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. From Alan Davies to Harry Hill, Eddie Izzard to Sarah Millican, there's every variety of stand up comedian in London. Browse through this year's biggest comedy shows by selecting dates below.
Star of his own self-titled BBC series 'The Omid Djalili Show', the Iranian stand-up is back doing what he does best; whipping an intimate room in the heart of London into hysterics with silly dances, witty anecdotes and sharp gags. Sure, he's conquered Hollywood with roles in 'Sex and the City' and 'The Mummy', but it's good to have him back on stage in the UK.
- Critics choice
Outstanding ventriloquist Nina Conti has long been a circuit favourite, but her excellent BBC Four documentaries have introduced her to a whole new audience. Conti's puppetry is so convincing you almost forget she's controlling the monkey, until you remember she's got her hand up its arse. In her new show she introduces new character including her daughter, handyman, grand, oldest friend and a stray dog, with plenty of veering from the script.
We could attempt to come up with a pithy analogy of Eddie Pepitone's act, but someone's already done it: he goes by the nickname 'The Bitter Buddah'. The Brooklyn-born comic is the antithesis of slick, sharp-suited stand-ups: he's dark, angry and depressed, and bitterly funny. Pepitone switches between bursts of philosophical outrage to moments of calm, introverted self-loathing. He brilliantly ridicules the notion of stand-ups performing scripted, rehearsed material as if off-the-cuff with a disjointed structure. It's a thrilling mix of comedy and anti-comedy. Just don't try heckling him: he has far better put-downs for himself than you could ever come up with.
- Critics choice
Brian Gittins, the brilliantly oddball character creation of David Earl, is back with a new solo show at the Soho Theatre after appearances in Gervais's 'Derek' and hit own Channel 4 pilot 'Gittins'. Roadside cafe owner, taxi driver, Gittins has had all manner of jobs as well as six years amusing and bemusing comedy club audiences. He's a delightfully downbeat character.
Cockney charmer Micky Flanagan, as seen of 'Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow' and star of his own Radio 4 series, is back at the Apollo with a brand new show. Get ready to go 'out out' once again.
- Critics choice
He's been away for a little while, but Rob Newman's back on stage to show us that he has more strings to his comedic bow than are attached to a World Bank loan. He is one amazing comedian, and in his erudite new show he explores the 150-year controversy in evolutionary theory. From what we've seen at work-in-progress set it's set to an engaging, intelligent and very funny hour, and the fact he's performing in the intimate Little Angel Theatre will make it all the more special. In fact, this is the first time the venue has hosted a show that doesn't feature a puppet.
Now, this is value for money. It was 15 years ago that Canadian comics Stewart Francis, Craig Campbell and Glenn Wool made their Edinburgh Fringe debuts. Now, after tons of TV appearances and high-profile tours, they're back together as The Lumberjacks. Each of them can fill theatres with solo shows, but tonight you can see all three of them on the same bill. And it was be brilliant!
Mixing politics, pop and the petty together Anderson has more conviction and enthusiasm than any man's vocal chords should be able to take. A big name in his home country of Australia, he's a charming, very sharp comedy talent.
Following the success of BBC Three's 'Well Good Show' and his sell-out 'Well Good Tour', Simon Brodkin returns to London with his character creation Lee Nelson.
Another beautifully innuendo-ridden show title from the filthy and funny Julian Clary. This will be an intimate evening – a celebration, no less, of his twenty-five plus years in the camp spotlight. He's a flippin' national treasure.
Bigfoot Expert/Joystick Master/Half Centaur and '30 Rock' star Judah Friedlander is coming to London, bringing his solo show to Soho Theatre. That’s right, trucker-hat-wearing Frank Rossitano is in town, the self-proclaimed 'World Champion' of, well, everything: comedy, athletics, martial arts… You'd be a fundark to miss this.
Yes! Hot US talent Aziz Ansari is returning to London after his blisteringly funny mega-sold out Soho Theatre two years ago. The creator of MTV's excellent 'Human Giant', and star of the best-sitcom-on-TV-right-now 'Parks and Recreation', Aziz is at his slick, sublimely funny best on stage. The South Carolina-born comic is a masterful stand-up, ridiculing celebrities' silly lifestyles as well his own. We wonder what delicious food he'll be sampling on his London visit?
Now based Stateside, and with a second season of his own US series 'Legit' on the way, this Lyric date will be Jim Jefferies's only UK show of 2013. So if you're a fan of this brash, confrontational and dangerously funny comic, you better book soon. Jefferies's ability to both charm and offend the crowd in equal measure has gained him a hardcore audience, and having practically given up booze (well, on stage, at least), his shows are now far more consistent. His drunken anger when things aren't going well has gone, and so has (most) of the blatant misogyny. Now he's doing so well across the Atlantic, who knows when he'll be back in the country…
Proving that you can still be incredibly funny without uttering a word, physical comedy sensation The Boy with Tape on His Face (aka Sam Wills) was the hit of last year's Edinburgh Fringe, selling out a 700-seat venue every night, and last Christmas was the the hit of the West End. The Boy mixes mime, props and audience interaction to create beautiful visual punchlines and some truly magicial moments. This show really does speak for itself.
