Visit London Blog » Comedy Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Seven Things To Do On New Year’s Day in London Mon, 22 Dec 2014 16:40:31 +0000 Don’t waste the first day of 2015 buried under your duvet. There’s plenty to do and see in London on 1 January. Here are just seven ideas:

1. Experience London’s New Year’s Day Parade

The New Year’s Day Parade is a spectacular procession that takes place every year in London. More than 10,000 performers fill the parade route, from dancers and acrobats to musicians and local groups. Watch the highlights of last year’s parade for an idea of what treats lay in store:

2. Hear the classics at the Barbican’s New Year’s Day Gala

The Barbican Centre presents wonderful programme of classical music in its New Year’s Day Gala. The London Concert Orchestras, with Anthony Inglis as conductor, will perform a range of classics and favourites, from Tchaikovsky’s Finale from Swan Lake and Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers Duet, to Nessun Dorma, Land Of Hope And Glory and Rule, Britannia!

3. Take a spin on a festive ice rink

Burn off some of those Christmas calories and have a blast at one of London’s ice rinks. Many are open on New Year’s Day, including Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, Somerset House and Westfield London. Don’t forget to book your skating session in advance. More London ice rinks.

Somerset House Ice Rink

Somerset House Ice Rink

4. Grab a bargain at the Sales

London’s famous ‘January Sales’ actually often begin on Boxing Day, with many retailers cutting prices as soon as Christmas is over. But the sales usually continue well into the New Year, so there are still plenty of bargains to be had. Check our January Sales listings to find out when the sales begin at London’s top shopping destinations, including Selfridges, Harrods and John Lewis.

5. Blow away the cobwebs on a winter walk

Wrap up warm and enjoy the beautiful wildlife and nature of London on a crisp winter walk. There are plenty of walks to choose from. If you want a short stroll in Central London, walk around the beautiful lake in St James’s Park and watch the ducks dipping in and out of the water. For a longer ramble, why not explore the ancient woodland of Highgate Wood or spot red foxes, stoats, kingfishers and other winter wildlife at Rainham Marshes Nature Reserve. And on New Year’s Day, London Wetland Centre is also running a ‘Tick And Twitch’ guided walk for keen birders.

Rainham Marshes

Rainham Marshes

6. Have a laugh at The Comedy Store’s New Year show

Laughter is the best form of medicine, so if you’re feeling a bit delicate come 1 January, dose yourself up at The Comedy Store’s special New Year’s Day Best In Stand Up show. The line-up includes MC Sean Meo, Canadian comic Phil Nichol, Josh Howie and the aptly-named Jarred Christmas.

7. Carry on the party at XOYO’s New Year’s Day club night

If you’re still in the celebratory spirit after New Year’s Eve, mark the first day of 2015 at top Shoreditch club XOYO’s New Year’s Day bash, featuring acclaimed deep house act Âme – aka German duo Kristian Beyer and Frank Wiedemann – known for their track Rej and remixes of Radio Slave and The xx. Plus special guests including Marcus Worgull.

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Five Highlights Of The City of London Festival Mon, 09 Jun 2014 08:08:05 +0000 Guest blog by City of London Festival Director Paul Gudgin

The City of London Festival brings more than 250 events to the amazing buildings and spaces of the City of London from 22 June.  It is one of the biggest and broadest programmes in the festival’s 52-year history with music, comedy, dance, circus, cabaret and even a Korean production of Hamlet to whet the appetite.

FLOWN_PiratesOfTheCarabina_ Bowler Hat

The centrepiece this year will be the Bowler Hat; the iconic piece of City headwear has been turned into a large inflatable 200-seat theatre just beside St Paul’s Cathedral in Paternoster Square.

With so many events to choose from, here are a few festival highlights:

1. Immerse yourself in one of our 9th Symphony epics at St Paul’s Cathedral with the London Symphony Orchestra – Bruckner’s 9th Symphony (3 July) and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (15 July). Seeing a massive orchestral concert under the dome of St Paul’s is an experience everyone should try, and tickets start at just £5.

St Paul's Cathedral

2. Soak up outstanding City views and great jazz with our ‘Jazz with a View’ series. Choose from Clare Teal at Unilever House (6 Jun), Kit Downes at The Gherkin (29 Jun) and Roberto Pla on the Roof Terrace of One New Change (8 Jul). This idea was inspired by Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center in New York… we think our views are easily as good as their Manhattan skyline!

