Comedians on tour 2013
Discover the best comedy shows in London this year and buy tickets for your favourite acts
Diaries at the ready: it's time to start planning your comedy year. Many of the biggest comedy tours are coming to a London venue this year, and we've put them all into this handy planner. There's every variety of stand up comedian in London.
Flick through the gallery to browse through this year's biggest comedy shows, and see the full list below of notable comedians making their way to London.
The biggest comedians on tour
© Nick Fitz
Monty Python – Live (mostly)
Miranda Hart – My, What I Call
Lee Evans – Monsters
Russell Howard – Wonderbox
© Rob Greig
Tim Key – Single White Slut
© Ed Marshall
Stewart Lee – Much-a-Stew About Nothing
Lee Mack – Hit the Road Mack
Sarah Millican – Home Bird
Russell Kane – Smallness
Chris Ramsey – The Most Dangerous Man on Saturday Morning Television
Greg Davies – The Back of My Mum's Head
© Nick Fitz
Monty Python – Live (mostly)
Full list of upcoming comedy shows
- Critics choice
The iconoclast comedian is back with a three-month residency at his chosen venue, the Leicester Square Theatre. His last run at this venue sold enough tickets to fill the O2 arena for multiple nights. Much-a-Stew About Nothing sees Lee testing ideas for his 2014 TV series. But, as this is Stewart Lee, don't expect these new routines to be messy and joke-less, even with new material Lee's always spectacularly funny.
Dame Edna Everage, the Honorable Sir Les Patterson, Sandy Stone… it's time to bid them all farewell, as Barry Humphries takes his final bow at the legendary London Palladium. Humphries's characters have become iconic creations, especially Dame Edna, who's won Tony Awards, played the Royal Albert Hall and performed for the royal family. Expect this to be a glitzy, showbiz goodbye, full of smiling dancers, spectacular sets, and the word 'possum' used dozens of times.
- Critics choice
Read our review from the Edinburgh Fringe The triumphant winner of the 2013 Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award, Bridget Christie thoroughly deserved to win the gong for this intelligent, passionate and beautifully silly show attacking everyday sexism – it's her best yet. The title, 'A Bic for Her', comes from a real product released by the ballpoint pen manufacturers aimed at the female market – because, as we all know, women have long struggled with the masculinity of standard biros, right? This sparks an hour that stays on point (no pun intended) throughout, with Christie smartly touching on more serious forms of misogyny without ever losing the light, silly tone of the show. It's not only an hour packed full of elegant, surreal and self-aware jokes, it has heart and integrity to boot, and a strong message. Don't miss.
Time Out's favourite surrealist, Mr Tony Law, lands at the Soho Theatre for a month-long Christmas run. This nuts-o Canadian comic is one of the finest and funniest stand-ups around, telling absurd stories, performing silly jokes and constantly deconstructing his own comedy. He's totally unpretentious too (unlike many surrealist acts) – he seems as baffled by his own lunacy as his audience is. Tony's quickly gaining a huge cult following, so snap up tickets soon if you don't want to miss out.
- Critics choice
It's been two years since acerbic American comic and podcaster Bill Burr last visited London – now he's back for a third visit to our shores with his biggest UK show to date. Burr's appeared on basically every US talk show – from Letterman, to Conan O'Brien via Jimmy Fallon – and also stars as Kuby in 'Breaking Bad'. Time Out Chicago dubbed him 'one of the country's best stand-ups' – he more than lives up to the hype, spewing out super-sharp vitriolic rants. It's good to have him back.
- Critics choice
After sell-out shows in Brixton and Hammersmith, Jack Black and Kyle Gass's almost-spoof rock band are back, this time at the Shepherd's Bush Empire! It's been six years since their transfer to the big-screen in 'The Pick of Destiny', but in between voicing pandas and cropping up in Jack Black films (respectively) the pair are on the road once again to promote new album 'Rize of the Fenix'. Expect to hear a tribute to the greatest song in the world.
This slick, intelligent, blissfully funny hour by South African comic Trevor Noah is the only show we gave a whopping five-stars at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe. Now, after weeks of sold out shows at the Soho Theatre, Noah's making the leap to the Hammersmith Apollo, to record the show for DVD release. The son of a black African mum and a white Swiss dad, Noah grew up in apartheid South Africa, and has a unique, brilliantly sharp perspective on race. The 28-year-old comic's tales are superbly reenacted with spot-on accents and mannerisms, and his softly-spoken delivery makes his points all the more potent. This is insightful, warm, classy comedy. We urge you to go.
- Critics choice
Following his debut show last year, 'Who is Nish Kumar?', err, Nish Kumar's follow up, 'Nish Kumar is a Comedian' (sorry for the over-use of 'Nish Kumar' there… Dammit, did it again!) is a delightful hour of stand-up, and he's bringing the show to Soho Theatre for a full two-weeks. Earlier this year, Kumar had his identity stolen. Not by credit card fraudsters or Melissa McCarthy, but by an anonymous group who used his promo picture as the face of an internet meme called ‘The Confused Muslim’. Kumar isn’t Muslim (he has an ‘ethnically ambiguous’ face), but that wasn’t the problem. He was definitely offended, but wasn’t quite sure why. Slick, sharp and with oodles of charm, Nish Kumar is a comedian, and a bloody good one at that. Read our review from the Edinburgh Fringe
This superb Irish comic returns to the Apollo with a brand new show 'Roaring Forties' which sees him embracing middle age, rather than having a mid-life crisis. Byrne – now in his 40s – has been moaning about life's little annoyances since his early 20s, and he's not about to stop now.
