Comedy

Jason Allen 04/06/24


The Best Comedy Shows In London Right Now

London is full of stand-up citizens.

And, luckily for us, plenty of great comedy clubs for them to perform in.

Our capital boasts one of the most prolific, varied, and adventurous comedy scenes in the world, offering rooms of all sizes, and acts to suit all tastes. It’s also surprisingly affordable. So right here, and right now, allow us to serve (on a comedy tiny plate) our tightly curated edit of the best comedy shows playing in London this month.

Because in a stressful and difficult world, comedy is good for what ails you.

 


BEHOLD THE BEST LONDON COMEDY SHOWS THIS MONTH –

1) Jazz Emu: Knight Fever | Soho Theatre

Mash up the awkward physicality of Jamie Demetriou’s Stath and the musical comedy stylings of Bo Burnham, throw in a synth-clarinet and a pseudo-Scandi accent, and you have something that maybe comes marginally close to the unique species that is Jazz Emu. Archie Henderson’s eccentric creation is a work of comedy genius that blends visual, musical and audio gags with flawless storytelling and a full live band. If the growing critical praise is anything to go by, this Emu’s about to take flight.

Dinner before: Start the night with a bang at Gunpowder
Drinks after:
Nightcaps at Bar Termini
Details: 
Jazz Emu: Knight Fever is on at the Soho Theatre from 3rd-22nd June. Tickets start at £12; you can book here.

2) Jamie Finn: Nobody’s Talking About Jamie | Soho Theatre

Yeah, so Jamie Finn isn’t that Jamie. He’s the Jamie that got dumped for a guy that – ugh – works out, found a saviour in his American spin instructor, and got his life back on track only to be dumped by his new best friend. It’s a show that rakes over the juicy but rarely plundered subject matter of lost friendships, blending music, jokes and storytelling for a fresh take on the ‘what the hell were my 20s about‘ retrospective.

Dinner before: Margs and oysters at Rita’s
Drinks after:
Subterranean cocktails at Swift
Details:
Jamie Finn: Nobody’s Talking About Jamie plays at the Soho Theatre on 3rd & 4th June. Tickets start at £19; you can book here.

3) Knock2Bag Comedy Night | MOTH Club

Credit: Claire Haigh

Oddly-named, immaculately-curated – for some time now, Knock2Bag has offered some of the most exciting mixed-bill comedy lineups in London, inevitably jam-packed with a gorgeous combination of established headliners and buzzy newcomers. It’s probably the coolest comedy night in London, and at its home in Hackney’s legendary MOTH Club K2B now serves up a weekly box of delights. Coming up this month: headliners like Nish Kumar, Groom of the Stool, and comedy duo Britney.

Dinner before: Fun & flavoursome Chinese at Lucky & Joy
Drinks after: Head to the cult wine bar 107
Details: Knock2Bag Comedy Night is next on at MOTH Club (nearest station Hackney Central) on 6th June (with Nish Kumar), 8th June (Groom of the Stool), 13th June (with Britney), 20th June (with Paddy Young) and 27th June (Paul Foot). Tickets are £16.83, and you can book HERE.

4) Crizards: This Means War | Soho Theatre

As seen on BBC One, BBC Three, but apparently yet to storm the garret of BBC Two, Crizards are two of the most highly acclaimed musical comedy duos around. Their upcoming show at the Soho Theatre – directed by Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Jordan Brookes – comes off the back of a lauded run up in Edinburgh last summer (including Mervyn Stutter’s Pick of the Fringe), and takes the shape of a play about war that Eddy’s trying to stage in earnest, and Will keeps derailing with daft gags and music.

Dinner before: Kebabs of dreams at Berenjak
Drinks after: Slip underground at Bar Lina
Details: Crizards: This Means War is on at the Soho Theatre from 5th-8th June. Tickets start at £17, and you can book HERE.

5) Laff-uccino | Union Chapel

Get an energizing shot of comedy at this charity special in honour of Refugee Week. Put together by Haven Coffee (which promotes art and culture from migrants), the line-up features Nish Kumar, Rosie Jones, Rhys James and Kiri Pritchard-McLean as MC, performing for one night only in the exceptionally grandiose setting of Highbury’s Grade II listed Union Chapel. But best of all, you’ll also get to know a trio of newcomers from migrant backgrounds who have been honing their comedy skills at Haven’s workshops.

Dinner before: Heavy metal cooking at FKABAM
Drinks after: Candle-lit vino at Trullo Wine Bar
Details: Laff-uccino takes place at Union Chapel (closest tube station Highbury & Islington) on 19th June. Tickets cost £22.50 + bf, you can book here.

