Where To Watch Comedy In London: Your Ultimate Guide To Stand Up, Sketch, Improv And More

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 8 months ago
Where To Watch Comedy In London: Your Ultimate Guide To Stand Up, Sketch, Improv And More

You've got to laugh. No really, when there are so many incredible comedy venues in London, you really do. Here's our guide to the funniest venues, club nights, festivals and more across the capital.

The all-time best comedy clubs in London

Here are — in our humble opinion — the GOAT London comedy clubs; venues bringing the creme de la creme of mirthmakers, consistently. Lots are naturally in the West End, but there's plenty further afield.

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: close up of Stephen Merchant
Massive names like Stephen Merchant show up to play Top Secret Comedy Club.

Soho Theatre, Soho (daily, except Sundays)
Frenetic six-days-a-week comedy/theatre mecca, where anyone who is anyone gigs, and which is famous for giving birth to Fleabag. Have roared at Kieran Hodgson, the Delightful Sausage, Richard Gadd, Hannah Gadsby... goes on and on and on. Only catch: tickets not exactly cheap. Soho Theatre

Leicester Square Theatre, Soho (daily)
Swaggering old 400-seater favoured by the likes of Stewart Lee, Sh!t-faced Shakespeare and seasoned podcasters. What it lacks in atmos, it makes up for in true star quality (and it has, like, four bars). Also home to the annual Sketch Off! final. Leicester Square Theatre

Comedy Store, Soho (daily)
London's answer to NYC's Comedy Cellar — everyone from Robin Williams to French & Saunders to Bill Hicks have trodden the boards. Home to the Comedy Store Players, and the infamous King Gong nights. In short: legendary. Comedy Store

Big Belly, Vauxhall and Peckham (daily)
Never pausing for breath, Big Belly (formerly Vauxhall Comedy Club) puts on a cavalcade of razor-witted young acts (Patrick Spicer, Alex Kealy, Lou Taylor, Sikisa) every day of the week. Most of the shows are still at the Vauxhall venue (and include a free drink during the week), although there are also now pop-up shows at Peckham's Dovedales Bakery. Big Belly

Top Secret Comedy Club, Covent Garden (daily)
They don't announce all the acts in advance, hence the name. Savvy marketing in a biz where you might not actually know who your headliner is till the last minute. You'll probably be pleasantly surprised though; Top Secret Comedy Club has hosted the ilk of Trevor Noah and Katherine Ryan. Top Secret Comedy Club

Bill Murray, Angel (daily)
Murals of Victoria Wood and Richard Pryor belie the pocket-sized laughter emporium on the other side of the walls. Multiple shows every darned day of the week, and the occasional VIP surprise guest, make this one of north London's finest. Just remember, legally it's named after Charles I's whipping boy, not the Groundhog Day star. Bill Murray

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Weirdos performing at the Museum of Comedy.
Weirdos performing at the Museum of Comedy. Not being rude, that's the name of the act. Image: Museum of Comedy

Museum of Comedy, Bloomsbury (most of the time)
Yes, it really is a museum — they've got some of Tommy Cooper's handmade magic tricks and everything. Also a pint-sized stage in this 72-seater crypt venue, putting on stand-up, sketch and cabaret. God tier comedians like Alexi Sayle and Frank Skinner do WIPs here too. Museum of Comedy

Backyard Comedy Club, Bethnal Green (most of the time)
'West End Shows at East End Prices' runs the motto. Feast on new acts, established ones, plus non stand-up (think the cerebrally comic Nerd Nite). Yes, the venue looks like its been made out of old pallets — what exactly is your problem? Backyard Comedy Club

Downstairs at the King's Head, Muswell Hill (a lot of the time)
Unassuming basement venue riddled with comedians, with a Try Out Night on Thursdays, and more established acts on Saturdays (think Arthur Smith, Shazia Mirza). Downstairs at the King's Head

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: close up of Judi Love
Top Secret Comedy Club: you don't always know who's going to be on, but you'll rarely be disappointed.

