Clean angles and an uncluttered aesthetic make the auditorium at Comerica Theatre an expression of modern minimalism. No columns, chandeliers, or giant neon-light cowboys distract from the stage, which has hosted such celebrities as Harry Connick Jr., Jerry Seinfeld, George Lopez, and the Blue Collar comedians. Thanks to the facility’s state-of-the-art audio and visual capabilities, the stage can be made to suit arena concerts, standup comedy, ballet performances, or small-scale Civil War reenactments.
As toes twinkle onstage, visitors can bask in the renovated scenery of Symphony Hall, which couples hand-blown glass chandeliers with a quartet of designer tapestries. One of the largest machine-made draperies known to man, the theater’s colorful Grand Drape symbolizes the renewal of generations, creativity, and library books discovered during fossil digs.
The Chaos Comedy Improv troupe spins lightning-quick thinking into tapestries of cachinnation during Saturday-night showcases of unscripted comedy. A vibrant, quick-witted cast evicts any lingering drama from the Dearing Acting Studio stage, giving audiences a reprieve from all non-laughing matters as they munch on house-popped popcorn. Upcoming performances vary wildly, as the troupe never plays the same show twice or forgets to wear random clothing found in a back alley. Fans of unadulterated imagination can rejoice that Chaos Comedy keeps the laughs family friendly.
Arizona’s most promising side-splitters share the stage with nationally renowned headliners at Speakeasy Comedy Club, a venue taking its atmospheric cues from a Prohibition-era nightspot. Shows on Friday and Saturday nights feature performers who have honed their anatomical knowledge of funny bones during televised appearances on Conan, Last Comic Standing, and HBO specials. Though the club discloses its password to a range of comics from diverse backgrounds, most performers eschew squeaky-clean comedy for a brand of dirty humor that appeals to the noir detectives who regularly lean on the venue's gray brick walls or occupy the back row’s plushy seats. A friendly wait staff supplies cocktails, signature margaritas, and other exquisite libations along with Mexican cuisine to soothe bellies aching from chortling fits.
At Stand-Up, Scottsdale! bellies ache from a rotating selection of nationally known comedians seen on Comedy Central and late-night talk shows. The intimate 180-person venue, where such local legends as David Spade got their start, beckons a cast of talented funny persons that changes regularly. Voted Best Comedy Club this year by Arizona Foothills magazine, the ha-ha hot spot has recently hosted performances by noted names including Dana Carvey, Frank Caliendo, and Norm Macdonald. With a recent appearance on Spike TV's "Bar Rescue," they now boost a full menu of pub-food appetizers and entrees keeps would-be hecklers otherwise occupied, and Wednesday evening open-mic nights allow rookie comics to test their mettle.
Every weekend, nationally touring comedians step up to the brick wall at The Comedy Spot Comedy Club to deliver their sets. The performance area allows viewers to get table seating right up to the edge of the stage or hang back in the booths to admire photos of nostalgic comedic icons. While watching, audiences can take in New York– and Chicago–inspired sandwiches and pizzas from the menu. Those looking to hone their own rib-tickling skills can enroll in improv classes or take the stage for a five-minute set during open mic nights. The club’s website even offers fledgling comics tips, such as a dress code, following the light, and checking each patron’s bag for tomatoes.