Have you heard the one about the comedy fans who bought £22.50 tickets to see Jason Manford and had to pay an extra £9 in booking fees?
Well the comedy star has and he’s not laughing.
Jason today praised the likes of Sheffield City Hall - where he plays Wednesday and Thursday (October 9 and 10, 2013) - for charging just £2.50, or 10 per cent, for administering telephone and online sales.
He used to work in a cinema booking office and appreciates the need to pay for overheads and make a profit.
But in an exclusive video chat with The Star - watch in full here - he had a rant at some venues on his 100-plus date tour who he claims are ripping-off fans with excessive booking fees.
His advice to fans includes, where possible, buying in person at the venue box office, which usually avoids a booking fee.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video chat with Jason Manford
He said: “I appreciate online ticket sites have got overheads. They need paying and you also want to make a profit. Everyone does.
“But I noticed, on some sites, there was a £9 booking charge.
“Tickets on my last tour were £25. The recession hit and things got tough, so I dropped my prices to £22.50.
“Two tickets are setting you back, I thought £45, but in some places its over £60. You have babysitters, a meal, drinks are not cheap. Suddenly you’re talking £120. I think it’s too much. I’ve done what I can do. Other companies need to do that as well.”
But he’s aware of more important issues in the world, hence the title of his tour, First World Problems.
He said: “It emphasises those times when we moan about the most trivial things. It’s as if we invent problems so we have something to moan about. I imagine someone in the third world just thinking that we were all complete idiots!”
He amazed fans with his opera singing ability to win ITV1’s charity talent competition Born To Shine, joined Alfie Boe on tour and stared in a West End production of Sweeney Todd alongside Michael Ball.
Next he’s planning to appear in a touring play - with a date in Sheffield. It’s all top secret for now.
But in his own words, stand-up comedy is his first love.
Jason, who has also performed stand-up on BBC1’s Live at the Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and multiple Royal Variety Performances, has had his off-stage problems. But fans continue to pack out his shows.
He said: “If you do your job, that’s just what people want you to do. It’s like a footballer. If he’s scoring goals it doesn’t matter. That’s my job, just to tell jokes and that’s what I do.
“I’m the same on stage as I am in real life – which can be incredibly annoying at home! Jimmy Carr says that because he is quite rude on stage, if he says ‘hello’ to a fan in the street, that will make their day.
“By contrast, because I’m nice on stage, unless I ask a fan if they fancy a brew, they’ll say, ‘He’s a bit rude’. I’m a victim of my own niceness. Sometimes I wish I’d gone down the Jack Dee misery route!”
* Tickets for Wednesday and Thursday at Sheffield City Hall are £22.50, booking fee may apply. Buy in person, call 01142 789 789 or buy online www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk.
Sheffield City Hall charges just 10 per cent on telephone, online, credit, debit card bookings and two per cent using a credit card when booking in person.
There is no charge for using a debit card in person at the box office.