TikTok stars to ditch 'likes' for live comedy in first London stand-up show

TikTok stars to ditch 'likes' for live comedy in first London stand-up show

KNOCK KNOCK stars TikTok comedy favourites (from left to right) Coco Sarel, Henry Rowley, Steven McKell, and Ayamé Ponder.

The Clapham Grand

TikTok’s biggest comedy stars have joined forces to create their own live show KNOCK KNOCK as they swap the For You page, for the stand-up stage.

With a combined share of 8m followers between the quartet, the line-up includes host @cocosarel), Steven McKell (@stevenmckell), Ayamé Ponder (@ayame.p) and Henry Rowley (@henryrowleyy).

After a successful sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, they are now bringing KNOCK KNOCK to London’s Clapham Grand for a one-off special tonight on Thursday, October 12.

Indy100 spoke to Coco Sarel all about how KNOCK KNOCK came to be, the differences between TikTok and stand-up, and her future aspirations in comedy.

Known for her comedic storytelling videos and charismatic commentaries and debriefs, Sarel first began posting videos during lockdown and has since amassed over 916,000 followers on the platform.

“I never considered myself as like a comedian. I was just always like, a joker, you know?” Sarel told indy100.

“And then you kind of see like comments like people like lol crying laughing and I was like, ‘Okay, maybe.’”

The 'Closet Confessions' podcast co-host added: “I think stand-up comedy kind of came left field for me, it was something that I didn't know I liked doing until I started doing it.”

Coco Sarel performing onstage in the KNOCK KNOCK comedy show Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Sarel’s lightbulb moment to put together a comedy show with her fellow TikTok creators line-up happened after attending the Edinburgh Fringe last year where she was inspired by comedian Alan Carr (whom she introduced for his TikTok special) along with seeing shows from other creators.

And like all good ideas, it started with a late-night voice note where the TikToker pitched the idea to her manager, with TikTok helping to sponsor or collaborate on the project.

“I didn't think it was gonna go anywhere,” Sarel admitted, but sure enough the very next day, she learned TikTok wanted to be involved and it became a producer along with The Found.

From there, McKell, Ponder and Rowley came on board and by this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, they had a sell-out run with KNOCK KNOCK – a full-circle moment for Sarel.

“Oh my, it was the hardest thing I've ever done by far because every day you've got to turn up,” she said on performing at the festival.

Although she is a trained performer who wanted to become an actor, Sarel commented on how stand-up comedy is a different craft to hone.

“I'm standing there very vulnerably it's me like so you kind of something that you learn as you go but you can't pretend and people can tell when you stand up there they know they can read you almost immediately. But it was it was really rewarding.”

Going from posting on TikTok at home to performing on stage is quite the environment change to get used to, though Sarel has embraced this new challenge.

“I think the biggest difference is on TikTok is you don't get that instant reaction,” she said.

“It's kind of delayed because by the time I've thought the idea I filmed it, I edited it, I posted it. I've gone away I've come back then you start getting a couple of views and comments, etc, etc.

“On stage. If you say a joke, within about 0.3 seconds, you know whether or not people find it funny and it's one of those things that being in a live setting is very fresh, and it's exciting.”


😂😂 Im gonna miss Edinburgh! We have a few more shows left, if you’re in Edinburgh come check us out! KNOCK KNOCK- Pleasance Courtyard, 4 pm every day! link in bio ##cocosarel##edfringe

As she often posts "story times", along with crazy and random encounters, this type of content on her TikTok has translated well, but she acknowledged how “comedy has a formula,” and “…jokes you can't just go out there and tell people the story, it actually has to be funny stuff.”

“I'll never sit up here and pretend like it's not hard it is. I have great respect for people who you know have been doing this for years and years.”

Of course, McKell, Ponder and Rowley along with Sarel have all risen to the challenge of performing in this format which has been a collaborative effort between them.

“It's been really nice,” she said about working with the trio on the show.

“I always say content creating is sometimes really isolating because you make content in your house by yourself a lot of the time,” and enjoyed this format of having “rehearsals together where everybody's chipping in.”

To add to the Fringe experience, all of the TikTokers lived together during this time – something that Sarel described as “insane,” along with “so much joy.”

“It was nice waking up to Steven and having to hear his music in the morning or Ayamé screaming at the top of her lungs,” as well as “Henry being [the] resident party boy.”


We’re performing Knock Knock at The Clapham Grand in London for one night only on Thurs 14th October - Link to tickets in bio 🔥 #comedy #standup #standupcomedy

She explained why as a group they all work well together: “But I think we all get along and we all have a level of professionalism where we genuinely take it seriously, nobody was like pissing around or like not taking it seriously.”

“It’s just a great group of people so we all get along.”

So what can people anticipate from KNOCK KNOCK?

Well, expected the unexpected in this “charcuterie board of comedy,” (what a description) as the four seek to experiment outside their online personas in their stand-up.

“A lot of people come expecting to see TikTok content on stage and it's not that we definitely got gone in the other direction of like, we really want to try stand-up comedy,” Sarel explained.

“You will still get the essence of who we are on our online platforms. It's not like we're different people. We're just not the versions that you see on the phone as much.”

While friends have seen her set, Sarel noted how her family have not seen it just yet but is hoping they can watch her London show.

“My family are very African and Christian and my set is it's less towards the godly side. So I’ve yet to see their reaction, but I know they're very supportive and I mean, they hear it all on TikTok.”

“But it will be very interesting to see my African mother watch my set. I would pay money,” she joked.

Now, KNOCK KNOCK is coming to London with a one-off show at The Clapham Grand (with tickets selling fast).

“I'm buzzing to bring it to London,” Sarel said about her home turf. “I think the London crowd, you’ve got a lot of people who are just like ‘we just want to have a good night.’”

“You know Clapham Grand, we’ll have a nice couple of bevvies and then go out on the town – it’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Elsewhere, Sarel will also be on our TV screens with a role in the Sky show Smothered starring Aisling Bea, Self Esteem, Blair Underwood, Jordan Stephens and Lisa Hammond, and is set to air later this year in December.

“It's a comedy, London-based, funny show about love and all things family-related and I've got a role in that so I'm really excited for that to come out. It was my first sort of comedy TV gig.”

In terms of the future, KNOCK KNOCK has inspired Sarel to pursue other comedy projects.

“I would love to write more comedy – TV or something. I think doing this and writing a set showed me that like, ‘Oh, I do have jokes in the bank.’”

“Stand up has like ignited a little writing bug so maybe, you know, I'll be starring in my own thing this time next year. Who knows?”

Tickets for The Found presents: KNOCK KNOCK: London Special at The Clapham Grand are on sale now, you can find tickets here.

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