Where to Find the Best Stand-Up Comedy in London

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Some of the world’s most celebrated comedy comes from the UK, and you’ll find one of the country’s biggest and best comedy scenes in the capital. London’s comedy clubs and nights offer year-round laughs for locals and tourists alike. Whatever the day, wherever you are; comedy gigs aren’t hard to come by. So whether you’re in the city centre or a little further out, here’s where you can see first class comedy in London.

Top Secret Comedy Club
170 Drury Lane
London, WC2B 5PD
If you’re looking for a classic live comedy experience, head to Top Secret. This no-frills basement club offers stand-up shows every night of the week (with a well-stocked bar to boot). In terms of value for money, it doesn’t really get any better; entrance fees can be as little as £1 – some gigs are even free! Main shows start at 8pm and finish around 10.30pm (Sunday-Thursday); there are two shows on Fridays and Saturdays – an early one (from 7-8.30pm) and a late one (from 9-11pm). You’ll often find household names on the bill; Amy Schumer, Jack Whitehall, Eddie Izzard, Russell Howard and Sara Pascoe (amongst others) have all appeared at Top Secret to practice material before touring or going on TV. And in the run-up to big comedy festivals like Edinburgh or Adelaide, the venue opens its doors to comedians working on their preview shows; go at the right time, and you’ll get to see some of the UK’s most exciting acts take shape.

The Soho Theatre
21 Dean Street
London, W1D 3NE 
Though not strictly a comedy club, Soho Theatre is one of the best places to find cutting-edge comedy that provides plenty of belly laughs. Specialising in fringe theatre, comedy and cabaret, it’s dedicated to discovering and supporting new talent; even if you don’t recognise a performer, chances are you won’t leave disappointed. You tend to get full sets rather than multi-bill nights, so it’s a great place to see established comedians in a more intimate setting. From Edinburgh Fringe hits to international stand-up, the Soho Theatre really is a must-visit venue for anyone who’s into their comedy.

The Leicester Square Theatre
6 Leicester Place
London, WC2H 7BX
Again, the Leicester Square Theatre isn’t technically a comedy club (as you probably guessed), but it does draw some of the biggest names in the industry. Located in the heart of the West End, it hosts music, theatre and cabaret performances alongside a choice selection of comedy. Richard Herring records his weekly podcast here (which you can get tickets to see), and the most familiar faces in comedy tend to stop off at Leicester Square Theatre whenever they’re on tour. Bill Bailey, Michael McIntyre and Micky Flanagan have all performed at the venue in recent years.

Up the Creek
302 Creek Road
Greater London, SE10 9SW
First set up by the late comic (and pioneer of alternative comedy) Malcolm Hardee, Up the Creek is a lively local club in Greenwich. A two minute walk from Cutty Sark DLR station, it’s a little less central but still easy to get to – especially if you’re hanging around in the east. Catch some of the circuit’s best comedians here on Friday nights; once they’ve finished, the venue hosts an after party until 2am – it’s the perfect way to start your weekend. And their Sunday Special – the UK’s number one comedy night according to the Guardian – is a real gem. Every week, arena-filling names turn up to do secret sets, though tickets are surprisingly cheap; Flight of the Conchords, Alan Carr, Russell Brand and Sarah Millican have appeared in the past. Resident hosts have included Russell Howard, Greg Davies, Josh Widdicombe and Jon Richardson; Ed Gamble and John Robins are its current hosts. Doors open at 7pm, but seating is unreserved; get there early if you want to bag a front row seat (after all, you never know who might turn up!).

The Comedy Store
1a Oxendon Street                                                          
London, SW1Y 4EE 
You can’t talk about comedy in the capital without mentioning the Comedy Store. Since opening its doors in 1979, the Soho venue has been instrumental in popularising alternative comedy. Historically, it’s helped to kick-start the careers of some of the UK’s best-loved comics; Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Alexei Sayle and French and Saunders all made names for themselves after performing here. And today, the club still offers quality stand-up, topical shows and improvised comedy gigs almost every night of the week.

Angel Comedy Club
Established in 2010, Angel Comedy Club hosts shows across two venues in north London; The Bill Murray (which was voted London’s best comedy club at the 2018 Chortle awards) and the Camden Head. The latter is where it all started, and it’s readily become one of the capital’s most popular comedy nights. Shows officially begin at 8pm, but queues start to form much earlier on; it’s recommended that you turn up for 7.30pm to avoid disappointment. Oh, and did we mention that it’s totally free? The line-ups are anything but amateur though, and donations are encouraged (so you know, be generous). With a varied programme that includes previews, multi-bills and improvised comedy nights, there’s something to tickle everyone’s funny bone.

Camden Comedy Club
100 Camden High Street
London, NW1 0LU
Sticking to the north of the city, we’re adding Camden Comedy Club to the list. Located in an intimate space above a proper Camden pub (the Camden Head), it’s exactly the setting you’d expect from a London comedy club – there’s even a neon sign above the stage. Like many smaller comedy clubs, it feels like a local institution – though that’s not to say you won’t find bigger names there too (Sara Pascoe has used the space for previews before). Regular events like their ‘Sunday Smash Up’ are great for watching new material too; head there after finishing your Sunday roast to make a day of it.

The Boat Show Comedy Club
P.S. Tattershall Castle, the River Thames
London, WC2R 2PH 
If you fancy something a bit different, hop aboard the P.S Tattershall Castle for the Boat Show Comedy Club. It has to be one of the capital’s most unique comedy venues; as far as we can tell, it’s the only one of its kind. Moored opposite the London Eye, it’s slap bang in the middle of Westminster and Embankment tube stations (about a 5 minute walk from either stop). And with a line-up that includes circuit legends, breakthrough stars and big names, the Boat Show’s much more than just a novel idea. Tickets are usually between £12 and £16, and on Saturdays, a nightclub follows the comedy at no extra cost.

Banana Cabaret
77 Bedford Hill
London, SW12 9HD
Located at historic pub The Bedford, Banana Cabaret has been bringing laughter to Balham for over three decades. Namechecked as one of the best comedy venues in the country by the likes of Marcus Brigstocke and Ed Byrne, it’s a great place to catch tomorrow’s best talent and discover new favourites. Every Friday and Saturday, you’ll find emerging and established acts taking to the stage (Eddie Izzard, Joe Brand, Frank Skinner and Joe Lycett have all performed there); once the stand-up’s finished (at around 11pm), people stay to drink and dance until 2am. Lovely stuff.

Laugh Out London
Laugh Out London always manage to reel in top drawer comics and Edinburgh favourites for their affordable comedy nights. Shows take place at venues (read: pubs) in Angel, Tooting and King’s Cross, though dates vary; with recent sets from James Acaster, John Robins, Ed Gamble, Nish Kumar and Tim Key (to name just a few), it’s worth checking their website to see what’s on ahead of schedule – you’ll kick yourself for missing out!

If you’re staying with us in London, there’s no better way to get a feel for the city (or that famous British wit!) than by heading out to a comedy club. Whether you’re into bigger venues with big names on the bill or prefer to keep things little and local, London’s home to such a variety of venues that’re all worth exploring. After all, who doesn’t go on holiday for the laughs?