Comedy Night Out

Downstairs at the King’s Head (Crouch End Hill, London)

This week I was heading for an open mic night at the very popular, Downstairs at the King’s Head. It’s a venue really far from where I live in Notting Hill, but I wanted to see what the place was like as it’s rated as one of the best open mic spots in London by Time Out London.

Down Stairs at the Kings Head

Downstairs at the King’s Head

I met up with a friend and down we went. It was £4 to get in, so I felt more positive that the talent would be higher here especially with a 2 – 3 months waiting list to perform a 5mins set at this venue. Christ these guys must be close to pros.

The night was good, the crowd about 20 – 30, and the ceiling was incredibly low, I knew being under 6′ would come in handy. We decided to sit at the front and see if we got picked on… we did.

When the compere asked where my friend and I had met, his eyes lit up when we said ‘a comedy course’, as buckets of ammunition had just dropped onto his lap!

Whenever I listen back to my gigs, I notice that even though I can hear the laughing (or single laugh!) I sadly can’t ‘hear’ all the smiles and grins I kinda remember from the night.

I only mention this as I find myself smiling and grinning a lot when comics are doing their set. I’m really enjoying the moment, but I’m just not belly laughing. Sometimes I feel bad as I want to laugh, but I just need it to be a little bit funnier to tip me over the edge. Obviously Gods like Lee Evans and Michael McIntyre have me crying with laughter. Maybe I’m a bit of a tough cookie to crack.

That was all about to change when Laurence Tuck walked onto the stage or should I say, a beautifully woven, but slightly worn, rug. He looked like he was in quite a bit of physical pain. He then went on to explain his recent concerns and struggles. He was playing a character… well I hope he was… I sometimes struggle with ‘character comics’, as I feel I’m not really getting to know the comic.

My struggles were soon over as I was crying with laughter thoughout his whole set. It seemed to get better the deeper into the story we all went. Especially the part about his sister being kidnapped by… kidnappers! And the ransoms they demanded!

Comedian - Laurence Tuck - he calls himself Miserable, Misanthrope and Comedian of sorts

Laurence Tuck – He calls himself miserable, misanthropic, and a comedian of sorts

Next up was Milo McCabe another Character Comic playing Troy Hawk.

Comedian - Milo McCabe playing Troy Hark

Milo McCabe playing Troy Hawk

Once again I was crying with laughter all the way though his set. His energy and frustration with the disrespect shown toward ‘Little Miss’ book characters (remember Mr Men books?) was brilliant. I couldn’t believe it, a second character comic I couldn’t take my eyes off. Am I warming to this character stuff?

Christ, perhaps I should spend a bit of time writing material involving a few different extreme versions of myself and see if any characters come out. I was reading on Stephen Merchant’s website:

Figure out exactly what makes your characters tick. You need to know them inside-out. You need to know how they would react and what their opinions would be in any given situation. This is normally governed by what they want in life. What are their desires? What’s at stake for them?

I’ve emailed for an open slot, so fingers crossed. You might even see me do my first ever characters comic!


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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