London Summer laughing - Top comedy gigs for the sunny 2010 season ahead

Posted: 24th May 2010
Al Murray

You've got to laugh, haven't you? Well, that's it - you HAVE to laugh every now and again. Ash clouds, Dave and Nick together, Blackpool beating Cardiff and the end of "Over The Rainbow" (finally) - it wouldn't be Britain without the absurd or the unlikely and London wouldn't be the capital without a comedy evening to escape to (unless you count the Jubilee Line on a Sunday night). There are some cracking nights coming up and providing the new government doesn't ban smiling, chuckling or p!ssing yourself, you'd be well advised to check a few of these out.

All prices + booking fees. For ticket availability, click on the images, below, or scroll down for the full event listing.

Stephen Merchant

Let's start with the Union Chapel and what is possibly the best line-up and the best value evening we've seen in ages. For £16 (and a small fee) you can witness The Office and Extras award-winning Stephen Merchant, wirey-limbed Bristol-dynamo Russell Howard, one-half of Lee and Herring and "Jerry Springer - the opera" writer Stewart Lee, Chris Morris-collaborator and Jam-actor Kevin Eldon (think back to the "4ft Car" sketch - yeah, that's him) and top-grump and MC Arthur Smith. The date is 5th June. You've gotta get clicking for that one! Irish mini-keyboard and surrealist David O'Doherty also appears at the Union Chapel, this time on the 19th June - he's definitely worth a click as well (£15)

Kevin Eldon and Arthur Smith - two of the above Union Chapel performers appear solo soon - If you fancy seeing Arthur Smith curmudgeon his way around a stage on his own, you can catch him at the Lord Rookwood in lovely Leyton this Friday for £10 - click online sharpish though, Smith is quite a draw these days after his TV appearances on "Grumpy Old Men". The versatile Kevin Eldon is also staying the capital for a few summer gigs, one of which is with Stewart Lee (hang on, there's a connection here) - he plays solo at the Hen & Chickens on 11th and 12th July and with Lee at the Chapel Bar on the 13th - be warned though, Eldon WILL be 'titting about' for just £6.50.

Al Murray

Everyone's favourite pub landlord and chat show-host, Al Murray begins a four-night residency at Chiswick's George IV smack bang in the middle of a nationwide crawl. He entertains the punters in West London (no doubt making a few quips about the pub-grub served in that area - carrot batons with a tzatziki and cumin aioli etc) on the following June Wednesdays - 2nd, 9th, 23rd and 30th. Now, this is no ordinary Murray session - it's a pub-quiz (of sorts) and to quote the blurb "Compete For The Meat - win a frozen chicken!". The evenings form part of his Edinburgh Fringe warm-up schedule (click on his name to see other non-London dates). The Chiswick nights are £5.

Frank Skinner and David Baddiel, or Baddiel and Skinner if we're being fair and equal - which is precisely what this duo WON'T be for this special World Cup South Africa Send-Off Party, in association with Absolute Radio's podcast series. They will bicker and banter with themselves and the audience about, mostly, football and their undying belief that England really won't get players sent off, injured or rogered by the Argentinians in the final 16 this time around. As well as comedy from the two lions, Keane and the third lion Ian Broudie (I think we can guess what the encore will be) will provide the music. This all takes place at the Shaftsbury Lyric Theatre in the West End on 7th June - tickets cost from £23.30 (including fees) and if you miss out on tickets, listen to the simultaneous podcasts being broadcast on Absolute's website (not quite the same as being there though).

Chris Addison

This satirical young man will be 'in the thick of it' during the summer months with two nights at the Bloomsbury Theatre on 10th June and 10th July. Tickets cost £17.50 and will sell fast - Addison has been featuring on a lot of chat and discussion shows over the Election period, offering insightful satire aimed fairly and squarely at our politicians. But, since 1995, our Chris has been a mainstay at the Edinburgh Fringe with Perrier-nominated shows such as "Civilization" and "Atomicity" (the latter of which was adapted for a Radio 4 broadcast) - that's when he's not being a panellist on TV quiz-shows of course.

Dave Gorman

Never one to shirk from a challenge (such as crossing the globe to find other Dave Gorman's and indulging in a spot of Googlewhacking), Dave Gorman has just completed a national tour. Yeah, and? Ok, he played 33 gigs in 33 nights. Hmmm, whatever? Right - he cycled 1500 miles around Britain in 33 days and played a stand-up gig at the end of every day. Happy now? Although the show will continue (minus the cycling bit, he must have a right sore arse to be fair), he has opted to film it for posterity (and his own sanity I imagine). On Monday 12th July, you have the chance to be in the Bloomsbury Theatre audience during the filming for his imminent DVD release, "Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop and Stand Up" (and possibly 'Apply Cream'). Tickets for attendance are £18.50.

Frank Sidebottom

Despite his creator being diagnosed with cancer recently, Chris Sievey continues to bring his crazy, goggle-eyed treasure Frank Sidebottom out of Timperley for the occasional gig (normally with John Cooper Clarke - see dates below). But, there is only one thing on Frank's (and Little Frank's) huge bulbous mind - football. The Lexington will host the show "White Light - Frank Sidebottom and Friends World Cup Extravaganza". The word 'extravaganza' tells you all you need to know about the night - the usual Frank bumflufferies and anarchy, duty-bound to ensue. It doesn't clash with any decent football matches, falling on 25th June. Plus, get this - three members of Scritti Politti are in his backing band, the Oh Blimey Big Band. In true time-honoured tradition, the price for tickets is as daft as his act - £7.82. Really. Go, you'll wet yourself. A lot.

Lucy Porter

She may be teeny-sized but, boy, can she pack a chuckle-some punch. Lucy Porter has a few dates around the country, including a few sell-outs, finally concluding in London's Palmer's Green (my old manor, as it goes). The Fox (Electric Mouse Productions, no less) will play host to her smiley yet sharp-witted humour that will also feature Benny Boot and Gary Colman on the bill. Tickets are a bargain £7, a fair price to pay for comedy in North London I reckon. Her recent show, "The Bare Necessities", was a huge success.

Edinburgh Festival Preview

Finally, it's that time of year when half of the capital's comedy clubs surrender to the practice of warming-up our favourite comedians, no doubt convincing some of them that they should maybe cancel that ticket to Scotland later in the year - yes folks, the Edinburgh Fringe looms like a big lumbering moose with a party-hat on each horn. There are dozens of gigs coming up but the pick of the bunch includes Isy Suttie at the Kensal Green Paradise (2nd June - £5), Russell Kane at the Hammersmith Grove (13th June - £5) and Reginald D. Hunter at the Rich Mix (16th July - £10).

Happy clicking!

Paul Pledger