Whilst Christmas has been and gone, January and February can be tricky months to navigate when it comes to keeping your shivering spirits up. The start of the year is always one of the most tricky to endure, especially in the UK capital when it’s business as usual. That being said, there are plentiful pockets of uplifting cheer to enjoy over the next few months, and none are more potent than a night of laughs at the city’s best comedy venues.
Whatever your style of comedy and whatever the purpose of your stay at hotels like the Park Grand Lancaster Gate, you’ll never be far from a stellar stand-up gig and late-night laughs. Below are just a few of the London based venues famed for their firebrand humour and irreverent playfulness.
The Bill Murray
The aptly named ode to an American comedy legend, the Bill Murray is an Angel and Islington based comedy club that’s hosts some of the hottest acts in the UK. With alternative comedy legends such as Daniel Kitson, Dane Baptiste and Phoebe Walsh the Bill Murray is part of the Angel Comedy Club Collection, and also offers variety nights from up and comers every night there isn’t a headline act playing.
99 Club Leicester Square
Housed in the Storm Nightclub on Leicester Square couldn’t be more central. With regular open mics and circuit gigs five nights a week, the 99 Club really keeps the laughs coming. With great value tickets for an eclectic mix of acts, the 99 Club is easy to reach from the Hyde Park International Hotel and the perfect evening out with friends.
Camden Comedy Club
The Camden Comedy Club is another venue under the Angel Comedy Club banner, bringing works in progress and barnstorming open mics to the attic of the Camden Head. It’s hard to miss, the neon-lit sign above the pub gives a good indicator of the electric atmosphere you’re always bound to find there, and for a cutthroat price too.
Pinata Comedy Nights
Taking place at various venues around London, this experimental comedy night gives performers a chance to try something a little different in front of an audience. From laugh a minute sister sketch duo Siblings to first-time clowns, Pinata Comedy usually takes place in Shoreditch or Peckham.
Backyard Comedy Club
Based in Bethnal Green, this is one of East London’s most popular comedy venues and not only provides a broad variety of performers but a welcoming pub atmosphere bolstered by its ping pong tables. With the large space in the back room lending geography to its name, this is the perfect setting for a rowdy weekend evening for guests of East London Shaftesbury hotels looking for some eclectic entertainment for the night. Once in a while, you’ll find unique themed nights, such as the 21st of January’s London Irish night, bringing a hearty dose of Irish humour to the East End.
Leicester Square Theatre
The Leicester Square Theatre is nestled right in the heart of the city. Located next to the Prince Charles Cinema, this comedy club hosts the equivalent to cult movies but with some of the most famous Off-West End comedy performers. With the likes of Stewart Lee regularly performing works in progress here, this is a definitive comedy theatre experience that promises the comedy cream of the crop every week of the year.
Canal Cafe Theatre
A West London gem perfect for Shaftesbury hotel group guests, the Canal Cafe Theatre is an idyllic respite from the inner city mayhem of the comedy scene. Perched on the edge of the beautiful Regents Canal, this comedy club come locals bar is famous for its weekly News Revue show. Running for more than two decades now, the News Revue is a satirical sketch show written and performed by the next big thing on the comedy circuit. With the sketches morphing and changing with the news, you could visit the Canal Cafe Theatre twice in a week and see a completely different show. Performers who have been part of News Revue include the League of Gentlemen and Mighty Boosh.
Based in both Bar Rumba on Shaftesbury Avenue and a new venue in Clapham, Comedy Carnival is a night that pairs stand up with club nights. With half-price drinks served throughout the show, the end of the comedy sees the start of the dancing as a DJ takes to the stage until the early hours of the morning.
The Soho Theatre is one of the West End must-visits. Whilst it might be a theatre in name, it’s certainly more in nature, promising a broad variety of new writing, cabaret acts and comedy sets from a broad range of international talents. From the high ranks of comedy genius in the guise of Tim Key to the fringes of emerging talent, the Soho Theatre’s three performance spaces promise ample room for an eclectic programme. Based just off of Tottenham Court Road, the Soho Theatre is easy to find and set right in the heart of London’s buzzing West End.
Top Secret Comedy Club
Top Secret Comedy Club is another West End hidden gem, bringing open mic nights to the heart of London. Nestled above a pub in Drury Lane, you might miss the Top Secret Comedy Club on first inspection, but with a name like this, maybe that’s the point. That being said, the broad range of acts taking to the stage of this prestigious weekend night won’t stay secret for much longer.
For those who enjoy their comedy televised, this is the real deal. As the host venue for the weekly Live At The Apollo weekend show, the Hammersmith Apollo has hosted huge names such as Russell Kane, Michael Mcintyre and Phil Jupitus, proving itself the monolith of live comedy entertainment and housing thousands of audience members to sell-out shows.
The Comedy Store is probably one of the most sought after clubs to book a gig at. With regular industry attendance and the cutthroat King Gong night giving performers just one minute to impress an audience, the Comedy Store is over four decades old and can hold up to 400 people a night.