Top spots to catch stand-up comedy in the City Beautiful

Laugh it up

Hot Orlando comedian Preacher Lawson at the Shit Sandwich showcase.
Hot Orlando comedian Preacher Lawson at the Shit Sandwich showcase. photo by Sarah Kinbar

What if, instead of zoning out on Netflix tonight, you took your happy ass out to see live comedy? No matter the day of the week, there's a show happening, and laughs are guaranteed. There are upward of 20 comedy mics and showcases in Orlando. Here are our favorites.

Orlando Improv
Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Drive
The Improv is Orlando's gold standard for comedy, and the big touring acts roll through on the regular. But that's not all. As Joe Censabella's recent "Best of Orlando" showcase proved, local talent draws a crowd and delivers the funny, too. Fatfish Blue, the adjacent bar, has an open mic hosted by Carmen Vallone every Thursday evening. It's free and it's a vibe.

Bonkerz at Twisted Root Burger
7:30 p.m. every Saturday
4270 Aloma Ave., Winter Park
Touring acts and the cream of the crop of local talent come out to perform on Saturday nights at this Winter Park eatery, and the game-meat burgers are not the only tempting offerings. With Orlando comedians like Ken Miller, Lisa Roddavis, Vince Taylor and Rob Smiles on deck, it's always a rollicking good time.

Harry Buffalo
9 p.m. every Monday
129 W. Church St.
The Monday night open mic at Harry Buffalo originated at the Other Bar on Wall Street and moved to its latest location during the pandemic. Going strong for well over a decade, the mic attracts comedians new and established, but don't expect polished sets. Decidedly unfancy, here you'll find comedians trying out new material on the creaky stage of this dark sports bar. True stand-up fans will enjoy the scattered energy of artists honing their craft.

Shit Sandwich at Bull & Bush
9 p.m. first and third Saturdays
2408 E. Robinson St.
Ten years in, this biweekly event is the standard-bearer among local comedy showcases. Host Ross McCoy is a steady presence on Saturdays, packing the house and drawing Orlando's best comedians to the British pub with his top-notch hosting skills. If legacy is any indication, some of the comedians entertaining you now at Shit Sandwich are destined for national fame. (Just ask Preacher Lawson.) See them here as they pick up steam. Arrive early if you want a seat.

The Copper Rocket
10 p.m. every Thursday
106 Lake Ave., Maitland
Quickly becoming a regular stop on the comedy circuit, the Copper Rocket offers a late night of fun with clusters of comedians gathering at tables indoors and outside on the patio, anxiously awaiting their turn at the mic. If you want to mingle with rising talent, this is the place. It's Matt Perez's mic, but he shares hosting responsibilities with a rotation of comedians, so the tone shifts a bit each week — in a good way. Of all the local open mics, this one feels most like a showcase and enjoys an audience of dedicated regulars.

All Jokes Aside at Night Shade Lounge
9 p.m. first and third Tuesdays
536 W. Church St.
After a brief hiatus, Wil Milz is back with his biweekly showcase at this excellent Orlando bar. Though Tuesday is a bit early in the week, the show makes for a great date night or a gathering of friends. Milz's big personality is a draw — the comedian is known for his controversial opinions and for attracting great comedic talent to share the stage.

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