Londoners aren't exactly renowned for bounding around with huge grins on their faces — especially not in January. But we reckon we've got a few things up our sleeve that'll make even the most hardened capital-dweller laugh (well, crack a smile at least).
1. Gawk at London's strangest dummies and mannequins
New Romantic ARP wardens. Cross-dressing Michael Jacksons. Masked David Seamans. Vladimir Putin hiding upstairs in a Greene King pub. Laugh your head off London's weirdest mannequins and dummies here and here. Madame Tussauds these ain't... this is far more fun.
2. Take a stroll across the 'penis bridge'
Where is this fabled phallic crossing? you may wonder. Why, it's none other than Westminster Bridge — but only around the hour of enchantment (lunchtimeish), and only then if the sun's right. All being optimal, then behold! as the sunlight passes through the bridge's trefoils, and the smartest row of cock-and-balls you've ever seen emerges along the path. If you don't immediately guffaw at this visual gag, give it some time. It's a grower.
3. Seek out a rude street name
If you liked that penis bridge, you'll LOVE London's litany of rude streets names — which include Cold Blow Lane, Cumming Street, Back Passage, White Knobs Way and Cock Pond. Read our article stuffed with rude street names, and then grow the hell up.
4. Call in at the Cartoon Museum
Incidental laughs can be found scattered liberally around London's museums (we're looking at you, Wayne Rooney's head grinning away in John Soane's Museum). But Fitzrovia's Cartoon Museum indulges you in a catalogue of intentional laughs, from James Gillray to Posy Simmonds via the Beano — and if you don't leave with a stupid grin on your mush, you should probably check your pulse. London also has a Museum of Comedy — which displays such comedic knick-knacks as Tommy Cooper's fez, and doubles up as a comedy club. Speaking of which...
5. Go to a comedy club, duh
London's teeming with HUNDREDS of comedy clubs — from Soho Theatre, with its ceaseless freshet of Edinburgh-worthy giggles, to clubs like Downstairs at the Kings Head, inconspicuously stowed away in the basement of a Crouch End boozer. Lots of comedy nights are free or relatively cheap, too — another reason to work that lovely smile of yours.
6. Attend the Annual Clown's Church Service
This is not one for those who suffer coulrophobia, granted, but for over three quarters of a century now, there's been an annual church service held in London, in remembrance of the 'King of Clowns' Joseph Grimaldi, as well as other jokers who've gone to that Great Circus in the Sky over the past 12 months. This is doubtlessly the most upbeat memorial service you'll ever go to (and surely the only one where you'll see someone making a poodle out of balloons while doing a reading). The wacky event takes place on the first Sunday of February (so in 2023 that's 5 February) at Holy Trinity aka 'The Clown's Church', in Dalston. Other times of the year, you can always have a laugh by dancing on Grimaldi's 'grave'.
7. Find the Barnes White Rabbit
If red noses don't do it for you, go for a pink one instead — we're talking about the Barnes White Rabbit, a mythical-yet-actual massive white rabbit in a John Parrot waistcoat who stalks this part of west London on the first of every month, causing people to do double takes/laugh/s**t their pants. Hopefully the middle one.
8. Wait for a tube driver to say something funny
9. Take a gander at London rental prices
While you could spend an afternoon cussing through the window of a Foxtons, you'll appear a lot saner if you simply plug yourself into Joel Golby's regular incredulous scan of the London rental market, which reveals a clusterf**k of foreboding bedsits, unscrupulously horny landlords — plus all the bedside showers/fridges/microwaves you can stomach. The inevitable punchline is the price. It'll definitely make you laugh. It'll probably make you weep, too.
10. Follow Shit London Guinness on Twitter
it’s beginning to look a lot like shitmas pic.twitter.com/tTinUHwUKn— shitlondonguinness (@shitlondonguinn) December 19, 2022
London is a city riddled with crime — and most of it is committed by bartenders who haven't the foggiest how to pour a pint of the Black Stuff. Fortunately, Shit London Guinness is on their case — shaming them with a constant flow of follower-sourced images featuring nightmarishly-foamy pints of Arthur Guinness' finest in Peroni glasses. It is, for all intents and purposes, the liquid version of Joel Golby's rental column. Anyway, all this writing has made me thirsty. Better make mine a lager.