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Laughter, they say, is the best medicine and we’re inclined to agree. It also makes for a memorable night out. A visit to the local comedy club is the perfect introduction to a city. Luckily, when it comes to a healthy dose of side-splitting, thigh-slapping hilarity we are spoilt for choice in both the UK and Ireland. Here we recommend some comedy clubs known to serve-up the best in local and international humour.
The Comedy Cellar at The International Pub, Dublin
Ireland’s first and longest-running comedy club is housed in the basement of a pokey pub in the heart of Dublin City Centre. The best-known comedians on the Irish circuit will often drop in to test-out some new material or to check-out a show themselves so you never know who you might see. The weekend shows are popular and seating is extremely limited, so arrive early.
Hammersmith Apollo, (formerly Odeon) London by Edwardx Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0
The Hammersmith, Apollo, London
The host of the BBC’s ‘Live at the Apollo’ series is also a Grade II listed building and an entertainment venue since 1932. This is the place to witness some of the big players in the comedy world in action. Eddie Izzard, Dave Chapelle and Dara O’ Briain have all performed here.
The Stand, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Newcastle
Scotland’s best known comedy club came from humble beginnings, having hosted its first night in 1995 with only 7 people in the attendance. The Stand has since gone from strength to strength with live comedy on offer in both Scottish venues, and in its Newcastle branch, 7 nights a week. Over 600 acts take to the stage here each year and things get particularly hectic during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. A great place to catch the next big thing in comedy - you can say you say them here first!
Photo credit Jack Spicer Adams courtesy of The Glee Club.
The Glee Club, Birmingham & Nottingham
Located in Birmingham’s Chinese Quarter since 1994, The Glee Club boast claim to fame in that it was the first dedicated comedy club in the UK outside of London, with a venue following in Nottingham in 2010. Come for the razor-sharp comedy, stay for the tasty food and buzzing atmosphere.
The Komedia Comedy Club, Brighton
Home to the infamous Krater Comedy Club Comedy with 5 shows each weekend, the Komedia also hosts cabaret shows, spoken word gigs, theatre and club nights. A great way to gently ease yourself into Brighton’s renowned nightlife!
Image courtesy of Queen’s Comedy Club
Queen's Comedy club, Belfast
Queen’s Comedy Club was founded in 1992 with a young Colin Murphy at the helm, who took to the stage himself in its earlier days. Household names such as Peter Kay, Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Sean Lock have all appeared in front of enthusiastic audiences here, in what has become a mainstay on the Belfast Comedy scene.
Top Tips for Comedy Club Rookies
- Never sit at the front, unless you want to be the subject of ridicule for most of the show. There is nowhere to hide in the front row.
- Heckle at your own risk. These people do this for a living, and are highly skilled in the art of the public take-down.
- Never go to a comedy club on a date, especially not a first date. This situation is perfect fodder for comedians who will take extreme pleasure in your awkwardness.
- Try to avoid getting up to go to the bar mid-performance, especially if you are seated in the middle of a row or in the comedian’s eyeline. No sudden movements or eye contact that might attract unwanted attention is a general rule of thumb.
- If you are spoken to, don’t even try to be witty or funny. You are dealing with a professional here. Even your best attempt at humour is likely to fall flat and leave you red-faced.