All about Top Secret Comedy Club!
How we got started:
Our first venue was in the Africa Centre (A semi derelict community centre formally in the heart of Covent Garden). I was renting a basement storage space, on behalf of the Street Performers of Covent Garden, where we kept all of our props; unicycles, tight ropes, juggling, escape and acrobatic equipment. Weirdly, the building was almost empty. After running a tiny open mic night at the Queens Head in Denman Street, with a capacity of around 25 people I decided that a disused restaurant down the corridor from our storage space could make a great little comedy club.
After a 6 month campaign of badgering emails, the ‘trusties’ of the Africa Centre (who in the end could not be trusted and sold the building!) kindly allowed me to rent a small part of the building and I set up a weekly stand up comedy night each Friday. We bought bottled beers, spirits and soft drinks from Tesco’s at the end of King Street, and used the Africa Centre license to set up our own little bar in the space. Our flyers announced comedy and all drinks at £1.50! We funnelled as many people as we could in from the streets with the flyers and from my street show on the West Piazza juggling chainsaws every Friday Night. The Top Secret Comedy Club was born! We had no website!
It went so well (despite my appalling but stubborn weekly attempts at hosting) that I immediately started pestering the trustees with more emails to open more days. 6 months later I was allowed to extended to Fridays and Saturdays. 6 months more of pleading emails and I was allowed to rent the space from Wed-Saturday and then after another protracted negotiation (coincidently 6 months!) I was allowed to rent on a monthly basis and open every night! A year and half since our first night and we had ourselves a full time stand up comedy club!
Two years later, (Three and a half years into our life… just when Top Secret Comedy Club was a vulnerable toddler) the Africa Centre trusties announced that we had to close with 2 weeks notice, that they had sold the building… wow!!
Luckily I found someone who was in as desperate a situation as I was; with his new restaurant and almost completely un-used basement, we saved his ass and he saved ours, the patron Saint of Top Secret; Mohamed of Cafe Mode. On the strength of a handshake and a bit of paper that my mate Gary (who had a law degree from Oxford, but who had never practiced) drew up, we paid Mo a chuck of money and a monthly sum and made his empty basement our new home!
Two and a half years later we bought the lease from Mohamed for all the money we ever made. (yea!? he screwed us!! but thats ok!) We had our own club in our own building!! hurray!!
Where we are now:
We have two comedy venues a smaller venue on the ground floor seating 145 and a banging basement space for big shows with a 220 capacity. We use both venues when we sell out, which we seem to more and more these days. Its the same show in the two rooms, with Comics running up and down the stairs between sets!
We are supported by the very best stand up comedians in the U.K. with regular big name drop ins who like to use our venues to work on new material for tours or sets for TV. Dangerously inexpensive bar too! We have the highest rating of any comedy club in the U.K. on Trip Advisor and on Google Reviews, please take a look at what the 100’s of people who have visited our place and experienced the shows have to say on TripAdvisor or Google+.
Because we are renowned for the best young and vibrant crowds on the stand up comedy venue scene: AMY SCHUMER, ANDI OSHO, ANDY PARSONS, AISLING BEA, AZIZ ANSARI, BRIDGET CHRISTIE, DALISO CHAPONDA, DARA O BRIAIN, DAVE CHAPPELLE, CHRIS ROCK, DYLAN MORAN, EDDIE IZZARD, ELLIE TAYLOR, HOLLY WALSH, JACK WHITEHALL, JASON MANFORD, JEFF GARLIN, JEFF ROSS, JOHN BISHOP, JAMALI MADDIX, JOEL DOMMETT, JUDAH FREELANDER, KATHERINE RYAN, KERRY GODLIMAN, KEVIN BRIDGES, LEE NELSON, LOUIS CK, LOUISA OMIELAN, MICKY FLANAGAN, MICHAEL MCINTYRE, PAUL CHOWDHRY, REGINALD D HUNTER, RICH HALL, ROB BECKETT, ROMESH RANGANATHAN, ROSS NOBLE, RUSSELL HOWARD, SARA PASCOE, SEANN WALSH, SIMON AMSTELL, STEPHEN MERCHANT, TOM ALLEN, TREVOR NOAH have all come down and jumped on stage to work out new jokes and practice sets before they go on tours or TV gigs etc.
Top Secret Comedy Club has the best Stand up Comedians in the world and the U.K. “popping in” to try out new stuff all the time. Which means you get to see the hottest comedians in the intimate setting of a live Stand up Comedy Club.
Top Secret Comedy Club is rated as the best comedy club in the country on Trip Advisor and Google reviews so you know you will be well looked after and treated to an awesome night of the best stand up comedy this side of the atlantic.
With all of this it’s easy to see why we are no longer a Top Secret Comedy Club.
Our main shows on Monday to Thursday start at 8:00pm and finish around 10:15pm/10:30pm.
On Fridays we have three shows: the Early Show at 7pm until 8;30pm, the Late Show from 9pm until 10:30pm and the Late Late Show from 11:15pm.
On Saturdays we have four shows: the Afternoon Show at 3:30pm until 5pm, the Early Show at 6pm until 7:30pm, the Late Show from 8:00pm until 10:15pm and the Late Late Show from 10:45pm.
On Sundays, we have 2 shows at 5.00pm and 7.30pm.
We are open every day (except 3 days over Christmas). Mondays is New Material night, with 6 professional comedians trying out some freshly baked gags. On Tuesdays we have Nico Yearwood hosting with 3-4 comedians doing longer club sets. Wednesdays is a fresh new material night (like Monday), Thursday, Friday and Saturday is business as usual, with stand-up shows featuring the best of London’s stand up comedy scene (plus frequent Celebrity Guests). Sunday night ends the week with another Nico Yearwood hosted show (like Tuesday) with the best acts on the circuit.
Before our main shows between 6:00pm and 7.15pm Monday to Thursday, Saturday at 2:00pm and 3:00pm on Sunday, we let acts use the venue to work on their solo shows that will be going on tour, to the Edinburgh Festival, the Adelaide Comedy Festival and other majors comedy festivals around the world. You can see these shows in development and help shape the shows. Most shows are free or low cost with the option to donation after the show.