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
Getting a spot at the open-mic night of this long-running Shoreditch club is a big deal for newbies. With a capacity of 200, it’s a big room for the inexperienced, so can be a challenge. But the Comedy Café has a seriously good hit rate at spotting future stars.
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 waiting list for an open-mic spot at the King’s Head’s weekly showcase can be rather long. Why? Well, because this basement space is a joy to play and one of the most highly regarded clubs in the capital.
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.
If variety is the spice of life, Stoke Newington’s Party Piece is one spicy comedy gig. As well as a showcase for open-mic stand-ups, warm host Tom Webb invites sketches, music, magic and dance acts, plus anyone else who might be entertaining. Plus it’s free!
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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