Laughing ’til we’re red in the face

Sarah Jones on Red Imp Comedy Club’s Edinburgh preview season

Ye Olde Rose & Crown

Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub in Hoe Street, Walthamstow

Stop the papers, cancel the milk and block out the diary because if it’s July then it must be Edinburgh preview season and whether it’s Mark Thomas, Kerry Godliman, Shappi Khorsandi or Richard Herring that make you laugh out loud, comedy is the new rock’n’roll and Waltham Forest has it in spades.

Susan Murray’s widely acclaimed Red Imp Comedy Club at Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, has announced another bumper mini-comedy festival for the fifth year running to include previews, work in progress, and one ‘best of’ to form another richly varied season.

Susan, a fabulously funny MC, comedian and writer with perhaps the best contact book on the circuit, has brought a veritable Smörgåsbord of world-class comedy greats to Walthamstow in recent years, including legends such as Barry Cryer, Stewart Lee, Alan Carr, Omid Djallili, Tim Vine, Micky Flanagan, and Phill Jupitus, through to younger stars such as Sara Pascoe and Josh Widdicombe. It has earned Red Imp great reviews, including this mention recently in Time Out: “Catch some of the best names in comedy in the super intimate setting upstairs at the Rose and Crown.”

Super intimate is a reasonable description, and the room has been known to get a little warm. But regular ‘Impers’ will be thrilled to learn there is no need for the dozens of paper plates cut in half and handed out to act as impromptu fans this season.

“We’re hiring air con for the first time this year,” said Susan. “Central Estates have kindly decided to sponsor us for it, so that should make it more comfortable for everybody and hopefully it won’t be too noisy either. We’re quite excited about that.”

Rightly proud of Red Imp’s reputation, Susan only books the very best – and these are not necessarily always the biggest names. She is passionately keen to provide a platform for lesser known comedians as well as emerging talent: “I would love our punters to have a look at the less known names such as Beth Black, an utterly hilarious Goth; Sean Meo, an evil genius; and Carey Marx, a dark, hilarious, 45-year-old heart attack survivor.

“They won’t be disappointed if they go off piste.”

As a regular myself I’d wholeheartedly agree, but in the meantime here’s this year’s fabulous Edinburgh preview line-up.

5th July Arthur Smith & Jo Jo Smith

6th July Mark Thomas

7th July Lucy Porter and Phil Nicol

8th July Bridget Christie and John Gordillo

9th July Simon Munnery and Beth Black

11th July Mitch Ben and Sean Meo

12th July Shappi Khorsandi and Alexis Dubus

13th July Richard Herring

14th July Kerry Godliman and Sarah Kendall

15th July Zoe Lyons and Carey Marx

16th July Stephen K Amos and Addy Borgh

For more information and to book tickets: