The Comedy Store: Raw & Uncut

Does stand-up belong in the cinema?

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As Sony releases ‘The Comedy Store: Raw & Uncut’ – four stand-up gigs, recorded at London’s most famous comedy venue, screened in cinemas across the country – we ask: does stand-up belong on the big screen?

What do you think? Tell us your opinion of stand-up in the cinema below.

Yes

Tim Arthur, Time Out editor-in-chief

‘Of course stand-up belongs on the big screen (and little screen, for that matter). In fact, it was the cinema and VHS (remember those?) releases that turned comedians like Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor from comedy stars into stand-up legends. 

'Funny is funny, it’s as simple as that. If comics have great material it’ll make you laugh whether you’re in the room with them or not. What is true, though, is that humour is best when shared. The sound of 200 people laughing is infectious, and watching stand-up with friends in a cinema is a whole lot funnier than alone in your pants on the sofa. 

'Plus, with tickets only around a tenner (the big shows at the Store can be as much as £20), it’s convenient for thousands of people around the country who’ve always wanted to visit the world famous Comedy Store but haven’t made it there. You can eat popcorn whilst you laugh safe in the knowledge that you can't be picked on by the comedians. It seems like a no-brainer to me.’

No

Ben Williams, Time Out Comedy editor

‘We’ll hand it to them, the Comedy Store’s recorded releases are skilfully shot. But is the club forgetting the first rule of live comedy: you do not talk about… er, we mean: it’s best experienced live (unsurprisingly). 

'In London, we have the biggest and best live comedy scene in the world. There are gigs and comedians to suit every taste and budget. As well as the brilliantly talented acts, the excitement of a live experience is what I love about stand-up. Once a gig is recorded and re-played on a screen, for me that buzz and sense of spontaneity is lost. Sure, you can’t be picked on, but stand-up isn’t supposed to be safe, it’s meant to unpredictable and audacious. 

'Obviously, if you live out of London and have no local comedy club this might be a good alternative. But if you’re in town, why go to the local Cineworld when the real thing is just a few tube stops away? If you want to experience the Comedy Store, go to the Comedy Store. It’s as simple as that.’


'The Comedy Store: Raw & Uncut' films are individually released every fortnight, from Friday February 22.

What do you think? Tell us your opinion of stand-up in the cinema below.

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Users say

2 comments
Adam Larter
Adam Larter

The Comedy Store owe me £5 (fact) and their nights are their line ups and dull (opinion). The trailer for Raw and Uncut was filled to the brim with cliche and old fashioned audience banter. The whole film thing shows that they are low on ideas, it shouldn't be considered alongside art - its just another tourist attraction in Leicester Square - the comedy equivalent of the M&M store or Angus Steak House.

David
David

It's gotta be live – what if the act's rubbish? You can't heckle a screen! Well, you could, but you'd look a damn fool.