Comedy Clubs in Toronto
Toronto comedy clubs can be a great source of laughter if you're sick of just relying on City Hall for your daily dose of funny. (Or are those tears?) Some of Canada's best and brightest comedians have spawned from our humble clubs, as well as a few of those chronic amateur-night-attendees who, bless their hearts, just haven't been able to make it to Saturday Night Live.
Whoever takes the stage, chances are a night out at one of Toronto's comedy clubs will certainly be a good time. That is, unless you sit front row centre for a stand-up show...or walk in late. Speaking from experience, let me just say that both will make your cheeks a little pinker.
For those who aren't chronically tardy, here are a few places to catch live comedy in Toronto:
Comedy Bar at Bloor and Ossington has a little bit of everything offered seven nights a week. Perhaps a little tricky to navigate on a first visit, Comedy Bar has more than just stand-up, with improv, sketch, and alternative shows always on the roster. Food and drinks are pretty reasonably priced as well.
On the edge of Toronto's Club District, everyone knows this place. Yuk Yuk's is the classic dinner theatre and standup comedy venue, with shows featuring notable headliners and up-and-coming comics. Yuk Yuk's has also served as the launching pad for famous funny Canadian including Russel Peters and Howie Mandel. And if schadenfreude is your thing, you'll want to check out its Tuesday amateur nights.
The Second City
The Second City is a cozy spot for fantastic sketch comedy. The shows are often quite topical (anyone seen $#*! My Mayor Says?) and followed by audience interactive improv. And if the inspiration strikes you, you can enroll and come back to The Second City at King and Spadina for one of its improv, writing, or specialty courses.
Bad Dog Theatre
Though it has given up its home on the Danforth, Bad Dog Theatre promises it's not quitting improv comedy. For now, Bad Dog is producing shows at temporary venues and offering workshops out of 918 Bathurst until it find a new space. Its flagship show, Theatresports, will relaunch in April at Comedy Bar.
Absolute Comedy is another venue for live stand-up, with a layout that is just awful for being picked up and picked on by comedians on stage. On Yonge north of Eglinton, Absolute also offers a pretty standard menu of pub food, drinks, and a discount PRO/AM night every Wednesday where the pros and amateurs share the stage.
Aside from comedy clubs, there's a long like of comedy nights at various venues around the city. Here's a snapshot of some of them:
- The Rivoli Back Room stage
- I Heart Jokes at The Central (first Tuesday of every month)
- 8-Bit Improv at Black Swan starting in April
- Comedy at the Ossington (first Wednesday of every month)
- Weedy Wednesday comedy at Vapor Central
- Stand-up and improv at Clinton's Tavern
- Comedy at Czehoski (monthly)
- Comedy Above the Pub at McVeigh's (weekly)
- Grindhouse Comedy at Grindhouse Burger Bar
Did I miss a good comedy club or venue in Toronto? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo by Roger Cullman.