title: Ontario Improv
html_text: At Ontario Improv, comics lure laughs from bellies in the hopes of following in the footsteps of standup legends such as Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dave Chappelle, all of whom have graced the Improv’s stages. The club's calendar schedules comedians as often as six nights a week, alternating between big-name headliners and up-and-coming performers. As they take in shows, audience members can munch on savory appetizers such as spinach-and-artichoke dip or fried calamari, and sip cocktails to avoid eye contact with the giant rubber chicken sitting at the next table.
For nearly 50 years, the Improv chain has incubated standup talent?notable alumni such as Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, and Robin Williams all conquered their stage fright there before their big breaks. The Ontario location carries on the Improv?s tradition of catching rising stars before they turn into supernovas spewing dangerous molten punch lines with a calendar of up-and-comers and nationally touring talent.
title: Flappers Comedy Club
Dave Reinitz packed up all his belongings into a motor home, left New York, and began driving across the country because he was bored. When the engine finally blew, he was in Los Angeles, and decided that was where he would stay. As if by providence, Dave immediately took to his newfound city's comedy scene. Eventually, he partnered up with comedian Barbara Holliday for his life's next great adventure—Flappers Comedy Club.
Today, Barbara, whose credits include Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Friends, co-manages the multipurpose club she owns with Dave. A breeding ground for new talent, the venue plays host to standup comics and variety acts, and gives up-and-comers a hand with comedy classes called Flappers University. Many local and rising comedians have tested their standup material at Flappers, and the stage has supported the seasoned weight of stars such as Dave Attell and Jason Alexander. Before, during, or after shows, patrons can fuel their giggle fits with grub from the club's onsite restaurant, including Cajun-spiced burgers, seared ahi, and brick-oven pizzas.
title: The Asylum at 908
In 1920, a nurse was found wandering outside Dr. Kiefer Einstein's insane asylum with blood dripping from her eyes. Supposedly this incident drove the doctor to abandon his asylum—probably fearing what outside attention would bring to light—but not everyone believes he left. Once a good, brilliant doctor, Einstein was driven mad by his quest for eternal life, eventually testing vaccines against death on his psychiatric patients. Some believed his experiments never really stopped, and worse: that they worked.
Every Halloween season, guests wander the maze-like halls of Einstein's asylum, coming face to face with every demon and hastily scribbled prescription the doctor left behind. The Asylum at 908 has a daytime face, too, welcoming children on weekend afternoons. During these Kiddy Hours, the lights stay on, the ghouls stay hidden, and every dead end becomes a delight thanks to stashes of candy.
More than half a century ago, three partners raised a vibrant, multicolored tent on an underdeveloped industrial site and established the Westbury Music Fair. It followed its first production, The King and I, with a decade of top-name talent and Broadway musicals. Then, recognizing its place on the theater scene was permanent, it planted its roots as a fully enclosed theater-in-the-round. Expanding its repertoire to match its new digs, the theater showcased performers such as The Who, Bruce Springsteen, and Julie Andrews. Today, past a lounge blazing in purple and red lights, guests find that same circular stage hosting equally great musical acts, musical theater, and competitive musical chairs.
Comfy leather booths surround a bumping dance floor at M15 Concert Bar & Grill, making the club’s prerogative known from the get-go. If it wasn’t clear, though, a rich menu of classic grill fare such as rib-eye steaks and shrimp scampi shows off the kitchen’s devotion to food, whereas a weekly lineup of musical and comedy acts demonstrate the venue’s commitment to entertainment. Tribute acts regularly wind back the clock onstage, whether yowling like Axl Rose or sporting the invisible reptilian crown of Jim Morrison. Actual stars of yesteryear have been known to make appearances as well, including Tommy Tutone and Bow Wow Wow. M15 Concert Bar & Grill’s dance parties might be themed around the music of decades past or be soundtracked by DJs spinning dub step, hip-hop, and electronica—whatever it takes to get guests shaking their hips into the night.