Top Six 'I Could Do With A Laugh' Comedy Shows, North London
Written by: Sophie Taylor
January. It’s laugh a minute at the best of times. We think it’s high time we ignored January-instigated misery, threw caution to the wind and our heads back in favour of laughing it off. From a snigger to an unrelenting roar, here’s our top six mood enhancing venues to work your stomach muscles.
1. ‘The Old Fashioned Chortle’
Downstairs at The Kings Head
Whether you’re after new talent, established acts or more of a variety feel, Downstairs at The Kings Head in Crouch End has you sorted. Having run comedy nights for over thirty years, this club knows what you want and for how much. Yes, all of this for not much dollar. Added bonus? Very friendly bar staff and tasty drinks selection. As you can imagine the shows are popular, so get booking to avoid a joyless laugh-lacking existence.
Where: 2 Crouch End Hill, N8 8AA.
Nearest tube: Finsbury Park, then the W7 bus.
When: Thursdays, Saturdays and Sunday, plus occasional other nights.
How much: £5 – £11.
2. ‘The Classic Chuckle’
The Tickled Bean comedy night features a mainly female line up on Stoke Newington High Road at the Most-Arts Centre. Last November saw the brilliant Robyn Perkins, Funny Women finalist Rosana Bosanac, poet and comedian Anabelszki. January’s line up includes Sister Rainbow (aka Ginny Evans Pollard), local story teller and raconteur Sarah Bennett and the very down to earth, Fay Downie. These weekly celebrations of stand-up, musical comedy and sketches are hosted by Bex Moss.
Where: Most-Art Centre, 86 Stoke Newington High St, N16 7PA. Helpful venue directions here.
Nearest Tube: Stoke Newington
When: Thursday January 19th, Doors: 7pm, Show: 8 – 11pm
How much: £5 on the door or in advance here.
3. ‘The Tuneful Giggle’
At Gunners Pub, Finsbury Park you can finally marry your true loves in a ‘gong show with a difference’: see top notch open mic comedians perform their sets over a live jazz drum soundtrack and attempt to maintain their coooool. Squeeze into your roll neck and click along to improvisational jazz comedy every Monday (less wanky than it sounds). Dylan Dodds is your host with the most. Feel like performing yourself? Acts are welcome to pre-book a five minute set by messaging the Facebook page, or just rock up on the night. This is your moment scat cats. Don’t blow it.
Where: Gunners Pub, Stroud Green Rd
Nearest Tube: Finsbury Park
When: Mondays, 8 – 10pm
How much: Free
4. ‘The Surreal Snigger’
“Don’t the best stories happen behind closed curtains?”
And now for something a little different. Ethan Mechare has birthed a brand new interactive concept comedy. Saturday 28th’s performance is based in Finsbury Park, but the location will only be disclosed via special invite the day before, once you’ve booked your ticket.
Exploring ideas around sexual fantasy, voyeurism and housework, each show is set in a secret cosy living room across London. There will be a bar available to quench your thirst / take the edge off the intimacy with this surreal new show: Coming Clean, Life as a a Naked Housecleaner.
Where: Undisclosed location (special invites sent the day before)
Nearest Tube: Finsbury Park
When: Saturday 28th January, 7:30 – 9:30pm
How much: £16.52
5. ’The Unexpected Guffaw’
Aces and Eights
Scurry down into the cosy basement of Aces and Eights like a naughty little rat for a rambunctious evening of improvised comic chaos. Fortnightly club Shambles is an unplanned evening of new material and characters unfurling live in front of your expectant faces.
Experienced alternative stand up / producer / journalist Harry Deansway runs the show with a weighty inside knowledge of the scene. Expect the unexpected from new talent and the odd special guest. Oh, and it’s completely free.
Where: Aces and Eights
Nearest tube: Tufnell Park
When: Doors 7:45pm, Monday 30th Jan
How much: Free
6. ‘The Unrelenting Roar’
The Camden Head
If you’re that guy who likes to sit in an empty auditorium long after the show has ended, occasionally lifting your feet for the cleaners, get yourself to Camden. Camden Comedy Club is held upstairs at The Camden Head. Every. Single. Day. That’s one never ending laughathon.
They’ve recently undergone a shiny renovation and added a load of new shows to the already bursting bill. Comedy stalwarts from Stewart Lee to Bridget Christie have tread the boards here, and no doubt will again. The new programme now includes sketch and improv, Edinburgh Festival previews and even workshops and masterclasses for wannabe jokesters.
Where: Upstairs at The Camden Head, 100 Camden High St.
Nearest Tube: Camden Town
When: Various nights (every night)
How much: From free to £10
“Only last night I found myself lost / by the station called King's Cross. / Dead and wounded on either side / you know it's only a matter of time.” [Pet Shop Boys - Kings Cross] It’s the night after the play and I’m standing at the bar of ‘The Big Chill House’ on Pentonville Road in Kings Cross. It’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ (#TBT) and happy hour is definitely over.
Ceramics with charisma. Local pottery genius, Laura Bird has of course graced the digital pages of It’s Nice That, sold out in Anthropologie* and taken her seat at many a London ceramics stall since just recently starting her career in ceramics. It’s no surprise she is well loved: her unique and gentle humour exudes from every jar, planter and candlestick holder, adorned with cheeky expressions and impish grins.
Having worked in hospitality with a keen artist’s eye, the Arts Building knew Emma was perfect to take over the space. They were after a morning to night eatery for the neighbourhood, one for local residents and workers alike. Knowing the street’s reputation as a bit of a foodie strip, the menu had to be up to scratch for it’s discerning super-taster of a community. Yes, we’re a hungry bunch in Stroud Green.
