Toronto is one of the world’s greatest cities for comedy, incubating countless legendary comedians in its clubs and on its stages. Whether you’re looking to catch a big stand-up act or rising improv star, here are some top choices for a night out at Toronto’s best comedy clubs.
If you’re planning a girls’ night out at this comedy hot spot and you don’t want raccoon eyes by the end of your evening, you’d better make sure your mascara is waterproof—it’s a good bet that you’ll be crying tears of laughter before the night is done. The Comedy Bar is one of Toronto’s best comedy clubs and showcases affordable—and screamingly funny—sketch, improv, stand-up, and alternative acts on two stages. Sunday nights see the hilarious house troupe, the Sketchersons, perform their SNL (Sunday Night Live) revue. Pair a pint with drool-worthy eats like kimchi bacon tacos and cheese-slathered perogies. But, be prepared to drop your Late Night Dirties (their surprising take on kettle chips) to toss your name in the bucket for the chance to spin the Wheel of Improv and test your comedy chops alongside surprise guests. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a comedy star dropping by after their stadium show. And, if you catch the comedy bug, they offer oodles of classes. One thing’s for sure, you’ll leave with a smile on your face.
With humour ranging from visceral to X-rated to clean and quirky, you never know what you’ll get at Yuk Yuk’s, one of Toronto’s best comedy clubs and an adults-only venue that has debuted kings (and queens) of comedy who have gone on to award-winning, big-screen status. Grin at the antics of up-and-comers on open-mic Amateur Night or watch international headliners test the edge of their latest material. Menu-wise, signature martinis and other tipples accompany classic pub grub in a cabaret-style setting. Dinner reservations guarantee preferred seating for the performance. Fair warning: shows are completely uncensored and restricted to ages nineteen and over. If laughter really is the best medicine—and you can take the heat if it happens to focus on you—an evening at Yuk Yuk’s is sure to cure what ails you.
The Second City
The Second City is hallowed ground for comedy lovers, with more than fifty years of ground-breaking sketch and improv comedy under its collective belt. Even the walls are fascinating—you’ll gawk at the gallery decked out with photographs of its legendary alumni. Take in a performance by The Second City’s touring company or mainstage revue where nothing is sacred, be it celebrities, politicians, or personal relationships. Seating in the cabaret theatre is snug and snagging a seat near the stage could mean you’ll wind up an accidental participant in a sketch. If it’s date night, splurge for coveted—and roomier—rail seating. Think you have the chops to make people laugh? Sign up for a class. The Second City Training Centre is the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world.