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The Comedy Store in London
The Comedy Store is a premier comedy venue located in Soho in London, named after its U.S. counterpart, the Comedy Store club. The venue boasts about 3,500 guests in attendance each week for its various shows.
Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, guests will be treated to the “Best in Standup,” which is a classic standup routine with a compere and four top comedic standup talent from big and small names alike. Every Wednesday, the store’s own group, The Comedy Story Players takes the stage, with six members coming in with no material and no prep, completely at the mercy of the crowd, who are waiting to see these comedians’ improv skills at work.
Every Tuesday there’s “The Cutting Edge” show at 8 p.m., a stand up show taking on pop culture and current events, from gags, songs, and joke competitions. And on the last Monday of the month, there’s the epic ‘King Gong, where anyone is invited to try their hand at being a standup comedian. Be prepared to book several months in advance as slots fill up quickly.
The inspiration behind the UK Comedy Store came after Peter Rosengard visited The Comedy Store Club in America back in 1978. He then returned to England and opened The Comedy Store in 1979 with Don Ward. The place functioned as a strip club until 1982 when Rosengard and Ward moved to Leicester Square and formally signed papers in 1985.
By 1993, in an effort to focus more on stand-up comedy, the Comedy Store moved to a new location between Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square.
The Comedy Store has launched many a comedian’s career. One of its first success stories was Alexei Sayle, who was discovered after responding to an advertisement calling for new comic talent. Keith Allen is another big comic talent as well as an actor, who often opened for rock bands like The Clash. Lee Evans also got his start at The Comedy Store, and continues to drop by the club to test out new material when he’s on tour.
American comedian Chris Rock has also stopped by The Comedy Store on more than one occasion, usually ahead of his UK tour dates, to test out his material as well. In 2011, Jerry Seinfeld made a quick surprise visit to the Comedy Store, shortly before his larger performance at the O2 Arena, much to the delight of audiences. Before he was selling out headlining tours, Stephen K. Amos was a regular at The Comedy Store, and can still occasionally be seen at the special event or benefit at his old haunt.
Comic Mike Gunn can often be seen headlining at several of the Comedy Store’s locations, in London, Manchester, and Mumbai. Legendary Irish comedian Dara O’Briain is a big shot now, selling out shows at the Hammersmith Apollo, but still drops by The Comedy Store once in awhile.