The office jokers

Danny Robins on the comedy venue in a disused office block

I’m about to do a show in a very unusual venue. I can confidently say that I am the first comedian ever to perform there. You see this venue didn’t even exist until recently. Yet, brilliantly, it’s slap bang right in the middle of London’s West End.

From the outside it looks like an ordinary office block on Regents Street, moments from Oxford Circus. You are buzzed through and there’s a security guard behind a desk who signs you in. So far, so boring and normal. Then, magic happens. You turn a corner and, rather as if you were going into some sort of theatrical Narnia, you find yourself in a really atmospheric theatre, compete with stage, proscenium arch and lots of nice twinkly lights.

It’s all come about because some intrepid theatrical entrepreneurs called Theatre Delicatessen happened to hear that the office space was lying unused thanks to the recession and asked if they could use it for theatre productions.

Now, they’re having their first comedy festival, Tis The Season To Be Jolly as F**k. As well as me, the likes of Rob Rouse, Adam Bloom, Will Smith and Dan Antopolski will be strutting their stuff, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street Christmas shopping. I’m hoping that enraged shoppers sick of crowds and fighting over bargains will come and laugh the Oxford Street blues out of their system.

I guess it’s ‘pop up comedy’ in the same way as you hear about these ‘pop up restaurants’ where people just suddenly start serving dinners in a random space. You hear quite a bit these days about ‘guerrilla gigs’ where people do music or comedy in an unusual space like a library, someone’s living room or a tube train (surely that’s just busking?), but the beauty of this is that it’s actually a proper working theatre, just in a totally unpredictable and hidden space.

This will be the first time I’ve been on stage in quite a while. I’ve actually only done two gigs all year, having spent most of 2009 writing and doing TV and radio programmes. I’m a bit nervous going back, but I like the fact that I’m doing it at Christmas when, in theory, the audience should be full of warmth and goodwill to all men.

I’ve always thought Christmas seems a slightly strange time to do comedy. You feel like you should be wearing a dress and saying ‘oh no he isn’t, oh yes he is’. Or at the very least wrapping some tinsel round the mic stand. Actually, I’ll probably do that – the tinsel bit, not the dress.

My show is DJ Danny’s Xmas Megamix, so I’ll be chucking in some special festive mixes and also unleashing on the world my very own attempt at making a Christmas No 1. I’ve been quite obsessed with the idea of having a Christmas No 1 ever since I was a kid.

I don’t think it really counts for as much now in the age of the download and anyway, we know it will be some warbling pie-faced loon from X Factor, but I’ll still be quite happily doing my version in the quirky surroundings of my own private theatre on Regent Street. Why not join me?

  • Danny Robins: DJ Danny Xmas Megamix will be at Theatre Delicatessen, 295 Regent Street, on December 6 and 8.

Published: 29 Nov 2009

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.