3. Enjoy music and beer in the Guildhall Yard with our City Beerfest (3 Jul). Sample a selection of beers from over a dozen of Britain’s most popular breweries while listening to live American bluegrass, folk and Old Appalachian music, overlooking the City’s ancient HQ.

4. See breathtaking circus performed in a giant Bowler Hat with exceptional contemporary circus companies PSiRC, Silver Lining and Pirates of the Carabina.

5. Have a good laugh with our comedy programme in the Bowler Hat – Doc Brown, Adam Kay, Russell Kane, Katherine Ryan, Andy Zaltzman, Richard Herring and many more well-known and up-and-coming comics.

Book events for The City of London Festival

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International Women’s Day Events in London Tue, 18 Feb 2014 10:02:17 +0000 (Detail from) Cover of the book titled 'Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole', 1857. Artist/Photographer/Maker: James Blackwood. Courtesy of the Museum of London

From brave suffragettes to record-breaking graffiti artists, International Women’s Day is a chance to recognise, celebrate and further the amazing achievements of women today and throughout history.

As well as the Million Women Rise march, set to take over the streets of London on 8 March – International Women’s Day itself – London has all sorts of exciting and fascinating events taking place throughout the month. So if you don’t know your Mary Wollstonecraft from your Malala Yousafzai, or if you just want to enjoy great art, music and debate created by women, check some of these events out…

Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre

WOW, the Southbank Centre’s annual festival of talks, debates, performance and activism celebrating women and girls is back. There’s something for everyone, with politics, science, sex, fashion, war and power on the discussion menu. Highlights include comedy from Sandi Toksvig, inspiring words from Malala Yousafzai and music from Ronnie Spector. 5-9 Mar

Meet Mary Seacole at the Museum of London Docklands

As part of the International Women’s Day celebrations at the Museum of London Docklands you can Meet Mary Seacole (pictured above), the unsung hero of nursing who was known to the troops as Mother Seacole. Other activities include the Wonderful Women interactive tour and The Meeting of Two Queens, the true story of the encounter between Grace O’Malley, the Irish Pirate Queen, and Queen Elizabeth I. 8 Mar

Femme Fierce Leake Street Takeover

See 100 female graffiti artists and painters break a new world record as they paint the 300-metre-long Leake Street Tunnel in Lambeth, South London, in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness. Femme Fierce Leake Street Takeover is organised by Street Art Agency in partnership with Cre8 Gallery, Paint my Panda and GOT (Girls on Top). Watch the action live or even get involved yourself (after purchasing your ticket, email for more info). 8 Mar

In the Booth, In the Gallery: Votes for Women at The Jewish Museum London

Learn about the part Jewish women played in the campaign for votes for women – and their fight for equal rights for synagogue membership – in this fascinating talk at the Jewish Museum London. Led by tour guide and author Rachel Kolsky, the event commemorates 100 years since the National Gallery’s ‘Rokeby Venus’ painting was slashed by the suffragette Mary Richardson in 1914. 9 Mar

Women of the Great War at The New Cavendish Club

Did one of your female relatives serve in World War I as a nurse, in the Voluntary Aid Detachment or in the Ambulance corps? Then Age Exchange want to hear from you! The charity is working on a project entitled Children of the Great War and are inviting people to come down and share their stories with an interviewer. Women of The Great War takes place at The New Cavendish Club, and is free but booking is required. Don’t forget to being your letters, photographs and other treasures to be photographed. 8 Mar

Women’s History Month in East London

Forget one day, events celebrating the achievements of women are taking place throughout the month of March in East London. Just a few of the many exciting events taking place include: Women at the National Gallery (National Gallery, 8 and 22 Mar), Muhammad Ali And Me (Rich Mix, 9 Mar) and The Real World: Art, Gender and the Media Discussion (Whitechapel Gallery, 6 Mar). For the full programme visit the Alternative Arts website.

