Comedians on tour
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 in 2014 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 in 2014
© Nick Fitz
Monty Python – Live (mostly)
Lee Mack – Hit the Road Mack
Miranda Hart – My, What I Call
© Barry J Holmes
Russell Howard – Wonderbox
© Brian J Ritchee
© Rob Greig
Tim Key – Single White Slut
Sarah Millican – Home Bird
Russell Kane – Smallness
Full list of upcoming comedy shows in 2014
- Critics choice
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.
- Critics choice
Superb campaigning comic Mark Thomas is back to his mischievous ways in his latest solo show, '100 Acts of Minor Dissent', which he's bringing to the Leicester Square Theatre. On May 13 last year, Thomas set himself a challenge: to commit 100 acts of minor dissent within 12 months. In the show, he brings us up to speed on what mischief he's been up to so far. He's a master craftsman – always superbly funny.
- Critics choice
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.
- Critics choice
After jet-setting off to LA, rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood-elite and marrying/divorcing pop royalty, merry minstrel of mirth Russell Brand is back doing what he does best: stand-up, live in London, at the Hammersmith Apollo, Theatre Royal Drury Lane and Brixton Academy. In the show – which is on a world tour – the backcombed comedy wonder looks at the mental disorder 'Messiah complex', which is where the sufferer thinks they might be the Messiah, and asks: did Jesus have it? Che Guevara, Gandhi, Malcolm X, Hitler? Of course, we could ask: does Russell Brand have it? Expect his usual exquisite flowery language and sex-mad stories. Read our review of 'Messiah Complex' when Brand brought it to Hammersmith on Oct 14.
The former host of 'Never Mind the Buzzcocks' and creator of 'Grandma's House', Simon Amstell, performs some low-key warm-up gigs at The Invisible Dot, performing new material. These tickets will sell out super quickly. You have been warned.
- Critics choice
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. Part of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards winner and nominees season. Read our interview with Bridget Christie Read our review from the Edinburgh Fringe
- Critics choice
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!
- 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 characters including her daughter, handyman, gran, oldest friend and a stray dog, with plenty of veering from the script.
Best known for his role as Holly in 'Red Dwarf', legendary oddball stand-up Norman Lovett is back on the road with his 'Old and New' tour, which he's bringing to the Leicester Square Theatre. Not many people can make plastic bags funny, but with his low-key delivery and aloof persona Lovett can transform a simple object or idea into a strangely funny character or rotuine. There's no conventional gags here, just pure deadpan whimsy. Utterly charming.
Having trouble with your own mind? Motormouth American Ruby Wax can help. In her latest offering, 'Sane New World', the queen of acerbic asides provides a tour of the human brain in a show that’s part comedy, part group therapy session. In her previous show, ‘Losing It’, Wax went down the more theatrical route, talking seriously about her battle with depression with added sharp-tongued gags. ‘Sane New World’ looks like she’s back on the path of pure comedy, but hey: you might just learn something too.
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.
Pam Ann, the 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 for a West End run at the Leicester Square Theatre.
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.
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.
- Critics choice
The Limerick-based plastic-bag wearing musical comedy duo – responsible for YouTube sensation 'Horse Outside' and Chortle Award winners in 2012 – are back at the Soho Theatre with a brand new show, 'Continental Fistfight'. 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. Expect a bunch of high-energy new songs and some of their greatest hits. Then, following the Soho Theatre run, the Rubberbandits are playing two gigs at Shakespeare's Globe brand new indoor venue, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, by candlelight. Read our review of the Rubberbandits's 'Continental Fistfight'
Illinois-born comic Jim Gaffigan's a huge name in the States, selling out huge venues and regularly popping up in shows like 'Portlandia', 'Flight of the Conchords' and 'Bored to Death'. He's a superb stand-up – low-key and intelligent, but with a biting wit. Gaffigan played the Shaw Theatre back in 2010, so a return visit to the capital is long overdue. But his popularity's grown such a lot since then, expect this Leicester Square Theatre gig to sell out super quickly.
Wild-haired stand-up Seann Walsh – star of 'Stand Up for the Week' and 'Live at the Apollo' – received a Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award nomination for his solo show about, well, being lazy. He's matured (so to speak) into a talented observational comic, extracting big laughs from material about ordering takeaway, 24-hour off licenses and drinking. Boy oh boy, there's a lot of boozing material. Part of the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards season at Soho Theatre
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. Following his West End run last year, Djalili's performing this one-off Udderbelly gig.
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.
Time Out's favourite surrealist, Mr Tony Law,has already sold out a five-week run at the Soho Theatre, and now he's landing at the Udderbelly for five nights. 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.
Feisty Scot Calman – a regular on Radio 4's 'The News Quiz' and as seen on 'Have I Got News For You' and 'QI' – is back with a brand new show. Calman's always wonderfully funny, mixing silly (often cat-related) thoughts with political jabs.
- Critics choice
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, which he's bringing back to London after a run at the Union Chapel. The show explores how we present ourselves in the internet age. Basically, Buxton + a laptop = brilliant buffoonery! These tickets will be snapped up super-quickly, so book soon. Read our interview with Adam Buxton
Biting Canadian stand-up Katherine Ryan finds humour in the things in life than make us bitter, and now she's bringing her brand new solo show, 'Glam Role Model', to the Soho Theatre. Ryan's had a phenomenally successful couple of years, popping up regularly on the telly, from 'Mock the Week' to 'QI', '8 Out of 10 Cats' to 'Live at the Apollo'. Her latest solo show explores the murky world of glamour modelling. She's quickly becoming a hugely popular comic, so this could be your last chance to catch her in such an intimate venue.
