London comedy NEWS!
This week's parish notices include the return of Lee Hurst and his Bethnal Green venue, Simon Munnery, the 99 Club and more
• Prickly cockney stand-up Lee Hurst (left) has revealed the first dates at his newly built Bethnal Green club. Hurst will be performing his new show Too Scared To Leave the House on February 10 at his own Backyard Comedy Club, as part of a UK tour. The venue is reverting to its old name when it opens in January/February 2013, after its previous incarnation, the stupidly named FymFygBar, was bulldozed in December 2010 to make way for a Travelodge. Hurst's new Backyard will be part of the Travelodge building.
• The original newbies contest, New Act of the Year (the NATYs), is open for business for 2013, with heats taking place in November/December at the Rich Mix Studios in Bethnal Green. The final will take place at Bloomsbury Theatre on January 27, hosted as ever by Arthur Smith. To register for auditions, email Tony Goodrick on firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous finalists include Linda Smith, Harry Hill, Stewart Lee, Ardal O’Hanlon, Ronnie Ancona and Simon Pegg.
• Octopoid number-based live comedy franchise the 99 Club has opened its eighth London venue. It has taken over comedy duties at the Seven Dials club in Covent Garden from previous seat-warmers 7 On Red, and will be putting on Saturday night shows for £15 entry. The line-ups look reliably solid, with Mowten the resident MC, and in the coming weeks you can see Kerry Godliman, Bob Mills and Imran Yusuf among others. Click here for full listings as they stand.
• If you have seen this month's top 20 gigs list, you will have seen that Peter Cook's The Establishment club is returning to Soho, in what would have been his 75th birthday year. It promises "hardcore comedy and cabaret acts", with national treasure Keith Allen hosting and Private Eye columnist Victor Lewis-Smith taking a regular slot as well. The first The Establishment gigs take place at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club on September 19 and 20. Full listing and booking info here.
• Alternative comedy hero Simon Munnery will be performing his wonderful, abstract comedy show La Concepta near Soho during October. The non-dining restaurant that offers "all rigmarole of haute cuisine without the shame of eating" will be on Kingly Street, just off Regent Street, and can accommodate eight non-diners per show. The "conceptual dishes" include plates of "art, jokes, props, aphorisms, audio installations and choreographed dance". Full listings and booking info here.