Now entering its 17th year of entertaining audiences in Cambridge, Jesterlarf is the longest-running comedy club in the city. Countless comedians have appeared at the club, many of whom are big names on the UK’s comedy circuit. Micky Flanagan, Alan Carr, Michael McIntyre and Katherine Ryan have all performed here, along with a multitude of other famous favourites.
Always open to giving opportunities to emerging comedy talent, the Jesterlarf Comedy Club has given new act slots to the likes of Kevin Bridges, Sarah Millican and John Bishop. Based at Cambridge Junction since 2007 after outgrowing its original location at the Grad Pad, the club has played host to nearly all of today’s top comedians over the years. The very first show at the club back in 2003 featured then-unknown act Russell Howard, as well as Gary Delaney performing a five-minute try-out slot. For the last 12 years, the club has also run the annual Cambridge Comedy Festival, with plans for this year’s festival currently underway.
But it isn’t always such plain sailing for the club. Last-minute cancellations, airport altercations and unexpected encounters are all in a day’s work for Jesterlarf director, Andy White. He recalls some of the most dramatic moments: “I was once let down by my headline act at 5pm on the day of a show because they’d got so drunk the night before they’d overslept and were still stuck in Cardiff. I telephoned Micky Flanagan to see if he could step in and help me out. Although he was very hungover, he hopped on the train and came to do the gig for me last minute, performing one of the funniest stand-up routines I’ve ever seen.”
He adds: “Another time, Michael Winslow – the amazing voice artist from the Police Academy films – was supposed to be performing at the Cambridge Comedy Festival. He’d flown in from Florida the day of his show, however, he had some missing paperwork and immigration at Heathrow wouldn’t let him into the country. I had to spend 45 minutes on the phone at 5am pleading with immigration not to deport him.”
And sometimes, the unexpected strikes. “My mate from Glasgow bumped into a young, talented new act on the train and got his number so he could come and play at the club,” says Andy. “He did – and he was sensationally funny. That new act was Kevin Bridges, who in my opinion, is one of the most naturally funny comedians there’s ever been.”
Determined to continue bringing you the best live comedy acts that the UK’s prestigious comedy circuit has to offer, the Jesterlarf Comedy Club isn’t going anywhere any time soon. You can catch monthly comedy shows at Cambridge Junction, along with unusual act offerings and new talent nights. The next show at the club is on Friday 7 February, presenting the very best comedians and possible future stars of tomorrow. The show starts at 8.30pm, with tickets available to purchase from the Cambridge Junction box office or via Jesterlarf’s website.