The Edinburgh Fringe is only a month away so comedians are frantically adding that final polish to the shows they'll perform up there. Much of that finessing is happening right here in London, which means we get a sneak peek of brand new material at a cheaper price. July is a pretty good time to catch a preview as the weaker gags should have been eased out, but it's still informal and you, as the audience, have a part to play in forming the show – something the performer appreciates, as Josie Long and John Finnemore told us last year.
You can catch previews at clubs and venues all over the place, but here's our guide to some of the best places to find them:
Every evening until 27 July there's at least one Edinburgh preview, usually two, and prices start at a fiver. We recommend Colin Hoult's characters followed by Cariad Lloyd and Paul Foxcroft's improv on 3 July, a double bill of Alex Horne and The Comedy Zone on 9 July and Grainne Maguire and Tom Craine on 19 July. See the full list and book.
Leicester Square Theatre
We reckon the next month is about 50% Edinburgh previews at LSQ. Pop in for Max and Ivan on 3 and 22 July, sketch double act The Pin on 12 July, Friday Night Dinner's Tom Rosenthal on 18 and 24 July, Edward Aczel on 22 July and a double bill of Simon Munnery and Amy Hoggart as Pattie Brewster on 27 July. See the full list and book.
Invisible Dot's BBQ Previews
Excellent comedy promoters Invisible Dot present double bills at their Kings Cross venue, with a burger (or veggie option) from Burger Bear included with the £10 entry price. It's all quality with Josh Widdicombe and Luke Wright on 3 July, Bridget Christie and John-Luke Roberts on 10 July and Tony Law and James Acaster on 15 July. Book online.
Battersea Arts Centre
BAC fills the second half of the month with previews, including one of the few gigs you can still catch Richard Herring's new show on 19 July. Others acts to watch include Abandoman (18 and 20 July), Sara Pascoe (19 and 24 July) and Andy Zaltzman (29 July). See the full list and book.
Good Ship, Kilburn
The Good Ship's Monday comedy night abandons its usual club format to focus on one preview per week. They've got Terry Alderton, Simon Munnery, Tony Law, Pete Firman and Lucy Porter lined up, for £5 / £4 advance. See dates and book.
The Wandsworth venue has nearly three weeks of previews starting 9 July. Head for Gallic character comedy with Marcel Lucont on 12 July, Piff the Magic Dragon on 18 July, another available Richard Herring gig on 18 July and a double bill of Helen O'Brien and excellent sketch trio Jigsaw on 21 July. See the full list and book.
Always Be, Kennington
Another club night that's turned itself over to Edinburgh previews, the best line-up at The Tommyfield is 25 July, when you can see what Marcus Brigstocke, Gareth Richards and last year's Newcomer winner Daniel Simonsen are working on. See the full list and book.
Hen and Chickens, Islington
Always a good place to turn to if you're looking for comedians doing small gigs. See 2012 Best Newcomer nominee Sam Fletcher try out new material on 5 July, Jessica Fostekew on 13 and 24 July, Mike Wozniak – who we love to bits – on 14 and 21 July, possibly combining the latter gig with Joe Lycett for a total of £10. See the full list and book.
Not strictly a venue, we admit, but it can be almost impossible to get tickets to the German comedian's preview shows. So when we saw a run with spaces still available at the Betsey Trotwood from 22 July we thought we'd flag it up. One catch: it's a show about Christmas. See all dates and book.