Comedy club to sell famous cowboy stage backdrop

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A Glasgow comedy club which launched the careers of stars including Kevin Bridges and Daniel Sloss is to sell its famous stage backdrop.

Comics have performed in front of the painting of a young boy dressed as a cowboy and holding a gun to his head since the club opened in 2000.

It will be replaced with a painting of an unarmed young cowboy as The Stand looks to promote the benefits of comedy to children.

The money raised from the online auction will go towards its charitable organisation which encourages primary school children to write and perform comedy.

A spokesman for The Stand said the backdrop was never intended to be a violent image but it felt "against the spirit" of inviting young people on stage.

It follows the sale of the original cowboy backdrop from The Stand's Edinburgh venue during the Fringe in 2022.

"We're keeping our iconic cowboy, but it's time for him to lay down his gun," said Mike Jones, the club's managing director at the time.

Promoter Alan Anderson paid £7,500 for the 9ft by 8ft painting, having outbid Daniel Sloss and London's Museum of Comedy.

Since then, Stand Education has run three projects across Scotland led by comedian Jay Lafferty with the start-up costs that were raised.

The backdrop was painted in oils on three wooden panels by artist Thomas 'Mac' Macgregor.

It was inspired by an old family photo of his brother, Dave, in a cowboy costume and holding a toy gun that let out a flag with the word "bang" on it.

And it was one of a series of oil paintings which formed part of his BA degree show at Edinburgh College of Art 25 years ago.

Since then comedians, including Frankie Boyle and Fern Brady, have performed in front of the 3.65m x 2.45m artwork.

An online auction for the backdrop will open at 09:00 on Monday 5 February, and will close at 19:30 on 15 February.