Side-splitting good times can be had at several comedy and improv clubs in Atlanta, Georgia.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Laughing Skull Lounge
878 Peachtree St. NE in Midtown
Size matters, but don’t underestimate the power of small. With just 74 seats in the back of The Vortex Bar & Grill, Laughing Skull Lounge is the world’s smallest full-time comedy venue. Yet it’s routinely voted Atlanta’s best place to get your laugh on. “It’s the top club in Atlanta,” says Marshall Chiles, owner and professional comedian. “And it’s one of the top clubs in the country. The room was designed with comedians in mind.” During each 90-minute show expect to see “progressive, smart comedy,” says Chiles. “It’s fresh, but not family-friendly or blue collar by any means,” thus audience members must be age 18 or older. Some of comedy’s big names like Margaret Cho, Michael Ian Black, Chris Tucker, Jennifer Coolidge and others have taken the stage to test new material or record CDs. Each week showcases visiting national comics and a rotating mix of two dozen of the city’s funniest local comedians. While headliners appear Thursdays through Sundays, new and aspiring comics also favor the venue: Open mic nights have grown so popular that they’re now held twice a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Shows often sell out, so purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended. Food is not served inside Laughing Skull Lounge, but there’s a two drink minimum. Fair Warning: This kind of funny can make those drinks come shooting out of your nose.
Dad’s Garage Theatre
280 Elizabeth St. NE in Inman Park
Scripted and improvised works in traditional and original formats are showcased, including the improv soap opera “Scandal!,” a Japanese-style game show and more. Since opening in 1995, this mid-size theatre has racked up numerous awards.
Funny Farm Comedy Club
11000 Alpharetta Hwy. in Roswell
Operated by the same dude who owns Laughing Skull Lounge, this 180-seat club is located inside Andretti Indoor Karting & Games and often showcases big name comedians such as Chelsea Handler.
The Punchline Comedy Club
280 Hilderbrand Dr. in Sandy Springs
Atlanta’s longest-running continuously operated comedy club is also the city’s largest. Among the 3,000 comedians who’ve performed here are some of comedy’s biggest names including Eddie Murphy, Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle and Ron White.
Relapse Comedy Theatre
380 14th St. NW in Midtown
Shows range from improvised sci-fi movies to late-night ‘secret’ stand-up shows. Tickets, which start at $5, are good for the whole night which can add up to six hours of comedy.
Uptown Comedy Corner
800 Marietta St. NW in Midtown
During its 20-year history, this urban club has showcased new faces as well as some very recognizable ones like Mo’Nique, Steve Harvey, Chris Rock and Damon Wayans.
486 Decatur St. SE in Sweet Auburn
The actors in this troupe are veterans of improv, sketch and stand-up comedy—and most of the performers have Southern roots.
Whole World Improv Theatre
1216 Spring St. in Midtown
This non-profit theatre company founded in 1993 is consistently voted one of the best comedy improv troupes in town. The cast of talent performs Thursdays through Saturdays, and sometimes on Tuesdays.
-Photos Courtesy Laughing Skull Lounge
A version of this article was first published in Where Atlanta magazine.