The 9 Best Comedy Clubs in Austin
Comedy in Austin used to be reserved for open mic nights at the local coffeehouse and the occasional SXSW appearance by bigger-name comedians. But these days, Austin boasts a bona fide comedy scene, with a number of venues all over town providing laughs every night of the week.
Now, we have access to standup from award-winning comics, open mics that won’t make you cringe, and improv classes for kids, teens, and adults. While several comedy clubs in Austin shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic, most were able to reopen, and comedy is thriving like never before!
If you’re looking to explore Austin’s comedy scene, check out nine of our favorite venues and events below, including:
- The Creek & Cave
- Esther’s Follies
- The Velveeta Room
- Fallout Theater
- ColdTowne Conservatory
- Capital City Comedy Club
- East Austin Comedy Club
- Hideout Theatre
- Moontower Comedy Presents
Let’s get started!
1. The best comedy club in Austin for standup: The Creek & Cave
After 14 successful years operating in New York, The Creek & Cave shut down during the pandemic and relocated to Austin, where it opened downtown on 7th Street in February 2021. It quickly became one of Austin’s premier destinations for comedy. Here, you’re just as likely to discover up-and-coming talent at an open mic as you are to snag tickets for pros like Hannibal Burress, Stavros Halkias, and Christina P.
The space, which formerly housed live music venue Barracuda, features an indoor and an outdoor stage, affordable cocktails, and a food truck serving delightful dishes like Wagyu sliders, kimchi buffalo wings, and loaded Disco Fries every day of the week.
2. The best comedy club in Austin for a variety show: Esther’s Follies
For over 40 years, Esther’s Follies has been entertaining sold-out audiences of Texas locals and visitors with its signature variety shows. Co-founders Shannon Sedwick and Michael Shelton lead a team of multi-talented cast members while still designing and producing the show, which evolves along with Texas current events and global pop culture.
The venue’s windows look out onto 6th Street, enticing passersby to get a glimpse of the iconic act, known for political satire, catchy music, and sketch comedy and peppered with singing, dancing, and even some juggling and magic thrown in.
3. The best comedy club in Austin for open mic nights: The Velveeta Room
The Velveeta Room, or “The Velv” as it’s commonly known, has been inducing belly laughs on 6th Street for over 30 years. The intimate space hosts both local and non-local comedians for typically a very reasonable door fee of $10 or so (but expect to make up for that with the downtown drink prices).
The black-box space has a very traditional comedy feel, with chairs clustered around small tables. Each Thursday at 9 p.m., they host Open Mic Speed Mic, which they bill as Austin’s fastest open mic night “with no lag, no drag.” The cut-off to sign up online is Tuesday at 11:59 p.m., then they post the setlist the Wednesday night before.
4. The best comedy club in Austin for improv: Fallout Theater
This downtown theater, located on West 7th Street, is Austin’s top destination for improv. Fallout Theater hosts recurring improv shows, such as the nostalgia-fueled Teenage Dirtbag on the last Wednesday of every month. You can also catch all-star improv troupes performing onstage weekly, such as the female and nonbinary bosses of Garage and the high-energy comedy of Good Fight, a team now in its eighth year.
Fallout Theater also offers a robust class schedule for students Level 1 through 4 all throughout the week, including a free hour-long introductory class to try it on for size before committing.
5. The best comedy club in Austin for sketch comedy: ColdTowne Conservatory
Though ColdTowne Conservatory closed its doors during the pandemic after 14 years of laughs, its spirit lived on through virtual shows and online classes. And now, their sketch comedy shows can be found popping up at venues around town, like the Violet Crown Clubhouse and Scottish Rite Theater.
While they do offer improv (including a successful educational program for corporate clients), the conservatory is best known for live scripted comedy. Each fall, they produce and organize the Austin SketchFest event, a marathon of sketch comedy featuring local comedians alongside visiting guests from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and beyond.
6. The best hot-ticket comedy club in Austin: Capital City Comedy Club
After 35 years of providing stand-out comedy to Austin, the iconic Capital City Comedy Club closed the doors of its original North Austin location but reopened at the Domain about a year later. The new location features a main stage dedicated to national acts, as well as a smaller showroom focused on local comedians.
While this Texas venue famously puts on The Funniest Person in Austin and regularly hosts well-known local talent like Matt Bearden and Chris Cubas, this is definitely the place to catch comedy bigwigs like Margaret Cho, Rob Schneider, Ms. Pat, Adam Carolla, and Dave Attell doing live shows.
You can choose between General Admission and Reserved Seating for most shows, but be advised that each ticket comes with a two-item minimum purchase in the showroom—so be sure to come hungry and/or thirsty!
7. The best hidden-gem comedy club in Austin: East Austin Comedy Club
With its Persian rug, globe, parasols, and chandeliers, the DIY-vintage design details of this intimate comedy club (dubbed “Tiger Den”) almost make the tucked-away space feel like the living room of a cool friend. But best of all, this East 4th Street venue provides an open bar with each ticket, courtesy of sponsors, and allows guests to bring their own drinks in, too.
Founded by comedians Raza Jafri and Andre Ricks, the East Austin Comedy Club features both local and visiting indie comedians and offers an Artist Residency program to help talented up-and-comers receive paid spots while getting as much live stage time as possible.
8. The best comedy club for kids in Austin: Hideout Theatre
Originally a coffee shop that occasionally hosted performances, Hideout Theatre is now a bonafide theater that also happens to serve coffee. Located in the heart of downtown on Congress Avenue, this theater offers improv shows with several troupes that perform regularly.
However, Hideout Theatre also provides lots of programming for kids, including improv classes, summer camp, storytime plays, acting classes for homeschoolers, and a choose-your-own-adventure family show each Sunday afternoon.
9. The best year-round comedy festival in Austin: Moontower Comedy Presents
In 2011, the Paramount Theatre and Cap City Comedy Club partnered to create the Moontower Comedy Festival. Each year, the event takes over venues all over Austin with star power and cult favorites like Maria Bamford, Sarah Silverman, Dana Carvey, and David Spade, plus emerging talent and local favorites.
Beyond the annual festival, Moontower Comedy Presents brings hilarious programming to town all year round at the historic Paramount Theatre and its adjacent, more intimate, Stateside Theatre. In addition to sitting in on live recordings of podcasts and sketch comedy showcases, you can buy tickets to experience standup comedy from the likes of legends like Janeane Garofalo, David Chappelle, Aziz Ansari, and Craig Ferguson.
Thinking about moving to Austin, TX?
If you find you just can’t wipe the smile off your face at the prospect of Austin’s comedy scene, you might consider moving to ATX for a period of time. Landing makes relocating to Austin seamless and convenient, with furnished apartments and flexible lease terms that make it easy to stay in town longer when you’re having too much fun. Learn more about what a Landing membership can do for you today!
Looking for more fun things to do in Austin? Check out our blog, “The 20 Best Live Music Venues to Visit in Austin.”