15 of the Best Columbus Comedy Shows of 2017

It's by no means a comprehensive list, but these are the shows comedians and audience members mentioned as among their favorites in 2017. In no particular order...

1. 50 First Jokes, January 2017

50 first jokes 2017

50 comedians get one minute to tell their first joke of the year. 2017 was the debut of this show in Columbus, and many comedians still tout it as their favorite.

2. The Roast of Tiny, August 2017

roast of tiny 2017

One small dog. A bunch of comedians. Free-flowing insults. The Roast of Tiny took one mutt to task to raise money for another dog's medical bills and the result was pure magic.

3. An Evening with the Burkey's, Monthly 2017

evening with the burkey's 2017

You can't ask local comedians about a "best of" moment in Columbus comedy in 2017 without getting at least five of them to mention this show. This newer show, happening at Kafe Kerouac on 1st Fridays is a favorite for its intimate stage, unorthodox lineups and amazing hosts.

4. Wonder Doug's Rise from the Ashes, September 2017

wonder doug 2017

He's one of the most beloved comedians in the city, and after an extended break this past spring and summer, he made a triumphant return to the stage with a truly memorable show. Featuring standup, burlesque and music, this show was simply an outpouring of love for a guy who creates so much opportunity for other people. 

5. Thanks Obama 2, January 2017

thanks obama 2 2017

ShadowboxLive's Brandon Anderson and Hashtag Comedy's Joseph Moorer put their comedy brains together for the second installment of their "Thanks Obama" show. The show featured sketches, standup, improv and music by people of color and with a sold-out, packed house, it was one of the funniest and best experiences of the year.

6. Stand Up for Choice, Quarterly 2017

standup for choice 2017.jpg

This quarterly show (we can't pick just one) has an energy that can't be matched anywhere else in the city. Whether it's the standing room vibe of Ace of Cups, the tight line-ups or the cause, Stand Up for Choice consistently delivered a truly entertaining and irreverent comedy romp.

7. Lucky Ladies, March 2017

lucky ladies 2017

This yearly all-female lineup never fails to deliver, but this year's show reached next level status. Between the killer lineup, the fresh sets and packed house, it's one more show that proves that funny women in Columbus are rad. 

8. Midnight Comedy Party Power Hour at Whiskey Bear Comedy Festival, May 2017

whiskey bear 2017

The Whiskey Bear Comedy Festival is gaining steam year after year, and this past year featured one of the best moments in Columbus comedy: 60ish comedians doing 1 minute of material or less and getting hammered in the back of a tattoo shop. 

9. Hot Dog!, Monthly 2017

hot dog comedy 2017

It's a hot dog eating contest meets standup comedy show. Need we say more?

10. TBD: the Musical "Look Out! An Iceberg!", December 2017

tbd the musical counterfeit madison 2017

This improvised musical consistently packs in the audiences, but this particular show in early December 2017, featuring local musician goddess Counterfeit Madison, was made of pure magic. A powerful opening and closing number, heart wrenching love songs, shipwrecks and reprises...oh my! 

11. Deuces Wild, Monthly 2017

deuces wild 2017

Yep, this show is on every list we've made so far. Are you pickin' up what we're dropping here?

12. HashtagMania IV, April 2017

hashtagmania iv 2017

40 improvisers, 8 teams, red carpet, musical intros, text to vote...this show has it all. The 4th iteration of HashtagMania IV was the best big and bad and over the top, in fact, it's 5th installment will be held at the Columbus Museum of Art in April, 2018.

13. Improv Wars Finals!, October 2017

improv wars finals 2017

Four improv team finalists battled it out to be the funniest in this text to vote competition...but the icing on the cake this year was the surprise engagement at the end of the show. 

14. "That one weird semi-private Beef Ghost house show", November 2017

cozy comedy amber falter 2017.jpg

All we know is that it took place at Amber Falter's house, it had a quirky lineup and those who were there will never forget it.

15. "Columbus Comedy Illuminati" Columbus Riot Facebook Group Post, December 2017 

columbus comedy illuminati

A lone comedian posts a thinly veiled dig about comedy lineups in the city. What happens next can only be categorized as a true social media monster: nearly 700 comments, two Facebook pages, a Twitter account and a website spawned in the wake of the original post. Names were called, accusations made and the "Columbus Comedy Illuminati" was born.

Bookers and comics alike discussed what it's like to do comedy in this city, how far we've come and where we hope to go. Many gifs were posted, jokes made and grievances aired. Overall, hours were wasted, much fun was had and we daresay some inspiration was felt.

Word is still out on whether the original poster has booked any shows.

Didn't see your favorite Columbus comedy show of 2017 listed here? Tell us your favorite on Facebook!

7 "Sleeper" Columbus Comedy Shows You Gotta Stop Missing

columbus comedy sleeper shows

They're hilarious, entertaining and sometimes downright beautiful. And yet, for whatever reason, these "sleeper" shows remain Columbus comedy's best kept secrets. Read about these shows and then be sure to catch the next one!