2Northdown, King's Cross (a lot of the time)
Previously the illustrious Invisible Dot, this King's Cross side-streeter feels like squeezing into a friends' garage to watch some illicity funny comedy. There are WIPS. There is improv. There is a monthly £2 new material night. There is Five Points beer. Let the good times roll. 2Northdown

Pleasance London, Islington (a lot of the time)
Warehouse venue that's an offshoot of the famous Edinburgh Pleasance. Theatre and wrestling aside, there is a steady stream of stand up: expect to catch comics like Ania Magliano, Celya AB and Max & Ivan warming up for Edinburgh. Pleasance London

99 Club, Soho (Tues-Sun)
Stellar triple bills six days a week (think Catherine Bohart, Laura Lexx, Ivo Graham) in a snug West End subterranean venue. 99 Club

The Best Comedy Clubs in London:
A bearded man (Tony Law) in a top hat performs on stage
Up The Creek brings the brick wall realness. Image: Charles Alley/Up the Creek

Camden Comedy Club, Camden Head, Camden (Tue-Sun)
All the greats start their careers upstairs in pubs, and chances are, the Camden Head was one of them. For as little as four quid a pop, watch new material and WIPs from established comics, plus a raft of newer funny peeps making a name for themselves. Camden Comedy Club

Up The Creek, Greenwich (Thur-Sun)
Quality latter-week laughs in front of a brick wall, so you can pretend you're in NYC. Comedians are as hot as they come: think Jon Robbins, Amy Gledhill, Ahir Shah. Home of the infamous Blackout nights, where performers do a tight five, the twist being the audience can choose to ditch them after just two mins. They pour their own beer too (the venue, not the comedians). Up The Creek

The all-time best comedy nights in London

There are literally thousands of comedy nights in London, but a swaggering few have gained legendary status (at least in our eyes). Here they are.

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: A woman (Lolly Adefope) performs in front of a glittering gold curtain
Hackney's MOTH club brings gold curtain and top comedian realness. Image: Claire Haigh

Happy Mondays, Amersham Arms, New Cross (Mon)
The backroom of a pub, a pint, and a slew of high-class comics for a reasonable fee can elevate your Monday night from silently sobbing in front of Happy Valley, to crying with laughter and tricking yourself into thinking it's at least Wednesday. Happy Mondays

King Gong, Comedy Store, Leicester Square (last Mon of the month)
Yes, yes, we've already featured the Comedy Store, but we couldn't not give a separate shout-out to King Gong — the ruthless open mic night, where brave new comics try to make the crowd laugh, before being 'gonged' off stage. Only the finest go on to rewarding comedy careers. King Gong

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Romesh mid set
Romesh Ranganathan plays the Boat Show, the only regular comedy night we know of that floats.

Always Be Comedy (Mon-Fri)
James Gill's prolific club night frequents the Tommyfield in Kennington, but pops up elsewhere (for instance the Sambrooks taproom). The esteemed organiser has the blue blood of stand ups in his Filofax: Nick Mohammed, Joe Lycett, Nish Kumar, Aisling Bea... I mean ruddy hell, James. Always Be Comedy

Gits & Shiggles, Half Moon, Putney (every other Tues)
The backroom of this smashing Fuller's boozer in an affluent part of London is better known for its music; but this bi-weekly comedy fest is a who's who. Lately we have giggled at Ahir Shah, Rosie Holt and Abandoman. (Also expect lots of gags about how posh/minted everyone in Putney is.) Gits & Shiggles

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: A comedian (Aisling Bea) performs in front of an audience upstairs in a pub
Huge comedians in a modest size pub room at Always Be Comedy. Image: James Gill

Boat Show Comedy, Tattershall Castle, Westminster (Tues, Fri and Sat)
One of few comedy nights we know which is bobbing about on the blinkin' Thames. It rocks with laughter too, thanks to Friday and Saturday nights feat. *chef's kiss* lineups (think improv rapper Abandoman, and Live at The Apollo's Cally Beaton). Tuesdays = new material eves. Tattershall Castle