Read our Ed Byrne interview
The go-to quirky comic, silent comedy sensation The Boy with Tape on His Face (aka Sam Wills) is back in the West End – for one night only, it looks like – with a Christmas shindig. But he's keeping schtum about the gig's contents. All he's promising is a show 'stuffed with surprises'. Whether that means new routines, special guests, or glitter cannons, we don't know. Just expect the unexpected.
Arena-filling megastar Michael McIntyre introduces another star-studded line-up of guests at his annual Christmas benefit in aid of Kids Company. Joining the slick, baby-faced host are Alan Carr, John Bishop, Russell Howard, Rob Brydon and more. This gig always sells out super-quickly, so make sure you're refreshing at 10am on Friday November 22.
The comedy giant (literally) and star of 'We Are Klang' and 'The Inbetweeners' is back with a new tour following his Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award nominated 'Firing Cheeseballs at a Dog'. We've seen a work-in-progress version, and we can tell you that 'The Back of My Mum's Head' is set to be a blisteringly funny onslaught of stories, soundscapes and foliage-based songs. Snap up tickets, you won't regret it.
This sassy comedy show from rising star Luisa Omielan was a big hit on the Free Fringe at last year's Edinburgh Festival, and has since played multiple sell-out runs at the Soho Theatre. Omielan admires and envies Beyoncé, comparing her life to the superstar diva's in this high-energy hour, and she's back in Soho once again for a post-Christmas run.
Master Brummie comic Frank Skinner's already sold out his Soho Theatre run, so he's bringing his brand new show, Man in a Suit, to the slightly bigger capacity Leicester Square Theatre for a full month-long West End run. He's low-key, super-sharp and always a little bit filthy – you're in safe hands with Frank.
Trendy young Geordie Chris Ramsey – star of BBC Two sitcom 'Hebburn' – and a regular on ITV2's 'Celebrity Juice' – brings his brand new show, 'The Most Dangerous Man on Saturday Morning Television', to the Bloomsbury Theatre. After using the word 'bumming' on Soccer AM, Ramsey was kicked off the show, so asks: is he really the most dangerous man on AM TV? He's instantly likable, with a knack for livening up stories with a dramatic flare. An hour in his company is very safe and pleasant indeed.
Following a sell-out run at the Little Angel Theatre, Rob Newman brings his erduite new show to the Soho Theatre. The 'Newman' half of 'Newman and Baddiel' has more strings to his comedic bow than are attached to a World Bank loan. He is one amazing comedian, and in his new show he explores the 150-year controversy in evolutionary theory. It's a shambolically brilliant show; part-lecture, part-stand-up and brimming with intelligence.
You know, the one from 'Rev'? Or 'Balamory'? or 'Have I Got News For You', 'The Thick of It' or 'Mock the Week'? Miles Jupps: that's the chap you're thinking of. Yes, the unashamedly posh actor-comedian is hitting the road with his first tour since 2011's 'Fibber in the Heat', taking in the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End. The cricket-obsessed comic is an excellent stand-up.
You may know Tim Key as Alan Partridge's number two, Sidekick Simon. But you should know Key for his superb live work, combining lovingly shot short films, silly, pithy poems and ridiculous stories. He's one of favourite comics, well, ever. Now he's bringing the next in his 'Slut' series (following 'The Slut in the Hut', 'The Slutcracker' and 'Masterslut') to Soho Theatre: 'Single White Slut'. We can't wait.
The sweet and filthy comedy superstar sets out on tour once again with new show 'Home Bird'. Expect tales of what to take on a dirty weekend and how to teach a pensioner to swear. She's one of the hottest comedy tickets in the country, so be sure to book your seats soon…
Read our Sarah Millican interview
The filthy and fabulously funny Julian Clary sets up a twice-weekly residency – every Thursday and Friday night in March 2014 – at the St James Theatre's studio. Canned Clary features musical guests and celebrity friends joining the master of innuendo for a cosy chat.
Simon Munnery is consistently one of the most innovative comedy talents out there. In Fylm – his follow-up to 2012's Fylm-Makker – he spends the hour sat among the audience, broadcasting live cardboard-based sketches onto a screen on stage. Ambitious, artistic and hugely funny, Munnery continues to push the boundaries of comedic entertainment.
The creator of mega-popular slapstick sitcom 'Miranda' returns to the stand-up stage, for the first time in five years. Hart isn't messing about, she's going straight in with an arena tour, and says to expect the show to include 'galloping' and 'attempts at song and dance'. Should be fun, but it ain't till 2014…
Headline hitting wunderkind Jack Whitehall's career is still rocketing fast, and now he can add 'arena-filler' to his list of achievements as he plays Wembley off his own back. The unashamedly posh comedian is young, good-looking and an all-round talented stand-up, and his hugely funny performance in E4's excellent 'Fresh Meat' has won him a whole new fanbase. There's just no stopping him. And as it's such a massive show, it'll be seated in the round. Ringmaster Whitehall!
