Laughing in Los Angeles: SoCal's Best Comedy Clubs

No matter what sort of comedy you love, Los Angeles has the club for you. Comedy is king in L.A., for as talented performers make their way to Hollywood to try to win fame and fortune, the comedy cubs around town are the places where they hone their comedy chops – and build their reputations, too. Legendary places like The Comedy Store on Sunset Boulevard have played host to everyone from Richard Pryor and George Carlin to Robin Williams and Chelsea Handler, while The Groundlings improv troupe, which has made its home on Melrose Avenue since the 1970s, has helped launch the careers of Lisa Kudrow, Will Farrell, Jennifer Coolidge, Kathy Griffin, Will Forte and many others. Down in Hermosa Beach at the Comedy & Magic Club, which opened back in 1978, you're likely to see Jay Leno stopping in to do a stand-up routine, or perhaps Jerry Seinfeld or Ray Romano, as well as a host of newcomers hoping to break out. Other popular clubs around town include The Improv, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Acme Comedy Theatre and The Laugh Factory, whose original location on the Sunset Strip still draws big crowds (and has spawned five other outposts in other cities). No matter which one you choose, the laughs will come fast and furious. Note that many clubs in Los Angeles have both a cover charge and a two-drink minimum.

The Improv
Photo courtesy of Wikicommons

In 1975, impresario Budd Friedman brought his hugely successful New York City club with the signature brick wall to the West, opening a branch on Melrose Avenue. That's the same spot where you will find it today. And if those walls could talk,...  Read More

The Comedy Store

Opened in 1971, The Comedy Store has owned the corner of Sunset and Olive on the Strip ever since. Owner Mitzi Shore (the mother of comedian Pauly Shore) made it a force to be reckoned with, back in the day when very few women were involved in...  Read More

The Downtown Comedy Club is the vision of "Saturday Night Live" original cast member Garrett Morris, so it isn't too surprising that his club is only open on Saturday nights. Morris' show gets audiences howling with laughter as he hosts a...  Read More

Flappers Comedy Club is right in the heart of the comedy beast, located in Burbank near NBC Studios and many of the biggest movie studios in the world. Which explains why stars like Dana Carvey and Adam Carolla can be found working the mic in...  Read More

Begun in Chicago as ImprovOlympic Theatre in 1981, iO West is an offshoot of that famed comedy troupe (which shortened its name to iO Theatre as the years passed). The western version of the theater opened in 1997 and has been wowing audiences...  Read More

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre
Photo courtesy of Marcin Wichary

The Upright Citizens Brigade is made up of comedians Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh. It all started with those "UCB4," who produced their own sketch show, the "Upright Citizens Brigade," for three seasons on Comedy Central...  Read More

The Acme Comedy Theatre, on La Brea Avenue in Hollywood, is not just a hotbed of improv and sketch comedy shows, it is also a longstanding school for comedians. Since 1989, Acme has been making Angelenos crack up, while grooming talents like...  Read More

The Laugh Factory
Photo courtesy of For the Record DBA

One of the most famous comedy clubs in SoCal, The Laugh Factory has launched some seriously funny people into the stratosphere since 1979. Think Tim Allen, Chris Rock, Roseanne Barr, Ray Romano, Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans and just...  Read More

Hermosa Beach
Comedy & Magic Club

What could be better than a trip to the beach AND a comedy club? That's part of what makes the Comedy & Magic Club in Hermosa Beach such a great venue. Other elements that make visiting it a great night out are the excellent layout of the...  Read More

The Groundlings Theatre

The Groundlings Theatre has been serving up improvisational comedy since 1974, keeping audiences in stitches every night as well as launching the careers of top film and television comedians including Melissa McCarthy, Will Ferrell, Kristen...  Read More


Meet Jenny Peters

Jenny Peters – aka Jet Set Jen – is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist, editor and party columnist specializing in travel, entertainment, film, food, wine, fashion and the other good...  More About Jenny

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