1. Pop Culture Mix Tape

pop culture mixtape

This show also made our "best of" list, and for good reason. Featuring a pop culture theme and a diverse lineup of comedians, there's just one rule: no standup.

What results is a creative journey (think Power Point presentations, commercials, music and more) through some of the best comics, TV shows, movies and other pop culture phenomenons. Plus, at just $5,, it's an easy sell. 

  • 3rd Mondays, 8pm, $5
  • Mikey's Late Night Slice, 268 S 4th Street (upstairs)
  • Check out Whiskey Bear Comedy for more information. 

2. Deuces Wild

deuces wild

Another "best of" crossover, Deuces Wild is the improv show that delivers as many touching moments as it does laughs.

Five teams of two improvisers have ten minutes each to produce scenes based on a suggestion from the audience. The result is often beautiful, and at a tight 70 minutes, it's the perfect way to get a taste of some of the best improv in the city and still have time to catch a drink or two after. 

  • 3rd Tuesdays, 8pm, $8
  • MadLab, 227 N 3rd Street
  • Check out TNI-Deuces Wild on Facebook for more information

3. An Evening with the Burkey's

an evening with the burkeys

This show is already a favorite with local comedians, who enjoy the hosts (established comedians in their own right), the tiny stage and campus vibe of Kafe Kerouac.

Funny couple Dave and Natalie Burkey bring together a variety of standups in a Friday night showcase where whomever can squeeze into the space gets to see some of the best and most diverse comedy in the city. The lineups are always unexpected, but you're sure to see a veteran or two, a new up-and-comer and a special guest. 

  • 1st Fridays, 8pm, $5
  • Kafe Kerouac, 2250 N High Street
  • Check out Columbus Laughs for more information

4. The Quiz Box

quiz box.jpg

It's trivia meets Mystery Science Theater meets Steve Harvey (sort of). The Quiz Box is the brain child of standups Nickey Winkelman and Erik Tait, and it's the game show where the winner can take home the glory without any correct answers. 

A panel of comedians and the occasional local celebrity battle it out to answer trivia questions, but can earn points for particularly clever banter or jokes. Audience members can earn prizes (or apologies) based on comedian performance, and maybe learn an obscure fact or two in the process. 

  • 4th Fridays, 8pm, $7
  • ShadowboxLive's Backstage Bistro, 503 S Front Street
  • Follow the Quiz Box for more information

5. Buckeye Standup Comedy Club

buckeye standup comedy club

Don't let the fact that it's an active student organization or in a pizza basement deter you from catching some of the best comedy in the city.

Run by students at the Ohio State University, the Buckeye Standup Comedy Club showcases some of the best up and coming talent anywhere, plus notable vets. 

6. Please Clap

wholly craft.jpg

This show also made our "best of" list (notice a theme here?), but we want you to be among the exclusive list of people who get to take in this show in a tiny craft shop in Clintonville. 

Please Clap is an all-female lineup of comedy, nestled among crafts and craft supplies. The owner is often on hand to distribute prizes and the night focuses on funny women throughout history as well as the women on stage. 

  • Re-launching 2018
  • Wholly Craft, 3515 N High Street
  • Follow Babe Roar for more information

7. Late Nights with Savage Tech

savage tech.jpg

It's weird, quirky, funny and everything in between, Plus, as one of the city's only regular late night comedy shows (yeah, we're working on it), this variety show/camp/multi-media extravaganza offers an alternative to your usual Saturday night fare (but don't worry, there's still booze). 

Produced by the ever-creative Savage Tech, Late Nights bring standup-with-a-twist, professionally produced digital shorts, characters, elaborate costumes and sets, dancing and music. There's really nothing else like it in Columbus and the hard work and passion of the show producers and guests shines through every performance. 

  • Rotating Saturdays, 10:30 pm, $5
  • ShadowboxLive's Backstage Bistro, 503 S Front Street
  • Follow Savage Tech Industries for more information

What are your favorite "sleeper" shows? Tell us about it on Facebook.


10 Best Comedy Shows in Columbus

Best Comedy Shows in Columbus Ohio

If you're looking to laugh your ass off, stare in awe, or just have something to talk about at the water cooler Monday morning, here are the best* standup, improv, sketch and storytelling shows around Columbus.

1. Whiskey Bear Comedy’s Character Roasts

whiskey bear character roasts

Whiskey Bear consistently puts on some of the most creative comedy shows in Central Ohio, and its character roasts are no exception. Disney Heroes and Villains, Dracula, Spiderman, Batman, Luke Skywalker…basically, if you’re some sort of pop-culture icon, you’re gettin’ roasted.

