Mission Improvable-Westside Comedy | Courtesy of Westside Comedy Theater
Los Angeles is a known breeding ground for new comedic talent and a hotbed for the venues that showcase them. From improv to sketch, and even musical comedies, L.A.’s got your back if you like to laugh. Regardless of what leaves you rolling in your seat, the 10 clubs on this list always stand-up and deliver.
The Comedy Store
The Comedy Store
The Store was started by comedian Sammy Shore and his wife Mitzi, parents of Pauly Shore. At the original location on the Sunset Strip, the Belly and Main rooms feature lesser-known talents, while the Original Room hosts frequent visits from nationally recognized comedians. Many famous faces have graced the stage at The Store – Dave Chappelle, Chelsea Peretti, Gallagher, Judy Tenuta, Andrew Dice Clay, Leslie Jones, Andy Kaufman, and Chris Rock, just to name a few. As if your night couldn’t get any happier, they even offer discounted parking, which is virtually unheard of on the Strip.
The Comedy Union is the first black-owned and operated comedy club in Los Angeles and offers both urban, non-urban, and family-friendly comics, boasting TV and movie star Damon Wayans as a regular. With a homey feel, The Comedy Union has managed to escape the too cool ‘L.A.’ vibe that most clubs have. Ticket prices are average, ranging from $5-$15, but the club offers chances to win free tickets on a daily basis. Plus, The Comedy Union stands right across the street from the legendary Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, so patrons can fill up on laughs at The Comedy Union, then fill up on wings just across the street.
Groundlings comedy club on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, California
The Groundlings is an improv school and theater that boasts a trove of famous alums like Melissa McCarthy, Will Forte, Kristen Wiig, John Goodman, and Jim Rash – the list goes on. The Groundlings offers totally improvised shows as well as sketches that have been practiced and perfected. Audience participation is integral to improv, so get ready to interact! But if that’s not your thing, hit up a Sunday show, where you simply kick back, relax, and laugh your face off.
The Improv Comedy Club on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, California
One of the many great things about The Improv is that big names drop in all the time. Any night of the week, patrons are pretty much guaranteed a stellar line up, with the possibility of someone like Louis C. K. or Dana Carvey stopping by for a set. Check it out during the week, and make sure to show up early to hang out by the bar for Happy Hour. Nothing is better than half-priced drinks and a night of laughs.
In addition to offering multi-tiered improv classes, iO West puts on a great show. They showcase long and short-form improv shows, comedy contests for up-and-coming comedians, and sets delivered by comedy vets. The theater is small, but that lends to the intimacy of the space and means that no matter where you’re sitting, you’ll have a great seat.
Los Angeles comedy and The Laugh Factory are synonymous with each other. An appearance by a vet comedian can be guaranteed on the bill almost any night of the week. Rest assured, the rotation of regular local comedians is sure to leave you breathless in your seats. Speaking of seats, they’re all pretty close to the stage, making it easy for comics to include the audience in their acts.
Nerdist Showroom stands in the back of Meltdown Comics and has quickly become a major success, despite its indie start. The offbeat comedy house is the brain child of comic Chris Hardwick and is backed by Comedy Central, and maintains a homegrown feel even though big names now grace the stage regularly. Offering a bevy of entertainment, like improv and sketch school, stand-up, podcast tapings, art shows, and writers’ panels, the space has proven itself as a provider of a diverse and unique entertainment experience. Bonus: several of their shows are 100% FREE.
Alan Alda, Dan Aykroyd, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey and Keegan-Michael Key have all graced the stage at the Second City Hollywood, the L.A. spin-off of the original Chicago comedy team. Known best for their classes, SC Hollywood also offers structured and improv comedy shows. What makes them unique is their focus on creating a theater experience, whether it be improv, sketch, or even musicals. Speaking of which, Cancer!-The Musical, is a must-see.
UCB holds up as one of the best places to see improv and sketch in Los Angeles. Like many other clubs on this list, this place has spawned talents that have gone on to join shows like SNL, The Daily Show, and Parks & Rec. UCB puts no limit on who can enjoy a show there as all ages are welcome. Every member of the family can enjoy a show for less than $10 per person.
For a seemingly unimposing space, the Westside Comedy Theater offers a lot of impressive entertainment. From stand-up shows and open mic nights to improv intensives and trivia, there’s loads to laugh at. Neal Brennan, co-creator of The Chappelle Show, hosts ‘Neal Brennan and Friends’ every Sunday night, bringing in big names like Judd Apatow, David Alan Grier and even Chappelle himself. ‘The Grind’ brings long-form improv on Thursday, and ‘Mission IMPROVable’ puts up bite-sized improv bits on Friday and Saturday.