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Home   Sittingbourne   News   Article

'Qualiteee'? Comic Lee Nelson's fans fail to get the joke in Elite Comedy Night at Swallows Leisure Centre in Sittingbourne

02 September 2014
by Andy Gray

Furious fans walked out of a Sittingbourne comedy showcase featuring one of Britain's hottest up-and-coming TV stars because of a string of problems.

People visiting the Swallows Leisure Centre to see Lee Nelson - played by Simon Brodkin and whose catchphrase is "qualiteee" - said the evening was ruined.

One angry customer is demanding his money back because the sound quality was so bad that audience members could not hear the comedians.

'Cheeky chavvy' Lee Nelson is famous for his 'qualiteee' TV catchphrase

'Cheeky chavvy' Lee Nelson is famous for his 'qualiteee' TV catchphrase

The less-than-impressed punter claimed the show was dogged by sound problems from the start, leading to a 30-minute delay in the first act's arrival on stage at 8.30pm.

And there was further frustration when the advertised MC, Tony Marrese, failed to arrive for the Elite Comedy Night.

Mr Brodkin, who has played the character Lee Nelson in two BBC Three series, hit the headlines in June when he tried to join the England World Cup football squad on a flight to Miami.

But rather that rolling in the aisles, some audience members walked out complaining of the venue's "appalling" sound quality.

A customer who paid £150 for a 10-people VIP table is fighting to have his ticket money refunded.

The Sittingbourne man, who did not want to be named, said: "I really feel let down and so disappointed. It should've been a great night out."

Spectators claimed Lee Nelson was 'only on stage for 20 minutes'

Spectators claimed Lee Nelson was 'only on stage for 20 minutes'

The furious fan said PA equipment was still being tested as the warm-up comic went through his routine.

"You couldn't hear the first support act, the sound was extremely distorted," he said. "However, when the second support act came on the issue was exactly the same.

"Everyone in the hall was getting extremely frustrated - many people had already left and the atmosphere changed from annoyance to anger."

"Everyone in the hall was getting extremely frustrated - many people had already left and the atmosphere changed from annoyance to anger..." - angry fan

Lee Nelson, the "cheeky chavvy" famous for his "qualiteee" catchphrase during his BBC3 Well Good Show, was also reportedly late arriving on stage.

His allegedly brief "20-minute" appearance led to members of the 300-strong audience demanding their money back.

"It's outrageous that an event scheduled to last three hours had the headline act only on stage for a small fraction of that time," the fan said.

The fan said he had contacted Swallows and the show's promoters, Actz Entertainment Agency, about a refund.

An Actz spokesman said it had received 11 complaints about the show.

Lewis Simmons, the agency's managing director, said his company - along with Swallows and the show's ticket agency - were looking into "issues".

He said: "We put on acts all over the country, but we've never had problems like this before. We had a lot of guests come up to us at the end of the night asking when the next show will be."

The comedy showcase was held at Swallows leisure centre in Sittingbourne

The comedy showcase was held at Swallows leisure centre in Sittingbourne

 

Mr Simmons said M25 traffic delays put paid to Friday's prompt start, with the audience "kept fully informed".

He said Lee Nelson's set lasted 30 minutes, which was "about right" for a named act before a major tour, claiming the star happily chatted to fans afterwards.

He also said a comedy night starring TV's Sean Lock due to take place at the leisure centre next month had been cancelled due to Swallows' sound problems.

Mr Simmons said Tony Marrese failed to show due to a "prior engagement he failed to notify us about".

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