Side-splitting Comedy Shows
By Sarah Sekula
We all know that laughter is often the best medicine. So the next time you are looking for an activity around town, think about heading to a comedy show. There are a number of shows right in your backyard and regardless of your comedy style, we are pretty sure you will like any of the ones we have discovered. Take Sak Comedy Lab, for example, has an extra special detail with its audience participation. The audience gets involved by judging the skits, throwing in the Pink Shoe of Salvation (signaling to stop the skit when a scene has gone on far too long) and calls for the Scum Box if curse words accidentally slip out (this is a PG show). Oh, and if that wasnt fun enough, Sak also throws out Tootise Rolls at the beginning of the each show. Bonkerz Comedy Club is also a great option. It features well-known stand up comedians (Jerry Seinfeld, Drew Carrey, Louie Anderson, and Larry the Cable Guy have preformed in the past) for side-splitting fun. If you enjoy the dinner and laughter combination, check out the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show at WonderWorks on International Drive. This snazzy spot serves up hand-tossed pizza with unlimited beer, wine or soda while Tony Brent (known as a “one man cast of dozens”) does impersonations and magic. But if clean and cheap comedy is what you need, then the Comedy Buffet is your best bet. This improv show is never the same twice but requires a little research to see where they are preforming each week.
10 Treasure Tavern
While many of the attractions around Central Florida cater to the kiddos, Treasure Tavern's humor is more suited to the adult crowd with its naughty but good natured fun. The show features entertainment from around the globe with a silent magician/mime artist, a contortionist, a Russian quick-change act and acrobats from Eastern Europe. Many of these exceptional acts rotate depending on the season so locals and tourist alike have reasons to return time and time again. The food service is unusual with each course delivered during musical numbers preformed by the dancing and singing "Jewels" who dance right up tot he tables. (1.877.318.2469)
9 Blue Man Group · Entertainers
An extravaganza of sensory perception awaits at the new Sharp AQUOS Theatre at Universal Orlando's City Walk, where the Blue Man Group -- three silent performers adorned with blue face paint -- present their own unique brand of entertainment. Comedy, rhythmic drums, flashing lights, ping pong balls and toilet paper (!), are all part of this lively, interactive show. Ponchos are provided for guests in the first few rows since certain portions of the show tend to get sloppy. Expect original rock music and audience participation throughout the show. The Blue Man Group is a totally outrageous show that viewers of all ages will thoroughly enjoy. (407-363-8000, 888-340-5476)
8 Orlando Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theatre
You have come to the right place if you're looking for quality stand up comedy in Orlando and a delicious meal. Guests who arrive early can enjoy a leisurely dinner of items like the Comedy Club Cornbread, Bacon & Bleu Cheese Burger or the Roasted Chicken Salad, and some beers while they wait for the show to start (the sweet potato fries with bourbon butter sauce are a must!) The lineups at Orlando Improv are usually varied between local talent and more well-known headliners like Cedric the Entertainer and Tommy Davidson. Plan on going early to snag a good table. (407-480-5233)
7 Capone's Dinner & Show
Travel back in time during a visit to the Capone's Dinner and Show. This unique experience is highlighted with a marvelous cast and richly authentic atmosphere. Modeled after a 1930s gangland Chicago speakeasy, Capone's offers Italian fare all-you-can-eat-buffet feature favorites like lasagna, Italian blend vegetables and meatballs in sauce, as well as a selection of free beverages (including beer, wine and cocktails.) Actors portraying burlesque dancers and mobsters who entertain with song and dance. The actors also interact with guests throughout the show, though private tables are available for guests who want to forgo audience participation. (407-397-2378, 800-220-8428)
6 Bonkerz Comedy Club
