THE comedy industry could miss out on the a generation of acts after the coronavirus pandemic closed venues across the country.

That is the fear of Swindon stand-up Steve N Allen, who worked as a radio presenter for GWR FM before becoming a regular face on BBC Two's The Mash Report. He believes fellow performers will lack new material and newcomers to the circuit won’t be able to test themselves and progress.

The Adver columnist's comments come after the second lockdown forced closure upon any entertainment venues that reopened as well as pubs that host open-mic nights.

Steve, 43, said: “There are gigs across the country. You start at the small open-mic nights in pubs and work your way up as you get used to telling jokes in front of people.

“But other than TV shows the entire industry is on hiatus and that means no-one is learning the skills.

“There’s never been anything like this. It’s going to be interesting to see us learn it all over again.”

Steve has been working as a comedian for 19 years and had a packed year planned until the pandemic hit.

He said: “It would have been every single weekend. I had a show I did in Edinburgh last year that I was going to do in a few places,.I was rammed with work so it was such a shock.

“I fell for the spin that it would only be a few weeks. I could have taken a couple of months off and come back to it but it looks like it’ll be coming up to a year before that happens.”

But despite the current doom and gloom, Steve is hopeful that the industry will bounce back and be stronger than ever.

He added: “It looks like Christmas will be fine but January will be terrible so it’ll probably be that full year before these vaccines get working and get into enough people.

“But eventually we will come back, I have faith that at some point the stand-up comedy world will be back to what it’s doing because people like a drink.

“It’s easy for comedians to think they’re the main part of the evening but people just want a night out. They want a drink, they want to sit and hear some jokes, have a good laugh and go home.

“That will always be the case so that’ll come back at some point, it’s just how many comedians will have been shed from the industry by that point.”

Throughout the pandemic, Steve has been doing his live Facebook stream ‘Comics Solving Problems’ twice a week with Erich McElroy.

“We sit in front of our webcams and do topical material,” Steve added. “We do that simply because we didn’t want to sit around, just watch Tiger King and end up with having more strain on our skills.”