Comedy, like so much of the entertainment scene in New Orleans, is crackling with homegrown and imported energy and innovation. Pop-up open mics and regular stand-up shows happen at bars and theaters large and small all over town, fomenting a landscape ripe for creativity. New Orleanian humor tends to be on the dark side, an observation that's beyond the obvious if you've ever been to a Krewe du Vieux parade. Locals find just about nothing sacred, which makes it open season for performers with a witty bent. Local comedy shows run the gamut from improv to stand up and sketch comedy, with plenty of drag and burlesque thrown into the mix for spice. The city gets its share of national touring comics as well, big names like Whoopi Goldberg onstage at the Saenger with cutting edge comedy from Comedy Central stars like Ralphie May onstage at more intimate venues like House of Blues and Hard Rock Cafe.
Locals know Love Lost Lounge for its offbeat day-by-day event scheduling, which includes a weekly comedy show on Tuesdays called Comedy Catastrophe hosted by Cassidy Henehan at 10 p.m. Tuesdays. The free show is always a hoot, and there are typically drink specials and always a menu of Vietnamese tasties from the kitchen. This is a neighborhood place, a "Cheers" kind of bar where everybody may not know your name but they'll call you baby just the same. make this a top New Orleans nightlife venue. Lost Love Lounge is one of the oldest–if not the oldest–continually operating taverns in the Faubourg Marigny.
Every Thursday, House of Blues New Orleans presents a FREE comedy show hosted by Leon Blanda featuring some of the funniest stand-up comics, sketch and improv in New Orleans. The House of Blues in New Orleans is unlike any other venue that shares its name. Opened in 1994 in the French Quarter, this historic blues house offers standing room viewing of a stage that gets concert-goes right on top of the performers. Each stage contains a box welded to the bottom containing original Mississippi mud, ensuring "that every artist has the roots and the spirit of the South planted beneath their feet". The New Orleans iteration has some 300 pieces of folk art lining the walls and hallways of the interior.
Siberia is an alt music venue that rises to the top of the dive bar heap in a city that may just have invented the genre. Every Monday night, some of the best (and worst) comics in New Orleans join burlesque dancers (and one fainting, talking dog) for a very funny and fun open mic night. Comics sign up at 9, show starts at 9:30pm and you pay $5 at the door. Siberia has multiple personalities - one night you'll find comedy, another live rock and roll, or maybe Goth heavy metal venue. If you're lucky, a somber Balkans folk trio that inspires what looks like Greek dancing. There's a convivial live and let live attitude here that is one of the best things about this town when it really comes together.
Although One Eyed Jacks isn't just a comedy club, it's also not just a dance club or a burlesque hall or a gay dance venue. Whatever you're seeking, most visitors fall in love with One Eyed Jacks, an unpretentious venue that offers outrageous comedy, live music, burlesque, gay leather nights and an always popular Thursday 80s night dance party. This local favorite is known for its flashy decor, complete with chandeliers and a grand staircase, excellent stage views and relaxed atmosphere. Great drink prices and hysterical comedy sketches seal the deal. Like so many things New Orleans, One Eyed Jacks isn't one thing, but you'll find something funny going on there most evenings.
From traveling business types to hard-core college students, the Howlin' Wolf draws a diverse crowd that tends to skew on the younger side. Located near the Convention Center, this live music club also features free comedy shows, Comedy Beast in The Den every Tuesday, a free standup showcase hosted by Andrew Polk of Massive Fraud and Comedy Gumbeaux in The Den bar on Thursdays and The club holds about 500 people with an upstairs balcony area as well as pool tables in the back. The ambiance is loud, the crowd energetic, and the prices for drinks and cover are affordable. The bathrooms, however, are on the rough side so be prepared.
For fans of impish improv and sidesplitting stand-up, NOLA Comedy Theater is a New Orleans must. This comedy club's uniquely hilarious regular shows include "Based on Real Life," which incorporates audience suggestions, and "Fear and Loathing in New Orleans," a comedic conglomeration of various themes. Voted "Best Comedy Venue" by "Where Y'at" magazine and "Best Place to See Stand-up" by "Gambit," La Nuit also features The Box Office Bar with live music and drinks. Snug theater space for stand-up & improv comedy fests, plus classes, burlesque and a lounge for beers. LaNuit is on Freret uptown, delivering icutting edge stand up, sketch and improv comedy.
Allways Lounge is a locals' favorite bar located on the edge of the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans. Just off the bar there's a stage for everything from comedy and gay bingo, along with productions including Freaksheaux to Geaux, a delicious gumbo of music, circus, sideshow and burlesque. Saturday is home to Local Uproar, a night for laughs hosted by UK comedian Paul Oswell, widely regarded as one of the best comedy showcases in town. It's also one of the only nights hosting nationally touring comedians on a regular basis. This is a quirky, offbeat place, no doubt, so discover before everybody else does.
The Zeitgeist doesn't do comedy full-time, but often features live comedic performances from some of the best local acts in the business. You'll also find offbeat film comedies, like the recently screened Men and Chicken, a darkly hilarious slapstick show starring Mads Mikkelsen. You might find an improv comedy group in residency here, blowing up audiences with laughter on the intimate stage. The venue is run by local volunteers and artists and is always in tune with the pulse of the city. This type of ownership allows for patron perks such as the ability to bring your pets to shows.
Founded in Austin, The New Movement now includes the NOLA branch run by New Orleans natives Chris Trew and Tami Nelson. Billed as a full time comedy conservatory, TNM includes improv classes, local and touring comics and the popular Monday night Knockout, TNM's weekly comedy clash between two different shows. The victorious production advances in the tournament with the overall Knockout Champion claiming the ultimate crown - a primetime slot on TNM's stage. Shows are 18+, there's a bar on site and content tends to be geared to grown ups. There are however classes designed for teens and kids, a fun option if you're traveling with the family.
Sign up by 8:30 to take your shot at "Think You're Funny?" the weekly Open Mic Stand Up Comedy night every Wednesday starting around 9 pm. Bands take the stage about 10pm on other evenings at this jivin' Uptown music venue. Carrollton Station showcases everything from Zydeco and Cajun to classic rhythm and blues and jazz-rock fusion. The ambiance is cozy and the crowd friendly. Carrollton's also schedules a Tuesday Song Writer's acoustic night, which highlights up-and-coming New Orleans talent. We've Got Soul is the pop-up kitchen here, with delicious $16 options like chicken fried steak or grilled swordfish served with $5 sides including cheesey scalloped potatoes topped with a char broiled oyster.