The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area is home to several famous comedians, such as Jeff Dunham, Jamie Foxx and Iliza Shlesinger. Over the past five years, the area has emerged as one of the country’s best comedic scenes, thanks in rise to stable venues and an influx of talent. Sure, homegrown comedians still take off for Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York, but venues are seeing a lot more comedians moving back from those places to DFW. On any given night, there are open mics for stand-up comedians in every DFW nook and cranny. It’s not just stand-up, though, that’s the main draw. Improv (long-form and short-form) and sketch shows are also offering performers more opportunities to reach new audiences and expand their crafts. This wellspring of talent offers visitors and locals a variety of great options when exploring the DFW comedy landscape.
The world-famous Dallas Comedy House (DCH) is located in the Deep Ellum entertainment district. The venue opened in 2010 and features two theaters offering shows Tuesday through Saturday. What sets DCH apart from other Dallas comedy venues is that it focuses on long-form improv comedy, as opposed to short-form (e.g., Whose Line Is It Anyway?). No single show will be the same and audience participation is at a minimum (just need a one-word suggestion, y’all). Stand-up nights and sketch revues round out its show calendar. Saturdays at 6 p.m. is the Family Friendly show, where everything is G-rated and kids are encouraged to play along with the performers. DCH offers guests a full bar and menu.
Four Day Weekend is a Fort Worth institution. The troupe, Four Day Weekend, began in 1997 and now owns and operates its namesake’s 212-seat theater in Sundance Square. Shows are performed Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 and 10 p.m. and last approximately two hours. Reservations are highly recommended as the improvised show is very popular and often sells out. In addition to performing to packed audiences regularly, Four Day Weekend has received a key to the city, performed for two U.S presidents and addressed the U.S. Congress. No food is offered; however, a full bar is available.
The Addison Improv, located north of Dallas, is part of a collective of Improv theaters found throughout the U.S. And even though it has the word improv in its name, it primarily hosts stand-up comedians. I know, confusing, right? This is the place, though, you can see top-draw performers like Whitney Cummings, Ron Funches, and Pauly Shore, in addition to rising stars in the stand-up community. You might even catch special, one-time-only shows from comedians like Jimmy Fallon or Dave Chappelle. Shows are primarily on the weekend with a smattering of speciality events, such as an all-ages comedy show and a short-form improv show, throughout the month. A full food and drink menu is available.
There are three locations of Hyena’s Comedy Nightclub in the DFW area: Dallas, Fort Worth, and Plano. The Dallas location, in particular, is located in Mockingbird Station, which offers several shopping and dining options. The place just screams “date night.” All the Hyena’s feature stand-up comedy twice an evening with some of the country’s best rising stars along with talented local comedians. Shows are on the weekends and Thursday nights are free (special events excluded). Food and drinks are available for purchase.
The Backdoor Comedy Club is located in the Doubletree Hotel on North Central Expressway (Hwy 75) in Dallas. Founded 15 years ago by comedians Jan Norton and Linda Stogner, this intimate club features touring and local comedians during the weekends. In fact, it’s the longest running venue for stand-up comedy in Dallas. The Doubletree Hotel is near NorthPark Center, a popular mall for your high-end shopping and dining needs, so you could really make a night of it if you’re into mall walking and comedy. The Backdoor Comedy Club offers food and drinks.
f you like throwing popcorn at actors, then Pocket Sandwich Theatre is your place. Located across the street from Mockingbird Station, this dinner theatre venue often features melodramas for enthusiastic audiences, who are encouraged to boo villains and cheer heroes. The theatre was founded in 1980 and offers shows primarily Thursday through Saturday. The theatre also features improv comedy during the week and late at night on the weekends. A full food and drink menu is available, but really, it’s the popcorn you’re going to want to keep well stocked on your table.
Featured image: Dallas Comedy House; Couresty of @evilrazcal