Why Leeds is great if you're into comedy
University life can be challenging at times. Multiple deadlines, difficult assignments and being away from your family can mean that sometimes you’re in need of a good laugh. Luckily, Leeds is a place where you can find a thriving comedy scene – from famous comedians hosting sell-out gigs in the arena, to intimate shows, funky venues and aspiring new talent.
Take a look through this list to see why Leeds is for you if you are a comedy fan!
Where to watch comedy in Leeds
First Direct Arena
Leeds’ arena seats a whopping 13,500 people and as well as attracting music superstars, it also welcomes many of the worlds’ funniest comedians too. In recent years, visitors have included Michael McIntyre, Ricky Gervais, Jason Manford and the Impractical Jokers - to name just a few. In addition to the huge sell-out shows, the arena also runs a monthly comedy night, ‘Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club’. These shows feature four professional comics (many recognisable ones from TV) and are well-known for being hilarious. Jason Manford, Sarah Millican and John Bishop all performed on Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club nights before they hit the big time - proof that the shows feature awesome acts.
Leeds Grand Theatre
Leeds Grand is something a little bit special. Built in 1876, this beautiful historic venue hosts opera, West-End shows, music and of course, comedy. Hosting around 1,500 people, it’s perfect for providing a buzzing atmosphere. Dawn French, Alan Carr and Russell Howard have all appeared here in recent years, with many more well-known acts planned in for 2020, such as Russell Kane.
Leeds Comedy Cabaret Club
This is Leeds’ newest comedy club, based in the heart of Leeds city centre. It’s open every Saturday night and guarantees an excellent show featuring award-winning comedians. Grab yourself some food, enjoy the show and then relax in their cocktail bar afterwards. Interestingly, the team behind the club were the first people to give Lee Nelson a gig and the first to give paid work to Alan Carr – they clearly know somebody who’s funny when they see them.
Student tip: Student tickets for Leeds Comedy Cabaret Club cost just £5, so it’s a great way to have a night out with friends and be sure you’re seeing a quality show.
Leeds Town Hall
Leeds Town Hall is a spectacular venue. Built in 1853 and maintaining many of its original period features, you’re sure to be impressed before the show has even started. The Town Hall attracts some pretty famous names, with upcoming acts including Jimmy Carr, Josh Widdicombe and Eddie Izzard. It’s also in the perfect position to wander down to Greek Street (one of Leeds’ liveliest streets crammed with bars and restaurants) afterwards and sip on a few cocktails.
Leeds City Varieties is another legendary venue. It’s a Victorian hall which plays host to many different plays, musicians and comedians from all over the world. It’s tucked away just off of Briggate, Leeds’ main shopping street. In fact, it’s so tucked away that you’d be forgiven for walking right past it! Once you’re in however, you’ll wonder why you’ve never visited before. Upcoming acts include Shappi Khorsandi, Jason Manford and Micky P Kerr.
The quirky, underground HiFi Club hosts Yorkshire’s longest running independent comedy night. It’s been going for almost 20 years, so you can be sure it’s going to be good! It runs every Saturday night and costs just £15 to see several different acts. It’s also conveniently located just across the road from Call Lane, meaning you can continue the party afterwards at one of Leeds’ many bars and clubs. Past acts at HiFi include Alan Carr, Russell Howard, John Bishop and Katherine Ryan.
The Original Oak
This pub in Headingley is a firm student favourite. As well as hosting regular comedy nights, it also has karaoke and a huge beer garden for when the sun makes an appearance. Their ‘House of fun’ comedy evening is a monthly affair, and it’s billed as one of the best value comedy nights in the country! It’s another which has been going for over 20 years, which means they’ve nailed the art of attracting an amazing line-up. The ‘House of fun’ comedy evening also appears at The Wardrobe in Leeds city centre.
Student tip: If you’re heading for a night of comedy at the Original Oak, definitely grab a bite to eat at I am Doner afterwards. You won’t regret it!