It’s the city that gave the world Frank Skinner, John Oliver, Tony Hancock and Jasper Carrott, so it should come as no surprise that there’s plenty of comedy options in Birmingham. Here’s a whistle-stop tour of some of our favourites.
The Glee Club, The Arcadian, 70 Hurst Street
While the Barclaycard Arena and Symphony Hall are the main stopping-off points for A-list comics like Michael McIntyre and John Bishop, Birmingham’s crown prince of comedy venues is the more modestly sized Glee Club. Since opening its doors in 1994 (as the UK's first dedicated comedy club outside of London, no less), The Glee has attracted some of the biggest names in stand-up.
Widely regarded by audiences and comedians alike as one of the country’s top comedy venues, it’s not unknown for big name arena-fillers like Sarah Millican to return to The Glee to road-test new material on unsuspecting crowds. Featuring comedy every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, with a cut-price Rough Works new material night on the first Sunday of every month.
Jongleurs, 259-262 Broad Street
The Brum branch of this famous comedy chain has had a bit of a chequered past having closed and reopened more than once over the last few years, but in terms of size and sheer comedy clout it’s The Glee Club's biggest city-centre rival. Comedy every Friday and Saturday night.
Manford’s Comedy Club, Players Bar, 240 Broad Street
Top funny man and professional northerner Jason Manford felt that many acts on the stand-up circuit were just as funny as those who regularly appear on TV. Instead of just complaining about it to his mates down the pub, however, he took the plunge and launched a nationwide chain of comedy nights. The first of these was in Birmingham and every Saturday night features acts that have earned the Manford seal of approval.
JQ Comedy Club, Rose Villa Tavern, Jewellery Quarter
If the thought of boisterous Broad Street on a Friday or Saturday night fills your heart with dread, then fear not – city-centre comedy can be found in calmer locations like Colmore Row (Old Joint Stock) and John Bright Street (Cherry Reds and The Victoria). One such place is the Jewellery Quarter where the gorgeous, Grade II-listed Rose Villa Tavern hosts the JQ Comedy Club on the second Tuesday of every month.
mac birmingham, Cannon Hill Park, Edgbaston
Moving out of the city centre, Birmingham’s lower-case loving arts centre is also one of the city’s premier comedy venues. Their recent Birmingham is Funny season showcased some of the region’s best acts, while their annual EdinBrum double bills offer close-to-home previews of top Edinburgh Festival shows. The venue also hosts an excellent stand-up comedy course run by local comedian James Cook as well as regular Laughing Sole Comedy for Kids shows.
Laughing Sole, British Oak, Stirchley
The Laughing Sole also run a bi-monthly comedy night at the lovely, Grade II-listed British Oak pub in Stirchley. Billed as a comedy club with a "cleaner, less offensive ethos," The Laughing Sole offers great comedy in a friendly and hospitable environment. Previous headliners have included Robin Ince, Milton Jones and the criminally-underrated Noel James. First Tuesday on alternate months.
Roadhouse Comedy Night, Stirchley
If you can’t bear waiting two months for Stirchley-based comedy, then fear not: just up the road from the British Oak you’ll find The Roadhouse where you can catch an eclectic mix of up-and-coming and established comedy acts every Monday night. For free.
Fat Penguin Comedy Club, Patrick Kavanagh Bar, 142 Trafalgar Road, Moseley
According to literary legend, Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967) was a great Irish writer and poet who, quite literally, couldn’t tell a joke to save his life. Ironically, the pub in Moseley that bears his name features a great line-up of comedy on the last Wednesday of each month. It’s what Pat would have wanted. Another freebie.
Cheeky Monkey Comedy Club, Dark House Pub, 147 Alcester Road, Moseley
Just around the corner from Pat Kav’s you’ll find the sort of new-ish Dark Horse Bar, and every other Tuesday it hosts the Cheeky Monkey Comedy Club which has not only featured some top acts but is also the only Moseley comedy night run by a former Moseley councillor. Gratis.
Comedy Junction, Station Pub, Sutton Coldfield
Conveniently located right next door to Sutton Coldfield railway station, Comedy Junction describes itself as "the small comedy club with the UK’s biggest names." When those names include the likes of Russell Howard, Richard Herring and Lee Mack, you can’t really argue.
Know of any other Brum comedy clubs that deserve a mention?
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