Award-winning whimsical Irishman David O'Doherty heads to the Shepherd's Bush Empire with his new show 'David O'Doherty Will Try to Fix Everything. He'll do some standing-up, sitting down, and songs from a small plastic 1980s keyboard. He'll charm you silly.
Razor-sharp Irish raconteur and former 'Buzzcocks' team captain Sean Hughes follows up his emotional one-man show 'Life Becomes Noises' with a more traditional stand-up show, 'Penguins'. It's a personal hour, looking back at Hughes's Dublin upbringing, and promises to be full of twists and surprises. Despite his surly demeanor, Hughes's comedy has a wonderfully uplifting message. He's a top notch stand-up.
Pam Ann, the glamorous, sharp-tongued air hostess from hell, is the monster character creation of Caroline Reid. She's flying into town with more tales of life in the mile high club. But you'll have to wait until 2014…
Currently on his biggest ever tour – the much-hyped 'Wonderbox' tour – childlike comedy superstar Russell Howard settles in at the Royal Albert Hall for four nights. The former 'Mock The Week' regular is one of the friendliest comics around, moving from topic to topic with effortless ease and keeping his audience laughing at all times. His 'Good News' series is wildly popular, pulling in millions of viewers and is constantly the most watched programme on the BBC iPlayer. These tickets will be snapped up super-quickly, so get booking.
The former Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner and 'Live at the Electric' star brings his new show 'Smallness' to the Southbank Centre as part of his huge UK tour. In the new show – which played to just 55 people a night at the Edinburgh Fringe (because of his choice of venue size, not because he couldn't sell any tickets) – the unpredictably haired comic examines Brits' obsession with smallness, 'being tiny but fierce, close but distant', he says. He's staying true to the show's title, too, and playing the relatively intimate Southbank Centre as his London dates.
- Critics choice
Penn & Teller are two of the finest magicians working in the world, and have been for, well, decades now. Specialising in ingenious, often gory illusions and exposing frauds, they've been nominated for 13 Emmys, have appeared on everything from 'Letterman' to 'The Simpsons', and produced some of most astonishing and mind-baffling tricks ever created. Now the pair have become judges on ITV's 'Fool Us', they're bringing a version of their Vegas show to the Hammersmith Apollo, following a hugely successful run back in 2010. Don't miss this extremely rare chance to catch this hugely funny duo outside of Vegas.
- Critics choice
No, we didn’t think we’d ever write these words either. But the five surviving members of Monty Python have announced that they’re set to fly once again, performing a ‘final reunion’ at the O2 next summer. At the press conference to announce the huge news, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam (combined age 357) revealed that the show will mix greatest hits (given ‘modern, topical, Pythonesque twists’), material that’s never been performed live, and the odd new joke. The Pythons haven’t performed lived since 1980 at the Hollywood Bowl, and this London show will be their first live gig in England for 40 years. Let's just hope it won't be their last.
Joan Rivers – the grande dame of stand-up – is a true living comedy legend. At 79 years old (she doesn't look it, does she? Do you think she's had some work done?), she's showing no sign of old age and her bitchy machine-gun-paced attacks on celebrity culture are as biting as ever. Who does she have locked in her sights this year? Whoever they are, they might as well throw in the towel right now. She's performing at the Royal Albert Hall as part of 'Before They Close the Lid' UK tour.
Frantic, rubber-faced comic Lee Evans brings his biggest tour to date, Monster, to the O2 and Wembley arenas. His last show, Roadrunner, was the fastest-selling comedy tour at the time, with 227,424 tickets sold in just one day. This time he's upping the ante and playing to more people than ever. Fans can expect heaps of manic, sweaty energy and acute observations from this record-breaking comedy superstar. If you can't get a ticket first time around, don't fret too much – we reckon many extra dates will be announced in due course.
Super-slick, fast-paced nonsense from Lee Mack, the star of his own sitcom 'Not Going Out' and BBC's 'Would I Lie To You?', as he plays the Hammersmith Apollo as part of his 'Hit the Road Mack' tour – his first tour for four years. He whirls around the stage at a rapid pace, and you're He’s the kind of comic you can take the whole family to see – your kids, your nan, your weird creepy uncle… – and they’ll all have a laff.
There are plenty of space-themed puns in the marketing blurb for John Bishop's 'Supersonic' tour, including 'Ground control to Major John' and 'Set the controls for the heart of fun'. But the Liverpudlian powerhouse's latest show is more likely to be about life-affirming everyman observations than the cosmos. As part of his huge UK tour, he's landing at Wembley Arena in November 2014.
The supreme master of spontaneous stand-up and true king of surreal flights of fantasy is back in London with his 'Tangentleman' tour, playing three nights at the Hammersmith Apollo. Ross talks nonsense of the highest order.
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