Comedy in a restaurant can be a tough sell. One minute you’re peacefully eating a bowl of pasta and the next some novice with a microphone is riffing on relationships.
Things have to align just right for a comedy show to work in that setting, and that’s why it’s all the more surprising that shows—actually good comedy shows—are popping up at restaurants around town.
Curated by expert comics and producers, they feature awesome lineups in fun, intimate, and often times unusual spaces. Most of them are free and the booze is cheap. Moreover, the food offerings go beyond the comedy club triumvirate (aka chicken wings, fries, and quesadillas) for a change. Here are five places to watch a show, get some grub, and have a not-at-all-annoying night out.
1740 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock
Second Thursdays at 8 p.m.
Meea’s is a self-described gourmet hot dog shop in Eagle Rock that’s been around since 2013. When the gourmet tag gets applied to hot dogs and hamburgers, it usually signals more innovative than elevated—they’re topping dogs with fried eggs, pickled papaya, Fritos, and pesto. Don’t worry, if you’re not ready to get in on the ground floor of Breakfast Hot Dogs Inc., you can still get a classic Chicago-style or a slaw dog with sides like tater tots and sweet potato fries. Outside Meea’s, there’s a patio where young guns Vince Caldera and Daniel Cabral host their show Hype Nights the second Thursday of every month. If you’re in the neighborhood, this is a real fun outdoor comedy show that attracts great comics. There’s a reason Maria Bamford likes to perform here.
4959 Santa Monica Blvd., East Hollywood
Fridays at 8 p.m.
Maybe you’re one of those insufferable New York transplants aimlessly stumbling through the streets at night, lamenting “But I can’t find a good slice!” like a ghost who needs its flawless taste in pizza validated before it can pass through to heaven. If that’s the case, DeSano might not quite be for you, but they do serve better-than-average Neapolitan-style pizza and is also the home of Sauce, a weekly comedy show in a small side room that seats around 30 people. Part of the fun in Los Angeles is watching really good comics run sets for small crowds on a free show. That happens every week at Sauce, which is hosted in a rotation by comedians Erin Lampart, Barbara Gray, Brodie Reed, and Jeff Wattenhofer. Symone Baptiste books and produces. If you’re near Little Armenia, Sauce is there every Friday.
4157 Eagle Rock Blvd., Eagle Rock
Every Thursday at 8:30 p.m.
Motherland is a new comedy show in Eagle Rock hosted in a strip-mall Filipino restaurant by C.J. Toledano (SpongeBob) and Michael Joyce (HBO’s Hung). A comedy show in a Filipino restaurant is pretty unusual and special, and Toledano agrees: “The whole set-up makes it feel like this little secret comedy club that only serves Filipino food, which is mostly just insanely delicious deep-fried meats and noodles.” He adds, “It’s not only a unique experience for the audience, but for the comedians as well, which has so far resulted in a lot of really fun, loose sets.” Follow @motherlandcomedy on Instagram for updates.
740 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax
Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
Genghis Cohen has been serving New York-style Chinese food for over 35 years, thanks to an expansive menu and diverse crowd that’s held up well. Look past the bar and you’ll see a private room with church pew seating and a stage that mostly supports live music. Every Tuesday, however, you can see Greta Titelman (HBO’s Los Espookys) and Blair Socci (MTV’s Deranged, Not Enough Therapy in The World) hosting their weekly show, Blair & Greta. It’s rare to want to go to a comedy show every week to see the hosts, but that’s exactly what happens at Genghis on Tuesdays. In addition to being amazing comics, the pair have such a lovable and dynamic chemistry. Hosting a show as a team isn’t always easy—if there isn’t good rapport, it usually dies—but these two do the job wonderfully with seemingly minimal effort. Producer Amanda Raba books great lineups each week.
751 N. Virgil Ave ., East Hollywood
Next One is October 8
Amuse Bouche is a comedy show and pop-up dinner hosted by comedian-slash-food luminary Karl Hess (Yelling About Pâté, American Dad). Nobody is more equipped to navigate this ship than Hess. At Amuse the food rotates—previous vendors have included Hail Mary Pizza, E stretto, Otium, and Otoño, but the wine at Melody is consistent. The first two shows have sold out, and expectedly so with lineups featuring the likes of Patton Oswalt, Megan Gailey, and Sabrina Jalees. The show comes together through the hard work and pedigree of Joel Mandlekorn and Mandee Johnson (Hot Tub, Super Serious Show, etc.), who undoubtedly run some of the very best shows in the city. Hess brings a necessary wine-bro vibe to the evening’s festivities, inviting audience members to come on stage in between comics to take a long swill out of a classic Spanish porron. Amuse is a ridiculous amount of fun—it feels like a dinner party that has huge potential to spiral out of control. This show rules, and it’s only going to get better. Follow @amusebouche on Instagram for the necessary updates.
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