The roastee and dais is populated by local comedians who play other characters in the guest of honor’s universe. So if you ever wondered what it was like to hear Han Solo go off on a tangent about how “SPACE IS A VACUUM” or see Rapunzel compare Belle to a Duggar brother, this is the show for you.

Follow Whiskey Bear on Facebook to learn of the next roast and its location. Buy tickets early…these shows always sell out! $5-$7

2. Tuesday Night Improv’s Deuces Wild

deuces wild improv show at madlab

Deuces Wild also made our “sleeper show” list, but we can’t say enough good things about this little improv show. It features teams of two improvisers performing 10 minute sets back to back based on audience suggestion.

The result is a romp through some of the most creative minds in the city that often ends up nothing short of beautiful (and funny, of course). Plus, at a tight 65-70 minutes, this show is the perfect size comedy snack. 

Shows are one Tuesday a month at MadLab. Check the Facebook page for latest show updates and lineups. $8

3. Monday Night Live

monday night live sketch comedy show.jpg

It’s Columbus’ longest running sketch comedy show, and, like its TV namesake, features local celebrities performing with the MNL cast. The sketches are always fresh and funny, and many of them are locally focused.

So if you’ve ever wanted to see that ONE event in town skewered with wit and charm, don’t miss this monthly show. MNL takes place in the "pizza attic" at Mikey's Late Night Slice on 4th and it's just $5.

4. Speakeasy’s Storytelling Night

speakeasy storytelling at wild goose

On the first Thursday of the month, catch the best local storytellers at Wild Goose Creative as they follow a theme with their funny, personal and sometimes heart-wrenching stories. Then, once a year, see the best of the best all in one place at the Big Easy, their annual showcase.

Storytellers can range from first timers to veterans, so you get the charm of new story jitters or the polish of a true professional in this 90 minute show. $5

5. Female as Fuck

female as fuck comedy show

There are many shows in Columbus that book all-female lineups, but this is one of the most dynamic. Featuring stand-up comedians, sketch writers, musicians and storytellers, Female as Fuck gives the audience a perfect smorgasbord of unique perspectives that are anything but “funny for a girl.”

Show is held end of summer at Shadowbox Live's Backstage Bistro and is $7.

6. Tuesday Nights with Mak and Winks

tuesdays with mak n winks at backstage bistro

This long-standing Tuesday show is based in standup, but you’ll also catch sketch shows, music, one-man/woman shows, character roasts and everything in between. It's held on the intimate stage of Shadowbox Live's Backstage Bistro, so audiences get a truly immersive comedy experience. 

Plus, you can't beat getting some of the best local and occasional national acts for just $7.

7.  Whiskey Bear’s Pop Culture Mixtape

pop culture mix tape

Another Whiskey Bear gem, The Pop Culture Mixtape also made our “sleeper show” list, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t list it here. This show, held on the 3rd Monday of the month at Mikey's on 4th, asks comedians to craft a set based on a starter topic (which can range from “The Walking Dead,” to “Comic Book Villains,” to “Game of Thrones”), with a catch: no standup allowed.

What results is a grab bag of hilarity, which might include a commercial from the Westeros ASPCA, a press conference with Bruce Wayne, a graduation speech given by the One Cop Who Lived in the Terminator Movie or a slew of rejected James Bond theme songs. $5.

8.  TBD: the Improvised Musical

tbd the musical at shadowbox.jpg

Yes, this is one of our shows, but sometimes you need to toot your own horn (toot, toot!). Audiences call this show "pure magic"...and between the cast, the rotating guest list of some of the city's best musicians (*cough* Counterfeit Madison *cough*) and the yes-for-real-they're-made-up songs, there's a reason why this show consistently packs the house. 

Catch TBD the 1st and 3rd Friday of the month at Shadowbox Live's Backstage Bistro for $10.

9.  Standup for Choice

standup for choice columbus ace of cups

This quarterly standup show brings together Midwest comedians to raise money for pro-choice and pro-access organizations in Central Ohio. Audiences are treated to a robust lineup of comedians, plus a headliner, and all at Clintonville’s Ace of Cups, whose rock and roll vibe lends an extra layer of awesome to this showcase. 

Tickets are donation based and can be purchased at the door. Stay tuned to the Ace of Cups website to learn about the next show.

10.   Babe Roar's Please Clap Comedy Showcase

wholly craft.jpg

Hosted in the ever-charming Wholly Craft just north of downtown, this all-female comedy show was named after Jeb Bush’s now infamous phrase. The beauty of this show comes from the quirky, intimate setting, the lineups and the focus on women in comedy. Plus, the owner of Wholly Craft is usually present and ready hand out prizes and welcome those lucky enough to get seats.

Follow Babe Roar on Facebook to be the first to know of the next event. Seating is extremely limited, and you'll definitely want to be there!

*This is by no means intended to be a definitive list of all the awesome comedy in Columbus. Don't see your favorite show here? Let us know which ones we gotta see on Facebook!