidentally, I am adding more dates to some of the sold out shows so there should be no need to buy over the odds tickets from these twats. There won’t be another date at Kingston but for god’s sake just go into London this Autumn at Leics Sq Theatre rather than pay £99 for the back row of the Rose Theatre on an evasive website.

“Please spread this around and end this nonsense.

“Artists shouldn’t have to have their tickets sold at higher rates than they want them to be sold at. It is wrong. The Free Market, in this case, can fuck off.”

Lee’s A Room With A Stew tour currently runs until January 2016. Dates can be found on his website.