The ‘birthplace’ of the US, Philadelphia is a real tourist hotspot - it links to the founding fathers and the Declaration of Independence making it a rewarding destination for history fans eager to see such iconic sights as the Liberty Bell. But when not out exploring Philly’s rich past you’ll likely want to unwind to some cracking evening entertainment. With that in mind, it’s well worth exploring the city’s thriving comedy scene. It is home to numerous popular venues, some hugely popular improv shows and regularly plays host to the biggest names in stand-up. Read on for some of the top comedy clubs in Philadelphia.
1. Punch Line Philly
If it’s big names you’re after then you’ve come to the right place. Recent acts at Punch Line Philly include such famous faces as Wanda Sykes and Michelle Wolf. What’s more, there are comedy performances every day, so no matter the date of your visit to Philadelphia, your trip is all but guaranteed to coincide with something to tickle your funny bone. The 300-seat venue also serves food and drink, so you can make a proper evening of it. Other top perks include VIP seating and an outdoor patio.
Punch Line Philly
Address: 33 East Laurel Street Philadelphia, PA 19123
Website: Punch Line Philly
Opening hours: 5 pm - 12 am
Average price for two: 11 to 30 USD
2. Philly Improv Theater
Fans of improvisational comedy will almost certainly want to visit this venue at some point during their visit. Philly Improv Theater is a real fixture of the Philly comedy scene. It hosts multiple shows every day of the calendar - equating to more than 1000 performances a year. These range from the likes of the trippy musical improv of Dream Tank, to the hugely popular The N Crowd, whose competing comics delight sell-out audiences every Friday (more on them a little later). Alumni have gone on to grace such famous comedy TV shows as Saturday Night Live and the Late Show. And, if you’re inspired by what you see on stage, the venue also offers a range of classes at its training centre, which has been running since 2005 and covers everything from improv and sketch comedy, to stand-up and acting.
Philly Improv Theater
Address: 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Website: Philly Improv Theater
Opening hours: Mon - Wed 7 pm - 11 pm, Thu - Sat 6:30 pm - 12 pm, Sun 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
3. Philly Comedy Club
Set amid the historic heart of the Old City district, the Philly Comedy Club has people rolling in the aisles every Friday night. Set within the Infusion Lounge, the show promises stand-up comedy and plenty of “speciality cocktails” for a fun night out. Its line-ups include top headliners from across the city and wider country as well as a range of stars of the future. Recent and upcoming acts include the ventriloquist puppet Joselito Dapuppet - who took social media by storm in 2015 - and mystery ‘Friday Night Headliners’ who have appeared on the likes of Comedy Central, The Tonight Show and MTV.
Philly Comedy Club
Address: 16 South 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Website: Philly Comedy Club
Opening hours: 6.30 pm to 11 pm on Fridays.
4. Laff House Comedy Club
Another worth keeping an eye on is the Laff House Comedy Club. Entertaining Philly natives since the turn of the century, in recent years the club has eschewed a permanent base for pop-up comedy shows at the likes of the Highpointe Performance Cafe in Ridge Avenue, and the Smoke and Mirrors Magic Theater in Pine Road. Past acts to grace its stages have included such big names as Kevin Hart and Mike Epps, among many others. Naturally, the nature of a pop-up comedy show means you can’t guarantee your trip will coincide with a performance, but, given its history, you’ll likely want to keep an eye on its calendar just in case.
Laff House Comedy Club
Address: Highpointe Performance Cafe, 6182 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19128 / Smoke and Mirrors Magic Theater, 2840 Pine Road, Philadelphia, PA 19006 (Landmark Business Center)
Website: Laff House Comedy Club
Opening hours: Fri and Sat 7:30 pm - 1 am
5. Comedy Cabaret
Entertaining bar goers for more than 30 years, the Comedy Cabaret club at Neighbors Bar hosts multiple performances every month. These range from established acts with TV or radio experience, such as “Philadelphia legend” Big Daddy Graham, and “The Tall Blonde” Helene Angley. Those who dream of life as a stand-up and can hold their nerve can even try out one of the regular open mic nights. And, even if you don’t have such aspirations, who knows what stars of the future you might witness taking their first tentative steps on stage. There’s also plenty of free parking on-site, so you’ll have no problem getting to and from the venue. Those looking to grab a bite should note, however, that the bar doesn’t serve food.
