This is Londonist's favourite time of year for comedy in London, because from now until the end of July, the capital is awash with big name comedians playing small and intimate venues for super-cheap prices, while they test out ideas for their forthcoming Edinburgh shows. Here's our recommendations for the best shows in the next week.
THURSDAY 28th: Head to The 99 Club in Covent Garden to watch the skilled, offbeat Andrew Lawrence in his new show, "Social Leprosy for Beginners and Improvers". The press release describes it as "outlandishly entertaining meditations on the joy of unpopularity", which sounds awesome; but to be honest, we were sold based purely on the name. The Long Acre, 1-3 Long Acre, WC2E 9LH. 8.30pm, £7. Tickets: 07760 488119, or at the door.
FRIDAY 29th: Frankie Boyle, AKA Him Off Mock The Week, will be at the Hen and Chickens theatre in Highbury, playing about with some new ideas. Expect him to be offensive and outrageous. Go there, and call him "TV's Frankie Boyle". He'll act angry, but secretly he'll enjoy it.Hen & Chickens Theatre, 109 St Paul's Rd, Highbury Corner, N1 2NA. 9.30pm, £7. Tickets at the door.
SATURDAY 30th: Unfailingly funny Stephen Carlin takes over the Hen and Chickens tonight with his show "Armchair Renaissance Man". We've only seen Stephen once, but it left us thirsy for plenty more; the way he combines his unusual references with his masterful command of English is truly inspiring. Make the journey to Highbury tonight, and you won't regret it. Honest! Hen & Chickens Theatre, 109 St Paul's Rd, Highbury Corner, N1 2NA. 9.30pm, £7. Tickets at the door.
SUNDAY 1st: Comic sage Norman Lovett plays down at The 99 Club in Leicester Square. You'll know him as Holly in Red Drawf; if you don't know him for his deadpan stand-up, then tonight is the perfect time to change things. Storm, 28a Leicester Square, WC2H 7LE. 8pm, £7. Tickets: 07760 488119, or at the door.
MONDAY 2nd: At last, some previews in South London! Outside the Box offers a night of surreal fantasy, with a double-bill of previews from offbeat cult favourite Simon Munnery, and the wonderful Rhod Gilbert, a comedian that is distinctly out of the ordinary. Seldom do two superlative comedians perform on one bill for such a cheap price - at £3 a comic, can you afford not to go? Fighting Cocks, 56 Old London Rd, Surrey, Kingston, KT2 6QA. 8pm, £6. Tickets on the door.
TUESDAY 3rd: Top Islington club Fat Tuesday hosts a double-bill of shows tonight, firstly with the raw intelligence of cutting-edge Reginald D Hunter. He'll be previewing "F**k You In The Age of Consequence", alongisde the strange and delightfully surreal Carey Marx's new show "Sincerity Aside", which promises "Over an hour of jokes in one hour." Salmon & Compass, 58 Penton Street, N1 9PZ. 8.30pm, £7. Tickets at the door.
WEDNESDAY 4th: If you went to Fat Tuesday yesterday, you'll agree that Tiernan Douieb is just about the finest compere in London. He also regularly teams up with theatrical talent Lauren Shearing to form sketch troupe Tea and Cake. Head to the Etcetera Theatre in Camden tonight to see their silly and brilliant sketch show, filled with plenty of perculiar and genuinely hilarious characters. Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High St, NW1 7BU. 9pm, £6.50. Tickets at the door.