The Melbourne Comedy Festival’s just wrapped up and the Sydney Comedy Festival is in full swing, which is a great way to whet your appetite for more live comedy. Fortunately, there are incredibly permanent comedy theatres all around the world where you can see some of the best comedians on the planet year-round.
Since 1959, the Second City Theatre has entertained visitors with incredible improv comedy. Located in Chicago’s Old Town, the company has shows across its four stages every night of the week. Second City’s alumni are a who’s who of American comedy, including Bill Murray, John Candy, Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Jane Lynch and Stephen Colbert. If you’re a comedy lover, plan to spend a few nights in Chicago to check out both the main stage and the up-and-coming talent: you may be able to boast you saw one of the next big movie stars in their early days.
After six years of performing in Chicago, Amy Poehler and her Upright Citizen’s Brigade colleagues together moved to New York and founded the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Chelsea in 1999. Though they now have additional venues in New York’s East Village and Franklin and Sunset in LA, the Chelsea theatre remains the flagship. Other performers associated with UCB include Fred Armisen, Jordan Peele, Rachel Bloom, H Jon Benjamin, Janeane Garofolo, Jenny Slate, Donald Glover and Jake Johnson, among many others.
Founded by legendary British comedian Malcolm Hardee in 1991, Up The Creek Comedy Club is a must-visit for comedy fans visiting the UK. It’s a regular practise venue ahead of the Edinburgh comedy festival and has shows most nights of the week. They even have a regular baby- and breastfeeding-friendly weekday comedy afternoon!
The flagship Saturday Show at this Scottish venue has been sold out every night for five straight years. With five comedians every night, some of the UK’s best comedians join emerging talent in the weekly lineup. Don’t worry if you can’t get tickets to the Saturday Show, though: there’s also a Thursday Show and a Friday Show, so you won’t miss out. If you’re planning a visit around the Edinburgh Comedy Festival, be sure to book early as a trip to this iconic venue is on every comedy fan’s must-see list.
TakeOut Comedy in Hong Kong is the first full time comedy club in Asia. Its founder, Chinese-American comedian Jami Gong, hosted comedy nights in New York before deciding the time was right to open a club in Hong Kong. All shows are in English, and this year the club will host the First Asia International Comedy Festival.
Another club founded by American expats, this time in Jerusalem, this small venue has shows in both English and Hebrew, and a Ladies Only night every Monday. Closed for Shabbat every Friday night, it opens again after dark on Saturday in time for late night karaoke. A combination of local and international comedians make this a unique experience for visitors to Israel.
On Errol Street, North Melbourne, the Comedy Lounge has hosted almost all of Australia’s biggest names in comedy. Recent performers include Tom Gleason, Dave Hughes, Mikey Robbins, Bob Franklin and Danny McGinlay. With shows at least five nights a week, there are plenty of opportunities to check out what’s happening, from touring shows to new material nights.