Beijing's best comedy groups and nights

Reckon you're funny? Get on stage to put it to the test

Is your side in need of splitting? Back yourself as the next big thing in stand-up? Look out for these Beijing comedy groups.

Comedy Club China

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Jennifer Hsiung at Paddy O'Shea's.

Beijing’s most active funny bunch has been holding up the English-language stand-up scene since 2011, and in often challenging circumstances, with some of the city’s favourite venues closing and an ever-changing cast of expat comedians coming and going. The laughs keep on coming though, and the CCC host monthly showcases (usually the first Saturday, various venues), featuring the city’s best expat and local comedians performing in English. Currently, the group holds two open mics a week for newcomers and regulars to cut their teeth or practice new material, at Paddy O'Shea's (9pm, every Tuesday) and The Local (9pm, every Wednesday).
Visit the CCC website or follow the official WeChat account (ID: comedyclubchina) for more on shows and sign-ups for open mics.

Beijing Improv

For any entertainment outlet in the capital, reaching ten years of age is no mean feat, but Beijing Improv has done a fine job of it, with various expat comics passing the baton since 2007. Now based out of the US-China Comedy Center (USCCC), Improv’s long-running weekly workshops (8pm, every Wednesday) are a great way for beginners to get into the form. Bonus: it’s bilingual, so both English and Chinese speakers can have a go and practice a bit of lingo at the same time. The group's cream of the crop, the English Players, take to the USCCC stage for short-form performances every third Saturday of the month, while long-form shows are at The Bookworm every first Saturday. What’s more, it’s not just a laughing matter: all proceeds from events go to international theatre-based NGO Huadan.
Visit the Beijing Improv website or follow their official WeChat account (ID: BeijingImprov) for more information.

Beijing Broads

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The world of comedy can be a notoriously tricky space to navigate for female performers (see: the news, every day in late 2017). Fortunately the Broads, Beijing's first all-female English-language improv group, have been stickin' it to the man at their excellent monthly sets and other special events since being founded back in 2015. They take to the stage for shows every third Saturday of the month, while workshops and auditions to find and train new members are held quarterly. It's also for a good cause, with proceeds from shows going to local charity Educating Rural Girls of China.
Add lusanma on WeChat for show and workshop information.

Elsewhere, look out for shows hosted by the Shanghai-based Kung Fu Comedy, who regularly brings international acts into the capital, usually hosting them at The Bookworm. The Punchline Comedy Club has also brought big names over in recent years, including British stand-up and TV personality Steven K Amos.

Chinese comedy in Beijing

For the Mandarin-savvy, it’s a great time to be around the booming Chinese scene, for forms old and new. Stand-up (largely referred to as tuokoushuo, 脱口说) open mics and shows are across town throughout the week; look out for those held by Danliren (单立人; WeChat ID danlirencomedybj). If you’re looking to sample the traditional Chinese art of xiangsheng, or crosstalk, check out Deyunshe (德云社), the club belonging to the forms most famous living performer, Guo Degang; their performances are held at various venues in Xicheng, including the historic Huguang Guild Hall and the Beijing Exhibition Center – click here for more details and reservations (in Chinese).

Elsewhere, Jiaodaokou’s Xiha Baofupu (嘻哈包袱铺) is also a great choice.

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