The Sistren at Fairfield Halls

History is brought to life at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls, as the true stories of three inspiring women who fought for equal rights are adapted for the stage in The Sistren. The women are: writer Mary Wollstonecraft, the founder of modern feminism; Claudia Jones, founder of the first Black British weekly newspaper and the Notting Hill Carnival; and suffragette Emma Lloyd Sproson, Wolverhampton’s first female councillor.

Birds Eye View Film Festival

The Birds Eye View film festival, celebrating female filmmakers, doesn’t properly start until 8 April but the organisers are hosting a special launch event on International Women’s Day, with a screening of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines. The documentary traces the story of the Wonder Woman figure and introduces real-life superheroines. 8 Mar

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London Video of the Week: Udderbelly Festival 2013 Fri, 12 Apr 2013 10:20:54 +0000

Udderbelly Festival’s purple cow has arrived at the Southbank Centre in London for a summer of fun! The festival’s giant upside-down cow stage will host a packed programme of comedy, circus and family shows, including appearances by comedians Richard Herring, The Boy With Tape On His Face and Ardal O’Hanlon.

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What’s On This Weekend: 11-13 January 2012 Mon, 07 Jan 2013 09:53:04 +0000 This weekend, visitors to London can enjoy water in all three forms! There’s uber-cool fun to be had at the London Ice Sculpture Festival, unmissable opportunities for messing around in boats at ExCel, and even plenty of (H2O rich) exhaust fumes at the spectacular Arenacross show.

The Tullett Prebon London International Boat Show at ExCel

Indulge your nautical side at this world-renowned boat show, which brings the best sailing brands, displays and personalities under one roof. You can marvel at the gorgeous boats on display, buy sailing essentials from the experts and even have a go at a range of water-based activities in the On the Water pools. Tickets start from £16, and for extra maritime fun you can follow your visit with a trip to St Katherine’s Dock, where you’ll be able to view the newly-launched Clipper 70 and chat to members of their round-the-world racing crews. 12-20 Jan

Chris Ramsey: Feeling Lucky, at the Bloomsbury Theatre

Don’t miss Edinburgh Festival star Chris Ramsey, who brings his unforgettable brand of comedy to the Bloomsbury Theatre this weekend. This show, Feeling Lucky, follows his sell-out 2012 tour Offermation and is sure to include the trademark humour that has endeared him to audiences of Celebrity Juice, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and 8 Out of 10 Cats. Tickets are £15. 11-12 Jan

The London Ice Sculpting Festival, Canary Wharf

Chill out at the incredible London Ice Sculpting Festival, which demonstrates both the beauty and potential of frozen water. Extended to three days for the first time, it offers not only the chance to watch the world’s best ice sculpting teams, but also to have a go yourself in once of the many workshops. In addition, visitors can marvel at the Northern Lights laser show, place Ice Chess and participate in fun family activities. Entry is free. 11-13 Jan

Arenacross at The O2

Fans of motocross racing will love this high-octane indoor version, which condenses the best thrills of the outdoor sport into something smaller in size yet just as spectacular. As well as thrilling races, there will be incredible motocross action from the huge ramps, off which Europe’s best freestyle riders will perform astounding feats of aerial gymnastics. This event is the first in the 2013 UK Arenacross series, and tickets start from £19 for adults. 12 Jan

The London International Mime Festival, Various Venues

Fifteen companies from around the world will be participating in this diverse and thought-provoking festival, which this year promises everything from aerial acrobatics to psychedelic puppetry. Choose from amazing shows such as punk circus at the Southbank Centre, enchanting mechanical puppets at the Barbican, or the renowned Ockham’s Razor opening the festival with acrobatics a the Platform Theatre10-27 Jan

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Where To Party Like It’s The End Of The World Thu, 13 Dec 2012 14:01:57 +0000 If you’re a fan of disaster films, you’ve probably seen London destroyed on the big screen a fair few times. If the Mayans were right, however, you might soon see it for real, as the ancient civilisation predicted that 21 December 2012 would be the end of the world. Although this might seem like a good excuse to hide under the duvet, London’s finest party organisers are giving you plenty of opportunity to go out in style. We’ve rounded up some of the best ways to spend your last hours in London – nice knowing you!

