A recipe for laughs – The Balham comedy festival

Last Updated on : 31st May 2016

I’m old enough to remember when comedy was the new rock and roll, something that had the nation enthralled with the antics of its stand up heroes. Well that was 30 years ago, and since then rock and roll has been dislodged from its pedestal as the nation’s favourite obsession.  Today we’re more likely to be glued to the latest antics from ‘Come dine with me,’ Bake off & Saturday Kitchen than we are to our iPods. Comedy though has not gone away and enjoys perhaps even more space in our hearts than 3 decades ago. Perhaps then we need to rethink the whole comedy as rock and roll, and look at it as the new cooking. And what better place to see some real life laughter chefs in action than at the Balham comedy festival.

Balham comedy festivalBalham comedy festivalThe festival now in its 5th year will take place at the legendary Banana cabaret in The Bedford, Balham. Running from the 8th to the 16th of July and boasting an impressive line-up of some of the UK’s most polished practitioners of the art of stand up, this I think has an act for everyone.

For me I’ve been a long-time fan of radio comic and mock the week stalwart Milton Jones. Then there’s also Marcus Brigstocke, who’s portrayal of Captain Hook in the New Wimbledon theatre’s production of Peter Pan at Christmas, I felt went someway for atoning for working (however briefly) with Esther Rantzen.

Balham comedy festival

There’s plenty more stellar names to conjure with such as Stephen K. Amos, Richard Herring (late of Lee & Herring,) Al Murray the pub landlord & headlining on Saturday the 16th Robert Newman. It was in fact Robert Newman who as part of Newman and Baddiel who kicked off the whole comedians as rock stars phenomena.

Screaming With LaughterOK this is all great for those of us who get to go out in the evenings, what about those of us tied up at home or even worse with preschool age children. Worry not as back this year Lucy Porter’s ‘Screaming with laughter’ is back. With a strict under one or over 16 age policy. This lunchtime session on Wednesday the 13th of July will give you the chance to see many mainstream TV & radio comedians in the flesh.


They will be performing their regular sets, hence the strict age limits. With an infant and mother friendly environment and a great price of just £9 to me it seems a bargain. The only stipulation is that there is at least one baby or expectant mother per party.


I think it’s great that so many accomplished performers will be descending on The Bedford in mid-summer and look forward to enjoying seeing many of them. A full list of performers can be found on the website here, & further details on ‘Screaming with laughter’ here. I look forward to cracking a grin and seeing you there.


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