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Top five things to do in London: Comedy

15 January 2013 | Emma Wright

The weather has taken an (ever) unexpected icy turn, we have (ever) unexpectedly broken our New Years’ resolutions within 2 weeks, and the adjustment back into working has been (ever) unexpectedly jarring. Time for a good laugh?

We English are famed for our sarcasm, our dryness, our wit; all of the types of humour that are actually funny. As such, the city is flooded with venues and nights to giggle away the post-festivity gloom you may or may not be experiencing. Wouldn’t it be useful and wonderful if an arts and culture collective provided a list of the top 5?

1. When you think Leicester Square you’ll likely think of musicals, bright lights and tourists. In this instance you should be thinking of the Comedy Store; a club that is everything a comedy venue should be and everything others strive to be. Opened in 1979, this is a proven comedy experience, with highlights including King Gong on the last Monday of the month, where you will heckle amateur after amateur until a new comedy king is found; and improv from the ever-changing Comedy Store Players. Here’s a club that has changed the face of comedy, and whilst weekend bills are rarely topped, you’ll also spot famous faces in the audience.

2. The award-winning Knock2Bag hosts nights in both West and East London, for those times you just want to stay true to your endz! It’s the line-ups here that are pretty special; often including seven plus top quality acts on one bill, and variety to boot. From sketch troupes to character acts, to stand-up from both household names and the most talented new comics. As the night is only monthly in each venue, and so reasonable at £7-£10, you'd be wise to book ahead.

3. Another Leicester Square delight to change your perceptions of this undeniably sparkly neighbourhood is The 99 Club, known for providing some of London’s best comedy, every day of the week: pick any night of the week and you’ll see several headliners on the bill. Sign up to their mailing list to get the last minute details of their secret special guests. The club actually runs in several different venues, though mostly in Leicester Square.

4. Up The Creek is located conveniently close to Cutty Sark Station, and externally decorated in an unmissable purple hue. It has played a key role in shaping modern British Comedy, with former performers including Jo Brand, Jimmy Carr and Harry Hill. As such, it’s also developed an edgy and raucous reputation. Their busy schedule includes everything from Comedy Speed Dating, to The Comedy Variety Show (an open mic night) and lots of traditional stand-up. Their 'Sunday Special' event is both reasonably priced and frequented by the odd famous funny face.

5. Live at the chapel is a monthly night at the beautiful Union Chapel in Islington. Shows here are all killer and no filler, featuring big names (like Tim Minchin, Noel Fielding, Russell Howard, and Simon Amstell) alongside new talents, soon to be headliners themselves. For your buck you will also experience live music and get to shop at a tea kiosk. A TEA KIOSK. If you are English you will understand, and if not you will soon enough.

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