'Tis the season to quaff a few gallons of Advocaat, and laugh off another really, really weird year. Here are some crack(er)ing Christmas comedy shows that'll have you laughing through till January.
1. Town Hall Unwrapped - 2-18 December
Town Hall Unwrapped is a series of eclectic festive events taking place in Shoreditch Town Hall's many nooks and crannies throughout December. The line up includes the redoubtable comedian and performance artist Lucy McCormick (who seriously cracked us up a few years ago at Soho Theatre); and the Pecsmas Office Party, courtesy of all-female/non-binary theatre and cabaret company, the Pecs Drag Kings.
Town Hall Unwrapped, Shoreditch Town Hall, various prices 2-18 December
2. Pappy's Flatshare Christmas Podcast Double Bill - 6 December
Sketch trio Pappy's don't do too many shows together these days, but the ever-affable Matthew Crosby, Ben Clark and Tom Parry do like to get together for their annual Christmas podcast recording shindig, in which they invite pals from the world of comedy to join in with various silly Christmas games. A "wild, eggnog-drenched treat" is guaranteed; they've put it in writing, after all.
Pappy's Flatshare Christmas Podcast Double Bill, Pleasance Theatre, £11, 6 December
3. Sh!t-Faced Showtime: A Pissedmas Carol - 6 December-15 January
The funny folks from Shit-faced Showtime do their own debauched take on the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, with the added twist that one of their company has had a ruddy skinful. Talk about Christmas spirits. Other festive happenings at Leicester Square Theatre over Christmas include Drunk Women Solving Crime's Christmas show (7 December) and Oh God, What Now?: Remoanin' Around The Christmas Tree (8 December).
A Pissedmas Carol, Leicester Square Theatre, £21.50, 6 December-15 January
4. Steptoe and Son Radio Show - Christmas Edition - 7-8 December
For fans of the grubby Galton and Simpson comedy about two rag and bone men, this festive rendition based on original Steptoe and Son scripts is a fantastic alternative to watching the DVDs/listening to the old recordings. Just bear in mind you'll still have that theme tune rattling around your head come Christmas Day.
Steptoe and Son Radio Show - Christmas Edition, Museum of Comedy, Bloomsbury, £13, 7-8 December
5. Snog Fest Christmas Weekender - 10-11 December
Luisa Omielan (who we like a lot) heads up two days of outrageously festive fun for the Snog Fest Christmas Weekender — starting with Christmas Musical Bingo (10 December), followed by a punchy chaser of stand up comedy, drag queens and sing-alongs for Camp as Christmas (11 December). It'll be, hmmm, a million? times better than watching the John Lewis Christmas ad. Also at Woolwich Works this December is cabaret chaos with Christmas hits aplenty from The Grotteaux (16 December-8 January).
Snog Fest Christmas Weekender, Woolwich Works, £15.50 per show, 10-11 December
6. Miss Hope Springs: Christmas Agogo! - 10-11 December
Leaving behind the comfort of her Dungeness campervan, Miss Hope Springs promises to sprinkle her Crazy Coqs audience with a frosting of vintage Vegas glitz — courtesy of seasonal sing-a-long-a-show-tunes, cracker-popping comedy numbers and scandalous showbiz stories (she spent time with an Engelbert Humperdinck tribute act, dontcha know). You can always warm up your vocal cords with a pre-show cocktail in the neighbouring Bar Américain.
Miss Hope Springs: Christmas Agogo!, Crazy Coqs, Piccadilly Circus, £40, 10-11 December
7. Aidan Goatley: The 12 Films of Christmas - 11 December
Comedian Aidan Goatley picks his all-time 12 festive films, regaling heartwarming stories about how they shaped his past Christmases. He also poses the eternal question: would the Muppets be any good in Die Hard? Come on Aidan, Miss Piggy would have Hans Gruber any day.
Aidan Goatley: The 12 Films of Christmas, The Bill Murray, Islington, £8.50, 11 December
8. Adam Kay: Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas - 14 December
In this festive spin-off of his wildly popular book This Is Going To Hurt, former NHS doctor Adam Kay tells the stories of the medical staff who spend their Christmases delivering babies and removing baubles from various orifices. He'll throw in the odd Christmas song on his keyboard, too. Multi-talented chap.
Adam Kay: Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas, Rose Theatre, Kingston, from £20, 14 December
9. Mark Thomas: An Extra Plate - 14-23 December
Stand up comedy veteran Mark Thomas remembers the various Christmases he's endured, including the one where his dad played Father Christmas for the school fete, and the one with the dead neighbours (we have no more details, so you'll have to go along to find out what that's all about). Despite the ups and downs, we're told this show promises more cheer than a Laplander's eggnog hot tub.
Mark Thomas: An Extra Plate, Battersea Arts Centre, Clapham Junction, pay what you can (suggested £20), 14-23 December
10. The Dina Martina Christmas Show - 14-30 December
Questionable songs, unnecessary dance, and overburdened costumes are all on the cards for drag queen Dina Martina's yuletide spectacular — in residence at Soho Theatre for half of December. It's a train wreck of a show, apparently, but in a good way. Also at Soho Theatre this December is Mark Watson's Does Mark Know It's Christmas? (20-23 December). Judging from the promo shot, he doesn't.
The Dina Martina Christmas Show, Soho Theatre, from £13, 14-30 December
11. Diane Chorley: Ding Dong Merrily Diane! - 16 December
Mawaan Rizwan, Sikisa, Leo Reich and Phil Dunning join Diane Chorley (and sidekick Milky) for an evening of Christmas comedy cheer — followed by a disco, sprinkled with all your fave festive numbers. Expect more sparkle than the star of Bethlehem. As Diane herself says, "It just ain’t Christmas unless you've raised a glass of eggnog to baby Jesus with the Duchess of Canvey!"
Diane Chorley: Ding Dong Merrily Diane!, Clapham Grand, Clapham Junction, from £20, 16 December
12. 21Soho Presents... CHRISTMAS SPECIAL! - 17 December
Nabil Abdulrashid (of Britain's Got Talent fame), Jessica Fostekew (who you might recognise from QI or House Of Games) and Garrett Millerick (from the Laughable podcast) form a holy trinity of comedians for this Christmas Special at one of Soho's newest comedy venues. Not sure what's festive about it specifically, but they've written CHRISTMAS in caps, so let's hope for a couple of Santa jokes at least.
21Soho Presents... CHRISTMAS SPECIAL!, 21 Soho, £16.50, 17 December
13. Grace Petrie's Lefty Christmas - 18 December
"A star-studded line-up from across the comedy, music and live art scenes" is promised for this variety show headed by folk musician Grace Petrie, at the very beautiful Bush Hall in Shepherd's Bush. At this point in time, we don't know who the guests are, but we can trust Grace to cobble together a cast fit for the festive occasion. As the title suggests, the show may not appeal to staunch Rees-Mogg fans.
Grace Petrie’s Lefty Christmas, Bush Hall, Shepherd's Bush, 18 December
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