While you’re in the entertainment capital of the world, you might as well go out and be, well, entertained. The comedy scene in Los Angeles is always where I start when I’m looking for something to do at night. Skip the big stadium acts and hit some of the smaller comedy clubs in the area. After all, you can always see Amy Schumer or Kevin Hart on tour back at home. In the smaller venues you get up close and personal, and can see amazing comedians you’ll definitely know working through new material. That way when you see her HBO special in a year, you can say to your friends, “Oh yeah, I saw her do that joke in LA. I think I liked that version better” just like a true Angeleno!
Side note: most, if not all, of the comedy shows feature adult content, so if you’re bringing your kids make sure you’re comfortable that.
Here are the best comedy clubs in Los Angeles
A classic comedy club, The Comedy Store has incubated the likes of Marc Maron, Joe Rogan, and Scott Aukerman. A lot of the comedians who came up here still come back to work out new jokes and stay in shape, so to speak. Keep an eye on the calendar when you come into town to see if one of your favorites is performing. There is a two drink minimum (a comedy club staple), but tickets usually only run you about twenty bucks.
Recommended shows: Comedy Deathsquad, Superstar, and any night of The Best of The Comedy Store
With two locations in Los Angeles, the UCB offers an incredible variety of shows. While they do perform some traditional stand-up shows, most of what you will see here is long-form improv. The UCB was created by Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh. Slightly different than what you might’ve seen on Whose Line, The idea behind long-form is to create a continuous story based off of a suggestion as opposed to playing shorter improv games. It’s improv, so be ready for anything! The ticket prices here are super cheap, usually five or ten dollars, and the quality is usually very high.
Recommended shows: Soundtrack, Facebook, Asssscat, Put Your Hands Together, The Mo Show, Cagematch, Mantzoukas and…
The improv is definitely one of the most famous clubs in Los Angeles. Like The Comedy Store, you’re likely to see some comedians you know here. Even if you don’t, you will always see a comedian who is very good as this is a tough booking to get as a comedian. Still a two-drink minimum at this spot, but it is well worth it when you consider the quality of the comedians.
Recommended shows: Tonight at the Improv…, Mo Betta Mondays
Another one of the premier improv theatres in Los Angeles. This theatre helped to launch the careers of Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Will Forte to name a few. As you can tell from that list, the Groundlings is something of a breeding ground for SNL cast members. The Groundlings started as more of a committee than just a few people with a dream. They initially had thirty cast members, but soon expanded to become one of the most sought after training programs in LA.
Recommended shows: Cookin’ With Gas, The Crazy Uncle Joe Show
Nestled in the back of a huge comic book store, (Meltdown Comics) The Nerdmelt has some of the funniest stand up and improvised shows in the area. They’re still pretty new to the scene in Los Angeles, but are rapidly growing in popularity. With tickets no more than 10 or 15 dollars, a BYOB mentality, and cheap snacks this place completely changes the game in terms of cheap, awesome entertainment. Pull up a fold-up chair and see some of the funniest (and nerdiest) comedians up close and personal at this cozy venue.
All ages (with Parent over 21)
Recommended shows: Harmontown, Comedy Sucks, Rabbit Hole