“A Brit walks into a bar…”

Last night, as I was getting ready to perform in a comedy show at Teater Play in Amager alongside the brilliant Conrad Molden, my four-year-old daughter looked up at me and asked, ‘Daddy, why are you ALWAYS going to do comedy?’

It stopped me in my tracks.

She was right. I do this an awful lot.

And then it occurred to me just how far this city has come in terms of providing live comedy for internationals since I moved here, almost nine years ago.

As you probably know, I am a professional comedian. I perform exclusively in English, and have the privilege to perform to punters on a weekly basis, all of whom have, for whatever peculiar reason, found themselves living in Denmark.

But this didn’t happen overnight.

Love comedy

I’ve worked in the comedy industry since 2005, mainly behind the scenes. After a long run writing for television, I finally began performing stand-up myself.

But due to the overly competitive and aggressive nature of the London comedy scene, I soon hung up the mic for an early retirement. To be blunt, I couldn’t hack it. But I never stopped loving comedy. And I’m pleased to say, I still do.

When I moved to Copenhagen in 2015, I had no intention of performing, but I did still want to find my tribe. I soon discovered, to my horror, that there was only one place in the entire city that did English speaking stand-up comedy.

It was held at the now long-gone Dubliner Downtown pub, near Kongens Nytorv. And it was a revelation.

This was a monthly night run by an affable Canadian called Joe Eagan. Again, it was the only outlet for anyone wanting to see stand-up comedy in a language other than Danish.

And in such a closed culture, something that takes a wider, metropolitan view is welcome and, arguably, necessary.

Room filled with expats

That night I was struck by how enthusiastic, supportive and happy the crowd were. This was no late-night Edinburgh Fringe bear pit. This was a room filled with expats brought together by the delight of having an evening of live entertainment that they actually understood.

They came from all over the world and had found a little corner of the city just for them!

The love in the room rekindled a spark in me to perform once more. Before long I found myself hosting Joe’s night.

Flash forward to the present and I’m still doing it. And it’s a great night for both Danes and internationals alike. I also regularly perform improv with my comedy partner, the infuriatingly talented Sarah McGillion.

And I’m thrilled to say that now, if you want to see live comedy in English in Copenhagen, there are open mics, test shows, themed improv nights and sold-out specials practically every night of the week.

Come a long way

We’ve come an awful long way since the Dubliner Downtown. And we’re not gonna stop.

So while my daughter’s comment did make me feel a tad anxious that I disappear from my family a little too often – leaving my infinitely patient wife to put the kids to bed – I am so happy that the international comedy scene here continues to thrive.

Comedy is a great shared experience that brings us together in the best possible way – wherever we come from – and right now, we need laughter more than ever.