Stand up comedy in Hampshire: 7 great venues

Romesh Ranganathan

Romesh Ranganathan - Credit: Archant

Hampshire is fit to bursting with great comedy venues, Claire Pitcher vists some of the best places to see stand up across the county

The Mayflower, Southampton

Built in 1928, The Mayflower (as it is known now) was once the Empire, before changing to Gaumont, and has always been a hub for entertainment. The theatre has had its ups and downs, but has always welcomed the best names and shows, from musicals and plays to musicians and comedians. Already this year audiences have laughed along with the likes of Frankie Boyle and coming up on May 8 2016, Julian Clary will be celebrating 30 years as a camp comedian on his ‘The Joy of Mincing Tour’.

Tickets: Call the box office on 02380 711811 or visit

Jongleurs Portsmouth & Southampton

Down on Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, Jongleurs opens its doors every Saturday to welcome upcoming stand up acts, and is this year celebrating 30 years of bringing laughter to towns across the UK. Over the years, now well-established celebrity comics graced many a small stage, including Phil Jupitus and Lee Mack in 1997 and Eddie Izzard and Paul Merton in 1987. For the line-up on who’s in Portsmouth until the end of June and to book tickets see

Southampton Jongleurs at Oceana, West Quay Road, also welcomes the upcoming stars on a Saturday night

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Jan Jack’s Laughter-House

Comedy isn’t just reserved for the big theatres, established clubs and national arenas, some of the best gigs can be found at smaller venues in the county, such as Jan Jack’s Laughter-House in Basingstoke. It was founded in October 2007 by Jan Jack, who wandered into Basingstoke’s Red Lion Hotel and asked them if they fancied running a comedy night with her. Since then she’s never looked back and Laughter House has a fantastic reputation on the circuit. They regularly attract acts from Live at the Apollo and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow. “Clubs like ours provide a truly intimate comedy experience. Comedians love small, well run clubs where the audience genuinely loves comedy,” says Jan.

Tickets: Book online at

The Anvil, Basingstoke

Built by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in 1994, The Anvil has welcomed plenty of famous faces of comedy in the last 12 years. Not forgetting those who’ve appeared at the sister venue, The Haymarket.

Tickets: Book online at

Winchester Theatre Royal

Presenting up to 200 performances a year, attracting over 70,000 visitors, Winchester’s cultural venue stages everything from art exhibitions and lectures to musicals and, of course, comedy acts. The theatre itself is in a very old building, which used to be a hotel back when it was first opened in 1850. It wasn’t until 1912 that it was transformed into a theatre.

Tickets: Book online at or call 01962 840440

The Harlington, Fleet

Each month The Harlington puts on Stand Up for Saturday Comedy Club, welcoming a fantastic array of live comedy entertainment. Tickets sell out fast, so make sure you book up for future dates. Most recently, comedians have included Ben Norris, Jen Brister, Quincy and James Redmond.

Tickets: Visit or call 01252 811009

Farnborough Comedy Club

The Comedy Club is actually based at the Aviator Hotel and, as you can imagine, they bring their own style. You could enjoy the Brasserie Meal and stand-up show with three top comedians (as seen on TV), with your waitress serving you at a candle lit table. The next show is on the April 8 with Bryan Lacey and Kevin McCarthy.

Tickets: Cost £15 and can be booked on 01252 531770

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