When traditional comedy clubs fell dormant last year, it drove what little stand-up remained to less than ideal environments and reminded us how just a handful of clubs across the country supports the entire community from open mic-er to famous headliner.
SXSW Comedy invited some of the most lauded comedy venues from around the country to present live shows from their home stages, most for the first time in nearly a year. Each club curated an impressive lineup of regulars, excited to be back on a real stage for a live audience and the result is a fascinating comedy time capsule.
The efforts each club made to safely assemble a small audience reveals an enthusiasm to resume comedy, and a hope that in the months ahead we can safely return to gathering and laughing together again.
Explore newly announced presenters and special showcases below. Secure your SXSW Online Pass today to access this stellar programming and more from March 16-20.
Acme Comedy Co. (Minneapolis)
Acme Comedy Company’s respect for the art of stand-up is reflected in every aspect of the club, making the intimate room a favorite among comedians. For over 30 years, it has been a linchpin of the fruitful Minneapolis comedy scene. Their SXSW lineup returns local standouts to Acme’s hallowed stage.
Comedians: Chloe Radcliffe, Greg Coleman, Mike Earley, Shannan Paul, Tommy Ryman
Dynasty Typewriter (Los Angeles)
Dynasty Typewriter has quickly become known for carefully curated, enchanting comedy experiences. Their socially distant audience consisted of one of the owners, his parents, and a collection of adoring puppets. It’s perfectly normal.
Comedians: Beth Stelling, Billy Wayne Davis, Daniel Webb, Joel Kim Booster, Kimberly Clark, Reggie Watts
Gotham Comedy Club (New York City)
Often featured in numerous film and television productions, Gotham Comedy Club is one of New York’s most popular stand-up destinations. For 25 years their coveted stage has hosted national acts, and fostered generations of young comedians into comedy heavyweights who still consider the club a home today.
Comedians: Erin Jackson, Matthew Broussard, Monroe Martin, Nathan Macintosh, Ophira Eisenberg
The Improv has been an American comedy institution for over 50 years and has grown into a national network of 25 clubs. Since opening in 1975, the Hollywood Improv has hosted virtually every comedy great. For the first time in nearly a year, the club presents a lineup of favorites from the most recognizable comedy stage in the country.
Comedians: Chris Porter, Donnell Rawlings, J.F. Harris, Lara Beitz, Pete Lee, Orlando Leyba
Laughing Skull Lounge (Atlanta)
The Laughing Skull Lounge is a hub of the Atlanta comedy scene. It provides a prominent stage for locals to share with touring headliners, and as home to The Laughing Skull Comedy Festival it’s brought well-deserved industry attention to one of the most robust comedy scenes in the country.
Comedians: Clayton English, Ian Aber, Katie Hughes, Lace Larrabee, Shaunak Godkhindi
The Stand NYC
The Stand NYC opened in 2012 with the idea of creating an elevated comedy experience and soon became a favorite hangout of the city’s hottest up and coming comedians. The Stand invited some of those comics, and a small audience, to swab up for a welcome step back onto the stage.
Comedians: Dan Soder, Derek Gaines, Emma Willmann, Ian Lara, Rosebud Baker, Sam Jay, Shane Gillis
Zanies Comedy Club (Chicago)
The third oldest comedy club in the country, Zanies has been at the heart of Chicago comedy for over 40 years. They’ve nurtured the early careers of comedy legends, some of today’s biggest stars, and the next generation of greats to emerge from the area’s legendary comedy scene.
Comedians: Calvin Evans, Correy Bell, Em Brown, Matty Ryan, Sarah Perry
Comedy Special Events
SXSW Comedy presents Bring Back Laughs. Last summer Rebecca Trent, owner/operator of The Creek & The Cave comedy clubhouse in Queens put on comedy shows in a parking lot using the bed of a pick-up truck as a makeshift stage. Those shows inspired a two-day comedy fundraiser. This special presentation features select performances from that weekend by Carmen Lynch, Janeane Garofalo, Lucas Brothers, Myq Kaplan, Nore Davis, Rojo Perez, Roy Wood Jr., Tone Bell, and Victor Varnado.
The 2021 Comedy Festival will also include quarantine versions of SXSW Comedy’s longest running shows including the hit game-show podcast Doug Loves Movies hosted by Doug Benson. Watch and listen as Doug and friends (Arden Myrin, Jerry Trainor, and Rob Benedict) sit down and discuss his first love: movies!
Plus, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (UCB) cofounder, Matt Besser, brings the largest cast of players yet to SXSW for the improv4humans podcast. Besser brought his talents to Earwolf with a fully improvised weekly podcast featuring the best improvisers in the universe.
Join Us March 16–20
Register for SXSW Online 2021 to experience Conference sessions and Keynotes, music performances, film screenings, comedy showcases, the Creative Industries Exhibition, networking events, and much more. Explore online.sxsw.com for the complete event schedule.
2021 SXSW Comedy – Reggie Watts at Dynasty Typewriter; Rosebud Baker at The Stand NYC; Orlando Leyba at Hollywood Improv; and Calvin Evans at Zanies Comedy Club