Any successful comedian knows that humor is a skill to be exercised every day. The owners of Ha Ha Café Comedy Club agree: hosting laugh riots seven days a week. Of course, the stage has plenty of room for established talent, too. During New York Comedy Hour, host Mike Citera introduces a slew of up-and-coming comedians culled from New York City and Los Angeles. Held on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays at 8:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m., All Star Comedy combines such headlining comedians as Jeff Garcia (from "Mr. Box Office" and "Happy Feet"), Adam Hunter ("The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" and "Chelsea Lately"), and Erik Griffin ("Arrested Development" and "Workaholics"), with appearances from such humor royalty as Damon Wayans and Adam Sandler. Other regular events include "Tickle my Belly" hosted by Robert Zapata.
L.A. Connection Comedy Theatre has been mining the comedy mountain for charismatic, off-the-cuff performers since 1977, unearthing the improvisational talents of notable alumni such as Will Ferrell, Matthew Perry, Josh Groban, and Jon Lovitz. During their roughly one-hour shows, a diverse lineup of improv troupes harvest random ideas and obscure associations from the audience to mold offbeat, semilogical sketches.
A cast of instructors also host improv classes for amateur and experienced performers, schooling protégés in the tricks of the trade and exercising their spontaneity, timing, and ability to think of why a hockey goalie would be on a safari. After completing their course, the best student performers may earn the honor of being asked to join one of LAC's regular repertoires.
Since 1995, Bang Comedy Institute and Theater has trained performers in the art of the extemporaneous. In the process, it's built up a history of boosting the careers of comedic actors such as Jane Lynch, Jeff Garlin, Janeane Garofalo, and Fred Willard and the personal joke writers of several heads of state. Hailing from backgrounds in film acting and writing for shows including MADtv, the faculty turn students into confident stage performers in classes that sharpen skills in character development, long-form scene structure, and physical awareness. Many students go on to star in shows on the company's stage.
At the Hollywood Improv, comics lure laughs from deep within bellies as they follow in the footsteps of standup legends such as Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dave Chappelle, all of whom have graced the Improv club stages. The club's calendar schedules comedians as often as seven nights a week, alternating between big-name headliners and up-and-coming funsters who tickle funny bones with fresh material, abundant energy, and feathered reflex hammers.
iO West Theater presents improv and sketch-comedy shows and, along with its comedy-sister, the iO Chicago Theater, has served as a training ground for some of America's best entertainers, including Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, and Eric Stonestreet. The theater's main stage (must be age 21+ to attend) features shows such as Top Story! Weekly, a 60-minute written show touching on America's newsliest items ($5 per ticket), and The Armando Show, 90 minutes worth of improv ripped from the monologue of a celebrity guest ($10 per ticket). There are also all-ages shows at Del Close Theater and The Loft. Across all stages, performers make up situations and details as they go along, and what hilarity emerges is a result of training, audience suggestion, and underlying psychological issues. Call ahead to reserve tickets to fill your empty soul with mirth.
During each beginner improv class, students learn the basic skills of improvisational success, honing in on focus, concentration, teamwork, trust, stagework, and scenework skills. Classes meet for 3.5 hours and take place once a week at ComedySportz' theater at 733 Seward Street. Under the tutelage of experienced funnypersons, students quickly become comfortable and poised to unleash quick-thinking, off-the-cuff remarks.