College Arms in Store Street
The College Arms in Store Street has free stand-up comedy every Monday night. Picture courtesy of Paul Wilkinson.

By Laughing Boy

My next door neighbour thinks life on earth began 6,000 years ago in Dubrovnik. He’s a Croationist.

This is just one of the many thousands of jokes that have been told to the audience of Comedy at the College, the long running stand up comedy night that takes place every Monday night downstairs at the College Arms on Store Street.

This night has been taken over by a new team – Rufus Penzance, who also performs as one half of the surreal duo Man Buy Cow, covering topics from chat up lines to chocolate testicles; Leo Kearse, an ebullient Scot who finds the ridiculous in everything from hoover design to aggressive begging; and Shane Mallon, a hyperactive live wire who wrings laughs from his past as a professional boxer and ice cream man.

This team run successful nights elsewhere but wanted a place where they could hand pick the most promising and eclectic breakthrough acts from the circuit and give them a place to develop material that might not go down with the crowds of beery lads at mainstream comedy clubs.

That said, there are plenty of unrefined belly laughs to go round: “Please wash your hands after using the payphone in the hall; I overheard one of the comedians saying he was going to use his dictaphone tonight. I did ask him to use his fingers instead”

There is also a regular Gong Show night, where comedians get gonged off as soon as the audience are bored of them. Whoever lasts 5 minutes goes into a joke-off at the end, with the audience’s favourite winning a bottle of champagne!

So far, acts who have played include award winners and TV stars (well ‘stars’ might be stretching it a bit, does ITV4 count?) including Mark Restuccia, Chris Dangerfield, Celia Paquola, Sanderson Jones and Apocalypso.

Best of all, entry is completely free. And there are couches!

Comedy at the College – every Monday at 8-10pm at the College Arms, 18 Store Street. For listings see: (There’s no comedy on the 27 Dec and 3 Jan while we unwrap our presents.)

Photograph of College Arms reproduced with permission of Paul Wilkinson.