PunchUp Comedy is a night of live stand-up, new material and show previews based in Hastings, East Sussex, UK.

“Punching up” or “punching down” in comedy is defined by who the butt of your joke is. If you target a person or group who is already oppressed, marginalised or generally having a harder time than you are as a result of race, sexual orientation, gender or a whole bunch of other factors, you’re punching down.

There are articles discussing the concept of punching up/down here, here and here and, like most things in life, it’s complicated, as opined here, here, and in a couple of rather confused Urban Dictionary examples here.

You have every right to joke or laugh about anything you like. I’m not censoring your free speech or saying that humour can’t be found in any subject. There are plenty of clubs that will welcome you and you can punch down to your heart’s content there. However, PunchUp Comedy isn’t the place to do that.

It’s not that we’re offended by comedy that some consider “edgy”. We’re just exhausted by it, and it only caters to a small portion of the audience, leaving others feeling excluded and sometimes unsafe. Another straight, white, open-spot guy does another dead hooker rape joke, the same crowd of straight white guys in the audience laugh, and we feel so very, very tired. We’re not the only ones. Many people long for something different.

The ethos of PunchUp Comedy is not to invite the school bully, whether the act on stage or hecklers in the audience. We try the best that we can to be a friendly and inclusive night. We may not always get it right, but we try.

Check the front page for the latest gigs.