The Best Comedy Clubs in California

The Best Comedy Clubs in California

The Best Comedy Clubs in California

By Oliver Jenkyns August 27, 2019

Los Angeles and San Francisco are hubs for California’s live stand-up comedy clubs—and have been for generations. Whether you are looking to break into the business or simply needing a good laugh, these hot spots have you covered.

The Laugh Factory

Comedian Ken Jeong, best known for his role as the drug lord Leslie Chow in The Hangover film franchise, has performed at The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles on multiple occasions. Photo courtesy of The Laugh Factory. 

Location: 8001 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood 

Founded in: 1979

The Laugh Factory is one of Los Angeles’ staple comedy clubs. Aside from being the place to be for comedians, it also served as the location for Dave Chappelle’s return to comedy after he disappeared from the scene for several years. 

Noteworthy performers: Nick Cannon, Drew Carey, George Carlin, Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, Dane Cook, Rodney Dangerfield, Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Dunham

The Comedy Store

Located on the iconic Sunset Boulevard in L.A., The Comedy Store has hosted such acclaimed comedians as the late Robin Williams, Ali Wong, Jay Leno, and David Letterman. 

Location: 8433 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles

Founded in: 1972

Situated along the famous Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, The Comedy Store is an icon for live stand-up comedy. Unlike many other comedy clubs, this joint is known for its nurturing environment and its ability to turn performers into world-famous comedians.

Noteworthy performers: Robin Williams, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Garry Shandling, Paul Mooney, Jimmie “J.J.” Walker, Andy Kaufman, Michael Keaton,  Joe Rogan, Howie Mandel, Jim Carey, Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, Ali Wong

The Groundlings

The Groundlings has entertained audiences for nearly 50 years, transforming from an improv and acting workshop into one of the top venues for sketch comedy in Los Angeles. 

Location: 7307 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles

Founded in: 1974

Originally founded as an improv and acting workshop, The Groundlings has blossomed into one of the best sketch-comedy destinations and helped to jump-start the careers of incredible comedians—many of whom have gone on to become regulars on Saturday Night Live. In addition to serving as a venue for comedy shows, The Groundlings is a school that teaches the art of improvisation through multi-session classes and individual workshops. 

Noteworthy performers: Will Ferrell, Melissa McCarthy, Kathy Griffin, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Wiig, Lisa Kudrow

The Punch Line

Enjoy dinner and a comedy show at The Punch Line, a beloved institution in San Francisco's Financial District where Dave Chappelle frequently performs. Photo courtesy of The Punch Line. 

Location: 444 Battery Street, San Francisco

Founded in: 1978

The Punch Line is a San Francisco standout. Once the dressing room for a rock club called The Old Waldorf, the venue was revamped in 1978 and transformed into one of Chappelle’s favorite places to perform. The institution became so beloved that politicians and comedians alike rallied to save it from closing in August 2019 due to increased rent prices. 

Noteworthy performers: Robin Williams, Dave Chappelle, Rosie O'Donnell, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Silverman, Chris Rock, Drew Carey, Ellen DeGeneres,  Dana Carvey

Cobb’s Comedy Club

All That cast members such as Kel Mitchell—and many other popular comedians—have performed at the legendary Cobb's Comedy Club in San Francisco. Photo courtesy of Cobb's Comedy Club. 

Location: 915 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco

Founded in: 1982

Nothing can keep Cobb’s Comedy Club down—not even a fire. After moving from the Marina District to the Cannery Shopping Center in Fisherman’s Wharf, the venue experienced a fire in 2002 and had to relocate again, this time to North Beach. But the resilient comedy club has persevered and continued to welcome top acts. Visitors can sit back and relax in one of the 400 seats at this esteemed comedy club and enjoy some food and a huckleberry twist while watching the show.  

Noteworthy performers: Dana Carvey, Dave Chappelle, Dave Attell, Russell Peters, Jo Koy, Anjelah Johnson, Bill Burr, Louis CK

Looking for something else to do after the comedy show in San Francisco? Here are a few other entertainment hot spots to fill the rest of your evening. 

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