The End of the World Party, Village Underground

Hosted by the team that has put on more than 50 “end of the world” parties in the last four years (they must be a fairly pessimistic bunch…), this Shoreditch party is guaranteed to be one of the most detailed and debauched in town. Starting at 10pm, the night allows you to choose the songs you dance to, live out your final fantasies in the Last Wish room and generally behave as if you won’t have to worry about a hangover in the morning. Tickets are £8, get yours quick before they sell out.  21 Dec

The End of the World Party, Proud Camden

Head to this popular venue’s Stables Bar for a night of half-price drinks, doomsday shenanigans and music from top DJs – including a special guest at midnight. Highlights include confetti cannon, the chance to confess your sins and an air raid siren that heralds the advent of half price shots. Entry is free if you’re on the guestlist, see the website for full details. 20 Dec

Brian Cox and Robin Ince’s End of the World Show, Hammersmith Apollo.

Go out laughing at this logical comedy show from the hosts of BBC Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage. Brian Cox and Robin Ince bring some of the finest minds in comedy, science and music together to celebrate human achievement in earth’s final hours. Tickets start from £25. 21 Dec

The Last Supper Club, Shoreditch

Make your last meal a memorable one at this exclusive dining experience in Shoreditch. You can choose between dining in the Ark, which has an eclectic and regularly changing selection of three-course menus, or make your apocalypse a bit more casual in the street food area. A doom-fuelled selection of drinks is also available and booking in advance is highly recommended – see their website for full details. 6-22 Dec

Popstarz at Hidden, Vauxhall

The world’s first alternative gay night is hosting a special End of the World Party in Vauxhall, featuring giveaways, apocalyptic makeovers and a special stage show at midnight. Entry is free before 11pm, see the flyer for full details. 21 Dec

Real Nice and Eta Present the End of the World, West London

Spending your final hours in a West London warehouse might not sound too appealing, but when you factor in world-class DJs, a killer light and sound system and a fair few apocalyptic surprises it suddenly sounds like a plan. Tickets are £20. 21 Dec

Pirate Radio Party Presents Aztec Mixdeck: A World’s End Boat Party

Cruise down the Thames with the Pirate Radio Party, who promise music, theatrics and “the best atmosphere this side of the apocalypse”. Seen from the river, London at night is certainly one of the prettiest last views you can get. Tickets are £20 if you’re quick. 21 Dec

Loud Noise End of the World Party at Cable

Head to South London for an apocalyptic party featuring a huge line-up of top DJs. Tickets start from £8. 21 Dec

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Where to See Edinburgh Festival Comedy Previews in London Fri, 29 Jun 2012 09:30:58 +0000

Top comedy acts are trying out their new shows in London before heading to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August. Edinburgh previews in June and July are a great way to see established stars and up-and-coming acts in small venues and often at bargain prices.

Do bear in mind that previews are works in progress – lineups may change at late notice and some shows may not yet be finished (although this can result in additional laughs as a performer takes risks to test things out.)

Hen and Chickens

A stalwart choice for previews, the upstairs of the Hen and Chickens pub in Highbury is home to an intimate theatre. Among the previews, two Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer nominees from last year will be teaming up for a new sketch show – Totally Tom (23 July).

Pleasance Theatre

A stream of top acts will try material out at Pleasance in Islington, which has a sister venue in Edinburgh. Highlights include BBC Radio 1 DJ Tom Deacon (9-10 July) and the warm-up from Carl Donnelly (11 and 16 July), whose routine Different Gravy promises excerpts from his unpublished and hugely embellished autobiography.

Words Words Words at Off Broadway

Off Broadway bar in Hackney puts on its Words, Words, Words comedy night every Wednesday. One preview to see if you haven’t had the delight is Helen Arney, the geeky ukulele-playing lady who isn’t afraid to blend science with laughs in her show Voice of an Angle (18 July).

Downstairs at The King’s Head

Head to this friendly pub in Crouch End for a first look at gigs from the likes of Paul Sinha (31 July), who will tell the tale of his “horrifyingly misjudged” trip to the Himalayas last Christmas.


Joe Lycett: Some Lycett Hot

Who? Lycett is one to watch after winning the Chortle Award for Best Newcomer 2010 and making it as a BBC Radio 2 New Comedy Award finalist last year. He has supported Jack Whitehall on tour and this is his debut show.

Where? Pleasance, Hen and Chickens, Crack Comedy Club, Camden Head and more.