6) Ed Gamble: Hot Diggity Dog | Hackney Empire

ed gamble comedy gig

Ready to take a risk on Ed Gamble? After all, the guy’s only the co-host of one of the most ridiculously successful podcasts of all time, a published author, and one of the most prolific comedians on stage and screen. So chances are his upcoming show at Hackney Empire, which promises “classic Gamble ranting, raving and spluttering”, will be pretty good.

Dinner before: Pasta at Pophams
Drinks after: Pints at Pub on the Park
Details: Ed Gamble plays the Hackney Empire (nearest tube Hackney Central) from 25th-29th June. Tickets start at £26 and are available HERE.

7) Six Chick Flicks | Leicester Square Theatre

Described as “if Legally Blonde Pretty Woman Dirty Danced on the Beaches while writing a Notebook on the Titanic”, Six Chick Flicks is the work of two New York City comedians (Kerry Ipema & KK Apple), who eviscerate and evangelise their favourite movies in equal measure while singing, dancing, chatting, and laughing. Their Edinburgh run sold out, and the reviews have been stellar…

Dinner before: Tequila-buttered mussels at Rita’s
Drinks after: Pudding & cocktails at Basement Sate
Details: Six Chick Flicks is showing at the Leicester Square Theatre from 25th-29th June. Tickets are £18, and you can get them here.

8) Finlay and Joe: Past Our Bedtime | Museum of Comedy

Broadway Studios

Fresh from this year’s Sketch Off finals, charismatic duo Finlay and Joe are reprising their sell-out 2023 show, turning bedtime stories on their heads (to a soundtrack of ambient whale song). Their easy-going, natural rapport is a joy to behold, and we defy you not to be swept up in their infectiously energetic shenanigans. In fact, the last thing you’ll be feeling is sleepy…

Dinner before: Grab sushi… or tacos… or Thai, at Arcade
Drinks after: Subterranean cocktails at Bloomsbury Club Bar
Details: Finlay and Joe: Past Our Bedtime is on at Museum of Comedy (closest tube station Holborn) on 15th June. Tickets cost £10 + bf – you can book here.

9) Austentatious | The Arts Theatre

Austentatious | the best london comedy shows right now

The phrase ‘Improvised Jane Austen comedy show’ might, conceivably, send a shudder down the spine of the prospective theatregoer – but that’s only if they’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, and haven’t heard of the critically-adored, five star, sell-out, now-performing-regularly-in-the-West-End triumph that is Austentatious. A pool of London’s finest improvisers contribute to this well-loved, well-dressed, and impeccably-delivered show in which, with the help of a title collected from a pool of audience suggestions (near-misses are also read out at the start, and there are invariably some bangers), an entire narrative is spun from nothing before your very eyes. Loosen your bodices, and bring your smelling salts – you may well laugh yourself into a state of hysteria.

Dinner before: London’s best-value steaks at Flat Iron Covent Garden
Drinks after: 19th century cocktails at Mr Fogg’s Tavern
Details: Austentatious plays Mondays and occasional Sundays at the Arts Theatre (nearest tube Leicester Square). Tickets start at £22.90 (standing) and are available HERE.

10) Live at the Chapel | Union Chapel

Live At The Chapel | the best london comedy

A monthly fixture for those who are religious about their comedy. Union Chapel is a stunning venue, and the lineups at this iconic night are equally impressive. This month, the headliner is Black Books star Dylan Moran, performing alongside Sarah Keyworth, Celya AB and Jayde Adams. Your comedy prayers have been answered.

Dinner before: Fresh, hand-rolled pasta at Trullo
Drinks after: Lively wines at Yield N1
Details: ‘Live at the Chapel’ is next on at Union Chapel (nearest station Highbury & Islington) on 6th July 2024. Tickets are £27.50 and available HERE.

 


COMEDY SHOWS TO BOOK AHEAD:

Joe Tracini: Ten Things I Hate About Me (Apollo Theatre, 25th August) – Award-winning magician, viral comedian and almost the boy chosen to play Harry Potter, Joe Tracini’s back on stage after filming a documentary about his Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis. Armed with a ukulele, he’ll be sharing life with his ‘tw*t of a brain’ in this candid and heart-warming stand-up show.

Hannah Gadsby – Woof! (Palladium, 4th-7th November) – Gadsby’s 2018 show Nanette propelled the Aussie comedian to stardom, winning a slew of awards and leading to sell-out shows around the world. And now they’re back with a brand new stand-up show that attempts to make sense of the catastrophic, hypocritical world we all live in. Small fry, then.

Stewart Lee vs. The Man-Wulf (Leicester Square Theatre, 3rd December – 17th January)Britain’s 41st best stand-up comedian returns with a reassuringly long run that you might actually be able to get tickets to. Prepare for a brand new onlaught of highly conceptual material that’s far too good for you, as Stew ruts with the spectre of lazy, increasingly far right arena-packing stand-up.


