A rare outlet for commercially sanctioned laughter in downtown Los Angeles, Garrett Morris’ Downtown Blues and Comedy Club helps visitors escape the stresses of the workweek with a rotating stable of top-tier standup talent every Friday and Saturday. Comic legend Garrett Morris, now seen as Earl on CBS’ 2 Broke Girls, hosts showcases of comic talent with charming wit and tales of how he outlived the original cast of Saturday Night Live. The bill remains consistently loaded with fresh-faced and seasoned funny folk, with past luminaries including George Lopez, Margaret Cho, and Wayne Brady, along with aspiring stars in the twilight before their first mismatched-marriage sitcom.
Keeping true to its name and Morris’ roots in the New Orleans music scene, the venue often punctuates its comedy shows with performances from top blues artists—including Morris himself, who has lent his soulful pipes to the Harry Belafonte Singers—that add melody to the mirth. While weekend shows feature Garrett’s hosting and harmonies along with the headlining acts, the Thursday Night Experience allows youthful burgeoning comics and musicians to hog the spotlight.
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.
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Everyone needs to laugh once or twice, but no more than 10 times in life. Lucky for you, $8 gets you a ticket (a $20 value) for select dates at Hollywood Improv, located at 8162 Melrose Ave.. Hollywood Improv is part of the national Improv chain that helped launch the careers of David Spade, Lily Tomlin, Adam Sandler, and Jerry Seinfeld, but did nothing for the careers of Dikembe Mutombo, Toni Morrison, and Bob Ross. Buy a few Groupons and grab some friends, because comedians require a copious laughter supply to survive.
With your Groupon, you must call at least three days ahead to reserve your ticket for one of the following shows:
Like most comedy clubs, The Hollywood Improv requires a two-item minimum. Check out its extensive menu, which includes the mammoth Improv burger (two ground-beef patties, garlic mayo, Swiss cheese, and lettuce). Email the club five days before your show to make dinner reservations, which gets you priority seating. Check out the available shows, and call the Hollywood Improv to reserve your tickets to the show of your choice.
Citysearch says, "At the Improv, it's big-time acts without the big-time attitude of those Sunset Strip clubs. There's no lining up outside. Enter and have a drink at the warm and inviting bar...The showroom is classic, with the brick wall made famous by years of "Live at the Improv" tapings."
LosAngeles.com says, "Without places like the Hollywood Improv, there would be a little less happiness in the world and probably more violence."
Yelpers and Citysearchers give it four stars:
- This is by far one of my favorite places to go of all time in the way of entertainment. – Bunny L., Yelp
- Overall a great night, inexpensive fun, top-notch comedians, and a mini-ab workout to boot. – Kelley B., Yelp
- I would recommend this place to anyone that wants to have a good laugh and a great time. Leave the uptight, narrow-minded, conservative types at home where they belong!! – ThatGurrlFromLA, Citysearch
If you’re in the mood for laughs, be sure to catch the hilarious comedy of Sonny Crand, America’s Angriest Mime. Here are some reviews from Sonny’s latest show, Stomachache Mimery:
Sonny opened the show by telling everyone to shut up, which seemed especially rude coming from a mime. He seemed very angry about something. – Marlo Cantrell, Seattle Tribune
Sonny talked throughout the performance and then drank most of my drink. When I protested, he mimed punching me and then actually struck my husband, Dan. – Stephanie Lane, Mime Month
Halfway through the show, Sonny left stage. When he came back five minutes later, he had clearly been crying. He spent the rest of the show playing “Smoke on the Water” on an acoustic guitar and complaining about not getting in to graduate school. – Keith Baxter, San Diego News
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.