Sarah Henley is part of the team responsible for creating the online stand up comedy platform NextUp, a company that organises the recording of stand up shows from the likes of Tony Law, Richard Herring and Lou Sanders and publishes them online for comedy fans to devour. Sarah is also a playwright and director, as well as being the founder of ComComedy.
To learn more about Sarah’s career, I asked her a few questions…
1) What triggered you to set up the NextUp initiative?
Dan, Kenny and I (three of the four NextUp Founders) used to run a comedy YouTube channel and monthly live variety comedy night called ComComedy. It involved showcasing great up-and-coming comics by filming parts of their set and interviewing them and sharing the videos online. We went up to the Edinburgh Fringe each year to film and interview comics and couldn’t believe the amount of high quality shows, which might get a tour or a short run in London, but would then just disappear. We figured that there was a much bigger audience for those great shows, and that they just needed the right platform; so NextUp was born!
2) Who is on the NextUp team?
Dan Berg. He’s got a great background in comedy and has even one a BAFTA for writing! He runs the company on a day to day basis –working across all areas of the business.
Kenny Cavey. Kenny has an incredible amount of experience in production and tech, so he’s our head of production as well as the person in charge of our user experience.
Stuart Snaith. Stuart has many years of experience in the comedy industry – he worked as Head of Comedy for BBC Worldwide and for NextUp he is head of content and partnerships.
Me. I work across a lot of different areas of the business as well, but one of my big focuses is on marketing and communications – making sure we get the message of NextUp out there to comedy fans and comedians alike!
3) How do you choose which comedians will feature on NextUp?
Good question! And something that I think will evolve as we get to know our audience more and what their particular likes/dislikes are. At the moment we’re trying to promote a really broad range so there’s something for everyone. We’re also really keen on showcasing the diversity of comedy out there that perhaps can’t find a platform on TV yet – there’s a way to go on this one but it’s something we’re passionate about. In the main, we’re looking for really well-crafted full hours of comedy.
4) What aspect of your work/career are you proudest of?
I think when we get a tweet or email from one of our subscribers saying that they’ve just discovered their new favourite comic…that’s when I know we’re getting something right!
5) How do you see NextUp developing in future years?
We’d love NextUp to grow and grow. We want to film more incredible comics and reach a really wide audience. We’re available worldwide so it’d be great to feature comics and market to other countries and really become the home of stand up comedy online.