With established acts and a thriving fringe scene, comedy can be found in all corners of London, from the West End to pub basements. Whatever you fancy, you are certainly not spoilt for choice.
As we enter high pantomime season it is time to honour the grandest dame of them all. Barry Humphries dusts off his glitzy frocks and blue rinse wig as he embarks on his farewell tour, Eat, Pray, Laugh as our favourite female Australian, Dame Edna Everage. When most pensioners are content to watch reruns of comedy classics on television, Dame Edna returns to the comedy circuit she first hit in the 1960s when Humphries (who also acts as her manager) moved to London. Eat, Pray, Laugh plays at the London Palladium till 5th January 2014.
As one starlet winds up her career, another's is beginning to soar. Winner of Best Comedy Show at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, Bridget Christie is currently touring and now playing at the Soho Theatre till 25th January 2014. Christie's A Bic for her, mixes satire and feminism – a task not for the faint-hearted. Often female stand-ups are warned off addressing such gender specific topics so directly. However, Christie hilariously communicates the hypocrisy of both sexes' behaviour in the risky world of discussing feminism. Having already had a BBC Radio 4 series, Bridget Christie Minds the Gap and many television appearances, Christie will be one to watch in 2014.
Those willing to venture to what Dame Edna might consider the less salubrious conditions your local London pub, will find that many will be hosting top comedy acts for a single night. With top comedians in demand, many are squeezing in one more gig before the New Year. One such act is established Edinburgh Fringe performer Trevor Lock. As the brain child behind much of Russell Brand's early material, Lock has been prolific on the comedy scene for a number of years and his alternative and intelligent take on things is well worth checking out. He performs in gigs at Huckle the Barber in Shoreditch on December 14th and Paradise by Way of Kensal Green on 16th December.
Providing some comedic stability, The Comedy Store will be continuing to offer its usual weekly programme, showcasing a variety of known and new stand-ups along with its acclaimed improvisation group, The Comedy Store Players, headed by Have I Got News for You's, Paul Merton. In addition to this usual repertoire it will be seeing out the year with three nights dedicated to 2013 with its Review of the Year with six established stand-ups each night, including Ian Stone, Steve Gribbon and Paul Thorne.
To more serious matters now – well, as serious as they can get in comedy. The Vaudeville Theatre is hosting a new satirical play, The Duck House till 29th March 2014. Based on the 2009 MP's expense scandal it refers to real case examples, making light of the serious and gross misconduct of those running the country. Written by Dan Patterson – famous for working on the Channel 4 favourite Whose Line Is It Anyway? – and Colin Swash – a regular writer for Have I Got News for You – The Duck House will surely leave the tax-paying audience in stitches.
Fortunately, Aladdin has arrived accompanied by the Genie of the Ring played by Jo Brand at The New Wimbledon Theatre, which runs till 12th January 2014. Notorious for her adult humour, Brand may seem an unusual choice but lest we forget, panto is not just for children (oh yes it is!) it's for adults too.
With such a mix of acts on offer, there is plenty to provide you with a "Ho ho ho" as we approach Christmas. So don't be a Scrooge, enjoy what London has to offer and make the most of all this Christmas comedy cheer.