It’s mid-week and the weekend is still a distant prospect and you’re in need of a good dose of comedy? Well then there’s no viable alternative than to head down to Shoreditch’s Comedy Cafe. It may not look too pretty on the outside but just wait until you hear what lies behind its gloomy exterior.
With the vibe of a bustling speakeasy combined with that of a cool East End hang out, the Comedy Cafe is just what you’d expect from this kooky part of town. With exposed brick, neon lights and a throng of bushy-bearded men in tortoiseshell specs with nose-ringed girlfriends gathered round a lively bar it is obvious why this place is a hit with the locals as well as a crowd from all corners of the city. But fear not, nose-rings, tattoos, vintage clothing and jobs in art galleries aren’t necessary for entry, or indeed for fitting in. What is required is something a little more special, something which is coveted by all of mankind but not possessed by all, something which neither scientists nor DNA can explain…the funny bone. To fit in here you need to be capable of laughing the night away, getting in the spirit of things (i.e. occasional audience participation), giggling ’til your sides split and chuckling ’til your abs hurt.
Laughter is essential but not quite as essential as booking in advance! Sarah, Robin, James and I (see my previous blog post for introductions) had booked to go on a Wednesday to see the New Act Night, a night when the new kids on the comedy block try their hand at stand up and it’s always a sell-out. As is to be expected with a bunch of relative newcomers to comedy it’s a mixed bunch with some better than others. But fear not! they have all been auditioned prior to the performance so the wheat should have already been separated from the chaff of the cringe-worthy with delusional ideas of their laugh-inducing capabilities.
So after taking my seat amongst the suited post-work city slickers, the dungaree-clad Shoreditch students, the nervous first-daters and the rowdy (i.e. Sarah and Robin) a familiar face appears on stage, a man who goes by three names- Mr Jimmy James Jones (although his girlfriend, to our disappointment, later let slip his real name). The last time I came to the Comedy Cafe, Jimmy was still a little fish in a very large comedy pond and one of the not-so-nervous newcomers to take to the stage as part of the competition. Since then Jimmy must have gone up in the world, or at least gone up in the world of comedy, as he was our MC for the night and just as funny as I remembered. Lee Evans and Jimmy Carr are amongst the list of comedy big dogs who have graced the stage of the Comedy Cafe so when I say funny I mean these people are actually funny. With a couple of females letting the team down on this particular occasion by doing little to persuade the world that girls can in fact be funny too, the acts were generally all very entertaining and would have all managed to squeeze a small chuckle from even the sternest and harshest of critics.
Having already satisfied our tummies with some hearty food at the Tramshed (click here to read all about it), the Comedy Cafe then sorted the rest. Copious cocktails, laughter and entertainment and a good dose of occasional embarrassment courtesy of Sarah and Robin and the evening was called a success. Emerging back onto the streets of Shoreditch rosy cheeked and with a souvenir stitch in my side from laughing so hard we made our way back to the station already planning our next raucous evening at the one and only Shoreditch Comedy Cafe.