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?
Good old The Boy with Tape on His Face: living proof that you can still be incredibly funny without uttering a word. The physical comedy sensation (aka New Zealand-born stand-up Sam Wills) wowed US audiences as part of America's Got Talent. Now, The Boy is back in London in June 2017 with his predictably titled show 'Tape Face', mixing mime, props and audience interaction to create beautiful visual punchlines and truly magicial moments. This is one show that really does speak for itself.
This city has the biggest and best comedy scene in the world. But where to start? Here's Time Out's round-up of the top 20 comedy clubs and comedy nights in London that'll keep you laughing throughout the year. From the funniest local gigs, north and south, to Soho comedy nights and central hangouts, the capital has plenty of comedy to satisfy your laughter needs. RECOMMENDED: our complete guide to the best comedy in LondonThink we've missed a great comedy club or comedy night in London? Let us know in the comment box below.
Grubby angel pub The Mucky Pup has had a facelift: after being taken over by Angel Comedy Club, its exterior is now covered in the gurning mugs of great comedians from Charlie Chaplin onwards. The name suggests that its new owners might just be paying homage to the famously eccentric comedy star Bill Murray, too. But for legal reasons, the pub is officially named after William Murray, Charles I's whipping boy and 1st Earl of Dysart. The Bill Murray is a fully functioning pub, serving drinks and snacks seven days a week. Angel Comedy Club will also use The Bill Murray to host their jam-packed programme of free comedy shows, visits from circuit comedians, workshops and improv.
Originally set up by the legendary Malcolm Hardee, Up the Creek is an extraordinary, purpose-built club that's been around since the 1990s, and is still one of the best places to see live comedy. It's renowned for a lively -- some would say bear-pit - atmosphere where only the strongest comics survive. On Sunday there's a more chilled feel to the 'Sunday Special Club', which makes it the perfect place to end the weekend.
Dubbed 'Comedy's Unofficial National Theatre', the Comedy Store is, without doubt, the daddy of all comedy clubs. During the 1980s the Comedy Store made its name as the home of 'alternative comedy': Alexei Sayle, Rik Mayall, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith Allen and Arnold Brown were among the radical young comics who cut their teeth here, with the likes of Clive Anderson, Chris Barrie, Paul Merton and Ben Elton hot on their heels. Things haven't changed dramatically: seven nights a week you can see some of the best comedy anywhere on the planet. Apart from the corking bills every Thursday to Saturday, check out the brilliant Comedy Store Players (Wed and Sun) and the fantastic Cutting Edge Team (Tue), while the Gong Show (which gives would-be stand-ups a mic for as long as the audience allow) on the last Monday of every month is simply not to be missed.
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 regular comedy shows in London.
Don’t be put off by the unremarkable drinks selection, or the clashing patterned carpets, gaudy booths and floral wallpaper. The real joy of drinking in the Bedford lies in stumbling across the improbably big and bonkers mock-Tudor ‘Shakesperean Globe Theatre’ at the rear of the pub, featuring black-painted wooden pillars so old they look like they could have been installed at the behest of Cardinal Wolsey and a cavernous domed ceiling so strewn with wooden heraldic shields and canvas hangings you feel like you’re in a ‘Game of Thrones’ battle tent. There’s free live music (of varying quality, which is all part of the fun) Monday to Thursday, and on Friday and Saturday nights, the Bedford plays host to brilliantly intimate comedy night Banana Cabaret. It also knows how to cater to Balham’s yummy-mummy crowd: babyccinos for 50p and monthly ‘family fun’ raves for parents and kids.
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.
Time Out London and Doug Stanhope go way back. Since the brutally honest US stand-up started performing in London a decade ago we’ve stayed at his Arizona fun house, been on the road with him in California and seen his drunken, vitriloic rants dozens of times (both on stage and off). He’s a thrilling comic, and now the Massachusetts-born stand-up is back in London for the first time in three years. Ahead of his Hammersmith and Brixton shows, we asked Stanhope to pick his ten favourite fellow comedians. But it’s best to take some of his remarks with a pinch of salt… See more comedians’ favourite comedians