Lee Hurst’s comedy club gets the last laugh

COMEDY veteran Lee Hurst has promised more sniggers than sniffles as he gets the last laugh in his legendary comedy club – before the bulldozers set in.

The East End comic, who became a household name through telly hit They Think It’s All Over, is closing the doors on Bethnal Green’s Fymfyg club next week to make way for a new seven-storey Travelodge hotel.

But those of you who can’t see yourselves rolling in the aisles of the new hotel will be relieved to hear the club is returning on the ground floor of its current Cambridge Heath Road site.

After a year of building works the venue will re-launch, providing comedy, live music and even Sunday lunches.

Mr Hurst has been involved in each stage of the design process, from lighting to soundproofing.

He told the Advertiser: “We’re looking to do a lot more. We’ll still do comedy three nights a week but people will also be able to just come in and have a drink.

“It is designed by a comic for comics.”

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Realistic about the recession’s effects on people’s spending habits and the challenging state of London’s comedy circuit, the comedian reckons people are still up for a laugh.

He added: “Comedy clubs aren’t a stand-alone viable business anymore. The circuit that is going to survive is going to be stuff that sits in another venue.

“There are also a lot more tour shows. If someone is paying �30 to go to stadium show they’re not going to do that that many times a year. That makes it tougher for the club gigs.

“But people are going to say, I’m still here, I’m still functioning and I’m going to go out and have fun.”

The club has been in its spot since 1998 and helped elevate the careers of Harry Hill and Mike Myers.

Alastair McGowan, Paul Merton and Jimmy Carr also raised a laugh within its walls.

Mr Hurst originally held a club at Bethnal Green’s Approach Tavern from 1987 to 1989, and then another at Whitechapel’s Davenant Centre from 1990 1991.

The Fymfyg, due to be relaunched late next year, will lose about eight metres at the back of the venue to the Travelodge but keep its Cambridge Heath Road entrance.

Mr Hurst is MC-ing at the last show on Saturday December 4 and expects a few familiar faces.

He added: “We’ve put the word out to the comics to say if they want to say ta-ta to the place.

“Hopefully it won’t be too sad. My emotional attachment is not to the bricks and mortar. It’s to the concept - and that will come back.”

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