Laugh Train Home, Four Thieves, Battersea (Weds) and the Honor Oak, Catford (Thur)
So much going on in the Four Thieves — karaoke, quizzes, arcade car games... and Laugh Train Home, which presents a real roulette of comedians: we've seen tumbleweed, we have also seen unadulterated genius. Always worth taking the rough with the smooth here. Does new material shows in Honor Oak too. Laugh Train Home

Comedy Carnival, Covent Garden, Camden & Leicester Square (Thur-Sat)
Mini chain of comedy nights in three London venues; Comedy Carnival has been going almost 20 years. Not overly cheap, but with its meal package options, a solid shout for work outings, birthdays etc. Comedy Carnival

NewsRevue, Canal Cafe Theatre, Little Venice (Thur-Sun)
Proudly declaring itself the world's longest running live comedy show, we could hardly leave NewsRevue off this list. Songs and sketches galore are mashed into this 60-minute run down of topical news, playing four days a week. Given the state of the planet right now, it's a wonder they can keep up. NewsRevue

The Stand Up Club, Piccadilly, London Bridge and Tooting (Thur-Sat)
Take your pick from three venues for these shows, with an ever-swelling roster of talent, who perform in threes or fours. The Stand Up Club

Monkey Business Comedy Club, All About Eve, Camden (Thur-Sat)
For three nights of the week, All About Eve is a comedy venue — laugh your socks off at new acts on Thursday, while Fridays and Saturdays are reserved for more seasoned stand-ups. Saturday's gig is followed by cabaret/burlesque/drag, so stick around why dontcha. Monkey Business Comedy Club

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Stephen mid set
Stephen K Amos does his thing at Banana Cabaret, Balham.

Nice N' Spiky Comedy Club (most Thursdays)
Nice N' Spiky's been going over 20 years, with many performers going on to become A-listers (Judi Love, Stephen Merchant, Dane Baptiste.) First Thursday of the month is at Stanley Arts, South Norwood; every other Thursday at The Forge At The Lower Third in central. Nice N' Spiky Comedy Club

Knock2Bag Comedy, MOTH Club, Hackney (Thur and occasional Sats)
A voguish working men's club turned music venue is home to Knock2Bag's glittering comedy nights (and that ain't just the golden curtains). The ilk of Bridget Christie, Sheeps, Tom Basden and Lolly Adefope await. Never not seen this place rammed. MOTH Club

Headliners Comedy Club, Chiswick (Fri & Sat)
Weekly Fri-Sat stand up outing at Chiswick George IV; as the name hints, the star acts tends to be a pretty big deal in the comedy world (Paul Sinha, Ed Byrne, that kind of big deal). Headliners Comedy Club

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Jenan Younis performs at Weapons of Mass Hilarity.
Jenan Younis performs at Weapons of Mass Hilarity. Image: Mysa Kafil-Hussain

Banana Cabaret, the Bedford, Balham (Fri & Sat)
Nigh-on four decades of this fruity comedy show — on Fri and Sat at the sprawling Bedford pub (the main space is a cracking miniature Roundhouse of a thing). Impeccable array of talent: Luisa Omielan, Sarah Kendall, Jeff Innocent, Stephen K Amos. Sold. Banana Cabaret

Weapons of Mass Hilarity (various)
Exclusively Middle Eastern performers at Jenan Younis's sporadic club night, which has played 2Northdown, Soho Theatre and The Glitch. Weapons of Mass Hilarity

Collywobblers Comedy Club (various)
Sion James invariably MCs this comedy night, which springs up in various locations in the south of the city, including Crown & Treaty Uxbridge (first Wednesday of the month), CLF Laughter Lounge Peckham (last Thur of the month) and the Railway Tavern in Streatham Common (last Sunday of the month). It's from the people who bring us Happy Mondays (see above), so you know you're in safe mitts. Collywobblers Comedy Club

The Best Comedy Clubs in London:  A busy crowd on a covered rooftop watching comedy
Nice N' Spiky's been going over 20 years. Image: Mark Weeks

