In these current crazy times of natural disasters, raging riots, and Arizona’s heat wars on Phoenix residents, what, if anything, can save us? 

Laughter.

Growing up, laughter was a central part of my family unit (I refrain from disclosing if I was being laughed at or laughed with). Laughter helps us take a mental break from the crazy or the mundane, highlighting a moment of irony with a hearty chuckle. A fan of sitcoms, I Love Lucy was one of my ultimates; South Park and The Office come close behind.

But the best sort of comedy was exchanging quips with my goofy theater pals in high school, passing the time with random games from “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Yes, laughter held us all together. And today, still does.

For you lovers of laughter–or if you don’t have funny friends–where can you get your healthy dose of valley mirth and merriment? You may be surprised to know that you have a few choices.

I welcome you to the world of local laughs with top-notch comedy clubs, many of which just recently opened their doors.

Local Homegrown Improv–for the kiddies: National Comedy Theater

If you want some wholesome laughs for the family, head east to the National Comedy Theater (yes, I went there with my parents.) These funny troupe teams know how to put on a good show and interact with the audience with a variety of suggestions and games.

Intimate Improv Downtown–finally open!: The Torch Theatre

This style of improv is fun, fast, and truly unpredictable. I had the pleasure of visiting The Torch Theatre during its opening weekend. The place was packed and full of great energy, not to mention a wide variety of troupes and performers who were on top of their comedy game.

For those daring to get a dose of Comedy 101, you can take a free improv class the first Tuesday of every month. Aside for their racy style of humor, I love that this small and mighty improv theatre is so integrated in Phoenix culture–yes, Phoenix has culture. It’s worth stopping in.

Stand Up Comedy–also new to the scene: Stand Up Live

Nicole and Steve-O

Located in the midst of the action, Stand Up Live brings the biggest and best comedians to town. No, it’s not the local kids but, these guys (and gals) got their start somewhere. A past weekend highlighted none other than the man himself, Steve-O from the beloved Jackass / Wildboy series. He offended, mocked and shocked the crowd, not missing a beat. It was glorious.

Did he do any stunts during his act? Let me put it this way. He recently took up Pilates and can do amazing things with a cup…

So, while we face the whirlwind of our lives and our world, don’t forget to take a break and have a laugh–even if it’s at your own expense.


  • Will Novak

    I appreciate the effort of this article, but you’re missing some biggies:

    The BEST comedy venue in Phoenix is the Hidden House, its on the SE Corner of 7th Ave and Osborn. They do comedy there on Wednesday and Thursday nights, with NO cover. Its local guys and guys traveling through from LA and elsewhere. I’ve been to & performed in comedy shows across the country and I assure you the shows at the Hidden House are amongst the best no-cover shows in the United States. Its a shame that it continually goes unnoticed by a large portion of the arts supporting community in Phoenix. We have an amazing treasure under our noses and many of us seem not to care.

    You will not find a free show thats consistently better than the Hidden House in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York or anywhere else. People are taking chances there, trying new things, growing comedically and its an amazing environment for performers and audience alike. One would be wise to check out the “Best of the Hidden House Show” coming up Wednesday, Sept 28th.

    There’s also an excellent new Tuesday night show at FilmBar in the heart of Downtown, it does have a small cover, $3, but is run by Ashley Pirouznia who’s known for putting on quality local shows.