As I’ve come to learn, living in London can be pretty expensive. That’s why when you find free attractions you can’t pass them up!
A friend told me a little while ago about a comedy night in Stratford of all places and that it was free. She said the comedians were pretty decent as well and for a free comedy night that is about the last thing I’d expect.
But with pay day so far in the distance it’s time for me to start embracing free entertainment, plus I thought I could handle sitting in second hand embarrassment for a while if the acts turned out to be awful.
I met my friend outside the gloriously bright Westfield and we walked through the sad little Stratford centre which is pitifully right across the road. There were little homies skating inside the mall, and they’d set up courses for themselves using tipped over rubbish bins as obstacles for their skating course! It felt really weird walking through like we might get mugged in the mall!
The theatre royal is right outside of one of the exits of the Stratford center and as one of the comedians was to later point out, that is perhaps one of the best uses of the old mall.
It seemed quite full when we first got in but it soon turned out that the massive crowd were just getting their drinks before they went next door to a different act which cost actual money! So they left and the lounge bar emptied out and we were able to get a table in a strategically convenient location. Close enough to the bar, and just far away from the stage so we wouldn't be picked on by the comedians.
The drinks were really cheap so the night only cost me £3.00 all up!
The MC started off the night and went round the crowd asking for everyone's life story it seemed. I was all prepared to reel off an elaborate story if he got round to our table, but he passed by us so it seemed that our location scouting was successful.
The first comedian was a quirky older woman who was pretty funny in a really self deprecating manner. The second guy was from Glasgow and had a really thick accent but imitated English and American accents really well and had a really dry, pessimistic humour. After the first two there was a short break and I was pleasantly surprised with the night so far. After the break there was a hilarious gay guy whose jokes consisted of mainly homosexual anecdotes and making fun of boroughs of London. One of his best bits was the way he pronounced his nearest tube stop, Oval as “O’vaal”.
Next up was an American woman who was just plain awful. From the moment she started it was just uncomfortable nervous laughter all round which quickly faded out to shifting in seats and looking around at other people as if to say “Is this woman for real?”.
She just lacked any originality and genuinely seemed as though she was one joke away from a nervous breakdown. Her content was all about her painful divorce from her cheating husband and her son with autism. It didn’t feel so much like a comedy act as a talk at a fundraising event.
Thankfully, she seemed to be aware of the speed at which she was just crashing and finished up and the MC came on and doused the fire, throwing out a few jokes to liven us up again. The finishing act was absolutely hilarious and I was just cracking myself laughing. One of his best jokes was about the UK three point plugs and how they’re Britains best achievement. He also cracked us all up talking about the Stratford centre and how it is like a cockroach that just won’t die.
Apart from the one failure the comedy was top notch and I’ll definitely be going back, free comedy, cheap drinks and good laughs who could say no to that?
So afterwards we made our way back through the Stratford Centre which had now turned into a homeless shelter! There were several people camped out on the floor and on the chairs sleeping and still the little homies skating. It’s so bizarre, it reminded me of the old mall described in Gylian Flynn's “Gone girl”
If I haven’t freaked you out with the description of the Stratford center and you don’t mind travelling out to East London, definitely go and check it out on Monday’s at 8pm. It’s a great way to start off the week.