Bangers Comedy (occasional)
Rip-roaringly comedians, largely BAME, perform at Streatham Space Project and other venues. Line-ups have included Felicity Ethnic — Queen of South London, Roman Harris and Kyrah Gray. Bangers Comedy

Live at the Chapel, Union Chapel, Highbury & Islington (once a month)
A religious experience for comedy disciples in more way than one; the stunning church setting plays host to a ludicrously talented set of comedians. Have rolled around in the (literal) aisles laughing at Tim Key, Mae Martin, Reginald D Hunter and countless others. Live at the Chapel

Free comedy in London

One of the things we love about comedy is that it's roundly more accessible than a lot of the other arts. Pay a fiver, and you might see someone so funny, they reduce you to tears. Other shows don't demand you pay them a penny (but it's always good etiquette to put a few squid in the bucket, assuming you can afford to).

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Tim Renkow at free Monday night show
Tim Renkow at free Monday night show, Jester Jesters. Image: Jonathan Hearn

Angel Comedy Club, Angel (every day)
Ever come across a snaking queue in Angel? It's either for the Breakfast Club, or Angel Comedy Club — held at the Camden Head. Upstairs in this unassuming boozer, you'll find free stand up every freaking night of the week, with RAW comedy nights (Mon, Tues, Weds, Thurs and Sun) and more honed shows (Fri and Sat), interspersed with WIPs from mahoosive names like Dylan Moran and Simon Amstell. You can catch anything between three to six consecutive shows each night. Truly the daddy/mummy/guardian of the free comedy circuit. Angel Comedy Club

Poster Comedy Club, Poster, Stoke Newington (every day)
Prolific comedy night in a rather bougie Argentinian Stokey eatery. Not only is it free, you can go any night of the week. You'll inevitably end up forking out on their delicious empanadas and Amaretto sours though. Poster Comedy Club

Jester Jesters, Betsey Trotwood, Farringdon (Mon)
Throw caution to the wind with a Monday night on the tiles, or more specifically, at the Betsey Trotwood, and Jester Jesters. Upcoming stand ups (sometimes sketch and character comedians too) vie for giggles, as they perform a litmus test on newly-penned material. Jester Jesters

Double Bubble Comedy, the Victoria, Dalston (Mon)
Completely free to get in (although as the old gag goes, £100 to get out), Double Bubble has a longer headlining act (often really good, like Rob Copland or Joey Page), supported by a sprinkling of less-established comedians. Double Bubble Comedy

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: A male comedian entertains a small room
The Rose & Crown in Kentish Town offers free comedy most days of the week. Image: Sunday Shtick

Comedy Virgins, Cavendish Arms, Stockwell (Mon-Weds)
A slew of acts take to the stage for five mins at a time, in a bid to win your laugher/applause/respect. Given the sheer amount of acts up here, some are better than others, but it all moves so fast that hardly matters. Ultimately, you'll choose who was funniest of all. Two shows a night, so six in all. Comedy Virgins

Rose & Crown, Kentish Town (Mon, Weds Thur and Sun + bonus days)
Bucketloads of comedy gratis at this plucky north London boozer: Pegasus Comedy (an open mic for anyone and everyone), Weekday Shtick, Freedom Fridge (where comedians try out their new stuff) and Sunday Shtick (another open mic gig). Also bi-weekly comedy nights on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Phew. Rose & Crown

Kilburn Comedy Club, Boker, Kilburn (Weds)
Midweek comedy for nowt — or you can pay a fiver plus booking fee, and get a free drink with entry. Either way, you can't say fairer than that. Kilburn Comedy Club

Comedy Bandits, Railway Tavern, Clapham (Weds and Thur)
Newish, but nonetheless gifted, stand ups stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood, to perform at this Clapham boozer twice a week, for a free show featuring two or three headliners a pop, plus other acts. Once a month, there's a special (paid for) Friday show, usually with a top talent headliner. Comedy Bandits

