A BELFAST comedian is standing up to the Covid-19 lockdown by turning his back garden into a comedy venue.
Vittorio Angelone, who was based in London before returning home as the pandemic took told, created the socially distanced space at his home in south Belfast.
It's already a big hit, with fans flocking to see their first in-person comedy show since March.
Adorned with multicoloured fairy lights and tea-candles, his garden venue, called the Socially Distant Social Club, has a homemade stage made from pallets.
"Before lockdown, I was performing six nights a week in London - it was constant," Vittorio told Sunday Life.
"But during quarantine, I went 123 days without a gig.
"I thought, 'If this goes on much longer, I am not going to be able to get back on stage'.
"I just wanted to create a space for comedians, musicians and audience members to feel safe when enjoying a night out while maintaining social distancing.
"In the darkest of times throughout history, comedy survived and even thrived.
"It can turn the dark stuff into something positive - and there are few things that can do that."
Renowned local comedian Micky Bartlett, the headliner of the most recent show, was eager to take part.
"I was just dying to get back on stage," he said.
"I've been doing stand-up comedy for just about 12 years now, so it's the only thing I've done in my adult life. It's like my addiction."
The audience, restricted to just 30 people in accordance with the coronavirus guidelines, was as eager to see Micky as he was to see them.
One person told this newspaper: "I loved that the show was in a garden - it was so nice and intimate."
Sadly, live indoor comedy could become something of a novelty in the near future.
Almost half (49.2%) of comedy clubs in the UK say they will definitely face permanent closure without funding or support.
The government has announced a £1.5billion fund to help the struggling arts sector, but comedy is not covered in any form.
Vittorio said stand-up was excluded because, with high ticket prices and low overheads, it was seen as more lucrative than, for example, art exhibitions.
"It's absolutely ridiculous," he added. "Of course, Kevin Bridges and Micky Flanagan can sell out arenas, but just because Les Miserables sells out nine shows a week, that doesn't mean grassroots theatre doesn't need funding.
"You can say the same thing about comedy."
To secure a ticket for the next Socially Distant Social Club, follow @vittorioangelone on social media