One of the most thrilling aspects of live comedy is surely its intimacy. When you watch a big act in a small room, a charming comic can make you believe that they are there just for you, as if the jokes they tell were being told exclusively for your pleasure.
There's a new club in town that is trying to go one step further. Anthology is a night in Portabello Green W10 which does away with what they describe as "the artifice and stylization of conventional stand-up", to allow some remarkable comedians to regale the audience with colourful anecdotes and epic stories. It's the nearest thing you could ever have to an unplugged stand-up comedy club - a night where the performers get the chance to the audience, instead of at them.
Heading the bill is Matt Crosby. He's one-quarter of Londonist favourites Pappy's Fun Club, as well as being an exceptional solo stand-up. Joining him are Lizzie Roper (one of the stars of the West End run of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) and Sarah Bennetto, an joyous and immensely personable comedian who runs The Storytellers' Club, a night with the same intimate, playful feeling in South London.
Altogether, it sounds very lo-fi, twee, warm and friendly, which in our book is a Very Good Thing. When it comes to feel-good comedy, it would seem that these guys know exactly what they're doing. Considering the calibre of the acts, and the ethos of the night, it's hard to see how this will be anything other than great.
Anthology is on at the Inn On the Green, 3-5 Thorpe Close, Portobello Green, W10 5XL on the 13th Jan, 7.30pm. £5, tickets on the door, or call 07840 588 273. Nearest tube: Ladbroke Grove.