Comedians from all over the country and the world make their way through LA's comedy clubs on their way to fame and stardom. Here are the clubs in Los Angeles where the already famous, soon-to-be-famous, and wannabe famous comics are ready to make you laugh.
With two theaters to choose from—one in Hollywood, one in North Hollywood (NoHo)—there is no shortage of comedy here. ACME Comedy began in 1989 at the 68-seat Founders Theater in North Hollywood; the Hollywood location is a bit larger at 99-120 seats, and each offers a stage for improv and sketch comedy. After a major transformation of the space, the Hollywood location has become a television soundstage and this theater is the only one to broadcast all of its shows on the internet.
Featuring predominantly African American comedians, including some big names like Kevin Hart and Kim Whitley, this Los Angeles comedy club has been rated 1 of 6 of the best comedy clubs in the country. Get your laugh on while you enjoy some delicious soul food in this intimate yet hip environment.
Founded in 1972, this famous Sunset Strip club was the first all stand-up comedy nightclub in the world. Started by comedian Sammy Shore and his wife Mitzi, the club became a family-like community for both the well-known and the up-and-coming. The three stages have shone the spotlight on comedians such as George Carlin, Chris Rock, and Sarah Silverman, and currently feature performers like David Spade, Kumail Nanjiani, and Kevin Nealon.
The oldest stand-up comedy club in the country, the legendary Ice House has been around since 1960. From Steve Martin to Lily Tomlin to Jerry Seinfeld, it’s hard to come up with a famous comedian who hasn’t set foot on this stage. In addition to the 200-seat venue, what used to be the “annex” is now Stage 2, an additional theater. The outdoor courtyard and VIP room offer additional seating.
For over 40 years, this improvisation and sketch comedy group have been making people laugh. The Groundlings School is the foremost comedy training ground in Hollywood, spawning many Saturday Night Live alum such as Laraine Newman, Will Ferrell, and Maya Rudolph. Shows like “The Crazy Uncle Joe Show” improvise skits from audience suggestions.
The Improv Space is a theater near UCLA that primarily features improv shows and classes, but also occasionally hosts plays, stand-up, and live music events. Its mission is to the advancement of improvisational comedy, “launching tomorrow’s improvisers into orbit!” Many shows are at no cost, some offering free beer.
This club's seaside location in Hermosa Beach makes it a hot spot for both audience members and comedians–including Jay Leno, who is a regular performer, appearing on stage most Sunday nights. The Comedy and Magic Club is the place for top-rated comedians, as well as impressive magic, and also houses a pretty cool collection of comedy memorabilia.
Many famous comedians, like Jon Lovitz and Hank Azaria, got their start at this casual valley improv establishment. Featuring stand up, performance groups, sketch comedy, and long-form improv, the LA Comedy Connection has a little of everything. If you are looking for something for the whole family, comedy for kids by kids is on Sunday afternoons.
After a success in New York City, the Improv made its way across the country in 1975, bringing along its signature brick wall. Both artists and entertainment executives started out working the door, waitressing, and making drinks before they got their big break or made it to the top. “An Evening at the Improv,” an A&E show started in the 1980s, took place at the Hollywood Improv, bringing its comedians from the stage into people’s homes. Today, comedians such as Bill Bellamy and Bryan Callen grace the stage.
This comedy club, located in both Burbank and Claremont, is the place to “eat, drink, and laugh.” With the Burbank location’s three stages, there is always someone funny to see. Bigger names play the Mainroom and Yoohoo Room with smaller shows in the Bar. There are numerous open mics and comedy contests. Ages 18 and up is recommended, and a two-item food and drink minimum is required in addition to ticket purchase, with a full restaurant menu available. On Sundays at the Claremont location is Two Milk Minimum, a family-friendly show.
Each night is usually a mix of stand-up, variety, and improv at this black box comedy theatre in the alley behind the 3rd Street Promenade. The Westside Comedy Theater was started by six guys from UMass' improv group Mission IMPROVable in 2009 and has received high praise ever since, including the top place to scout new talent (Variety.com). Performers such as Adam Sandler and Zach Galifianakis have been known to drop in. Your ticket stub from an earlier show will get you into later shows on the same night free if seats are available.
Founder Jamie Masada, known as the "Real King of Comedy," has created a world-famous comedy club in Hollywood that has been rated number one in the country. Since the doors opened in 1979, the stage has been graced such comedy icons as Milton Berle, George Carlin, and Phyllis Diller as well as Ellen DeGeneres and Howie Mandel. You will find a spin-off of Hollywood's Laugh Factory in Long Beach.
For over 30 years, this club has been the place to find funny and clean comedy appropriate for all ages. The club is famous for ComedySportz, where two teams battle each other for laughs with spontaneous scenes, games, and songs. Audience participation is a part of the show, where guests help pick games and decide the winner.
The Upright Citizens Brigade started out as a sketch show on Comedy Central, featuring Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh. After having success with a comedy club in NYC, UCB4 opened this LA location in 2005. They pride themselves on all-ages, low-budget improve and sketch comedy in a theatre setting. There is no alcohol, so no drink minimum. Soft drinks are available. (Although there's no age minimum, some shows are inappropriate for children.) There are two locations: one on Franklin Ave. and the other on Sunset Blvd.
You will be able to say, "I knew her when!" The Second City Hollywood is the LA spin-off of the original Chicago comedy team that has given rise to so many famous names that transitioned to SNL and other TV and movie comedy. They have structured and improv comedy shows in their Studio Theater as well as the Brick Box, both in Hollywood. They also offer classes for adults and kids.