THE BEST REGULAR COMEDY CLUB SHOWS

The Comedy Store Players | The Comedy Store

comedy store players

The Comedy Store Players is a London institution so long-running and baked into the fabric of the city that one almost forgets about it – a bit like the Tower of London’s Ceremony of the Keys (only slightly less ridiculous). The Players have been doing improv since long before it was, well, if not ‘cool’, then ‘ubiquitous’, and they are genuine comedy legends; among their number are Josie Lawrence, a member of the original Whose Line Is It Anyway cast, superlative character-comedian and Showstopper mainstay Pippa Evans, and acclaimed comic writer-performer David Reed of The Penny Dreadfuls. If you’re planning on ‘yes and’-ing your way to a reliable night of unscripted comedy in the heart of central London, you could scarcely do better.

Dinner before: Chicken, chicken and more chicken at FOWL
Drinks after: Guinness at The Devonshire
Details: The Comedy Store Players play at the Comedy Store (nearest tube stations Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus) every Sunday. Tickets are from £22 (concessions £17, students £12) and are available HERE.

The Blackout | Up The Creek Comedy Club

the blackout | the best london comedy

From its raucous beginnings, when it was launched by the legendary/infamous Malcolm Hardee (those of a strong constitution can Google ‘Malcolm Hardee + firework + buttocks’ to read about his trademark act), Up The Creek has evolved to become a jewel in the crown of South London’s stand-up scene, and one of the most beloved comedy clubs in the capital. Head to one of the weekend shows and you’ll find headliners galore – Mo Gilligan is a frequent performer, and circuit legends including Slim and Rudi Lickwood are regulars – but for a taste of the next generation of comic talent head along to The Blackout; 15 up-and-coming comedians, each attempting to get through five minutes. It’s UTC’s version of the gong show, it’s an adrenaline-filled evening, and at under a tenner a ticket (£3.50 for students!) it’s one of the best-value nights out there is.

Dinner before: Head to one of London’s staple pie joints, Goddard’s
Drinks after: A couple of pints at one of the best Greenwich pubs
Details: ‘The Blackout’ is on at Up The Creek Comedy Club (nearest stations Cutty Sark and Greenwich) every Thursday. Tickets start at £8.80 (£3.50 for students) and available HERE.

Banana Cabaret | The Bedford

A stalwart of Balham’s nightlife, Banana Cabaret offers a bunch of top tier acts in a hugely a-peel-ing (boooo) environment. The Bedford has a unique performance space that is beautifully suited to live comedy, and for a night of relaxed stand-up with a drink and dinner, there are few more dependable options. A highlight in the next few weeks is the 14th June show, where you can catch the legendary Jeff Innocent and one-to-watch Sharon Wanjohi. You’d be bananas not to.

Dinner before: Gurkha’s Diner is a Nepalese gem
Drinks after: henny’s for a glass of something nice  
Details: ‘Banana Cabaret’ is on at The Bedford (nearest station Balham) every Friday & Saturday. Tickets are £17 and available HERE.

Always Be Comedy | The Tommyfield

Is there a better-loved MC in the business than James Gill? Is there a more lovingly-curated comedy club in the world than Always Be Comedy? Thousands of audience members – and, for that matter, thousands of comedians – would argue that the answer to both questions is a resounding and triumphant no. From its longtime home above the Tommyfield pub in Kennington, ABC hosts some of the very best mixed bill nights, Edinburgh previews, to a raucous but loving audience of regulars. In short, it’s everything a comedy club should be.

Dinner before: Pizza goodness at Theo’s Pizzeria
Drinks after: A spot of jazz at Cable Café Bar
Details: Always Be Comedy runs at the Tommyfield (nearest station Kennington) Tuesday – Friday. Tickets are £10.50 and available HERE.

Angel Comedy | The Camden Head

Top quality comedy, seven nights a week, completely free. Angels by name, Angels by nature – their ‘RAW’ free comedy night at the Camden Head is one of the capital’s most precious comedy resources, with a weeknight gig offering new acts the chance to perform in a warm and positive environment, frequently alongside some comic heavyweights. All-star drop-ins are frequent, the atmosphere is celebratory, the room is always full yet it’s somehow just about possible to squeeze in if you want to. Angel Comedy is pure heaven.

Dinner before: Farm-to-table cooking at The Pig & Butcher
Drinks after: Exquisite and experimental cocktails at 69 Colebrooke Row
Details: Angel Comedy runs free nights at the Camden Head (nearest tube station Angel) every night. Arrive early to ensure you gain entry (30-60 mins before the start time) – once it’s full, it’s full.

 


Want all of this without the comedy nonsense? Check out our guide to London’s best theatre shows