Chat with Artistic Director Lucy Danser
We love Camden Comedy not just for the joyous night of comedy upstairs but also for the pub downstairs. Oozing proper pub atmosphere in a cosy welcoming space, they also have the novelty of tasty 'smokin’ burgers'. It's a great night out.
We had a chat with AD Lucy Danser to find out what’s on offer upstairs.
Whilst Camden comedy is solely a comedy venue, they’ve got lots of different types of comedy shows depending on which night you go. Plus, they have storytelling courtesy of Natural Born Storytellers which as Lucy supposes can be very funny but "isn't strictly comedy at all!"
Friday and Saturday shows are generally what you would expect from a 'comedy club' night. That's an MC plus a number of excellent comedians; some well-known and some newer (but not brand new). "Excellent for a night out when you're expecting tried and tested jokes" says Lucy. The rest of the week is split between sketch nights, character comedy, format/panel shows, and alternative comedy. LPT reviewers have sampled a couple of nights when the focus is on comedians trying out new work. These include some of our favourite acts, Sara Pascoe, Mae Martin, Tez Ilyas, The Guilty Feminist Podcast, Sean McLoughlin and many more.
One of the best known of these comedians, Sara Pascoe, has become a regular at Camden Comedy. Lucy is a huge fan. “Sara is excellent. We're delighted to have her come by every month with a gaggle of comedy buddies. Her shows always sell out well in advance and she's an absolutely ideal person to be a regular - she's so busy and a rising star yet she's always friendly, personable and bang on time!” Lucy also recalls when her parents took the opportunity to see her for the very first time. “She was so lovely to them, refusing to let them pay and making sure they got seats - and they haven't stopped raving about the show since!”
We all have our favourites and some nights can get manic when everybody decides at once that they must get in to see a particular act. It’s not always the best-known acts either. The Guilty Feminist are a recent addition to the roster. Lucy explains how all of them were fans of their podcasts and have worked with Deborah Frances-White before but they were stunned by the demand for the shows. “We actually had to put new plans in place to stop the queue from getting out of control as everyone desperately tried to get in!”
There are several others who can cause a storm including Mae Martin who has a very loyal fanbase. “She's been doing her new material nights at Camden Comedy for quite a few years now” says Lucy. “Sean McLoughlin's new night has been drawing a good crowd as does Tez Ilyas & Harriet Kemsley's regular new material show.” From time to time they have other well-known comedians drop in, so far these have included Seann Walsh, Hal Cruttenden and Mark Watson.
Every Comedy club must have its lynch pins, the ones who keep it running smoothly week in week out. Lucy believes it’s the team down at the Camden Head pub underneath who are key to achieving this. “Most of them didn't know they'd be getting a comedy club when they started working here but they've all really worked hard to integrate us with the bar - whether that be creating pretty signage for our shows or learning about upcoming comedians and recommending them to customers.” It’s a finely tuned collaboration in which everybody has learnt to play their role. Important for the volatile business of comedy clubs.
So, who’s about to make it big in the comedy arena? “I mean you can never be sure can you!?” Lucy is not just being diplomatic. “There are so many incredible comedians around at the moment that it's pretty tough to pick anyone out. Also, it depends how big you're talking! I think Eshaan Akbar is probably gonna be someone you see a lot more of soon or he certainly should be - he's consistently funny but also clever and informed.”
Now that’s going to cause storm!
CAMDEN COMEDY CLUB,
Upstairs at The Camden Head,
100 Camden High Street,
London, NW1 0LU
WHAT TO SEE:
Sketch nights - Stop Trying to Make Sketch Happen
Character comedy - Bryony Twydle & Friends
Format/Panel shows - Stand Up & Slam!, What Has The News Ever Done For Me
Alternative comedy - This Is Not A Cult, Vyse Squad, Sunday Smash Up
New material nights/Works-in-progress - Sara Pascoe, Mae Martin, Tez Ilyas, The Guilty Feminist Podcast, Sean McLoughlin
And many more!
That pretty much covers it!
“We actually had to put new plans in place to stop the queue from getting out of control as everyone desperately tried to get in!” Lucy Danser
STAND UP & SLAM
THE GUILTY FEMINIST