Address: 11580 Roosevelt Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19116
Website: Comedy Cabaret
Opening hours: Varies depending on show
6. Good Good Comedy Theatre
This intimate theatre promises “mercilessly unpredictable independent comedy”, so if you like your comedy more free-wheeling then you’re in the right place. The theatre sprang up in early 2016 after a lightning-fast crowdfunding campaign which hit its goal in under two days. Now that’s what you call popular! Today it hosts up to four “wildly different” comedy shows every single night - covering a range of improv, stand-up and sketches, so you’ll likely find something to your taste. Indeed, it has already won awards - being named best comedy club by a city magazine, and best live theatre venue that same year in an online website. Just remember to bring your own drinks (which the theatre actively encourages).
Good Good Comedy Theatre
Address: 215 North 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Website: Good Good Comedy Theatre
Opening hours: 5 pm - 1 am
7. CSz Philadelphia
Entertaining Philly audiences of all ages for more than a quarter-of-a-century, CSz’s improv shows on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays have won plenty of fans. Performances include its weekly flagship event - ComedySportz - where two teams battle for improv laughs (think Whose Line Is It Anyway) twice every Saturday. There’s also further competitive fun in the Minor League Matinee every Sunday. And, if you fancy giving improv a whirl yourself, the company even offers a range of classes to try your hand. It’s also well-placed for some local sights, such as the iconic Rittenhouse Square.
Address: CSz Philadelphia, 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Website: CSz Philadelphia
Opening hours: Fridays and Saturdays 7 pm - 11 pm, Sunday 12 pm - 8 pm
8. The Mask and Wig Club
Now for something a little different. Time your visit right and you’ll get the chance to enjoy one of the all-original productions that The Mask and Wig Club put on every year. Entertaining Philly residents since the late 1800s, this club from the University of Pennsylvania is the “oldest all-male collegiate musical comedy troupe” in the entire USA. The team puts on two separate productions each year - in the case of 2019, it is latest, The Book of Mermen runs on various dates between January 25 and April 5. These shows include multiple performances at its main site - a spectacular former Lutheran church that wows audiences - as well as touring venues as far afield as New York, Washington and even London in the UK.
The Mask and Wig Club
Address: 310 South Quince Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Website: The Mask and Wig Club
Opening hours: As per show times
9. Helium Comedy Club
Offering food, drink and a mix of different comedy acts, the Helium Club will satisfy your appetite while exercising that funny bone. Featuring everything from open mic nights to shows from comedy heavyweights like Don ‘DC’ Curry and actor & comic Bryan Callen of The Goldbergs TV show fame. Those who are serious about the art of making people laugh will also enjoy the various courses it runs, such as a Helium Comedy Academy which helps budding comics hone a five-minute stand-up set. It can also cater to group events.
Helium Comedy Club
Address: 2031 Sansom Street, Philadelphia PA 19103
Website: Helium Comedy Club
Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday 8 pm onwards, Friday 7.30 pm to 10 pm, Saturday 7.30 pm to 9.45 pm/10 pm
10. The N Crowd
Making people laugh since 2005, The N Crowd has entertained thousands of audience members across more than 600 improv shows. That has ensured the team a strong reputation and loyal following, who sell-out shows at the Philly Improv Theater every week. So if you want to see what the fuss is about, and why Philadelphia Style Magazine hailed them as the city’s “premiere improv troupe”, you’ll definitely want to book your tickets in advance rather than turning up on the night. Those who book early also enjoy a lower ticket price, adding even more incentive to get in quick.
The N Crowd
Address: 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Website: The N Crowd
Opening hours: Friday 7 pm onwards
Average price for two: 30 USD (24 USD in advance)
Get ready to laugh
Philadelphia’s thriving comedy scene ensures you’re sure to find something to tickle your funny bone during a visit to the city. Where will your comedy adventures take you?
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