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Alfie Packham performing at Comedy Bandits, Clapham.
Alfie Packham performing at Comedy Bandits, Clapham. Image: Andrew Coleman

Live Laugh Love LIVE, Grove Tavern, Camberwell (Thur)
Find comedy stars of today and tomorrow hard at it in this grand Camberwell boozer every Thursday. Doesn't cost you a penny, and you can book your seat in advance. Live Laugh Love LIVE

Cuddles for Troubles, the Trinity, London Bridge (Fri)
Comics of all levels perform at this weekly free night, but some will surely hit your tee-hee spot, plus Cuddles for Troubles also welcomes sketch, musical and character acts, so it's got variety on its side. Cuddles for Troubles

Laughter Lab, Three Compasses, Dalston (Sun)
Weekly open night at this hip east London pub. Acts who've never gigged before are followed by two pro headliners. Smashing way to round off the weekend. Laughter Lab

Where to see sketch comedy in London

While stand up comedians stalk every street corner in this metropolis, good sketch comedy is harder to find. Like, really quite hard to find. Honestly though, if you know where we can find more of it on a regular basis, let us know.

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Three comedians posing as if something scary is coming towards them
Soho Theatre has no shortage of sketch comedy, unlike, er, most of the rest of London.

Soho Theatre, Soho (most of the time)

For a consistent freshet of sketch comedy — from Crybabies to Norris and Parker — it's got to be good old Soho Theatre. You might end up watching it in the boiling hot attic room, or the cavernous main auditorium but there's always lashing of it, and it's invariably very, very good. Soho Theatre

Sketchual Healing, Bill Murray (once a month)
There's also character comedy, stand up and film tossed into the comedy salad, but as you'd hope, the Bill Murray's monthly Sketchual Healing nights also feature some actual sketch. Bill Murray

NewsRevue, Canal Cafe Theatre, Little Venice (Thur-Sun)
(See all time best comedy nights in London, above)

Sketch Off! (January-spring)
An unrelenting binge of sketch and character hijinks with many many heats, which start simmering away at the Museum of Comedy (see all-time best comedy venues, above) in the early months of the year, and gradually heat up into an explosive final at Leicester Square Theatre in the spring. Names like Crizards and Muriel have been there, done that. Sketch Off!

Where to see improv comedy in London

And yes! Though improv comedy isn't everyone's cup of tea, others go gaga for it, and it's nowhere near as illusive as sketch. Here are some of the main regular shows making it up as they go along.

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Improv in full flow - with three people seemingly dead on the floor
St Doctor's Hospital is an ongoing improvised medical comedy at The Free Association. Image: Gareth O'Connor

The Free Association, De Beauvoir Arms, Dalston (lots of the time)
For those looking to make it (up) in the improv game, The Free Association and its range of classes and workshops may well be where they might head. Their Dalston venue is also where improv fans can enjoy a conveyor belt of improv shows, including improvised medical drama St Doctor's Hospital. The Free Association

Duck Duck Goose, Hope & Anchor, Brixton (Mon)
Every Monday night, this small room in a south London pub comes alive with improvers acting out strange scenarios that you've told 'em to create. Tickets are free, but it's recommended you reserve in advance. Duck Duck Goose

Hoopla Improv @ the Miller, London Bridge (Mon-Sat)
You can hardly miss this improv theatre located above the excellent Miller pub near London Bridge; its name is slathered in huge letters outside the building. Here, Hoopla Improv run classes and workshops — as well as shows most days of the week. Hoopla Improv

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: A flat roofed pub with Hoopla Impro painted on it
You can hardly miss this one. Image: Hoopla Impro

Big Smoke Comedy, Matthews Yard, West Croydon (Fri)
Now here's an intriguing concept: six individual comedians do their stand up thang, but then, in a clamorous finale, all team together into a super group to perform improv suggestions from the punters. Some egos could get bruised. Big Smoke Comedy