At the time of writing this the menu has just been released for Food by Feast’s new supper club. I imagine, however, that by the time you read this every dining space will be swiftly filled. If you aren’t acquainted with the duo yet (tsk), they’re the genius collaboration of Cordon Bleu chef and food writer Olivia Potts and Guardian food writer and cook, Kate Young. Having successfully completed the likes of a Gilmore Girls supper club to rapturous applause and smacking lips recently, the latest menu experience is Twin Peaks inspired and looks equally witty and delectable.
Sound healing in Stoke Newington. This Thursday 18th May, The Mystery School of Sound are running a de-stress gong bath experience in Stoke Newington Ramadan Mosque. Alongside guided meditation, healing process and gong performace, you’ll get a mini intro to healing traditions of the druids and hermetic teaching.
Patron Cave a Manger’s pop up cinema are shacking up at The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town to screen The Artist. Soak up the atmoshpere of the Festival du Cannes with swanky popcorn and elegant cocktails. Get red carpet ready for this special screening of The Artist - the ridiculously popular award winning silent French film that everyone fell in love with.
Unfortunately rising rents are affecting community spaces in Stoke Newington and their availability. St Mary’s Centre currently provides a space for projects including the Foodbank, Hackney Migrants centre and the Night Shelter but they're at risk of losing their space. To help raise funds to redevelop the space and increase awareness, they are organising a weekend food market in Stokey. The pop-up food market is a launch event for their huge fundraising drive to rebuild the community rooms attached to St Mary's Church in Stoke Newington.
Healthy chocolate mousse and sexing up your smoothie with Kate Oates. We have found ourselves a yoga guru in Kate Oates, a healthtastic yogi based in Crouch End. When we met her last year she hinted at a few of her own culinary creations and boy were we intrigued. Asking for an exclusive recipe for you health conscious readers, we received a taste sensation of an idea for chocolate breakfast.
“All My Single Cylinders, All My Single Cylinders”. Two girls, sick to the back teeth of Tindering and Bumbling about the bars of London, decided to create their own speed dating night. Involved in the biker community of East London they have created a special series of nights combining live music, motorbikes and speed dates. Bolt Motorbike Shop of Stoke Newington is their latest venue, providing a more intriguing backdrop for your date night and quashing the usual awkwardness of sparse, brightly lit speed dating scenarios. You can admire the motors, enjoy your free drinks and listen to some live music with some top notch handpicked company.
In case you’ve never had a piirakka, (also known as Karelian pasties, pies or pirogs) they’re a delicious Finnish treat that you need to try immediately. Whether savoury or sweet, they’re basically a light pastie made with rye flour and a pretty unique variety of filling options. Meet Aapo Nieminen, a native Finnish local who grew up with piirakka. After getting tired of asking friends and family to bring him these naughty little pasties whenever they visited he came up with a plan. “They are an important part of everyday finish life. One day I thought why not just make them yourself?”
The lycra is optional. Coffee however, isn't. On Friday 197 cyclists descended on Sardinia to compete in the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia. For those of you that don't have wardrobes filled with lycra you might never of heard of it but Think Tour d'France but in Italy. Still drawing a blank?
Naked Dough have appeared like a pair of beautiful fairy godmothers to lead me to an actual edible cookie dough dance party. Plus they didn’t even tell me what I should wear, they genuinely don’t care. Naked Dough is a new restaurant serving edible cookie dough from tubs, cones and even carry home pots. The ingredients are raw egg free and the flour is heat-treated so you need not worry-like-Edwina-Currie about salmonella and stomach bloat (unless you’re gluten free of course. In which case I’m sorry you’ve stumbled upon this torture page of an article).
Ten years ago MINT Vintage first opened in Covent Garden before moving on to the more creative surrounds of Stoke Newington, pioneering fashion forward vintage. Every piece is hand selected and sourced from all over the world, ensuring every garment is trend driven but timeless and always unique. This May they’ve decided to transform their world in to an “oops we were trying to make corduroy and came up with denim” dreamland*.
Finding myself wandering around Limehouse Basin craving a pint and perhaps even a slice of pizza, I needed to get home to my local Crate Brewery sharpish (they do the freshest craft beers and have award winning pizzas). But how to get there? Stumbling in to Limehouse Station and towards a huge sign saying CLOSED, I consider walking there instead. A short meander riverwards, I reach the canal and begin to notice a group of people donning chunky waistcoats stretching their arms around. I pause for a second, swaying slightly on the spot, watching this mesmerising circle of humans yielding huge double ended spoons.
"Ooh they’re doing a psych night at Moth Club Tina!” "What, again?” It’s a familiar sentence. Fast becoming a buzzword for young musos and Beyond Retro dwellers alike, psych music is no longer just for the suede fringed waistcoat wearing Acid Jazz lovers who curse their parents they weren’t born in 1966. No no. The psych music spectrum has spread it’s bendy wings and shaken off it’s lava lamp skin to embrace a whole host of musical genres. From William Burroughs to Pet Sounds to Thee Oh Sees, the genre’s had a birth, decline and resurgence. Nambucca in Finsbury Park are totally capitalising on this revival with their new monthly night, SIKE! This Thursday 11th May, they’re bringing four different acts who are all covering different elements of the psych scene.
Back in 2014 The Good Egg was hatched, mixing Californian sunshine with Tel Aviv traditions to bring one heck of a menu to Stoke Newington. Food critics, instagrammers and swathes of Stokey baby holders flocked to it’s doors to get stuck in to the Jerusalem breakfast, merguez sausage and indeed eggs washed down with spicy brunch cocktails.