Texas is filled with great places to get a laugh. Here are some of the best spots in Austin.
Alamo Drafthouse: 320 E. 6th St. (512) 476-1320 www.originalalamo.com. This local chain of movie houses is awesome in and of itself because it encourages you to drink beer and eat pizza and other yummy treats as you enjoy your drick. But if you go to the original Alamo Drafthouse (which is not technically the original Alamo Drafthouse, but that’s another story . . .) you can also attend regular special events that will have you cracking up. One regular feature is Master Pancake Theatre, in which comedians offer running commentary on movies such as Twilight, Dirty Dancing, and more. Tickets are around $13.50, with discounts available.
Capital City Comedy Club: 8120 Research Blvd., Suite 100 (512) 467-2333 www.capcitycomedy.com. Some comedy clubs claim to bring in major talent, but this one backs it up with nationally known acts and comedians that regularly come through. It also offers a variety of special events, such as Punch!, an interactive comedy show offered every Tues for $5. Weekend ticket prices start around $9 and go up depending on the popularity of the act. Look for special student and 2-for-1 offers at www.capcitycomedy.com/deals. Defensive driving and comedy workshops are also offered.
Coldtowne Theater: 4803 Airport Blvd. #C (512) 814-8696 www.coldtownetheater.com. Opened in 2006, the Coldtowne Theater was created to provide an outlet for all forms of comedy, such as improv, stand-up, film, music, and sketch, for the Austin community. With frequent shows for those who want to watch and classes for those who want to get involved, there’s a little something for everyone here. And if you’re looking for a deal, go on Wednesday, when the comedy troupe puts on a free show at 8:30 p.m. Shows are held Wed through Sun. Free shows are also frequently held on Sat, Sun, and Mon. Check the website for details. Want to learn how to perform comedy? Check online for free class opportunities.
Comedy Sportz: 909 W. Mary at Café Caffeine (512) 447-9473 http://cszaustin.com. This family friendly show offers a breath of fresh air for comedy lovers tired of the old stand-up routine. Here’s how it works. Two teams of improv comedians take turns doing typical improv things — making up songs, acting out skits - and the audience decides who's better. It's a fun time.
Esther’s Follies: 525 E. 6th St. (512) 320-0553 www.esthersfollies.com. It’s not technically a comedy club—more like a magic show meets political commentary meets Broadway musical—but you can go in feeling pretty certain you’re going to enjoy yourself here. Expect musical comedy sketches, some hilarious pop culture references, and even some possible audience and bystander interaction. Tickets are $20—not bad for a well-known show— and discounts are sometimes available.
Merlin Works Institute for Improvisation: 2803 Manor Rd. (512) 657-3005 www.merlin-works.com. Merlin Works is probably best known for its improvisation classes, but it also hosts a number of well-crafted public shows that give its talented students a chance to show off their newly learned skills. From improvised musicals to duo improv to larger theater projects, chances are good you can attend something to see here that will crack you up. The best part? Because may of the productions are student run, show tickets are cheap, starting around $5. Supporting students and having money for drinks after? Can’t beat it.
The Velveeta Room: 521 E. 6th St. (512) 469-9116 http://thevelveetaroom.com. This comedy club features comedians every weekend and hosts a “notorious” open mic on Thursday. In addition to its perfect location in the heart of the 6th Street district, this is also a stellar spot to visit because you can typically catch a show by a relatively well-known comedian for around $5. Shows are generally offered on Fri and Sat at 9:30 and 11:30 p.m.