Learn it, practice it or maybe just watch it
On a scale of one to Lee Evans, how sweaty would you get if you had to do stand up? Some people thrive off it though — and we're not talking about the packed out stadium sorts — we're talking about the people who do it for the love, tickling tums with the funs on the small stages, of the backrooms, in the pub corners. Could you do it? Learning stand up is said to be incredible both for professional and personal confidence. Get lessons, then get practice, or just leave the gut-jiggling entirely to other folks at the following spots.
It turns out you can teach laughs. No one is making guarantees on your post-lesson chortle count but there is a process with bullet points, handouts and everything. Find Your Funny with comedian James Cook's seven-week programme where you'll develop a short routine. It finishes with an optional showcase at the Hare & Hounds, where Frank Skinner, Sarah Millican and Josie Long have all appeared. No pressure then. Starting April 27, book by April 1 and it's £90.
MAC also deals in teaching stand up, with two-hour sessions led by Karen Bayley over twelve weeks. Term begins on April 20 and it's £104 for a spot. Or, a more general look at improv is an option, with a ten-weeker by comedic sorts, Fat Penguin, starting April 1 (£180) in Stirchley-town. The team also offers taster sessions at Moseley's Pat Kav on Mondays so you can work out what you're getting yourself into. The first session is free.
Now you know what you're doing, the open mic circuit awaits. The Holly Bush in Cradley Heath has a strong rep for laughs, with a mix of the established and the rather newer standing up on Thursdays. Every fortnight, the gig is open to anyone and everyone but do get in touch in advance if you want a spot. Closer to town, The Gunmakers' Arms has events like this one on Monday (Feb 17) and invites newbies to pitch for a slot.
As your LOL-ometer reaches new levels of mercury and you get to know the scene, it's time to consider new material nights, like the ones organised by Useful Idiot Company. The line-ups for the free to attend eves are organised by the company, with jokes landing (or not) for the very first time at Loki Edgbaston on Mondays (more) and The Good Intent on Tuesdays (more). Project Mayhem also puts on a rotating stand-up night, next at Boston Tea Party, Harborne on Feb 16.
And if you're at the watching rather than doing stage, let us point you in the direction of one of the many comedy nights for the viewing around Brum. You'll find Kamikaze Club curated laughs at 1000 Trades on Feb 19, which based on the success of their first night in the JQ is highly worthy of a stop-in. From 8pm, the now monthly event is free, though contributions to the bucket collection will no doubt go down well with the ents.
For well-priced, ticketed viewing, Comedy in the Attic (£5) is a new bi-monthlyish bit of Stirchville cheer at Attic Brew Co by The Laughing Sole. Their previous night sold out weeks ahead so get on it if you want to see Chris Day (April 9). In Stirchley proper, Artefact's got a night of funny on Feb 20 and it's £5 for a seat. Or back in town, Cherrybomb (£8) at Cherry Reds gets huge creds for atmosphere and comic quality. Will sell out.
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