Comedy Store Players, Comedy Store, Leicester Square (Sun)
It's that club again. The Comedy Store Players are the bee's knees when it comes to improv. The great Paul Merton did this gig for many years, and some of his peers carry on in this rotating-cast weekly outing, with fresh blood including Cariad Lloyd and Ruth Bratt. Comedy Store Players

Shoot from the Hip, the Bill Murray and the Albany, Great Portland Street (every other Sunday)
According to their website, a Londonist reviewer once called Shoot from the Hip "the finest improv you'll find in the city", so there you go. This peripatetic setup can be found at the Bill Murray first Sunday of every month, and the Albany every third Sunday. Keep your eyes peeled for other shows at the likes of 2Northdown and 21Soho. Shoot from the Hip

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Two men dramatically in one another's arms
Shoot from the Hip regularly do improv on a Sunday. Image: Scott Rylander

Giddy Aunt Improv, 2Northdown, King's Cross (once a month)
Games, sketch, songs and an improv tombola feature in this monthly show from Giddy Aunt (the comedy team also responsible for bringing Twitter's Fesshole to the stage). Giddy Aunt Improv

Other great places to watch comedy in London

Oh, you thought we were finished? Not yet, bub. Here's a slew of other venues and club nights where you can catch great comedy in London.

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: A young man in a suit performs on stage next to a lampshade
The cosy cellar space at Aces and Eights in Tufnell Park.

The Queer Comedy Club, Archway (Mon, Tues and Thurs)
Billing itself as 'the UK's First LGBTQ+ Comedy Club', this is a safe space for queer performers and audience members — with a 'Raw' Monday show (free), a 'Not Totally Queer' Tuesday show (free), plus a paid-for 'Big Thursday Show', where you get proper polished/star name comedians. There are occasional Saturday shows too. Queer allies are welcome. The Queer Comedy Club

Soho Comedy Factory, Soho (Mon and Weds)
Giggles galore at this intimate venue that sometimes gives the bigger Soho venues a run for their money. Soho Comedy Factory

Groovie Comedy, the Coach House, Soho (Mon, last Thursday of the month)
Nights that welcome stand up, musical, character, sketch, clowning, musical theatre and more. Groovie Comedy

West End Comedy Club, Soho (Mon-Thur)
New kid on the block boasting an impressive roster of talent (think Elf Lyons, Nabil Abdulrashid) in 75-seater venue. West End Comedy Club

Shakespeare Comedy Club, the Shakespeare, Barbican (Mon-Sat)
Like the Bard himself, this place is seriously prolific — performances six days of the week. Shakespeare Comedy Club

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: A young man performs stand up
Giggles galore at the intimate Soho Comedy Factory venue. Image: Devin de Vil/ @licencetocapture

Comedy In Your Eye, Camden Eye, Camden (Tues and Weds)
With tickets as cheap as £3 a pop, this is a thrifty way to catch grassroots comedy in north London. Comedy In Your Eye

LOLipops Live Comedy, White Horse, Wembley (Tues and Thur)
New acts on two Tuesday shows; established comics on the last Thursday of the month. LOLipops Live Comedy

Comedy Rumblings, the Crown, Blackheath (Weds)
Bustling with a bill of talented comedians every Wednesday. Occasional nights on other days of the week, and at guest pubs too. Comedy Rumblings

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: A stand up performs to s crowded room of people
Another full house at LOLipops, in Wembley.

City Comedy Club, Shoreditch (Weds-Sat)
Tickets range from £3 to £15 depending which night of the week you go — they also do bottomless wings, drinks and laughs for £40. City Comedy Club

Quintessentially Comedy, Quinn's, Camden (Thur)
Friendly new act/material night MCed by Dave Lynch. Quintessentially Comedy

Hackney Den, Hackney (some Thurs and Fris)
Couple of shows on here at a place that really does female comics justice: A Show Called Thursday (one Thurs a month) and Women are Phunny (one Fri a month). Hackney Den

Craft Comedy, Coach and Horses, Clapham (first Fri of the month)
Alex Kitson hosts this monthly night of laughs in a south London boozer. Bill is jam packed with comedians (six at a time). Craft Comedy

