Future uncertain for Belsize Park comedy club forced to find new venue for 2015

PUBLISHED: 12:00 01 January 2015

Martin Besseman at Monkey Business Comedy Club, upstairs at The Steeles. Picture: Polly Hancock

Martin Besseman at Monkey Business Comedy Club, upstairs at The Steeles. Picture: Polly Hancock


The future of a popular comedy club is hanging in the balance after the owners of its regular venue said it would have to find a new home for 2015.

For 10 years, the Monkey Business Comedy Club has run on Saturdays upstairs at the Sir Richard Steele pub in Haverstock Hill, Steele’s Village, and an array of star performers have been on its books – including Harry Hill, Jimmy Carr and Reginald D Hunter.

However, the club is hunting for a permanent new home after the pub’s owners Faucet Inn said last week that it can only hold its shows in the first-floor room once a month from January.

Club founder and promoter Martin Besserman said: “I’ve brought in thousands and thousands of new customers to them over the years, so I was really upset.

He added: “It puts the business under huge pressure. I’ve got acts booked in until the end of March, so it’s quite frustrating.

“But I’m a survivor and I will find a way of serving the community in another venue.”

It follows proposals refused by Camden Council in November to redevelop the upstairs into four flats or a 10-room hotel.

Dozens wrote into Camden Council to highlight the threat the plans posed to the club, branding it an “act of cultual vandalism”.

Mr Besserman says he has not been told why he cannot hold his weekly shows upstairs at the pub – commonly known as The Steeles – from next month.

The comedy club will run at café Tolli Patisserie in Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town, from Saturday until a permanent venue is found.

Faucet Inn did not respond to a request for comment.

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