They say laughter is the best medicine, but it can be tricky to know where to find a healthy dose. We've pulled together the best regular comedy nights across the city, and here are our tips for getting the most out of them. Whether you’re into stand-up or consider yourself a sketch comedy fanatic, Sydney has a comedy offering to satisfy your needs.
An iconic room in the Sydney Comedy scene, Cactus Juice runs each Monday with a guaranteed stellar line up. This cosy space upstairs at the Newtown Hotel complete with vintage cinema seats makes for an entertaining evening. The show starts at 8pm but if you arrive anywhere from 6pm you can snag yourself a $4 happy hour pizza before the show. Comics have up to four minutes per set, and can sign up on the Cactus Juice Facebook page from 10am on Mondays (although not everyone will get up – their slots are in high demand).
Kick your week into gear with some cheeky comedy at the Sneaky Possum in Chippendale. You’re in safe hands with a guaranteed delightful line-up, however we are yet to spot a marsupial on the bill. We have, however, seen Nick Capper, Lily Star and Pat Doherty. There’s $5 beer, wine and bubbles for happy hour as well as the chance to win free drinks throughout the show – it’s a winning Monday night all round.
If you’re a fan of the classic late night talk shows you’ll love The Laugh Tub. Each fortnight comedians dream up different characters and perform an improvised talk show, complete with theme music and weekly segments. The show use to be at Waywards Brewery but has just moved across to The Forresters in Surry Hills.
Comics are a lot like pizza. They're frequently cheesy, best when fired up and great when experienced with mates. Café Lounge serves up both on Mondays – and rest assured nothing will be served underbaked – and nowhere will you get more toppings for your tenner: besides the headlining act and the emcee, there are usually a handful of other comedians doing shorter spots.
If you need an elixir to get over those Monday blues, a $5 G&T and some laughs at Tuesday Tonic will have you sorted. Head down to the Chippo Hotel for a weekly stand-up night featuring a mixture of emerging comics and some of Sydney’s finest. Tuesday Tonic has a focus on platforming minority voices, and the stage has recently been graced by Rose Piper, Luke Joseph Ryan and Robin Reynolds.
Papa Gede's, a much-loved laneway cocktail bar in the inner city, adds comedy to its cocktails list on the third Tuesday of the month. The line-up is curated by Chris Leben and Rose Piper, and tickets are $10 both online and on the door. Shows are selling out by 6.30pm, so get there early – and grab a cocktail special.
Birdcage Comedy is a new monthly queer comedy night that runs alongside Enmore's queerest shin-dig, Birdcage at the Slyfox. This new edition to the comedy scene is proving to be one of Sydney’s top comedy events and pulls a crowd, with recent comics like Siam Smith, Nina Oyama and Bea Barbeau-Scurla. Once the comedy is wrapped up make sure to stick around for a boogie as the space turns into a dancefloor with a line-up of some of Sydney’s hottest DJs.
This comedy night started off as open mic but has since moved to the 60-seat first floor space in Potts Point Hotel and switched over to professional line-ups. The stage has been graced by comics including Tony Woods, Steve Hofstetter, James Smith, Andrew Barnett, Simon Taylor, Cameron James, Luke Heggie, Ruven Govender, Cassie Workman and Aaron Chen.
Known for its eclectic mix of stand up, sketch and improv Stand Out Comedy is one of the best rooms to see a variety of forms of comedy on a Wednesday. Head down to the Forresters in Surry Hills each fortnight to be graced with everything from one-liners to improv. The first five improv suggestions from the audience get a free shot of Jack Daniels, so be sure to bring some funny ideas.
Every Thursday night catch some free comedy in the heart of Redfern. Tudor Comedy always comes through with some of Sydney’s finest comics and is a great way to start your weekend early. There is also an open mic section of the show, so if you’re ready to get up and test out your best tight five, check out their website for sign up details.
One of Sydney’s longest-running comedy rooms, this weekly stand-up night has over 15 years under its belt – and “countless” comedy careers launched. Besides a headliner and emcee, expect a slew of solid open-mic folks upstairs at Friend in Hand.
What She Said packs out the room every Sunday at the Chippo Hotel. At this comedy spot for all women performers you’ll see a variety of stand up, storytelling, sketch and musical performances. In recent months, Bec Melrose, Lizzy Hoo and Alex Ward have all taken to the stage. The acts range from total first-timers to seasoned professionals, and the purpose of the event isn't just to give audiences a great time but to foster a supportive community of comedic talent. Tickets are just $10 online or $15 at the door.