What better way to welcome the New Year than with a good old laugh? Many of London's top comedy clubs offer NYE packages including a stand-up show, meal and bar/dancing till the early hours. The shows can be pricey, but what isn't expensive on New Year's Eve? And to make sure you have a great night we've highlighted the gigs that are particularly worth the money. Why not start 2016 with a comedy bang?
RECOMMENDED: Read our full guide to New Year in London
Looking for Christmas comedy shows?
Improv gets a bad rap in this country, but anyone who dismisses the genre clearly hasn't seen Austentatious. This highly impressive troupe perform a completely improvised Jane Austen novel, complete with period dress and cello accompaniment, with marvellous results. Made up of Andrew Murray, Amy Cooke-Hodgson, Joseph Morpurgo, Cariad Lloyd, Graham Dickson and Rachel Parris, they're all hugely talented performers, able to keep the gag rate high and the made-up story rolicking along. Tremendous fun.Read more
'Welcome, watchers of illusion, to the castle of confusion.' Yep, the slapstick stage show version of the iconic kids' TV show takes up residency at the Udderbelly. 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. It always sells out, so book soon.Read more
With comedians charging top dollar to watch them from a mile away at the O2, we here at Time Out offer you a guide to the financially viable alternatives – London’s best free comedy gigs. In general, the quality at free clubs can be a little hit and miss, but we highly recommend these ten comedy nights, and there’s no doubting that these free things to do in London offer excellent value for money. A minor warning: although they say ‘free’, many clubs invite donations at the end of the night. Don’t fret if you can’t make a contribution, but if you’ve enjoyed the show, why not pay what you think it was worth?Read more
Ventriloquist Paul Zerdin has long been a favourite on the UK comedy circuit, and is a regular on the 'Royal Variety Show'. But now he's a full-blown US star, having won 'America's Got Talent' last year, and performing headline shows in glitzy Las Vegas. In his new show, 'Spongefinger', he'll probably be joined by his usual sponge sidekicks Sam, OAP Albert and Baby for a slick hour of slick, sharp gags.Read more
Maybe it’s his law school training, but relative newcomer Ronny Chieng is already a consummate professional. The 27-year-old comic is blunt, full of bravado and not aiming to be liked; he’s got a job to do, and he’s putting forward a strong case. Born in Malaysia, based in Australia and raised in Singapore via the US, Chieng has a blurred sense of national identity. ‘I belong nowhere,’ he says, explaining that Westerners just see his Chinese roots, and back home he’s considered ‘the whitest guy in Malaysia’. But Chieng feels passionately about his heritage and aims to change the opinion that Chinese people aren’t cool. ‘Cool’ isn’t exactly how you’d describe Chieng; he’s a permanently pissed-off germaphobe. But he smartly attacks Chinese stereotypes while mockingly reinforcing them, and just when you think he’s slipping into cliché, he’ll flip the joke on its head and find a fresh, sharp punchline. Not that race is the only subject Chieng’s an expert on. He’s a master BitTorrent user, a penis-hygiene specialist and regular IT support for his mum. We’ve all heard young comics mock their parents’ inability to grasp technology, but Chieng’s extended routine about providing tech help over the phone wins through his outward frustration. It’s this honest indifference to being liked that makes Chieng stand out. Refreshingly, he’s neither charmless nor charming. All that matters is there’s sharp comedic mind at work here – why should we need anything more? See 'Ronny Chieng – The RoRead more
‘My main goal of the show, and my life, is to clear the name of Yoko Ono,’ says James Acaster, matter-of-factly, at the top of his show. Quite how we get there via examining his love of mariachi music, or the identities of Percy Pig’s mates, we’re not sure. But it all seems to make sense, at the time. Honest. Three solo shows in, and Acaster’s quickly becoming a reliable Fringe favourite. The Kettering-born comic is quiet, pedantic and refreshingly low-key. He's in no rush to get laughs, his shows are slow-burners, but every carefully chosen word or pause builds up to a sturdy, satisfying punchline. From Twister-etiquette to French rhyme structures, the Marks and Spencer-donning comic has a knack for flipping observational comedy on its head, studiously examining things most of us have dismissed as inconsequential. His confident, yet gawky, persona is wonderfully aloof, too. But what Acaster has mastered, which most comics fail at, is structuring an hour-long show. Seemingly throwaway jokes cleverly re-emerge, and no callbacks are crowbarred in. By the end of the hour you’re totally sucked into his minute, quizzical world, where Yoko Ono is addicted to biscuits, and Joe Bloggs is a prat. And it’s a wonderful world to visit. See 'James Acaster – Lawnmower' at the Edinburgh FringeRead more
Inventive, no-nonsense one-liner merchant Gary Delaney – as seen on 'Mock the Week' and 'Dave's One Night Stand' – is back on the road, 'There's Something About Gary', which plays the Leicester Square Theatre. Delaney tells intricate, occasionally dark gags that are top-notch pieces of wordplay. He's an ace joke-slinger.Read more
As the premier name in stand-up comedy, with over 30 years experience in the business, The Comedy Store remains a breeding ground for original comedy talent. See some excellent stand-up line-ups, every Saturday night from April 16 to July 16, in the massive upside-down purple cow. Bringing the funnies this year are Jo Caulfield, Justin Moorhouse, Nish Kumar, Glenn Wool, Nathan Caton and many more. Line-ups are subject to change so check the Udderbelly Festival website for the latest info.Read more