There are an overwhelming number of comedy shows to choose from in London. Our advice? Buy tickets to any of the ten shows we recommend and you'll have a cracking time.
The most famous comedy improv outfit in town perform off-the-cuff games and tomfoolery at the world famous Comedy Store twice a week. Regular Players include Paul Merton, Josie Lawrence, Neil Mullarkey, Andy Smart, Richard Vranch and Lee Simpson, but the line-ups change for each show.
The unstoppable 'Showstopper!' is back in 2017 for more improv-based musical theatre larks, this time at the Lyric Theatre until June. The cast of Showstopper are the best musical improvisational group we've ever seen. From a handful of suggestions from the audience they create a full-length, hilarious musical. More talent on stage than you can shake a stick at.
Festival of the Spoken Nerd, an unashamedly geeky celebration of comedy, science, maths, music and experiments, is very much a fixture on the London scene these days. So much so that stand-up mathematician (yes, they exist!) Matt Parker, musician Helen Arney and experiments guy Steve Mould are presenting a greatest hits package over ten nights at Soho Theatre. Hands up who likes graphs?
The title of Katy Brand's show says it all: ‘I Was a Teenage Christian’. The comic, a fitful presence on the telly since the mid-2000s ('Katy Brand's Big Ass Show', 'Peep Show'), spills the beans on her teenage years as a fundamentalist Christian – an entirely self-imposed conversion. Thankfully for us, in the end, the charming Brand swapped the holy light for the spotlight and a career in comedy. Praise the lord!
Chris Gethard was still very much an unknown quantity in the UK until he brought this brave solo show to the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe, where it enjoyed excellent reviews. Co-produced by comedy heavyweight Judd Apatow, ‘Career Suicide’ sees the US improv veteran explore his see-sawing mental health (touching on depression, alcoholism and suicide), in a frank, funny and moving show.
A hit at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe, where he picked up a Best Newcomer nod, Bilal Zafar lands in London with his acclaimed debut show. After being mistaken for a Muslim-only cake shop on Twitter, Zafar tells the story of how he became a target for rabid far-right groups. It's fertile ground for a sharp young comic with a bright future.
The 99 Club team's most famous venue regularly hosts good quality circuit stand-ups, five or six nights a week. And tonight's line-up is another gem. You’re in capable hands with headliner Kerry Godliman, who does a fine line in comic exasperation, zeroing in on the frustrations of relationships and motherhood. Godliman is joined on the night by one of the country’s best comedians, the sublimely silly James Acaster, and the sparky Dane Baptiste.
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. Tremendous fun.
More comedy in London
As the unofficial comedy capital of the world, London's comedy circuit doesn't take a break. There are stand-up shows seven days a week, from early evening through to the small hours. To help you plan your week of witticisms, here's a nifty calendar of the best comedy shows in London this week.