Lifestyle

When and Where You Should See Comedy in Metro Detroit

Megan Frye Published On 03/22/2016 Published On 03/22/2016

If you're into macabre comedy, this fair city gives us plenty to laugh about. But if you're looking for an escape, for laugh-until-you-cry joke telling, or for straight-up goofy improv, Detroit's vibrant comedy scene has plenty of those, too. Unsure where exactly to find all of it? We've got you covered -- here are the best places to check out comedy in Detroit. 

Go Comedy!

Ferndale

When to go: There’s something going on every day but Monday. Go on Friday or Saturday nights for the most raucous crowd and vibe.

Full bar? Check. Entertainment six nights per week? Check. Improv classes? Check. Go Comedy! is arguably the finest establishment in the metro area to check out live comedy on a nightly basis. It’s even kind of classy inside! Regular sketch comedy shows featuring local troupes and open mics make this a solid alternative to bellying up at a bar for some Keno.

Michael Babbish/Planet Ant Theater

Planet Ant

Hamtramck

When to go: Improv Mondays, every Monday at 8pm. For $5, check out a guest troupe, the home team, and close the night out with open mic improv. 

The epitome of a DIY comedy space, Planet Ant has reigned over Detroit's comedy scene for what seems like a century. Expect to laugh until you pee all over one of the folding chairs. Some of the most hilarious improv you could imagine happens in this little space -- particularly on Improv Mondays -- and outside in the garden following the show. 

O'Mara's Irish Pub

Berkley

When to go: Tuesday nights at 9pm for Tuesday Night Shindig.

When not full of inebriated leprechauns sloshing pints of Guinness and bungling the lyrics to "Whiskey in the Jar," O'Mara's hosts one of the area's best-known comedy shows, Tuesday Night Shindig, which has run for going on a year. Come for both the open mic and set schedule. O'Mara's hosts national acts as well as well-known local comedians. 

Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle

Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle

Royal Oak

When to go: Thursdays-Saturdays for nationally recognized headliners. 

If you're not afraid to venture into Bro Central, Mark Ridley's is a regular haunt for national comedians as well as local wise guys looking to get their act together. This is where homeboys Tim Allen and Dave Coulier got their start, and where would the '90s have been without those two? Expect a three-tiered comedy show on weekend nights, with a small-time headliner, a seasoned middle act, and a national act to round out the night. 

Elizabeth Theater at The Park Bar

Downtown

When to go: Sunday nights for Detroit Comedy Underground.

The Elizabeth Theater is an ample space above the popular Park Bar and original Bucharest Grill, making it easily the coolest comedy spot in Downtown. Touted as a stand-up showcase, Detroit Comedy Underground is a professional venture realized by industry bigwigs that features loads of local entertainment and, often, a touring act each Sunday. 

Courtesy of New Way Bar

New Way Bar

Ferndale

When to go: Monday nights for open mic, and the first Friday of every month for The Blain & Diego Show.

One of Ferndale's finest dives, the New Way hosts a weekly comedy night, a monthly Friday night showcase, and all the PBR you can swill into your gullet for a nominal price. What more could you possibly want? Newcomers to the open mic night get about five minutes on stage, which is more than enough time to make an ass out of oneself and/or stake one's claim in the city's comedy scene. The monthly showcase features a new bill every time. 

Small's

Hamtramck

When to go: The first Thursday of every month. 

One of Detroit’s most genuine rock ‘n’ roll bars lowers the volume (slightly) once a month for Ray & Laura’s Comedy Showcase. The show is hosted by two comedians from Hamtramck (which means they’re hilarious, and also likely buzzed) who invite independent local and national acts to take the newly inaugurated stage in the bar’s front room for celebrity guest impersonators, game show parodies, and good ol’ fashioned stand-up. “The showcase is often a comedian's first time coming to Small's, and it's fun to watch them point out all the demonic accents in the bar: the stained glass, permanent Halloween decorations, the velvet painting of Satan right behind them," says bar owner Melody Malosh. "It's happened a few times... they notice stuff that we forget about." There you have it, kids, an intimate and slightly Satanic comedy event! 

