The first Improv comedy club had virtually nothing to do with comedy. Broadway producer Budd Friedman founded the now legendary franchise in 1963 as an intimate spot where performers could eat, drink coffee, and sing along to piano ditties after their shows. Soon after, the club's first comedian, Dave Astor, tried out some new material on a whim. The stand-up set was a hit and led to the venue's eventual transformation into a full-blown comedy club. New York's hottest comedians would do nearly anything to be featured on the Improv stage; for instance, it's rumored that Lily Tomlin hijacked a parked limousine in order to make a stunning entrance when first meeting Budd.
Since 1988, Tempe Improv has lived up to the lofty reputation of its parent club by showcasing comedic heavyweights such as Kevin Nealon, Carlos Mencia, and Pablo Francisco. A diverse calendar draws instantly recognizable comics from the airwaves of the E! channel and Comedy Central, but it also opens up the stage to promising up-and-comers. A menu of bar food and drinks ensures audiences stay fueled and ready to laugh throughout the evening.
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 of 2012 by Arizona Foothills magazine, the ha-ha hot spot has recently hosted performances by noted names including Dana Carvey, Frank Caliendo, and Norm Macdonald. 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.
The rule of three is more than a spooky truth about celebrity deaths?it's also the body of law that governs comedic extemporaneity. In accordance with this rule, you'll laugh harder and be more attractive if you tell three, six, nine, and other multiples of three friends about today's deal to Jester'Z Improv Comedy Troupe. For $5, you get a ticket to see Jester'Z sidesplitting improvised comedy show on Friday or Saturday nights at 10 p.m.?that's less than the cost of a comedy movie, hardbound comedy book, or admission to the comedy museum in Cedar Falls. To avoid this common improv pitfall, print out this handy list of suggestions by clicking Print, located under the File menu in most browsers.
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.