A comedian in full flow in front of an appreciative crowd
Crack Comedy brings the laugh to Brixton, Kingston and Wimbledon. Image: Steve Best

Crack Comedy @ the Grey Horse Kingston (Fri) and POW, Brixton & Tunnel 267, Wimbledon (Sat)
Raucous Saturday shows with four slick acts apiece. Occasionally Friday specials too. Crack Comedy

Bearcat Comedy Club, Turk's Head, Twickenham (Sat)
Nathan Caton, Tony Law, Fin Taylor and Adam Bloom have all done this Saturday gig lately. Bearcat Comedy Club

Cappuccino Comedy, Cappuccino Arts Cafe, Putney (two Sats a month)
Four comedians takes to the stage two weekends of each month, at this intimate club night. Jason Tasker or Adam Riley usually host. Cappuccino Comedy

Piñata, Old Nun's Heads, Nunhead (once a month)
Barmy variety night where you might see comedians playing Dyson hand-dryers or the cute football car from the Euros. Anything goes essentially, and it's obviously working, as shows often sell out. Old Nun's Heads is the home of Piñata, although there are spin-off shows elsewhere. Piñata

Scramble!, Vivid Studios, Harringay (once a month)
Kaleidoscope of acts — stand-up, clowns, sketch, drag, etc — at this 30-seater studio venue in north London. Could be one of the most intimate (and, from some accounts, personable) nights out there. Scramble!

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: A jacket hung up on a mic stand in front of a Glitch logo on the wall
Surely one of London's most intimate comedy spaces, at the Glitch. Image: Londonist

Aces & Eights, Tufnell Park (various)
Pint-sized cellar venue putting on some cracking WIPs and new material nights. Aces & Eights

Bloomsbury Theatre, Soho (various)
Some quality headliners on in this pro space; think John Kearns, Lucy Beaumont. Bloomsbury Theatre

Fairfield Halls, Croydon (various)
The Southbank Centre of the, er, south. Massive comics play big shows here: Harry Hill, Jon Richardson, etc. Fairfield Halls

Signature Brew, Walthamstow (various)
Lashings of fresh beer make the comedy even funnier at the various sessions held in this Blackhorse Beer Mile brewery. Signature Brew

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: A woman performs among huge silver beer vats
Comedy in a brewery? Count me in. Image: Signature Brew

The Glitch, Waterloo (various)
Super lil Cafe with a subterranean cellar space that's so small we've seen comedians refer to it as a 'corridor'. The Glitch

Shirker's Rest, New Cross (various)
Magnificent micropub with an upstairs space where they sometimes host intimate comedy nights. Shirker's Rest

Three Hounds, Beckenham (occasional)
This fave Londonist bottle/beer shop has a cosy downstairs space that puts on occasional stand up sets. Three Hounds

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: A comedian plays to a huge crowd
The impressive space at Woolwich Works. Image: Paul Gilbey

Streatham Space Project, Streatham Hill (various)
Have seen some cracking WIPs here including Bilal Zafar and Paul Choudry. A pro set up in an unexpected location. Also a regular haunt for Bangers Comedy (see all-time best comedy nights, anove). Streatham Space Project

EartH, Hackney (various)
Gorge grand old former cinema hosts lots of music acts, but also a steady stream of comedians. Also home to the Hackney Comedy Experience, hosting the ilk of Bridget Christie and Leo Reich. EartH

The O2, North Greenwich (various)
You've might've heard of it. Has superstar names like Peter Kay and Flight of the Conchords. A pretty big deal actually. The O2

Woolwich Works, Woolwich (occasional)
Occasional comedy nights held in this stunning listed warehouse building, formerly part of the Royal Arsenal. They also host Bring Your Own Baby comedy sets (to be clear, your baby doesn't need to prepare a tight five, you can just bring them to watch). Woolwich Works

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Phil Wang performs at 21Soho
Phil Wang performs at 21Soho, a relatively new venue already proving its comedy chops.

Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith (various)
So, Live at the Apollo? Yeah, they do that here. Other blockbuster stand up shows too. Eventim Apollo

21 Soho, Soho (various)
A relative newcomer seriously pulling its weight, with acts like Frank Skinner and Drunk Women Solving Crime  strutting their stuff in this bougie space — plus regular nights including Queerly Beloved. 21 Soho

Pub theatres like the Tabard (Chiswick), Etcetera Theatre (Camden) and Old Red Lion (Angel) often have comedy plays, and sometimes stand up, too. Lots more pub theatres in our guide here.

Radio and TV recordings for shows including HIGNFY and Graham Norton. Read more about getting free tickets with our guide.

Comedy festivals in London

London is one big comedy festival IMHO, so there's no need for anything as blockbuster as the Edinburgh Fringe here. There is, though, a scattering of events you should know about, to wit:

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: A young woman in dungarees holds a flag aloft
VAULT Festival, hosted in the first quarter of the year, boasts a slew of funny shows. Image: VAULT festival

VAULT Festival (January-March)
An orgy of cabaret, theatre, drag... but also a f**k ton of excellent comedy, inc. stand up acts already plotting out their Edinburgh shows. Oh, there's sketch too 😀 VAULT Festival

Sketch Off!, Museum of Comedy and Leicester Square Theatre (January-early spring)
If you adore sketch, then boy, is this going to ruffle your truffles. See the sketch section above for more details. Sketch Off!

Just For Laughs London, The O2 (March)
Not so much a festival as a three-day summit of some of comedy's biggest stars (up to and including Hollywood levels of fame). Inaugural festival was in 2023, so let's see if it's back in 2024. Just For Laughs London

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Shaparak posing in front of scalloped wallpaper
Shaparak Khorsandi has previously performed at Ealing Comedy Festival and Just For Laughs, so here's a picture of her.

Balham Comedy Festival, Bedford, Balham (July)
Proof that you only need one pub to run an entire comedy festival, this convention of comics unfolds in the various nooks and crannies of the esteemed Bedford, and makes for a marvellous way to affordably binge on stand up. Balham Comedy Festival

Ealing Comedy Festival (July)
Al fresco comedy in the splendid Walpole Park. Previous acts have included Shaparak Khorsandi, Josh Widdecombe and Ed Byrne. Nothing to do with those black and white Ealing films as far as we know. Ealing Comedy Festival

Camden Fringe (July-August)
The closest London comes to Edinburgh, with hundreds of shows sprinkled across north London's theatres and pubs. Plenty of comedy in the mix every year, from stand up to sketch to clowning. Camden Fringe

Drag nights in London

The Best Comedy Clubs in London: Two drag queens pulling pints
Drag brunches at Dalsto Superstore are a vibe. Image: Dalston Superstore

A genre unto itself, there's no doubt a lot of drag is aimed to make you giggle your pants off. This is not a comprehensive roundup of places to watch it — just a pick of some of the best:

  • Royal Vauxhall Tavern, Vauxhall: drag on tap at this GOAT LGBTQ+ pub.
  • Two Brewers, Clapham: Drag-laced hijinx seven days a week, from Monday Madness to Power of Four.
  • Dalston Superstore, Dalston: Partay central, and home to a legendary drag brunch.
  • Camden Cabaret, Camden: Heady cocktail of drag, comedy, burlesque and more every Fri and Sat.
  • CellarDoor, Covent Garden: Smoosh up with revellers in these erstwhile toilets to watch drag-doused debauchery.
  • Zebrano, Soho: Home of the Drag Brunchette, hosted by The Royal Highness, Queen B*tch of Soho.
The Best Comedy Clubs in London: a drag queen pouting
Queera Lynn, sometimes to be found at Camden Cabaret.

Oh gawd, we missed somewhere didn't we. While this is not meant to be a comprehensive list of comedy in London, if you think we've omitted something that needs to be on here, email [email protected]

Featured image: Paul Gilbey

Last Updated 01 August 2023

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