Last night I went to my first comedy club in London. Considering I’d made my way into clubs my first week in Chicago, this is an embarassingly long time to live in a city without live comedy. I didn’t go on stage, but I got to see 6 comics for 10 pounds. The Chuckle Club is in the student union of the London School of Economics. It has been featuring stand up comics for 15 years and gets to standing room only every Saturday night.
I wish I could tell you what comics I saw, but the web page is already updated for next weekend. But the pattern was a very bad MC, then a 5 minute guest set, 20 minute feature, intermission. Repeat two more times. It was odd to have two intermissions in the middle of a comedy show, but the audience always came back and was ready for the next two comics. One did classic set-up punch observational humor, the second did 20 minutes of rapid fire, cheesy, one liners, the third and final did angry, topical humor using a newspaper. The Guest sets had probably 8-12 months on stage and none were particularly good. But, for a british audience, they were treated quite well. No major heckling, no booing.
After the last comic, the place turns into a late night disco and lots of Britain’s future economists come in. All dressed in mod clothes, studded leather belts, leather jackets, shag haircuts, and lots and lots of cigarettes. I talked to the MC and will actually arrange a guest set to do sometime before I leave.