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Tough Crowd – Dave Brown

Posted on Oct 27, 2013 by in Past Exhibitions

21 October 2013 - 04 January 2014

Oriel Colwyn is extremely pleased to welcome back 'The Mighty Boosh's Dave Brown with his new exhibition, Tough Crowd.

Admission as always is FREE.

After the hugely successful 'Behind the Boosh' exhibition last year, Dave worked towards putting together a new body of work to support Afrikids, a child rights organisation working in northern Ghana to alleviate child suffering and poverty.

Tough Crowd, consisting of over 50 comedian portraits, including Jimmy Carr, Harry Hill, Bill Bailey, Noel Fielding, Julia Davis, Bob Mortimer and many more, was originally exhibited at The Strand Gallery, London in December 2012 to much critical acclaim.


"At some point in their careers all the comedians I’ve photographed in this exhibition have either been heckled by a drunk, dropped by an agent, delivered a punchline to silence, had a script thrown in their face, been told the viewing ratings were awful, had a painful review, been slagged off on Twitter or have sat alone in a cold, dirty train carriage travelling back from the worst gig in history. Comedy is a tough business, it takes years of hard work, pain and dedication to be recognised and if you are lucky enough to get that break it takes just as much to stay there.

With all the shots in this show I’ve attempted to capture a glimpse of the tough, thick–skinned, often vulnerable, complex, but insanely talented comedy creature. I’ve tried to show them in a different light to the usual happy, chirpy image we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the media and on stage.

Comedians are very hard to get hold of, they’re busy, they travel, they hide, most of them hate having their picture taken. I’ve had to hassle them, their agents, their neighbours and their pets to find time in their busy schedules to shoot them. It’s been an enjoyable challenge and it was great to catch up with some old friends and also meet some heroes.

I’d turn up on my own with camera in backpack, often with little time and even less light. Working with what was available and then asking them to recall those tough crowd moments. I got the feeling most enjoyed the novelty of not being asked to smile and they all found it quite easy to go to a dark, sad, angry, empty place.

There are loads of comedians I’d still like to shoot for this. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, I’m over the moon with the results and hope we can raise loads of money for AfriKids’ projects.

AfriKids is an amazing charity making a huge difference to the lives of children, their families and the communities around them. They are groundbreaking and innovative in the way they approach aid and the future of the beneficiaries. I’m extremely proud to be an Ambassador for such an inspirational charity."

Dave Brown.


"Dave has been an AfriKids Ambassador since 2010, and his work with AfriKids over recent years has been inspirational as well as transformational. Dave travelled to northern Ghana in October 2010 to visit AfriKids’ projects and take part in the ‘Experience Challenge’, where he worked on a farm and gained an insight into life in the rural village of Talensi Nabdam. During his time in Ghana Dave worked incredibly hard to capture some amazing video footage and photography for AfriKids. A selection of Dave’s stunning photographs from Ghana  feature in the exhibition.

Founder of creative agency, Ape Inc. Ltd, Dave carried out a comprehensive rebrand of AfriKids in 2010, capturing the passion AfriKids has for their development work, as well as the professional corporate image the organisation needs to portray. Dave’s commitment to understanding AfriKids’ history, culture and philosophy is exceptional and his engagement with the team in both the UK and Ghana throughout the rebrand process was inclusive and sensitive.

In April 2012 Dave joined a team of volunteers on their incredible journey driving two vehicles from Southampton to northern Ghana to be used as ambulances. The epic journey took them through seven countries in 21 days, and raised over £30,000!

Dave has also helped AfriKids at several fundraising events in character as ‘Bollo’ from ‘The Mighty Boosh’, including helping AfriKids raise £170,000 in 2010 through Deutsche Bank’s ‘One Day campaign’ where employees were asked to donate a day’s salary to support AfriKids, one of their 2010 charities of the year."

Georgie Fienberg,

International Director, Afrikids


Dave is making A3 and A2 sized limited edition signed prints available to purchase with all profits going to Afrikids. Prices are amazingly cheap (£50 & £75) so there is no excuse not to treat yourself to some wonderful photographic eye candy!

Have a read about Afrikids and if you would like to own an original signed, limited edition Dave 'Bollo' Brown print, please use the big blue button below to be directed to their dedicated shop.




  -------------  Download, Print & Display an A4 exhibition poster to help promote the show   -------------