With the misery of dry January, broken resolutions and the bitter London cold, it’s no wonder winter blues have started to creep in. Luckily for all of us there’s the thriving London comedy and improvised comedy scene to get us through it all. Unhappily your chosen night of light hearted chortling can easily go wrong if you choose the wrong gig and end up watching desperate jerky comics look into your eyes pleading you to laugh. To save you the awkward faking we’ve compiled in date order the list of the best improvised comedy and stand up in 2016.
Number 1 – Shoreditch Improv Festival (19th, 20th & 21st February)
Perhaps proof that improv is now mainstream and trendy, and the newest addition to the list, this festival boasts 30 of the best performing groups improvising everything from musicals to science fiction plays to puppet shows to improvised comedy street art tours of Shoreditch. There’s even a workshop for any people interested in learning a few skills of their own. Best to book in advance!
Number 2 – LOCO Comedy Film Festival (14th – 24th April)
This festival promotes comedy in the film format and is held all over the city in places such as the BFI Imax, Hackney Picture House, and the Ritzy Brixton. The opportunity to see the up and coming directors and actors in a cinema setting lets you kick back in comfort while you chortle your way through the films. Alternatively attend the award ceremonies at the end to see the best of the bunch.
Number 3 – Udderbelly Festival (7th Apr – 17th July)
The now established and iconic 400 seater upside down purple cow theatre is in its 9th year of confusing tourists and exciting Londoners alike. Holding shows that allow fans of famous comics like Lee Nelson, Jimmy Carr, and many more laugh the night away. Take them and all the other acts in with a summer cider and the sun by Southbank.
Number 4 – Hoopla Summer Improv Festival (July)
With around 30 groups performing over 2 days, Hoopla is a hub for all improvising groups in London. As masters of teaching and hosting there’s opportunities to see the professors at their best as well as many now famous alumni attending. Make sure you check out their owner, Steve Roe on stage to see comedy at its best.
Number 5 – Camden Fringe Festival (1st – 28th August)
Although it has the wider performing arts in mind, the Camden Fringe has over 15 different venues planned all over the borough this year with performances including stand-up, sketch comedy, comic plays, and London Improv. The perfect alternative to long and expensive journey to Edinburgh when cutting edge comedians are sitting on your very doorstep or performing down the road.