Woman-friendly comedy club finally returns after pandemic closure

A comedy club which prides itself on being woman-friendly and an alternative to venues with boozy heckling is finally returning after being shut for much of the past two years due to the pandemic.

The Poodle Club, in Sydenham Road, Sydenham, known for its diverse line-up of top comics and its warm atmosphere, reopens on Friday with a season of stand-up, running until June 4.

Familiar names on the comedy circuit scheduled to appear include Ninia Benjamin, Arthur Smith, Sooz Kempner, Prince Abdi, Gordon Southern, David Mills, Ada Campe and Myra Dubois.

Poodle Club has built its reputation on presenting the best in UK comedy at its intimate, boutique venue.

With a mix of TV names, circuit regulars and new faces, the line-up often has a heavy emphasis on female, LGBTQ+ and comics of colour.

The club bills itself as a place where everyone can feel welcome and where only intolerance is not tolerated. And heckling.

Opened in 2017 by comedy veteran O Novak and her husband Darren Ball, the Poodle Club is London’s only female-owned purpose-built comedy club, offering top stand- up from diverse voices in friendly, welcoming surroundings.

Lucy Frederick at the Poodle Club (Picture: The Poodle Club)

The mature audience – which is usually two-thirds women – trust Karen to promote an equal number of male and female acts, and to raise up voices that are sometimes lost in the traditionally ‘straight male’ dominated comedy scene.

O Novak said: “Of course, two-way interaction can be part of a comedy show when a comedian initiates a conversation with the audience.

“However, random interruptions from the audience that are intended to disrupt are not welcome.

“Our audience has paid to enjoy carefully crafted material from professional comics, and a heckler can easily ruin that experience for everyone.”

Shows are every Friday and Saturday night. For line-ups and tickets click here.

From June 10-18 the club will be hosting its first annual Poodle Club Comedy Festival, presenting hour-long shows from a mix of UK comedy’s most established acts and hottest new talent, many heading to this year’s Edinburgh Festival.

Confirmed acts include cult-comic Paul Foot, Peep Show’s Isy Suttie, and festival favourites Tony Law, Arthur Smith, Shazia Mirza, Alasdair Beckett-King and Esther Manito among the 19 acts.

For Lewisham fans, local comedians Toussaint Douglas and Lucy Frederick will be premiering their latest shows.

Pictured top: Arthur Smith at the Poodle Club (Picture: The Poodle Club)


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