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The Funniest Under The Radar Comedy Shows in LA
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The Funniest Under The Radar Comedy Shows in LA

Picture of Shoshana Seidman
Updated: 9 February 2017
Going to watch stand-up comedy is a great way to spend any evening and, like any major city, Los Angeles has no shortage of comedy clubs and aspiring comedians. There are the obvious venues, like The Comedy Store and The Improv, but there is also lots of great comedy to be found in unexpected (and often inexpensive) places.
The Parlor Inside
Comfortable inside seating at The Parlor
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Comedy @ The Parlor

Mondays can be a drag with the start of the work week, but with a night of comedy to look forward to you might just regain that weekend pep in your step. Every Monday night starting at 9:30pm, @jaydaviscomedy puts on a free killer comedy show at The Parlor. This show often attracts big-name comedians looking to try out new material or just to get in an extra set, so it’s also a place for up and coming comedians to see and be seen. Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr and Nick Swardson have all done sets here, to name a few. The Parlor is an upscale sports bar/lounge with big screen TVs, outdoor fire pits, and Hollywood scenesters dressing to impress.

Despite this, when the oft-packed show starts, almost all patrons (and staff) turn their attention to the stage and actually watch and listen, which says something about the caliber of this ‘bar show.’ Drinks include a good range of beers and craft cocktails, with the menu featuring elite bar food, such as truffled crab mac and cheese and braised short rib tacos, as well as burgers and pizzas, all of which are better than most standard bar fare. This stage garners respect, and is the perfect way to wind down from a stressful day or simply to continue your weekend party. 21+ with ID.

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Comedy @ Casey’s Irish Pub

Tucked away down a flight of stairs from the bustling streets of downtown LA, Casey’s Irish Pub serves up great beer, whiskey and every Wednesday at 8:30pm for the last three years, some of the best weeknight comedy. This Irish pub is definitely no hole in the wall, and even has a separate back room with a stage for its weekly comedy show run by comedian Griff Pippin. Rated as one of the best live shows downtown by locals, it’s often packed with a lively crowd and even livelier comedians. As an added incentive, free drinks are often given as prizes to those paying close attention during comedians’ sets. The bar serves some memorable bar food, like pub fries, thick wedges of seasoned potatoes which you won’t be able to stop grazing on. Located close to public transportation, you can get your comedy buzz on and still get home safely. 21+ with ID.

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Full Night of Comedy @ The Karma Lounge

Wednesdays are universally known as hump day, but once you’re done with work there’s no better way to celebrate than with a night completely dedicated to comedy. The Karma Lounge is actually a fairly small, cozy space located in a strip mall in Koreatown. Find a spot, get comfortable, join the regulars, and enjoy the comedy showcase starting at 8:00 while you sip on drinks or snack on bar food. This night is a great space to check out up and coming comics in a more intimate venue. Ever wanted to try your hand at stand up comedy? For the fourth and last show of the night (I did say FULL night of comedy), comedians Adam Feuerburg and Tim Delone host an open mic starting at 10:30pm where anybody can sign up and give it a shot.

Sit back and enjoy the good, the bad, and the ugliest, or sign up and try some jokes yourself to get that performance high. By this time Karma Lounge takes on a late night comedy club feel, and you might get so lost in the fun that you’ll forget that you still have to finish the work week. If you enjoy the space, the Karma Lounge also hosts burlesque nights and features hip hop DJs spinning some great tracks on the weekends. 21+ with ID.

Okay, so not everybody wants their stand up comedy served with a side of alcohol, and instead might prefer the safe space of an all-ages venue where you don’t have to be drunk to laugh. Look no further than The Meltdown with Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani, a weekly show and podcast that’s garnered so much buzz in the last year that it’s almost difficult to dub this show ‘under the radar.’ Nonetheless this often sold-out show (tickets are only $8 online) takes place in an unlikely location, the back room of Meltdown Comics on Sunset. Known for its famous drop-ins, with the likes of Zach Galifinakas, Aziz Ansari, Chelsea Perretti and Louie CK making appearances (to name just a few), this show has become one to watch. In fact, Comedy Central even filmed the show last year and ran episodes from July to September 2014.

It’s the unassuming yet expertly-crafted scene that makes that makes this show so loved, with its small stage, fold up chairs and friendly, inclusive vibe. The Nerdist Theater was started in 2010 to give space to alt-comedy, and a variety of excellent shows run almost nightly. And if that’s not enough for you, remember that not only will you be supporting live comedy, but you can also support the dying breed of comic book stores quickly becoming a rarity in LA. Snacks, soda and water are served at the concession stand.

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Clown House Comedy @ The World Famous Clown House

Clowns rank high on the fear list for many, but it’s worth it to put your fears aside to listen to the comedians at the Clown House Comedy showcase. The show runs on Saturday nights starting at 8pm in a venue maintained by comedian Adam Barnhardt as a space for comedy, music, arts and entertainment. Watch up-and-coming comedians entertain the audience (and the surrounding clowns) and be prepared to laugh with host Aidan Park leading the way. At $5 per ticket, this is a unique and affordable way to start your Saturday night, and since it’s located just two blocks from Staples Center downtown, you can easily enjoy a night in the city filled with good times and laughter. This is truly a show like no other.

Honorable Mentions…Places to Go See Comedians In Their Element

If you’re down for an adventure and don’t mind a little rowdiness, make sure to check out some shows where LA comedians often go to work on new material, engage with the crowd and, well, just hang out with other comedians. Universal Bar and Grill (or UBG, to those in the know) hosts a variety of shows on its stage, from The Crispy Comedy Show with Chris Putro to the legendary three-year long running Turbo Tuesdays produced by comedians Robert Turo and Mikey McKernan. There’s also Thirsty Thursdays Comedy at The Park Bar and Grill in Burbank produced by comedians Eric Alegria and BJ Courchaine, a three-year long running show where comedians go to work out new jokes and survive the comedy gauntlet, and something interesting is always bound to happen. For an open mic with similar shenanigans, throw back some drinks at the Sunday Open Mic at The Liquid Zoo in Van Nuys. Remember, these are the places to go to see comedians have some fun and try new things, so make sure you’re up for an anything-goes adventure.