It’s all very well watching the big guns strut their stuff at the big theatres and arenas, but how did they first set foot on the road to comedy stardom? Answer: open-mic nights. Here you can see fresh, raw comedy hopefuls honing their first few minutes of material. Some will be great, some will be terrible, but visit any of Time Out's top ten open-mic nights and you may help spot the household names of tomorrow…
Comedy open-mic nights
Whether it’s a song, monologue or sketch, piece of improv, mime, or stand-up, as long as it’s funny, it’s granted a spot at Up The Creek’s weekly open-mic club on Thursday nights. And with a professional MC handling proceedings, you’re guaranteed a fun show, whatever the line-up may be.
The Monday-night drinkers; the vicious heckling; the fear on comedians' faces – The Comedy Store’s gong show is undoubtedly the rowdiest open-mic night in town. But it’s also the most fun. Each act attempts to survive five minutes on stage, trying to keep the audience on their side and hoping not to be ‘gonged off’ by the MC. It’s simply not to be missed.
Open-mic comics only make up a small part of this ramshackle gig in Fitzrovia, but they’re often some of the most peculiar in town. The sublimely daft Brian Damage & Krysstal and Anthony Miller are hosts, and even if the gig does go tits up, it’s always a right laugh.
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Backyard Comedy Club
One of London's much-needed, dedicated comedy clubs, run by British stand-up Lee Hurst, star of 'They Think it's All Over', who you can occasionally find performing here. At just a stone's throw from Bethnal Green, the Backyard is a good place to find up-and-coming comedians, plus since 2013, they've also hosted variety shows, cabaret, swing dancing and more. There's also a bar, pizzas, pool, fussball and darts.