Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

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October 2004

Comic Relief

Go to Munich's first English comedy club, and we promise- you'll be laughing all the way ho ho home...

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter” e.e. cummings

People who have lived in London know there is an essential ingredient necessary to get through life in the big (gray, dirty, overcrowded, expensive) city: comedy. Just ask Hamburg-born Dagmar Brocksema, who spent six years working in publishing in the British capital. During this time she visited comedy clubs extensively, particularly her local, the Brixton Comedy Club, which set her thinking: wouldn’t this work in Munich, the city where she was raised? Three years ago, when Brocksema returned to Munich, she began extensive research and was very impressed with all there is being offered to the English-speaking community here—magazines, web forums, pubs and cinemas—all “brave enough to cater to a niche market.” But, sure enough, there was one thing missing: a comedy club, similar to ones already running successfully in Cologne and Berlin, to provide the English-speaking community in Munich with that necessary dose of laughter. And so, many evenings of hilarity later, and with a bank of good contacts up her sleeve, she set up Munich’s first English Comedy Club, which opened last month.

Brocksema has been working together with one of the best and most highly regarded bookers in London, Julia Chamberlain, as well as with clubs in Cologne and Berlin. Brocksema says: “London-based comedians are really keen to perform in Germany, so there should be no shortage of top acts.”

Her plan, however, does not only involve bringing well-known comedians from London to Munich—she also aims to provide a platform for talented newcomers through the monthly open-mike sessions. These, she says, will be open to anyone—musicians, magicians, poets—as long as the act is funny and the performer auditions upfront. Indeed, anyone who thinks they have what it takes to shine alongside top international comedians, is encouraged to send an e-mail to for more information. Who knows, it could be the break you’ve been dreaming of!

So how did Munich react to its first dose of British humor? By all accounts funny man Ivor Dembina had punters laughing all the way home, after the opening night on September 5. The event was a resounding success and was sold-out in advance to an audience of both young and old, and of both German and English native speakers. (Though, admittedly, some Germans later confessed they had had some difficulty understanding all the London chat.)

Renowned for mixing traditional Jewish humor with the dry English style, Dembina, who was dressed in a suit, with bright red shoes, has been described by the Evening Standard newspaper as “so funny it hurts.” His performance at the English Comedy Club included extracts from his latest two shows, SadoJudaism and This is not a Subject for Comedy, which, though provocative, he chose not to tone down for the German audience. He even admitted after a particularly risqué statement: “I knew if that one didn’t work I would be dead,” which was met with even bigger laughs than the joke itself.

After the show Dembina seemed happy with the way things had gone. “I felt like I got a good and heartfelt response from the audience,” he said.

For comedy connoisseurs, the noticeable difference between this show and many in London was the lack of heckling and audience participation. But then with the questions Dembina was posing (“Is there anyone here into kinky sex”? or “Has anyone here ever visited a prostitute”?), perhaps it is not surprising that the audience was a little less vocal than they could have been!

“I found the evening extremely humorous,” said Sandra McGlaughlin, 55, who was in the audience. “But you had to get used to Dembina’s style as he broke a lot of taboos. Sometimes I couldn’t stop laughing—in fact I was still laughing from one joke when he was making the next one.”

The English Comedy Club is held in Live Club & Bar Substanz, Ruppertstrasse 28, owned by Jürgen Franke. Thanks to its cozy bar, good stage, lighting and sound, it makes the perfect location. The event will take place on the first Sunday of each month (though not in October), so the next show will be held on November 7. Unlike the first performance, this show will feature a variety of acts, to be confirmed at a later date.

For Brits and others alike, the English Comedy Club promises to be a most welcome addition to Munich’s social and cultural scene. After all, what better way to end the weekend than with a good laugh?

“I really enjoyed it,” said Fela Hughes, 37. “And it makes a nice change from my usual Sunday night visit to the cinema.”

For more information about the English Comedy Club visit:

Ivor Dembina’s Website:

The venue:

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