By the time the Edinburgh Festival rolls around, the 2,000 shows on offer will have been proof-read, practised and polished to perfection. But how do the shows get to be so good? We'll tell you but how - by using Londoners as guinea pigs!
We jest, of course. The next six weeks are a fantastic time to see brilliant comedians experimenting with new ideas at super-cheap prices. Here's our second week of recommendations for comedy-hungry Londoners:
Monday 16th Sketch group Tea and Cake (pictured) are experimenting at the Etcetera Theatre in Camden tonight. The troupe take the immensely dark and disturbing themes, and sugar-coat them with light-hearted silliness to create something which leaves you unsure whether to be outrageously offended, or to go again and bring your children. We saw their preview last year, and enjoyed it immensely - their sketches are funny, clever and heaps of fun. Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High Street, Camden NW1. 9.30pm, £6.50.
Tuesday 17th - Two previews tonight at the King's Head in Crouch End. Helen Keen is a playful comic with a very cerebral style and charming English delivery. She's previewing her début show, "It is Rocket Science", a show all about space rockets. Science, space and engineering will be mixed with "Space Nazis and Satanists" in a show which will make all science geeks moist and excited. Joining her is Danny Bhoy, a friendly and whimsical observationalist who regularly plays to huge audiences at festivals around the world. In sum, this gig will surely be made entirely of win. (Danny on YouTube) Downstairs at the King's Head, 2 Crouch End Hill, N8 8AA. 8pm, £7.
Thursday 19th - Readers with a keen memory will remember how much we like Rich Sandling, the film aficionado with a passion for whimsy. He's previewing at the Hen and Chickens tonight, with his show "VHS3: Video Nasty". If you're a pop culture junkie, you'll be in heaven as Rich explores the most pressing questions, such as "Is Jack Bauer just George Smiley with Google?" and "Is Ghostbusters a Gay movie?". If it's anywhere near as good as his 2007 show then this will be an outstanding show. (Rich on Google Video) Hen & Chickens Theatre, 109 St Paul's Rd, Highbury Corner, N1 2NA. 9.30pm, £6. Tickets: 0207 704 2001.
Sat 21st - Edward Aczel previews his show "Do I Really Have to Communicate With you?". For those of you who don't know Edward: imagine a comedian whose act involved not telling jokes, in playing with anti-humour and with the patience level of the crowd. And imagine it being amazing. Edward does this with such shambolic charm that it goes full circle to being belly-laugh hilarious. if you're interested in seeing something original, interesting and brilliant, go to see Edward tonight. (Edward on YouTube) Hen & Chickens Theatre, 109 St Paul's Rd, Highbury Corner, N1 2NA. 9.30pm, £6. Tickets: 0207 704 2001.
Sunday 22nd - Terry Saunders previews his new show at the... er, Hen and Chickens. Look, it's not our fault that loads of great comedians are doing shows there! Next week we'll make up some scandalous and libellous rumours about this venue, just so people don't think we're on the make. But back to the show - we've got a lot of time for Terry. He's a masterful teller of heart-felt stories, and a passionate comic, who has made a name for himself for starting new and interesting comedy events around London. Details on this show are sketchy, other than that it's about a disappointing psychic, and involves a projector. But based on the many successes of his previous shows, this is definitely going to be a great preview. (Terry on YouTube) Hen & Chickens Theatre, 109 St Paul's Rd, Highbury Corner, N1 2NA. 9.30pm, £7. Tickets: 0207 704 2001.