“ Chortle was set up by journalist Steve Bennett in February 2000 with the aim of being the most comprehensive, critical and up-to-date guide to the all aspects of comedy in Britain. Today, the site is the premier source of comedy news, reviews and listings and attracts around 120,000 unique visitors every month. „
Chortle.co.uk is a comprehensive site based around comedy, the emphasis being stand-up, in the UK.
The front page contains all the links you will need to make full use of the site. Most of the front page is taken up with comedy news, such as new projects for popular comedians and any particular controversies any particular comedians find themselves in at that time! Each story has a link to a discussion page on the site's forum (I will talk more about the forums later). This news is regularly updated and features a regular weekly trivia file (which you can also have emailed to you on a Friday if you so wish).
Something on the page that I particularly like is the "today's links" section which provides links to features and interviews from a variety of different sources such as online newspaper sites, both UK and abroad (for example Australian newspapers feature heavily during the Melbourne Comedy Festival).
A recent addition is a video section which features popular comedy clips, particularly stand-up ones, from You Tube.
There are also features written by correspondents of the site and comics on the stand-up circuit and shorter news items featuring events and tour announcements. There are adverts, and these are carried throughout the site, normally advertising tours or DVDs. However, these are kept around the edges of the site, and unobtrusive - I wish more sites followed this principle!
The reviews of DVDs and gigs are fantastic, particularly during the Edinburgh Festival - where reviews are presented by how many stars they got out of 5.
The forums are interesting to look at occassionally, particularly when a particular comedy issue is featured heavily in the press - but be warned as with all forums some contributors can get a little, well, feisty! There are also sections for anyone working at comedy as a career.
However the piece de resistances of the site are the comedians and shows sections.
Starting with the comedians section, if you click comedians on the bar near the top an alphabet appears, from which you can bring up a page which lists all comedians whose names start with that letter (it goes by first name rather than surname), from there you can get information about that comic such as a biography, reviews, fans comments, any news items that the site has featured related to that comedian, and any upcoming gigs.
The gig section is accessed by choosing area and or date(optional). From there you are given a list of venues in that particular area to click on to see what is upcoming there. This is very good for smaller venues who don't have the PR budget of larger theatres/clubs. However, I do tend to find out about local gigs earlier from ents24.com email system ( I am planning to write a review about this site soon).
All-in-all, this is a top site and has enough fresh and useful content to warrant visiting at least once a week (I tend to visit it several times a week).