SAK Comedy Lab (Photo: Courtesy Sak Comedy Lab)
Craving a good belly laugh? Orlando’s is home to some of the funniest improv and stand up comedy shows in the country. From fabled improv troupes to under-the-radar open mic nights, head to one of these five spots to crack yourself up.
- Orlando Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theater. Orlando’s outpost of the Improv is a member of the famed chain of comedy clubs that launched the careers of famous comedians like David Spade, Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin. It hosts big-name acts like Margaret Cho, Tom Green and Mo’Nique, along with local up-and-coming comedians. Arrive early to enjoy drinks and a meal of homestyle favorites, like baby back ribs, mac and cheese and prime rib. The details: 21 and over. Ticket prices vary and do not include dinner. An 18% gratuity is added to all dinner checks.
- SAK Comedy Lab. This institution of improv and LOLs has been getting giggles out of Orlando locals for more than 40 years. SAK Comedy Lab gained notoriety after stand-up comic Wayne Brady launched his career from its stage. Today, professional improv artists compete for the audience’s laughs in a twice-weekly competition, “Duel of Fools.” Wannabe comedians can test their comedy mettle by signing up for classes at the Lab’s improv training center. Graduates of SAK’s classes perform on the storied venue’s stage during weekly “Lab Rats” and “Gen S” showcases. The details: “Duel of Fools” tickets: $15 general admission, $12 for Florida residents. “Lab Rats” and “Gen S” tickets: $5.
- Mama’s Comedy Show. Are you itching to share a slew of funny improv scenarios? Bring ’em to Mama. One of Orlando’s most beloved improv venues, Mama’s Comedy Show, is fueled entirely by audience suggestions. Performances quickly spiral into hilarity, but families, take note: the occasional naughty mind finds its way to Mama’s, and the venue reminds visitors that its shows are for “mature audiences” only. The details: Shows held every Friday at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10, and $5 if you have a Mama’s card. Reservations are strongly suggested; call (407) 363-1985.
- Bonkerz Comedy Club. Upon opening its doors in Orlando in 1987, Bonkerz Comedy Club’s first-ever open mic night featured Billy Gardell (of CBS’s “Mike and Molly”), and Daryl Hammond. Not a bad start to a show. Since then, Bonkerz has continued to showcase some of Orlando’s hottest improv talent, and even hosts open mic nights for comedy up-and-comers. The details: 18 and older. Shows held every Thursday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10.
- The Other Bar. Think you’ve got the comedy chops to make an audience chortle? Stand-up wannabes can hit the spotlight and show their skills at The Other Bar’s weekly comedy open mic nights. Whether you’re testing new material or venturing to the mic for the first time, The Other Bar’s open mic nights attract a warm crowd. The show’s hosts change each week, but the routine remains the same: show up on Monday nights at 8 p.m. and sign up to perform. Amateur comedians are given 5 minutes with the mic — make it count! The details: Shows are free every Monday at 8 p.m.