For a night of sidesplitting stand up comedy in Orlando, visit Bonkerz Comedy Club. On Friday and Saturday evenings, professional comics take the stage to elicit gales of laughter from locals and vacationers alike. Headliners for weekend shows are acclaimed and nationally recognized comics who have performed on shows like MadTV and Last Comic Standing. On Wednesday nights, the mic is open to ambitious amateurs who want to try their hands at stand up ... and hilarity always ensues. Bonkerz Comedy Club has an impressive list of alumni such as Jerry Seinfeld, Drew Carrey, Louie Anderson, and Larry the Cable Guy. (407-629-2665)
5 Hard Rock Live
Located at Universal's CityWalk, this live concert venue boasts tremendous appeal. Modeled after the Roman coliseum, the dramatic structure seats 2000, features six bars, and adjoins the legendary Hard Rock Cafe. Artists from far and near grace the stage, and in addition to popular bands and music groups, comedy performances have included the Shaquille O'Neil All Star Comedy Weekend, They Might Be Giants, George Lopez, Kevin Smith, and others. In addition to the great food and drink to be found at the Hard Rock Cafe, CityWalk provides a great atmosphere before and after the show, featuring a ton of bars, clubs, and restaurants. (407-351-5483)
Among Orlando comedy clubs, only one features magic and dinner in the show as well as laughs: WonderWorks. By day this upside-down building features over one hundred interactive exhibits, as well as a ropes challenge course, laser tag, and 4D theater. But the best comes after dark, with the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, one of the most popular evening attractions in Orlando. Tony Brent, known as a "one man cast of dozens," headlines the show. He delivers non-stop audience interaction, impersonations, and magic during his hilarious show, while guests enjoy hand-tossed pizza and unlimited beer, wine, or soda. (407-351-8800)
3 Comedy Buffet
Some of the best comedy has always been away from the spotlight, in the back alleys and small clubs of the performance underground. Comedy Buffett is one of Orlando's hidden secrets — an improv comedy troupe performing at various locations all over Central Florida. Featuring a group of local performers, the Comedy Buffet serves up cheap and clean comedy that's never the same twice. You'll have to follow their website to track down a show, but the reward is usually small venues and big comedy. If you're looking to hone your improv skills, the troupe puts on comedy classes periodically — check their website for details. (863-299-5698)
2 Mama's Comedy Show
Performing at Sleuth's Mystery Dinner Theater as part of their Orlando Comedy Series, Mama's Comedy Show spins their own brand of improv every Friday night at 10pm. In the vein of series like "Who's Line Is It Anyway?," Mama's Comedy Show is based on audience suggestion, and the rotating cast spins a unique show every time. With performances only once a week, the cast is always bringing their best laughs to the table, and Mama's has built up a cult following amongst Orlando locals. Walk-ins are welcome, but Mama strongly suggests you call ahead for reservations due to the limited showings. (407-363-1985)
1 SAK Comedy Lab
An Orlando fixture since 1991, The SAK Comedy Lab features a variety of nationally and internationally recognized comedians. The SAK Comedy Lab is all about improv, and they do it well. One of Orlando's most popular comedy clubs, they recently relocated to the trendy CityArts Factory, in the heart of downtown. The SAK Comedy Lab brings different themes to different nights, including the popular improv competition "Duel of Fools" (Thursday through Saturday) and Saturday's late-night "Early Show." For those wanting to pursue the trade or just bring some A-game to the water cooler, workshops are offered on Mondays — call for more details. Casual attire is suggested, as are reservations. (407-648-0001, 407-648-1333)
About Sarah Sekula
When Sarah's not zigzagging around the planet — swimming with sea lions in the Galapagos Islands, scaling glaciers in Iceland or roaming through remote jungles in India — she's writing about her adventures, the environment, fitness, health/wellness, extraordinary people and social injustice issues.
Sarah's written for USA Today, ISLANDS, Sherman’s Travel, Caribbean Travel & Life, Cayman Airways Skies, American Eagle Latitudes, Orlando Sentinel, abcnews.com, Where Orlando, Where First Coast, nileguide.com, tripatlas.com, Upscale and Wild Blue Yonder.
She's also an editor and photographer, and has a strong background in public relations. She has a real knack for rounding up facts, making deadlines, project-juggling, storytelling, and wiggling her ears (which she claims hasn’t come in handy yet).
Read more about Sarah Sekula here.