Downstairs at The Kings Head: Crouch End, London, 1992 – 1997
Play: The School For Scandal: Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 2009
Downstairs at The Kings Head 40th Anniversary Show: The Kings Head pub, Crouch End, London, 2023
Downstairs at The Kings Head comedy club in Crouch End, North London is an iconic comedy club. I have so many memories of the place, most notably in the nineties when I went regularly, and had just moved to London. The club was founded in 1981 by Peter Grahame and actor Huw Thomas, and Thomas was the regular compere until his retirement. He was a lively, funny and warm host to many a famous comedian that I saw there, most notably Harry Hill making an early appearance in 1993 and Jeff Green making me cry with laughter in 1995.
I also saw Thomas perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the famous and outrageous 18th century farce, The School For Scandal, by Richard Brindsley Sheridan as part of an ensemble that featured amongst others Lionel Blair, Stephen K Amos, Marcus Brigstocke and Phil Nichol.
Thirty years ago, I walked into a pub in Crouch End, London and watched a comedy night. In April 2023, after many subsequent visits and birthday celebrated two years late because of the pandemic, I returned for a very special night: Downstairs at The Kings Head 40th Anniversary Show. Thomas was persuaded out of retirement to compere, at the age of 78 years old, and we were treated to some classic routines. From demonstrating his unique way of playing the recorder to an inspiring version of I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts, he was a triumphant pleasure to watch, delighting the audience and preparing them for an incredible bill of top comedians. It was an extraordinary evening.