If you are looking to be entertained while visiting Los Angeles, or spot the next comedian destined for stardom, here are the top LA comedy clubs to check out.
1. The Ice House
We’re listing the Ice House Comedy Club as the first for a couple of reasons. As the oldest Comedy Club in the Los Angeles area it has entertained over 4 million people. It’s also one of the venues where many of today’s best known comedians got their start.
The Ice House Comedy Club has a main stage and a back stage. The walls are adorned with portraits of the likes of Jay Leno, the Smothers Brothers, Lily Tomlin, Pat Paulsen, Bob Newhart, George Carlin, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O’Donnell, and so many more…. all of whom have performed there.
The Ice House is located at 24 Mentor Avenue in Pasadena, California (it’s in the alley).
2. The Laugh Factory
Another legendary comedy clubs in Los Angeles is the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. It’s been referred to as the number one comedy club in the country by a major media outlet. It opened its Sunset Strip location in 1979 and later one in Long Beach.
Legendary comedians that performed at the Laugh Factory on their way to the top include: Tim Allen, Louie Anderson, Roseanne Barr, Milton Berle, Drew Carey, George Carlin, Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, Rodney Dangerfield, Ellen DeGeneres, Phyliss Diller, Jeff Dunham, Jeff Foxworthy, Redd Foxx, Brad Garrett, Eddie Griffin, Kathy Griffin, Buddy Hackett, Bob Hope, Andy Kaufman, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Richard Lewis, Richard Pryor, Paul_Reiser, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, Flip Wilson, Robin Williams, Jonathan Winters, and more.
The Laugh Factory on Sunset Strip is located at 8001 Sunset Boulevard.
3. The Comedy Store
The Comedy Store came onto the scene in 1972 and has a varied and impressive history.
It played such a strong role in developing the careers of top comedians that its early period is known as the Comedy Store’s Artist Colony Period. Comics nurtured during that period include Jay Leno, Robin Williams, David Letterman and so many more.
Yet in 1979, Letterman and Leno were among those picketing the Comedy Club demanding comics be paid. It resulted in comics getting paid at the club, but is also said to have broken owner Mitzi Shore’s spirit. It marked the end of its Bohemian artist colony days and the beginning of bottom line business in its place.
Prior to being the Comedy Store, its history was even more colorful when it was known as Ciro’s restaurant. The place had a reputation of being the place to be seen for Hollywood celebrities, and a place where you were likely to get bumped off due to its mob connections.
Bottom line: Expect a great show if you go to the Comedy Store. Mitzi Shore was known for her keen ability to spot the talent that had the star power and charisma to hit the top. She personally selected them to perform at the club and those hand picked by Mitzi are the ones whose names appear on the black walls outside the club.
The Comedy Store is located at 8433 Sunset Blvd.
4. The Hollywood Improv
Where the other comedy clubs we have mentioned here trade in stand up comedy, The Hollywood Improv specializes in just what its name says: Improvisational Comedy.
The club dates back to the sixties in NYC and the Hollywood Improv Comedy Club on Melrose was opened in 1975. It reached fame and brought the comedy world into the homes of every American in the Eighties when the A & E Network began airing a show called “An Evening at the Improv” out of the club.
The big names in comedy have passed through it and still do. Comedians that have appeared there include Jamie Foxx, Dave Chappelle, Jeff Dunham and so many more.
The Hollywood Improv Comedy Club is located at 8162 Melrose Ave.
You might notice a similar thread running thorough all these comedy clubs. Each of them served as a launching pad for today’s big name comedians. The take away here is that these clubs have a sharp eye for who has what it takes to make it big and that the “unknown” you are watching in the club tonight could quite easily be the star of a major network show tomorrow. Don’t miss the chance to see them start out!