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Review: Top Secret Comedy Club

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Lucy Warden, MA Near and Middle Eastern Studies

Situated a short walk from Covent Garden, I wasn’t sure what to expect as I was ushered into the basement of a dingy building on Drury Lane, having only paid a pound for a pleasurable evening of riotous skits and jokes courtesy of the Top Secret Comedy Club. After the fact, I can say with unabridged honesty it was one of the weirdest shows I have ever had the fortune or misfortune to experience.

Before I continue, I should explain that Monday nights at the Top Secret Comedy Club are designated for new material, hence the thrifty price tag of only a pound. It also has the double bonus of hearing fantastic new jokes before they are unleashed on the wider, and higher paying, public, and if the material is truly dreadful, laughing at the comedians themselves as their jokes bellyflop off the stage.

To my great excitement the first act turned out to be none other than Rich Hall; a uniquely grouchy American from the Deep South, who after taking a little time to warm up, was everything his reputation promised him to be. Excluding some rather risqué comments about Islam and Christianity that would definitely have caused outrage to the general SOASian public, the following acts were so forgettable I can’t even remember their names. The final act, proceeding from some pretty spaced out observations of crab behaviour, was a Canadian comedian called Bobby Mair. I sat in a state of terrified disbelief during his 15 minutes of singularly the craziest ravings I have ever witnessed, from a man which words cannot do justice to his weirdness. All I can say that it was a very very big mistake to sit so near the front row.

Overall, a pound is a very reasonable price to pay to see a few of the best, and many of the worst, comedians on the British comedy scene. With acts changing every week, cheap drinks, and a highly excitable host, I would cautiously recommend Monday nights at the Top Secret Comedy Club as cheap entertainment for fellow SOAS students, as long as they were fully aware that it is very much hit and miss., 170 Drury Lane, WC2B 5P

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