Get your gritty, goofy, awkward and intense comedy kicks from these five stand-up spots around the Valley.
Stand Up Live Comedy Theatre
50 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix,
As the newest addition to Phoenix’s comedy scene, Stand Up Live has a lot to prove. However, the new CityScape venue is showing it can attract solid comic acts with past performances from Saturday Night Live alum Tracy Morgan, Jackass’ Steve-O and Everybody Loves Raymond’s Brad Garrett. The venue also offers an impressive wine and dining menu, featuring fried cheese curds, burgers and pan-seared scallops. The good laughs and tasty cuisine are sure to make this newcomer a date-night favorite for couples seeking some chuckles, but the proximity to the light rail is reason enough to crack open some bubbly and get giggling.
Coming up: Greg Fitzsimmons, October 1 ($17)
7117 E. Third Ave., Scottsdale,
Having a laugh doesn’t have to be expensive, especially for ladies and college students who head here on Fridays and Saturdays for half-price admission. Bonus: You can fill up on the cheap with $3 chili cups and $4 pretzels with cheese sauce. If you haven’t had your fill of funny after that, the venue has an arsenal of for-hire comics waiting to make your next party a gas.
Coming up: David Koechner, October 7, 8, 9 ($25 in advance, $30 at the door)
The Torch Theatre
4721 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-456-2876, thetorchtheatre.com
If you’re looking for a straight-up, no-holds-barred comedy showdown, check out The Torch’s Cagematch nights. Two improv acts compete for your laughs, and only one will be the last comic standing. Take the incumbent’s side for a safe bet or root for the newcomers for an oh-so-satisfying underdog win. If this UCB-in-AZ-style comedy is thrilling enough to convince you to try your hand at some jokes, The Torch offers eight-week comedy classes ($195) for any skill level to hone your ha-ha craft.
Coming up: Cagematch, October 15 ($10)
Stand Up! Scottsdale
6820 E. Fifth Ave., Scottsdale, 480-882-0730, standupscottsdale.com
Since the ’80s, Stand Up! has been known as a proving ground for homegrown comedy acts, such as David Spade. Not a lot has changed since then, and that’s a good thing, because comedy snobs know where to go to catch up-and-coming stars. Whether you choose the rough yet sometimes rewarding open-mic night or a featured act, there’s definitely enough to keep you laughing. Plus, with reasonably priced gourmet burgers and pulled pork sliders, you can take that smile all the way to the bank.
Coming up: Open Mic, October 19 (Free)
National Comedy Theatre
1111 S. Longmore, Mesa,
Not looking for competition in your comedy? That’s OK. National Comedy Theatre in Mesa takes its trained comedians and lets them loose on stage to do whatever goofy thing they can think of in a Whose Line Is It Anyway?-esque arena. This all-ages event is less gritty than other improv acts, so feel free to bring the kids for jokes the entire family can enjoy. Audience participation is encouraged, so be prepared with some silly scenarios and wacky themes for the improvisers to act out.
Coming up: Local Troupe Showcase, October 21 ($12)