- Critics choice
London, you're in for a treat – this suave US comedian makes his UK debut at the Soho Theatre. Tompkins' podcast 'The Pod F Tompkast' was ranked No 1 by Rolling Stone magazine and his innovative 'Tompkins 300 Tour' was promoted entirely through Facebook; from choosing the cities, to selling the tickets. He's a cult star in his home country, be sure not to miss his first London run.
We love this award-winning actor, writer, comedian and star of 'Father Ted', 'My Hero' and RTE's 'Val Falvey'. O'Hanlon's low-key sense of bewilderment adds an offbeat slant to his observational routines about life's annoyances. Behind the wide-eyes there's a brilliant comic mind working away to get the most out of every superbly sharp line.
From BBC One's wildly popular 'Mrs Brown's Boys', Brendan O'Carroll adapts his crude Irish mammy character for the stage once again, this time upgrading from the Hammersmith Apollo to the massive O2 Arena. If you've ever watched the sitcom and thought 'I'd love to see Mrs Brown's Boys Live', well, here you are…
The Limerick-based plastic-bag wearing musical comedy duo – responsible for YouTube sensation 'Horse Outside' and Chortle Award winners in 2012 – smack Soho in the face with their high-energy, marvellously silly show. Of course, the Bandits don't describe themselves as musical comedy at all, they reckon they're 'hardcore gangsta rap'. Go see them and decide for yourselves – it's a riotous hour of hysterically rude songs, witty banter and intimidating carrier-bag masks. Brilliant fun.
After sell-out runs at the Soho Theatre and a one-off gig at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, US stand-up Rob Delaney – officially the 'funniest person on Twitter' – is back for two nights at the south bank's Spiegeltent. Thisacerbic American stand-up has only been a professional comic for a few years, but his profile has rocketed thanks to his hugely funny (and award-winning) Twitter account: @RobDelaney. As a stand-up, he has a sharp, bitingly funny wit.
The 'Adam' half of 'Adam & Joe' has been hosting brilliant fun music videos-based night Bug for yonks, but now he's going solo with a new tech-heavy solo show, exploring how we present ourselves in the internet age. Buxton + a laptop = brilliant buffoonery! These tickets will be snapped up super-quickly, so book soon.
Effortless yet full of energy, Australia's ray of comedy sunshine beams down once again in his new show, being recorded for DVD tonight at the Hammersmith Apollo. This joyful comic has had a phenomenal year; his Channel 4 series 'The Last Leg' has become a huge hit. Expect classy anecdotes and good, solid, funny jokes. Tonight's show will include a BSL interpreter.
Unusually for gigs at the Hammersmith Apollo, tonight it's a double-bill from youngsters Josh Widdicombe and Seann Walsh, both recording their shows for DVD release. Widdicombe – a regular on Channel 4's 'The Last Leg' – is a very slick observationalist and a brilliant off-the-cuff comic. Wild-haired stand-up Seann Walsh is also an observational comedian, mostly about being a big-time binge-drinker.
The '8 Out Of 10 Cats' team captain and creator of the brilliant cult TV series '15 Storeys High' is back in London with his new tour show 'Purple Van Man'. Mr Lock's playful, whimsical nature turns observational comedy on its head, blending surreal images with insightful opinions. Tonight's show is recorded for a DVD release.
Following gigs the Hammersmith Apollo, cockney charmer Micky Flanagan (as seen of 'Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow' and star of his own Radio 4 series) is joining the Evans's, McIntyre's and Izzard's of this world and plays both the O2 and Wembley Arenas. Get ready to go 'out out' on a much larger scale.
'30 Rock' has now come to an end. So, Tracy Morgan – who plays diva-ish mega-star Tracy Jordan on the show – has some free time on his hands and is playing a run of UK dates, including this Hammersmith Apollo show. From what we've read, Morgan's stand-up can be a pretty unsophisticated affair, with plenty of graphic sexual references and very old-school views. Plus, of course, he hit the headlines in 2011 for a homophobic onstage rant where he reportedly 'joked' that if his son announced that he was gay he 'would pull out a knife and stab that little nigger to death'. Will his Hammersmith show be a smarter hour of stand-up? There's only one way to find out…
Following gigs the Hammersmith Apollo, cockney charmer Micky Flanagan (as seen of 'Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow' and star of his own Radio 4 series) is joining the Evans's, McIntyre's and Izzard's of this world and plays both the O2 and Wembley Arenas. Get ready to go 'out out' on a much larger scale with this second date in Greenwich.
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.
He may have tried his hand at opera, and a surprisingly impressive musical theatre debut in 'Sweeney Todd', but now Jason Manford's back doing what he knows best: stand-up. The northern everyman promises more light-hearted anecdotes, misunderstandings and audience banter is his 'First World Problems' tour.
Read our Jason Manford interview
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
Highly accomplished Irish/Aussie stand-up Jimeoin is back on the road following a run at the Edinburgh Fringe and numerous TV appearances. He's a consummate comic.
There's no cooler comedian in the country than Reg D. He'll charm you silly whilst being controversial, challenging and intelligent with top notch material. He really is a master craftsman.
After touring his latest show for… well, literally years, animated Canadian storyteller Craig Campbell is back with a new show 'Thrilling Mic Hunt'. He's a fantastic yarn weaver, with charming tales of his travels and hugely funny observations about life in the UK.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.