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24 September 2014

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Big Jack and Anthony Simmonds
Big Jack and Anthony Simmonds

Big Jack's Laughter Club

A grass-roots comedy revolution is starting to happen in Reading. Big Jack's Laughter Club seeks to bring you a handful of the big names of tomorrow for a touch over the price of a pint. It's cheap to get in, with the proceeds going to the acts.


When: every other Wednesday, 8.30pm
Where: Afrobar, Reading
How much: £3

However, you won't be subjected to the usual variable quality of a free-for-all as the acts are all invited. "It's one step above an open mic night", Jack explains. "It's all about getting exposure. In fact, Anthony's already started: he's got his flies undone."

"You can see some of these acts for £15 in the commercial comedy venues", collaborator Anthony Simmonds chips in, his trousers now duly fastened. The night is a reaction against the approach taken by the larger chains. "I think it's the only night in Reading where you just get pure comedy all night." The idea is to show the kinds of comedians who are talented and capable, but haven't yet gained much mainstream recognition, as well as being an affordable and easy way for people to see comedy. A happy halfway house for both the acts and the audience.

Big Jack (alias John Jacklin) has always had an interest in stand-up. Surprisingly, the day job as a journalist for the Financial Times doesn't get in the way. One comedy course later, he is running this promising venue with Anthony.

Afrobar is a small place, but known as an intimate place to go for a friendly drink. On a busy night, you can get all of 60 people in there! The evening is already getting a cult following, however. As we're talking, several people come in and Jack seems to know them all by name.

Coming up at Big Jack's Laughter Club

Papa CJ  -  an Oxford-educated  comic from India who also runs a charity called One Child that helps educate children in rural areas of India
Dominic Frisby - Upper Class Rapper / Ludwig the Bavarian
Helmut - German character applying logic to pub jokes
Tom Wrigglesworth - winner, 2003 So You Think You're Funny?, nominee 2004 Chortle best newcomer
Paul Kerensa - ginger bloke with a clipboard
Dave Ward - universally funny material

last updated: 10/03/05
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big jack
check out the website for up to date

Big Jack
Send me an email to for details of forthcoming shows.

Dan the man
It ain't non-smoking but it is a mega night. It'd be beter on a Saturday

a disciple
I've been there a few times and it is a great night out. The chubby bloke made everyone welcome and our posse had a lush night. I just wish it was at teh weekend and not non-smoking

Mike Subs
This is a really great little comedy club. Price is now £4 rather than £3 but still tremendous value. 12th October should e a really good night with the cream of local talent as part of Reading Goes Bananas Comedy Festival!

big jack
it's even better that that!!! Autumn season starts on September 14th ... bring cash and nitrous oxide

I went last week and had a brilliant laugh. There was a guy who did his act as a German who was ace and some bloke talking about the pope and prince charles who cracked me up. I'm defo going again. It's got a great atmosphere.

Peter B Johnston
I've been twice - it was really excellent. It's warm and friendly and I'll be going there again. There were people of all ages which I also liked. Well done

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