Comedy Night Out

Angel Raw @ The Camden Head (Angel, London)

One thing I must get into the habit of doing is visiting each venue before I perform there as last time was a bit of a cock up!

I also need to get into the habit of watching much more stand up comedy, full stop.

I’ve realised there’s loads to learn from just watching other comics on stage (not DVDs), especially in regards to how they interact with the audience, or fail to. Why certain things get a massive laugh, whilst other things receive a concerned look from the crowd. How they enter the stage and leave. The first things they say. How quickly they can get the crowd to laugh and realise the comic is funny. How long comics explain stuff, and whether that build-up pays off with a big laugh or a slight feeling of frustration as the crowd feel they have been cheated!

With all this in mind, and the fact I have an open spot booked on the 9th March at the Camden Head, I headed into Angel where the Camden Head was putting on its regular Sunday night ‘Angel Raw’ with host Barry Ferns. The venue has been said to be one of the top open mic spots in London via TimeOut London.

Barry - Compere @ Angel Raw in the Camden Head in Angel

Barry Ferns — Compere @ Angel Raw in the Camden Head in Angel

We were advised to get to the venue at 7.30pm, which we did, but when we arrived it was quite quiet. So we got and drink and casually walked upstairs to where the comedy was kicking off at 8pm.

Holy shit balls! The room where the comedy was held was rammed!

There were people everywhere. We had to start pushing past people at the entrance door! All 50 seats were taken with people leasing out the backs of the chairs for the standing audience to put their coats.

As we got to the back of the room we realised the seventeen layers we were wearing, which had been essential to get to the venue as it was -20C outside in March, were now slowly melting us, with the heat in the room from all the bodies building to insane sauna-like levels.

Host for the evening, Barry Ferns, appeared from nowhere and started the night off. I’m always very interested in comperes and how they work the crowd. On previous nights at other locations, I’d felt like the night had little to do with the open mic comics, and were more like ‘The compere’s one man show’, who would occasionally invite a random 5 min stand-up onto the stage, only to kick them back off if they got too many laughs!

Luckily Barry Ferns is a natural, within seconds the audience are all laughing away and had all forgotten they were sweating continuously. Well, apart from 2 – 3 Americans who seemed to be talking at exactly the same time as Barry. They actually continued this throughout the whole night, which I have to admit was rude and bloody annoying. But this just gave Barry plenty of material, which we all happily lapped up.

Supposedly in America the stand up comic’s mic is turned up so loud, you can have someone next to you having a full on argument without being disturbed! I feel that if you go to watch comedy, you should just go and watch comedy! If you have something to say, there’s a mic at the front waiting for you…

Anyway back to the night. I did a quick head count, and after 11 attempts, I counted approximately 120 people in the room!

120 people in a rather warm room of joy

120 people in a rather warm room of joy

Christ, my 1st gig was to 16 people, my 2nd was to 50, and now it looks like I could be performing to 120 next week in my 4th!

If I have done my sums correctly, at the rate the crowd is currently multiplying from gig to gig, I should be performing to the whole universe within the year!

The night was great, the comics were very funny and everyone looked relaxed and in control as they performed they pieces. There was plenty of variety with one guy singing about his mate being under the thumb, another questioning the 3 second rule with food, one claiming to be a lot like Jesus and finally not forgetting a 17yr old who explained the universe through physics on his t-shirt.

Angel Raw - Kid explain the universe in Physics - he wasn't even a comic!

Angel Raw — Kid explaining the universe through the medium of clothing — he wasn’t even a comic!

Shit… next week. I better be funny!

If you want a great FREE night out, go the the Camden Head in Angel for some comedy. It’s worth every penny.


Dan Tambling is a stand-up comedian, sketch comedy writer, actor and producer of ‘12 sketches in a London house’. This is his blog.


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