Live monologue has been a staple of comedy for the past four decades, and comedy clubs have been the altars of joke-telling since the comedy boom of the eighties. With a rich history of instantly recognizable names, such as Kinison, Dice, Letterman, Leno, Roseanne and Arsenio, these venues have become iconic for their quality and appeal. From the historic Comedy Store in Los Angeles to the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City, here is a guide to the 10 best comedy clubs in North America. At the top of the list is The Comedy Store in Los Angeles.
This 450-person venue has a rich history and is frequented by many celebrities. It is also known for the quality of its acts, which are individually examined by the operators. Many of the most important artists in the history of comedy, such as Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld and Dana Carvey, are students of this place. The fourth entry on our list is Comedy Works of Denver. This club was founded in 1981 and is quite a popular place for comedians to record albums.
It is a mile high in the Rocky Mountains and you'll see both popular names on the circuit and up-and-coming artists. Yuk Yuk's is a chain that has grown to have several locations across Canada; however, the Toronto branch really stands out as one of the best clubs in North America. This club has existed since 1978 and generally has a mix of established comics and fans. Antidepressant Thursdays puts on a great show, while the student exhibits at the local university are also a fun departure from traditional programs. In Bloomington, Indiana, you'll find many great comedy clubs and events. The Rittenhouse-area comedy club is located on the old hippie stretch of Sansom Village and used to be the Sunset Strip in Philadelphia in the 1960s and 70s.
It has been one of the best destinations for live comedy since 1981. The first part of loving The Broadway Comedy Club is its story. This New York venue opened in 1963 as New York Improv and many newcomers have made their way into the world of comedy through this club. The Upright Citizens Brigade was founded by comedians, writers and actors Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh and Matt Besser in 1999 in New York City. This theater space has an expansion that led to an easier to use school and comedy club soon after. The Second City is another chain that has more stores in Toronto and Los Angeles; however, its Chicago location stands out as one of the best clubs in North America. This club was founded by Del Close and it's no longer a small classroom but rather a comedy campus with theaters, spaces for clubs only for monologues, a cabaret, a lounge and several smaller blackbox stages. Saratoga Springs has two great comedy clubs: FunnyBone and Comedy Works.
The former is frequented by many celebrities while the latter offers an open microphone every Thursday night. Helium Comedy Club in Portland, Oregon is another great destination for live comedy. This chain began in Philadelphia; however, its Portland location has established itself as one of the best. Since then, this club has been a popular hangout for comedy fans and outstanding comedians such as Norm Macdonald and Kevin Nealon. Finally, The Uptown Comedy Corner is famous for being the oldest African-American comedy club in Atlanta while The Basement Theater offers a refreshing change of pace from places with little drinking and high prices. No matter where you go to watch stand-up comedy, you'll always have at least one chance to be an imbecile; that's a life lesson not just a rule for the best comedy club.
So if you're looking for an amazing show or just want to improve your comedic skills, these 10 best comedy clubs in North America are worth a visit.