The best Boston comedy clubs

Laugh the night away with a drink in hand at the best Boston comedy clubs, featuring both improv and stand-up acts
Improv Asylum
Photograph: Courtesy Improv Asylum Improv Asylum
By Linda Laban |
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Some of America’s most popular contemporary comedians (e.g. Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno) honed their craft in Greater Boston. There are many opportunities to laugh your socks off at one of the city’s veteran comedy clubs, or at one of the regular comedy nights in a club or bar. In the Theater District, big name comedians hold court at a variety of venues. Prior to laughing the night away, start with casual drinks at the best rooftop bars in Boston or the best sports bars in Boston, or set the mood with dinner at one of the most romantic restaurants in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Boston

 

Best Boston comedy clubs

1
ImprovBoston Theater
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Amy C.
Comedy

ImprovBoston

icon-location-pin Central Sq

This comic institution in Central Square has been a major player on the Boston theater arts scene since the early 1980s. Besides regular shows in its two performance spaces, this non-profit arts organization includes workshops, a national touring company, and ImprovBoston’s annual Comedy Festival (held every September). There are several shows most days including late shows (11:30 pm) with the raunchiest material, and family shows (4 pm), when kids under 12 are allowed. The smaller studio features experimental or developing artists. Beer, wine, snacks and soda are available.

2
Nick's Comedy Stop
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Thomas Hawk
Comedy

Nick’s Comedy Stop

icon-location-pin Bay Village

Nick’s has been a comic theater staple in Bay Village since 1977, the very time when improv and stand up was in its rip-roaring  infancy. It’s still in operation, with good local and national headliners every weekend, all in a relaxed atmosphere. There is a full bar, but no food. Abby Lane, which serves casual food and cocktails nearby on Tremont Street, offers Nick’s ticket-holders a discount.

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3
The Wilbur Theatre, Music and nightlife, Boston
Photograph: © Jessica Howe
Music, Music venues

Comedy Connection at The Wilbur Theatre

icon-location-pin Theater District

Some of the Theatre District’s biggest venues host comedy shows, but the Wilbur—which took over the Comedy Connection bookings—is the big kahuna, bringing the biggest comedic talent to Boston. It features everything from hallowed names to hip shows such as The Greatest Generation, a comedy podcast about the hallowed TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

4
City Winery
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/City Winery
Music, Music venues

City Winery

icon-location-pin West End

Though the City Winery hosts many musical acts, it is also the place to be entertained by top name comedians. Performances take place both the main room and the Haymarket Lounge—a smaller, club-like space with a full bar. The bigger the name, the bigger the space, and the likes of Jay Mohr, Ben Bailey, and the entertaining designer-turned-raconteur, Isaac Mizrahi, have held court. 

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5
Laugh Boston
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Rosie Q.
Comedy

Laugh Boston

icon-location-pin Seaport District

Laugh Boston is another well-trod comedy venue with both big time comic writers and new comedians—SNL alum are regulars—featured on its calendar. Reoccurring nights include Boston comic Ken Reid, who brings his TV Guidance Counselor podcast to the stage. Laugh Boston has a full bar and serves snacks and sandwiches, plus desserts. One thing to watch out for is performance days and times, which vary. Usually, there is one performance each Wednesday, and two on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. If in doubt, check the website.

6
Improv Asylum
Photograph: Courtesy Improv Asylum
Comedy, Improv

Improv Asylum

icon-location-pin North End

This is Laugh Boston’s smaller sibling, housed in the North End, and serving as an incubator for new talent. To that end, the resident pros also host classes for aspiring comics, as well as special custom shows and corporate training programs. Generally, there’s a comedy show every night, both improv and sketch, and reccuring nights like Catalyst Comedy’s Dirty Disney, which besmirches our favorite Disney flicks. There is a bar. Midnight shows on weekends are not for the easily offended. 

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7
The Riot Theater
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/The Riot Theater
Comedy

The Rozzie Square Theater

icon-location-pin Roslindale

This Roslindale theater is the home of two locally owned and operated improv and sketch comedy organizations: ComedySportz Boston, the award-winning, competitive improv comedy show performed in 31 cities across the US and Europe, and The Riot Theater Company, featuring the veteran troupe Improv Jones. The theater—which also has strong education and community programs—features comedy shows every Friday and Saturday; adult oriented shows usually take place in the evening, while those suitable for families begin at 5pm. Days and times vary, so check the website.

8
Dick Doherty's Comedy Den
Photograph: Shutterstock
Comedy, Comedy clubs

Dick Doherty’s Comedy Den

icon-location-pin Downtown

Located downstairs from the Howl at the Moon bar in the Financial District, for almost three decades Dick Doherty’s has booked comics from around the area. There is a Boston slant as to who performs, though: expect big names with a Boston connection, and local comedians. The club serves food and has a bar, making it easy to pull up a chair and settle in for the night.

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9
Comedy Studio, Nightlife, Boston
Photograph: © Kirsten Sims/The Comedy Studio
Comedy

The Comedy Studio

icon-location-pin Somerville

The Comedy Studio moved from its longtime location in Harvard Square to Somerville’s Union Square in 2018. The Comedy Studio is locally run in the spirit of classic improv and stand-up clubs, and mixes in new talent and veterans. There are comedy shows nightly at 8pm, including the regular Mystery Lounge Magic show on Mondays. (The casual Variety Bar is open daily.)

10
The Rockwell
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Voravut R.
Comedy

The Rockwell

icon-location-pin Somerville

Formerly The Davis Square Theatre and Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway comedy club, this basement-level theater features a variety of shows throughout the week: everything from skits, standup, burlesque, and variety to children’s shows. Regular nights include Shit-faced Shakespeare, which lampoons the bard’s works with no-holds-barred innuendo and toilet humor, but in full Shakespearean character and costume. The bar does not serve food, but some shows are available as a dinner-show hookup with nearby Saloon restaurant.

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11
Great Scott, Music and nightlife, Boston
Photograph: © Jessica Howe
Music, Music venues

The Gas at Great Scott

icon-location-pin Allston/Brighton

Every Friday, before bands begin to riff, the Boston comic who goes by the name Anderson Comedy presents The Gas comedy night, which brings skit and sketch comedy to the Great Scott stage. Shows begin around 7:30 and include amusing spoofs like The Gas: Here We Go Again, which takes the Mamma Mia! film franchise for a comedic spin, or local and traveling stand-up comics.

12
Middle East
Photograph: Michael Young
Music, Music venues

MidEastCorn at The Middle East

icon-location-pin Central Sq

Every Tuesday, Anderson Comedy hosts a comedy open mic at the Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub's Corner Bar stage. Anyone can sign up to strut their comedy stuff; just arrive early, before the 9pm start time, and check in with the staff. Set times are at least four minutes long and run according to how many would-be comics are signed up.

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