Beyond the Pleasance, here are my favourite comedy venues for works in progress around London.
Tucked away behind Tottenham Court Road station, the compact 140-seater has hosted prestigious acts such as Jimmy Carr, Noel Fielding and Russell Howard. Featuring everything from comedy, cabaret and theatre, the Soho district caters for everyday live enthusiast.
There’s always a buzz around Soho Theatre – whoever the performer is – with a great atmosphere for comedians and audience alike.
Leicester Square Theatre
After reopening in 2008 with a 12 week run from late US comedienne Joan Rivers, the theatre has become a key stop for upcoming tours with special work in progress shows from the likes of Bill Bailey, Michael McIntyre and an annual season from Stewart Lee.
Situated in the heart of London, Leicester Square is fitting for a great, cheap night out while being able to explore the city at the same time.
Laughing Boy Comedy Club
The Laughing Boy Comedy Club is run by Off the Kerb Productions, who are one of the prominent comedy agencies in London, and have generated some of the best shows across London. For instance, they’re behind tha time I saw Alan Carr in 50-seater Herman Ze German, which is a German sausage shop in Covent Garden, (and no I’m not kidding). Then there was Jon Richardson at the beautiful, up-market Ham Yard Hotel near Chinatown.
What makes the club unique is the experience of is going to comedy gigs featured all across London – suitable for any comedy fan, wherever they live.
Located near Euston Square station, Bloomsbury Theatre plays host to comedians such as Katherine Ryan, John Bishop and Ricky Gervais. The 550-seater venue is a more traditional theatre setting compared to other comedy outlets.
Its relaxed atmosphere contrasts to the busy West End location, and has a global reputation for promoting up and coming talent – they are’t afraid to try new production and acts.
Hen & Chickens
North London’s Islington seems to be a hotspot for comedy talent and venues. The Hen & Chickens Theatre Bar has featured the likes of The Mighty Boosh and Russell Brand.
It’s famous for a no-holds-barred approach to taking risks with its productions, and providing a diverse and risqué approach to the comedy form.