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click to enlarge Margaret Cho

Photo by Alnert Sanchez

Margaret Cho

6 ways to catch a comedy show in Orlando 


Austin's Open Mic

9 p.m. Sundays Austin's Coffee, 929 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park Orlando's first open mic is still going strong every Sunday evening. Comics perform to a packed house, with overflow audience members often cramming into seats onstage. This scene staple is a great way to see up-and-comers hone their craft or chat with other jokers if you're giving stand-up a try yourself.

Drunken Monkey

8:30 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar, 444 N. Bumby Ave. The coffee-shop atmosphere is a great litmus test to see if a joke works in front of a sober audience, as opposed to the two-drink minimum crowds of mainstream comedy clubs. Host Heather Shaw calls 'em like she sees 'em, keeping comics on their feet with zingers between sets. Saturday nights are open-mic, while Friday's showcase offers a curated lineup of local talent.

Orlando Improv

Pointe Orlando, 9101 International Drive, 407-480-5233,

This I-Drive location attracts polished local talent, traveling club comics and big names like Bobcat Goldthwait, Damon Wayans and Margaret Cho.

The Other Bar Open Mic

8:30 p.m. Mondays 18 Wall St., 407-843-8595, Headed by veteran comedian Ken Miller, the Monday open mic at the Other Bar is easily downtown's most popular comedy night. Miller frequently gives other comics the chance to host, and cheap drinks and the lack of a cover charge ensure that the room is frequently filled with comics and fans alike.

SAK Comedy Lab

29 S. Orange Ave., 407-648-0001,

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, SAK is a comedy school and club rolled into one that's churned out the likes of Paula Pell and Wayne Brady. Local SNL hopefuls say "yes, and" to improv classes, and visitors enjoy long-running shows like Gorilla Theatre (professional improvisers in a family-friendly show) and Punslingers (a battle for the best groan-inducing puns).

Shit Sandwich

9 p.m. first and third Saturdays Bull & Bush Pub, 2408 E. Robinson St. The City Beautiful's first indie showcase remains one of its best. Hosted by Tom and Dan news correspondent Ross McCoy and lovable beardo Doug McPherson, Shit Sandwich packs out the Bull & Bush well before the show starts. Lineups include promising new comics cutting their teeth and scene staples returning for more laughs. Each show also features a toast to the late Matt Gersting, who started Shit Sandwich and was integral in kick-starting Orlando's indie scene.

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