Iain Stirling: Happy to be the clown?

Who? Another debut show from a rising star – Scottish Stirling is doing some self-analysis in his routine, to work out why he is such a clown. He’s also a presenter of the CBBC kids show Help! My Supply Teacher’s Magic.

Where? Pleasance and more.

Fran Moulds: Significant Human Error 

Who? You might have heard Moulds on BBC Radio 4 as part of the all-female sketch troop the Umbrella Birds. Now she’s going it alone in her first solo show which sees her inhabit six original characters – such as base-jumping Aussie Ryan and Morgana, a celeb newspaper correspondent.

Where? Pleasance, Lost Theatre and more.

Do you have any tips for Edinburgh previews in London?

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London 2012 Festival: Full Programme Revealed Thu, 26 Apr 2012 13:09:20 +0000  

This summer’s London 2012 Festival will feature acrobats on London landmarks, an inflatable Stonehenge and an appearance by Wallace and Gromit at The Proms. The full programme for the 12-week festival was unveiled this morning. Highlights include:

London 2012 Festival, 21 June to 9 September 2012

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Mayfair Apartments, Room Service and a Swamp: Pam Ann’s London Mon, 19 Mar 2012 11:42:41 +0000

Glamorous in-flight professional Pam Ann has been touring the world for more than a decade, imparting her insider knowledge of the highs and lows – so to speak – of the airline industry.

The creation of Australian comic Caroline Reid, Pam has gathered a cult following in every port with her risqué humour. We caught up with her between long-haul flights and quizzed her about her favourite international hub, London:

VL: Pam, where do you stay when you are in London?
PA: I will be staying in an apartment in Mayfair

VL:  What was the most decadent night out you have had in London?
PA: There’s been so many and it’s been so decadent I can’t remember

VL: Where do you think serves the best breakfast in London?
PA: I am never up for breakfast but I guess the Dean St Townhouse have a great room service menu

VL: Which is your favourite London icon?
PA: The London Eye but they should make the pods open air and make it really fast

VL: Do you have a London secret?
PA: Heathrow’s T5 was built on a swamp

VL:  What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen in London?
PA: The sun

VL: What do you think “makes” a typical Londoner?
PA: Sense of humour

VL: What do you miss most when you’re away from London?
PA: Irony

VL: Given the necessary skills, which Olympic event would you choose to win Gold in?
PA: Gymnastics

VL: What advice will you be giving athletes flying in to London for the Games?
PA: Don’t fly Ryan Air

Don’t miss Pam Ann’s latest show, You F’ Coffee at The Bloomsbury Theatre from 17 April to 5 May. Book your tickets now through

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Jerry Seinfeld at The O2 Mon, 06 Jun 2011 17:00:10 +0000 If I ever happen to see Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up again, I must remember to wear waterproof mascara. It will prevent the kind of make-up mess that occurred on Friday evening, after shedding many tears of laughter.

I hadn’t known what to expect from Jerry Seinfeld at The O2. He’s best known for co-creating and starring in American sitcom Seinfeld, which was phenomenally successful in the US but wasn’t as popular here in the UK. While other US imports such as Friends, Sex and the City and ER were enjoying prime time TV slots on Channel 4, Seinfeld was being shown somewhere else late at night. I didn’t watch it and I didn’t know anyone else who did.

What I did know is that Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy is valued pretty highly – he reportedly turned down a $5 million dollar an episode deal to continue starring in Seinfeld, and tickets for his show at The O2 on Friday night cost a minimum of £70. From the packed arena on Friday, it was obvious that plenty of people were willing to pay that.

And so it came to Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up show – 90 minutes of observational comedy, starting with the notion that “life sucks” and running through topics including marriage, mobile phones, Twitter, sitting, coffee and kids.

Jerry Seinfeld has been in the comedy business for more than 20 years – and that experience shows. There were no gaps, no going off on a tangent, despite the diverse range of topics, the comedy flowed easily from one thing to the next.

There were a lot of “it’s funny because it’s true” moments in the show and the next day I found myself constantly recalling (and annoying my friends with) anecdotes. “That reminds me of something Seinfeld said last night,” was my most-used sentence of the day.

Did you see Jerry Seinfeld at The O2? What did you think?

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