Comedy club rapped over dodgy ads

ASA rules claims could not be stood up

A London comedy club has been told to change its dodgy advertising after watchdogs ruled that claims that it offered award-winning comedians every night could not be substantiated.

The nights – simply called ‘The Comedy Club’ and run in Holborn’s Kingsway Hall Hotel – advertised ‘award-winning comedy’ and further claimed: ‘Every night we have acts from TV and Bafta nominated shows.’

However the Advertising Standards Authority said those claims could not be stood up and that the shows featured ‘less well-known performers’.

‘We considered consumers would understand the claim "Award Winning Comedy" to mean that the advertised show had won a number of awards,’ the watchdogs ruled. ‘Because we had seen no evidence to demonstrate that, we concluded that the claim was misleading.

In its damning ruling, published today, they also said the suggestion about Bafta-nominated acts was misleading.

In its defence, the company said a regular performer – which Chortle understands to be the promoter Inkey Jones – appeared in TooMuchTV. The Channel Five show was nominated for a children’s entertainment Bafta 13 years ago.

However the ASA said: ‘Consumers would interpret the claim "Every night we have acts from TV and Bafta nominated shows" to mean that all shows included several acts that were known TV performers or had taken a prominent role in a Bafta nominated show.

‘We noted the list of TV shows that the regular performers had appeared in related to less well-known productions and performers. We also noted we had seen no documentary evidence to demonstrate that the performers had been booked to appear "every night", or, to show that the performers appeared in the TV shows listed.

‘Because we had seen no documentary evidence ... we concluded that the claim had not been substantiated.’

The club’s flyers and its website also boast gushing quotes from the press – which the ASA also cast doubt on. The watchdog said: ‘We had not seen any evidence to show that those quotations were made by those publications.’

Watchdogs also said they ‘had not seen sufficient evidence’ to demonstrate that punters’ testimonials were legitimate or that advertised discounts were genuine.

The probe was launched after a complaint from rivals Leviathan Entertainment, who run the Comedy Carnival nights in the capital.

‘The ads must not appear again in their current form,’ the ASA concluded. However as of this morning, the club’s websites at and still contained the press quotes and said is line-ups included ‘acts that have been in Bafta nominated TV shows [and] established top headline acts and telly regulars.’

Published: 27 Mar 2013

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