News: Legendary South London Comedy Club Closes

The Hob

Long-standing comedy club East Dulwich Comedy at the Hob in Forest Hill is to close this weekend after ten years. Owners of the pub Emma and Ron Emslie broke the news on Facebook late last night. 

Emma Emslie said this on Facebook: “Hey just to let every know, sadly it's our last week at The HOB, after 10yrs. We have the Pub Quiz on Thursday hosted by comedian Luke Benson, Friday great music from The Graduates, a fantastic night of comedy on Saturday with Chris NeillMichael LeggeDanny Ward and Kerry Godliman, followed by live music from duo Xav & Charlie. Plus Sunday from 4pm we have live music from The Twangers and from The Prisonnaires. It would be great to see you all if you are about. Thanks for all the support we'll miss you all. Em and Ron xxxx.”

The Emslies have been passionate supporters of comedy in south London for over two decades. They first became involved in comedy nights when co-founder Janet Prince started running a club at the East Dulwich Tavern in the late 1980s. Among the acts who played there were Rich Hall, Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Al Murray, Ed Byrne and Dylan Moran. Eddie Izzard did some memorable warm-up gigs for his West End impro run there in the early 1990s. Boothby Graffoe and Janet Prince's husband Stephen Frost were also regulars.

But as the area was gentrified the club moved to different venues and eventually out of SE22 and about a mile south of Dulwich when the Emslies took the bold step of taking over a whole pub. 

The Hob, directly opposite Forest Hill station, was best known as the venue where Daniel Kitson regularly tried out new material, but it also had consistently strong comedy bills. Micky Flanagan and Stewart Lee were two of the many major acts who appeared there. 

Comedians have taken to Facebook to pay tribute to a much-loved club. Elis James wrote: "I used to bloody love playing The Hob. And the old photos in the dressing room made me feel I was part of something historic. Very sad about this." Alistair Barrie wrote: "I do hope you'll be running another venture soon because you are the good guys and we need you more than ever right now." Charmian Hughes added: "You've been brilliant for comedy for so long, given it your all xxx."

Update 7pm. BTJ has now heard that there is a possibility that there will still be comedy at the venue. Follow me on Twitter @brucedes for updates.




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