Metro Pub

Metro Pub

Hamtramck

When to go: Every other Tuesday night for open mic night (the first one started on March 1st, so do the math, people).

Hamtramck has a new bar. A NEW BAR! This recently unveiled watering hole has jumped right into the comedy scene with a biweekly open mic night, during which you can some expect type of food for the crowd on the house, with a two-drink minimum. 

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Megan Frye is a writer based in Detroit and Mexico City. Any and all comedy on her behalf is a complete coincidence. She’s so boring, in fact, that you should tweet her some jokes at @fryechild

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1. Go Comedy! 261 E Nine Mile, Ferndale, MI 48220 (Ferndale)

Full bar? Check. Entertainment six nights per week? Check. Improv classes? Check. Go Comedy! is arguably the finest establishment in the metro area to check out live comedy on a nightly basis. Regular sketch comedy shows featuring local troupes, open mics, and trivia night make this a solid alternative to bellying up at a bar for some Keno.

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3. O'Mara's 2555 12 Mile Rd, Berkley, MI 48072 (Berkley)

O'Mara's hosts one of the area's best-known comedy shows, Tuesday Night Shindig, which has run for going on a year. Come for both the open mic and set schedule and dine on delicious Irish and American fare in a casual, relaxed setting. O'Mara's hosts national acts as well as well-known local comedians.

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4. Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle 310 S Troy St, Royal Oak, MI 48067 (Royal Oak)

Mark Ridley's is a regular haunt for national comedians as well as local wise guys looking to get their act together. This is where homeboys Tim Allen and Dave Coulier got their start, and where would the '90s have been without those two? Expect a three-tiered comedy show on weekend nights, with a small-time headliner, a seasoned middle act, and a national act to round out the night.

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5. Park Bar 2040 Park Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

Park Bar has a great neighborhood vibe and 24 beers on draft in the center of a circular bar. The Elizabeth Theater is an ample space above the popular Park Bar and original Bucharest Grill, making it easily the coolest comedy spot in Downtown. Touted as a stand-up showcase, Detroit Comedy Underground is a professional venture realized by industry bigwigs that features loads of local entertainment and, often, a touring act on Sundays.

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6. New Way Bar 23130 Woodward Ave, Ferndale, MI 48220 (Ferndale)

PBR for a nominal price, burgers and grease-dripping bar fare, and all the Skee-Ball, pinball, and pool your gaming heart could desire -- it’s no wonder there’s a steady stream of regulars who flock to this Ferndale spot. With all the fixings of a quintessential neighborhood dive, New Way Bar is a popular weekend destination, so expect to make friends when it gets really packed. Pro tip: whether the live music is blaring in full force or the weekly open-mic lineup leaves something to be desired, you might want a pair of earplugs on hand.

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7. Small's 10339 Conant St, Hamtramck, MI 48212 (Hamtramck)

Small's is a legendary spot that's brought in acts like the Melvins, Jello Biafra, and Fu Manchu. This corner neighborhood bar doubles as a rock venue and club-- both local and international bands and DJs come to perform. Choose from a wide selection of beers and well liquors. The bar's gorgeous, antiquated Art Deco theme (complete with multicolor stained glass windows) recalls the Motor City's golden years. Plus, once a month Small’s hosts Ray & Laura’s Comedy Showcase, a show run by two two Hamtramck comedians (which means they’re hilarious, and also likely buzzed) that invites independent local and national acts to take the newly inaugurated stage in the bar’s front room for celebrity guest impersonators, game show parodies, and good ol’ fashioned stand-up.

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8. Metro Pub 11667 Joseph Campau St, Hamtramck, MI 48212 (Hamtramck)

Hamtramck jumped right into the comedy scene with a biweekly open mic night, during which you can some expect type of food for the crowd on the house, with a two-drink minimum. Menu items include your favorite bar fare, and the casual interior is great for a chill night out.

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