10Best places for comedy in New Orleans

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 during Carnival season. 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 nationally 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.


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 tastes 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.

French Quarter
House of Blues

Comedy is a regular, but hit or miss, happening at The House of Blues in New Orleans. The venue makes a great 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 stand-up 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.

Photo courtesy of Beth D'Addono

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 it's Comic Strip hosted by Chris Lane, with some of the hardest working comics in New Orleans join burlesque dancers for a very funny and fun open mic night. Comics sign up at 9, show starts at 9:30 pm and you pay $5 at the door. 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.

French Quarter
One Eyed Jacks

Although One Eyed Jacks isn't just a comedy club, it's also not just a dance club or a burlesque hall or a dance venue. Whatever you're seeking, most visitors fall in love with One Eyed Jacks, an unpretentious place that offers outrageous comedy, live music, burlesque, 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.

Howlin' Wolf

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 stand-up 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.

Hi-Ho Lounge

Wood beams and Art Deco-style decor add visual appeal to the open design of this club's interior. Enjoy reasonably priced drinks at the bar and be sure to stay and hear live music from emerging bands. Occasional cover charge. Usually, on the first Saturday of the Month, Close Me Out Drunk Storytelling hosted by Andrew Healan takes the stage at 8 pm for a free show. And on the second Wednesday of most months, it's I Probably Shouldn't Ask, sexy standup hosted by Abigail Isaacoff and Camille Roanne. On the fourth Saturday, it's The Rip-Off Show, a game show meets stand up hosted by Geoffrey Gauchet.

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, now ensconced in their new digs in Old Arabi, 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 Big Bad Fox and Other Tales, an hilarious, heartwarming tale of animal misfits from France from the Academy Award-nominated directors of Ernest And Celestine. 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. Musicians in residence is another draw - currently cellist Helen Gillet is in the house.

7th Ward/St. Roch
The New Movement
Photo courtesy of The New Movement

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.

Carrollton Station

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 10 pm 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. You just never know what's on the eats menu, but $1 dogs and tacos are two popular items to pair with drink specials.


Meet Beth D'Addono

Beth D'Addono is a food and travel writer obsessed with flavor, exploring cultures, street music and the city of New Orleans.

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