What is a Comedy Club?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

If you need to unwind from a hard week or just want to settle in for a few laughs, then a comedy club is the ideal place to spend an evening. Here are some things about comedy club history and ambiance that you may not know.

Comedy clubs showcase stand-up comics.
Comedy clubs showcase stand-up comics.

Comedy routines and the stage have been with us ever since the days of vaudeville. Often used as the opening or warm-up act for the headlining music troupe or dance act, comedy acts would take their stand-up routines across the country. Sometimes the act would be a single comedian who would rely on sight gags and quick repartee to get the audience primed and ready for the headliners.

Some comedy clubs host amateur nights.
Some comedy clubs host amateur nights.

At other times, two or more comedians would work together, usually with one person playing the serious role and the other being the wacky part of the team. The format caught on, and soon stand-up comedy teams were as famous as all the other vaudeville acts. After vaudeville died the mixture of comedy and clubs continued to be a popular attraction. In fact, many of the most famous comedy duos of the 20th century built up their fan base by touring the comedy club circuit.

During the 1960s and 1970s, a new facet of the comedy club began to emerge, as more and more clubs held amateur nights. The chance to try out routines in front of a live audience was a boon for those who hoped to make it in the field of stand-up comedy. The audience, in turn, had the chance to discover new talent ahead of anyone else. The chance to hone their craft in a comedy club made it possible for some of the most highly regarded comedians of the late 20th century to eventually come to national prominence.

When it comes to layout, the comedy club will vary in the ambiance that it projects. Some clubs today are like auditoriums, with stadium seating and a full sized stage. You will see bright lights and visual effects all through the shows. Others are smaller and more intimate, with tables and chairs for the customers and a small stage area for the performer. Most offer drinks of some kind, and in some clubs you can get a full meal to enjoy during the show.

The comedy club is alive and well today. Some comedy clubs still host amateur nights, as well as provide entertainment by the current ruling class of comedic geniuses that most of us know by name. Cable TV and the Internet have made it possible for a number of high profile comedy club outlets to also be seen by a much wider audience, making some of them into meccas for the star-struck. However, the nice thing is that you don’t necessarily have to rely on your computer and television to take you into a comedy club. Chances are you live within driving distance of a local comedy club. Why not visit one soon? You may be just in time to see the next big comedian before he or she hits the big time.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@turquoise-- Was it a B room comedy club? Adult comedy is common in B room clubs. You might want to go to an A room comedy club with well known acts that are mostly family friendly. I personally like C room clubs because I like watching new comedians and tickets are not necessary.

I also want to clarify that stand-up comedy isn't the only type of comedy performed at comedy clubs. Ventriloquists and impersonators do shows at these clubs too. So there really are many different types of comedy that could be enjoyed at these clubs.


I really like the ambiance at comedy clubs. It can be crowded but it's very cozy. I agree that it's a great place to rewind. I don't know if this is strange, but I like the snacks and foods served at comedy clubs too. Sometimes it feels like I'm hanging out at home with a bunch of friends.


I've been to a comedy club only once. It was by chance as someone couldn't make it to the show and a friend gave me his extra ticket. I had a good time overall but there were a few moments where I was uncomfortable with some of the jokes that were a bit on the vulgar side. That's why I think it's important for people to be familiar with a comedian and their jokes before going to a comedy club for his or her performance. If there are multiple comedians performing that night, it's not a big deal. But when a single comedian performs the whole night, it can be an issue for those who don't like his jokes.

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