Bouncer hired to stop people using toilet at Haggerston Proud venue
PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 April 2016 | UPDATED: 10:38 07 April 2016
Punters at a comedy night in Haggerston were wetting themselves in more ways than one after a bouncer was hired to stop them using the toilet.
"I have never had anything like this in over 25 years in comedy. I’ve never even heard of anything like this."
Battle lines have been drawn in a bitter family dispute at the top table of the former Proud Archivist, which is now two separate businesses, the Gazette has learnt.
The row between brothers Hector and Alex Proud – who run different parts of the venue – has been labelled an “upper class soap opera” after spilling over into the front of house.
Joel Sanders was preparing to host his Namedroppers event with Adam Bloom in the smaller annex room – ran by Hector – two weeks ago, when he was told a burst pipe left the toilets and bar – in Alex’s main room – out of order.
“I emailed everyone who was coming telling them about the toilets and to bring their own drinks.
“I went down and the bar and toilets were open, so I asked bar staff if the pipe had been mended. They had no idea what I was talking about.
“Later I went outside and a large guy arrived at the door. I jokingly asked if he was security but he said he was and had been told he was not supposed to let the audience from my gig use the toilet. But if someone passing by wanted a drink, they would have been able to.”
Joel has been forced to find new venues the rest of his events, which feature comedians Jim Davidson and Reginald D Hunter.
Another event with Seann Walsh, who was in the audience that night, has been cancelled.
“I loved the venue,” said Joel. “But I can’t say I’d ever do anything there again. I have never had anything like this in over 25 years in comedy. I’ve never even heard of anything like this.
“It’s difficult enough in the arts to make stuff work. I’m still processing what happened. There was no consideration for my efforts. This is my life and livelihood. I’m not a part of this – I’m collateral damage.”
Comedians who were present have also had their say. Adam Bloom said: “It was a strange feeling to turn up and see the bar and loos next door were all working as normal, but there was a very polite and friendly man dressed in black who was apparently there solely to stop my audience using them.”
Another, Imran Yusuf, said the antics were like “an upper class soap opera”.
The security guard was also turning away people last week when Jess McKenna was hosting her acting event Driftshop.
She explained: “He was turning away anyone who looked like they were associated with the annex saying ‘you can’t use the toilets or bar’. It’s really sad.”
Alex Proud told the Gazette: “We are a separate company. It’s like people in your offices next door demanding to use the toilet. You don’t want 50 strangers coming in to use your toilets.” He added he had no dealings with the company before taking over the main room, now Proud East, in mid-February and did not talk to his brother.