Charming young stand-up Joe Lycett – who was nominated for Best Newcomer in Edinburgh in 2012 – performs his latest solo show as part of the Udderbelly Festival. Lycett's cheeky, relaxed, and mixes delightful stories and observations. He's guaranteed to be a huge star.
The popular comic ventriloquist from the US brings his new international tour to Wembley, once again joined by Achmed the Dead Terrorist, Walter the Grumpy Retiree and more.
It’s hardly surprising that lots of audiences are a bit scared of Red Bastard. The New York-based performer might cut a comical figure – an almost amorphously unitarded blob somewhere between a rooster and a tomato – but there’s something of the leering cadaver about his pale face and red-rimmed eyes, and he wastes no time in shooting death stares at the crowd, getting in their faces, making them swap seats, even throwing them out of the venue if he doesn’t like the cut of their jib. All this confrontation, however, is a kind of ice-breaking that sets the scene for a disinhibited collaboration between performer and audience based on strict leadership and a contract of honesty in expression. Think a team-building away day, but with an aggressive, brutal red blob as the motivational speaker. Go along with Red Bastard and he could just change your life.
This sassy comedy show from fast rising star Luisa Omielan has been a smash hit around the globe, including multiple sell-out runs at London's Soho Theatre. Omielan admires and envies Beyoncé, comparing her life to the superstar diva's in this high-energy hour. 'What Would Beyoncé Do?' always sells out. Always! So get booking if you want to get bootylicious.
It's been ten years since 'The Office' left our screens, but David Brent's Comic Relief skits and YouTube videos earlier this year have proved that the public are still craving Brent. He's undoubtedly Ricky Gervais's funniest and most successful character creation, and after selling out work-in-progress shows in a matter of seconds, he's ready to play the Hammersmith Apollo (quite a large venue for an office middle-manager from Slough). This isn't a stand-up show. Brent will be backed by his band, Foregone Conclusion, to perform ‘Ooh La La’, ‘Spaceman Came Down’, ‘Life on The Road’, ‘Ain’t No Trouble’ and more, live. Tickets will be snapped up super quickly and go on sale on Friday March 7 at 9am. Good luck!
Suave, laconic Frenchman Marcel Lucont – who you may have seen on BBC Three's 'Live at the Electric' – is back at the Udderbelly this season with 'Is'. He's a sharp comedy talent, enlightening us British on why the French are superior. Tres bien!
One of the finest comedians this country has ever produced, Stewart Lee returns to Soho with a series of work-in-progress shows, ahead of recording the fourth series of his 'Comedy Vehicle'. These tickets will go quickly, so don't be Ang Lee that you missed out.
'Welcome, watchers of illusion, to the castle of confusion.' That's right, the iconic and superbly scary kids' TV show has been given a reboot as a live, slapstick stage show, and it's returning to London, to the Udderbelly, following sold out shows last year. There's no CGI realm here, rather some shambolic sets and costumes, but it's mighty fun to both play and observe, with Tom Bell making a brilliant Lord Fear.
Masterful Irish raconteur Andrew Maxwell is a superb storyteller and excellent banter merchant, and he's back at the Udderbelly this season. Banana Kingdom is a blissfully funny show, covering stories about hanging out with Cockneys, being arrested in Las Vegas and trying to catch a glimpse of the Irish president’s penis. Classic Maxwell.
- 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.
Bill Bailey's not one to shy away from the great outdoors. He loves nature, the countryside, wildlife, that type of thing… Now he's going to be playing in the open air, as part of Kew Gardens' 'Kew the Music' gigs. Last year, Bailley wrapped up a massive UK tour of 'Qualmpeddler' (including a huge, one-off date at Wembley Arena), so this gig will most likely be a version of that show. As you'd expect from a BB show, it's an absolute hoot, mixing philosophical meanderings and musical deconstructions. The religious dubstep and 'Horntallica' are both particularly funny highlights.
Though perhaps best known as Murray the manager in 'Flight of the Conchords' or from his appearances in films such as 'Yes Man' or 'The Boat that Rocked', Darby is also a hugely popular stand-up, with incredible physicality and vocal dexterity. He's back on tour – including these dates at the Shepherd's Bush Empire – with epic new show, 'Mr Adventure'.
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.
Everyone's favourite OCD-ridden misanthrope, Jon Richardson, is back on tour with 'Nidiot', which he's bringing to the Hammersmith Apollo. Richardson's best known as a team captain on '8 Out of 10 Cats', and wildly successful spin-off, '8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown'. But he's also one superb stand-up – persistently pessimistic, and a master improviser. In 'Nidiot' he's promising to be more laidback. We'll believe it when we see it.
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.
Accomplished Irish/Aussie comedy stalwart Jimeoin is back on the road, bringing his new show 'Yes, Yes, Whatever…?!' to the Forum, following a run at the Edinburgh Fringe and numerous TV appearances. He's a consummate comic.
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.
Following his ace show 'Dave Gorman's Powerpoint Presentation', the pioneer of docu-comedy continues his love affair with the slideshow software as he teams up with a projector screen for Dave Gorman Gets Straight to the Point* (*The Powerpoint). He just can't stay away from a bit of multimedia madness. And why should he? Gorman's at his funniest when playing with technology.
Boosh fans, it's time to dig out those lightning bolt t-shirts you bought on the 2006 tour. Noel Fielding – the Hoxton-haired half of the Mighty Boosh; you know, the one with the pointy features – is hitting the road with 'An Evening with Noel Fielding', which he's bringing to Hammersmith and Brixton. The surrealist comic is promising a mix of stand-up, live animations, music and appearances from his character creations, including The Moon and Fantasy Man. There are also support slots from Noel's brother, Mike Fielding, best known as 'Naboo' from the series and long-time Boosh collaborator Steve Oram. Imagine that!
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.