April First is a day full of pranks, comedy, and laughter (if you’re not the one being pranked, of course). Local comedian Bryan Miller believes you shouldn’t wait until April Fools’ Day to plan a prank or laugh at a good joke. Surround yourself with the best standup, improv, and comedy shows all year round in the Twin Cities and surrounding metro.
Comedy specific venues
Acme Comedy Co.: Did you know one of the best comedy clubs in the nation is right here in Minnesota? Since 1991, standup comedians have taken the stage to entertain audiences nestled in the basement of the historic Itasca Building in Minneapolis. Don’t miss the free open mic nights on Mondays to catch the comics test out their newest material, as well as other shows throughout the week.
Brave New Workshop: Founded in 1958 by Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey circus aerialist Dudley Riggs, the Brave New Workshop is the longest running satirical sketch comedy and improvisational theater in the U.S. Since its founding, the workshop has put on more than 290 original productions.
Comedy Corner Underground: The open mic nights were so popular that a club was built around them. Now, they’re held on Friday nights so you don’t have to worry about a laughter hangover on a workday. Throughout the week, they feature other comedy shows including “Joke Fights,” and collaborations with the U of M comedy club.
ComedySportz: Be prepared to participate! Shows are held Thursday-Saturday nights, and audience members shout out suggestions for the cast to perform. Every scene is then made up on the spot. Content is lighthearted and family-friendly, so dirty suggestions result in the referee calling “Brown Bag Foul,” and you’ll have to wear a paper bag over your head.
Dangerfields Comedy: Located in Shakopee, comedy shows are featured most Friday and Saturday nights with a variety of comics performing standup, parodies, impressions, and even music. Take advantage of the dinner and a show packages for an extra fun night out.
Goonies Comedy: If you want to get out of the cities for a bit, Rochester is only about an hour and a half drive. Catch a show featuring local and national acts, or head to open mic night on Thursdays.
HUGE Improv Theater: From the theater that puts on the annual Twin Cities Improv Festival (coming up on June 22-26), you can experience some of the finest TC improv during shows held all week long, including Improv A-Go-Go, which features four improvisers each week. HUGE also offers improv classes with scholarships available.
Joke Joint Comedy Club: Wednesday night is free for open mic night and every weekend is booked with different comedians. Select people are given free admission for, “Thank You Thursdays,” to honor their service.
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy: At level four on the east side of Mall of America, top off your shopping trip with dinner, and hardy laughs brought to you by some of the best national and well-known comedians.
Improv and open mic nights
Black Dog Coffee: The open mic night is held the second Sunday of every month in the Lowertown St. Paul café and bar, which is right across from the farmers market.
Brit’s Pub: After watching a soccer game or bowling on the rooftop lawn at this popular downtown Irish joint, you can watch the free open mic comedy on Sunday nights.
Bryant Lake Bowl: What isn’t there to do at this date-night staple? Bowl, drink, and watch a performance in the theater—all for reasonable prices. The theater features dances, music, plays, and comedy.
Camp Bar: If you can’t decide what kind of entertainment you’re in the mood for—live music, poetry, stage performers, or comedy—open mic night at Camp Bar in St. Paul welcomes most any kind of performer. Held every Monday except the first Monday of each month for the Soapboxing Slam events.
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres: Every Friday and Saturday, Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret shows performs a variety of improv, comedy sketches, music, and last-minute surprises on the Playhouse Theatre stage at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. They also host classes if you’d like to try improv for yourself.
Dubh Linn Irish Pub: If you’re in Duluth, head here for the frequent comedy events including free open mic nights on Fridays and professional comedy on Saturdays.
James Ballentine Uptown VFW: This isn’t your grandparents’ VFW in the boonies. The hip Uptown VFW just expanded to include a new main bar, more seating, and a new live music room. Check it out during one of its open mic nights.
MaGillycuddy’s: It’s a quick jaunt to the northern burbs from the Cities to catch a show by Fantastic Voyage, an improve troupe from Coon Rapids. They perform every Wednesday night at MaGillycuddy’s in Anoka.
Maple Island Brewing: Charming downtown Stillwater is home to this micro-brewery/tap room, which holds an open mic night every Thursday, hosted by local comedian Chris Shaw.
The Peabody Players: Held at venues across the north metro, this group of performers takes suggestions from the audience for a night of clean and family-friendly humor.
If you’d prefer a night at home, you can still get a dose of comedy by listening to one of these local comedy podcasts.
Where’s your favorite place to laugh yourself to tears?