Turn right out of Colliers Wood tube, walk up the road for about two minutes, and you'll find GJs bar and restaurant. And if you happen to pass by on the second Thursday of the month then you'll find one fo the capitals' best comedy nights: Roar with Laughter.
The last time Londonist visted we were still chuckling a week later, so we went back and asked compere Sweaty Dave (that's him pictured... as a baby) to submit to our rigorous questionnaire.
Age, occupation, where are you from, where are you now?
Age: Grumpy. Occupation: Comedy promoter. From: nowhere - Born in Liverpool, moved to Manchester as a baby, then to The Isle of Man at 11 - went to university in The Midlands at 18, travelled the world and settled in London for the last few (18) years.
We Are Klang - the funniest thing around right now - told me that people who come out of nowhere often get hit by cars, so I’m very careful crossing the road. I've lived in Wimbledon for the past 6 or 7 years.
How did Roar with Laughter start?
We’ll be ten years old on January 26th, Anthony Deuson – one of the co-founders - was on the comedy circuit, back then there weren’t that many clubs.
So Roar with Laughter’s got a bit of a Do It Yourself, punk ethic?
Definitely, we book the best acts, we’re very much a family affair, put together with love, sometimes it doesn’t work – we want to put on the best possible show – everyone’s involved. Comedy should be theatrical, and we want to be a part of it. Philosophy, quality, all the show has to be top – notch, a diverse mix up of sketches, stand up, new and experienced. We’re not huge: but acts want to take part because we’re a proper club with a great atmosphere.
Why the name Roar with Laughter?
Colliers Wood was the very first Roar With Laughter gig. It’s our fundament, where we started from. We were named after the pub (The Red Lion - Grrr....) before it became lovely GJ’s.
How would you describe your audience?
Comedy literate, some of our regulars have been coming along ever since we began, negative heckling’s minimal. Because we’re hidden away in Collier’s Wood, Roar with Laughter’s developed organically, there’s over 100 comedy clubs in London, with us you’re aglow afterwards. Also we give out chocolates to the front row, and have a catchphrase that everyone joins in.
Describe your night in one sentence for Londonist readers.
The most fun you can have in Colliers Wood.
What’s the best ever Roar with Laughter you’ve experienced?
The first, Mackenzie Crook was the compere Charlie Cheese, Al Murray did a slot too. We put in a lot of effort, it was packed and amazing. When Mark Thomas did a gig, we were rammed, and Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh) played two months back.
What’s special about the Christmas Roar with Laughter?
The acts we’ve got are Greg Davis, who’s got a huge personality and just finished a far-east tour. Pete Firman’s a comic magician – he was on Dirty Tricks, Tom Bell’s sketches are surreal, he’s been doing stand up for five years, and Steve Best is a very physical comic if we say anything it’ll spoil the surprise.
And what about your tenth anniversary in January?
It’s going to be a celebration, it’s been 10 years and we’re chuffed, it’s wonderful. This night will be extra special, acts like being here so does the audience, we want to say thanks to the lovely audience, and our acts. It’ll – hopefully – be a memorable night for all the right reasons.
And now the Londony questions...
Favourite bar or restaurant?
Despite my near obsessive love of Indian food, my favourite restaurant remains Veronica’s in Hereford Road, W2. It’s probably down to some sort of original attraction to the old British and Irish food. My perfect meal is their beautifully tasty and tender fillet of beef, cooked between two pieces of oak and garnished with mashed potato. Simple, perfect.
What advice would you give Ken Livingstone?
I’m not sure I’m qualified to give him advice. Keep at it is the best I can do. I may not agree with all his policies, but I’ve come to realise that he really does try his best to improve life for all (or most) Londoners, not just himself and his mates.
What London place or thing would you declare a landmark?
The statue of Noel Fielding tickling Julian Barratt in Leicester Square
The world is ending in 24 hours. How would you spend your last day in London?
Drinking stolen champagne and wanking, sorry.
Have you ever been sick on the tube?
No, but in 1989, as a result of food poisoning (really!) I dry retched into a fire bucket at the end of the Clapham Common northbound platform at 8.30am. I gave up trying to get to work and returned home to retch in private.
If you could sink one part of London into the sea, which bit would it be?
Mmmm. I really can’t think of one. There are places I dislike because I’ve had shitty experiences there, but there’s nowhere I’ve really disliked for its own sake. There’s good stuff pretty much everywhere.
Greatest thing to come out of London?
The World. London invented The World... right?
What advice would you give someone new to London getting on a nightbus for the first time?
Head down, earphones in.
Sum up London in one word?