Hugely personable, relatable and very funny, Maff Brown runs and MCs the Outside the Box Comedy Club.  They use a range of venues largely in South West London, mainly Hampton Hill, Kingston and New Malden, and also in Sevenoaks, showcasing the talents of a variety of comedians, usually two or three per show.

Running since 2006, several household names have performed at these accessible and affordable shows, including Lee Mack, Jack Whitehall and even Robin Williams.  Many comedians use it to test out their new material, often before their own tours or Edinburgh Festival.  For instance, last week, Romesh Ranganathan, of huge television fame, was trying out new material at the Outside the Box show in a room above a pub in a residential street in suburban New Malden.  This made for a superb, intimate comedy experience.  It was small, informal, low-key and immensely enjoyable.

It is also a chance to discover comedians you have not yet seen.  Local resident Hugo Campbell summed it up, “last week we saw the comedian Phil Nichol perform at Outside the Box – he had the audience in absolute hysterics with his high-physical-energy song and comedy routine…. he brought individual audience members into the comedy, so successfully, which was very powerful in such a small audience”.

Earlier this week, Harry Hill and Nathan Caron performed at Outside the Box in a small local theatre in Hampton Hill.  Two very different acts, one physical and absurd, the other calm and observational, made for a funny and successful evening.  As Hampton Hill resident, Ed Warner, told me, “ I highly recommend these shows, but be warned, only the brave and confident should sit in the front row!”