The Best Comedy Clubs in Toronto
The best comedy clubs in Toronto
are were Yuk Yuk's, Second City, and Absolute Comedy. For years, that statement rang true, but not anymore. In recent years, comedy producers have been popping up all over the place, leveraging the infrastructure of small to mid-size venues and doing everything from handing out flyers to negotiating food and drink specials to build their brand. The result is that comedians and comedy-goers in Toronto are now exquisitely spoiled when it comes to the immense selection at their fingertips.
Here's the list of the best comedy clubs in Toronto.
Located across from Ossington Station lies Comedy Bar, a place that puts itself head and shoulders above the rest by the sheer variety of shows available on any given night. It's not uncommon to have an international headliner like Ari Shaffir playing the mainstage at $20 a head while a sketch troupe works out material in the cabaret for a paltry fiver. The best thing about the club is that it gives would-be producers on a tight budget the environment they need to fail forward. More »
If you've seen stand-up in Toronto, you've probably been to Yuk's, a club that has hosted the world's best and most popular stand-up comics, from Dave Chappelle to Dustin Diamond. Shows range from $11-20, and their roster of comedians ensure that the audience gets their money's worth. One of the interesting things about the club is the mirror against the back wall, which lets comics see what they look like while they're on stage. See if you can catch them stealing a glimpse! More »
Unobtrusively located at 51 Mercer lies Second City. From a performer's perspective, this venue provides a completely different experience compared to all of the other comedy clubs in Toronto. The lights, the high ceilings, the curtains, everything makes it feel like a stage worthy of one's best. Not surprisingly, their sketch and improv shows consistently receive the highest ratings from critics of all tastes. More »
The Rivoli near Queen and Spadina will forever be connected with the alt comedy scene in Toronto. Laugh Sabbath and ALTdot Comedy Lounge gave audiences a break from the Letterman-stamped acts. On Mondays, some of the best comedians in Toronto, regardless of where they're headlining, will drop in for a five-minute set. On Tuesdays, sketch comedy takes center stage. All this for a measly $5? Count me in. More »
When Absolute Comedy opened up at Yonge & Eglinton, stand-up comedians' allegiance to Yuk's was torn, and for good reason. The crowds are always in a great mood. Not surprisingly, comics have been known to wait for as long as eight months for one of the coveted five-minute spots on their Wednesday Pro/Am show. Their booking sensibilities always ensure that the opening and middle acts serve to complement the headliners, which keep the shows consistently interesting. At $6-15 per head, it's money well spent. More »
As soon as you pass through the black veil, the sumptuous red velvet curtains let you know that this was a place designed with care. Mark Debonis and Garrett Jamieson have turned this previously unassuming room into a place where up and coming Toronto stand-ups are finally getting the chance to showcase their headlining sets. As such, it's not uncommon to see this Ossington club packed with loyal fans, even on a Wednesday night. It's truly a comedy club by comics, for comics. More »
The Central, located behind Honest Ed's, is a small, intimate room, but that doesn't mean you're going to see small comics. It's perfectly natural for headliners to drop in for a set, whether they're working out new stuff or simply enjoying an atmosphere where they can let it all hang out. It currently serves as the home for up and coming producers like Anto Chan and Evan Desmarais, the latter who recently put on his own comedy festival. Given that the shows are free, you really have nothing to lose! More »
Conveniently located just a stone's throw away from Hooters, this is a perfect small to mid-sized venue for comedy. The comics have a green room of sorts, and there's a window behind the stage that serves as a great canvas for the art form. The workaholic tag-team of Christopher Allin and Brian Ward currently lead the charge, producing free, themed stand-up comedy productions which keep their audiences coming back for the shows themselves and not just for the comedians on the bill. More »
What a wonderful room. From the time you open the door of this Danforth pub, the ambiance, set by the rock 'n roll and jazz posters on the wall, makes you feel like you're walking in on history in the making. In addition to providing space for sketch and improv comedy, they also offer classes taught by seasoned veterans for those looking to dip their toes in the water. The cost per show goes as high as $12, which is a steal given the performers that grace the stage on a regular basis. More »