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Live comedy in Nashville is getting bigger, broader and better



This May’s turning out to be a grade-A month for comedy in Nashville.

First, there’s the Wild West Comedy Festival, returning for its third year on May 16-22, with famous names like Trevor Noah, Jeff Foxworthy, Kathy Griffin and Maria Bamford giving up the giggles at venues around town. (Check out a full schedule of events at the Wild West Comedy Festival website.)

While that big fest’s going, East Nashville’s The East Room plays host to the second Broken Record Comedy Show, which — running nonstop May 15 through 23 — was designed to break the “longest standup comedy show with multiple comedians” record they broke last year. (By a fittingly hilarious five minutes.)

Then there’s the news about Third Coast Comedy Club, a new home for local comedy in the works in Marathon Village, with a June opening date planned. (There’s a crowdfunding campaign going to help make the new space happen, along with a live fundraiser at 12th & Porter on May 15 at 6:30 p.m.)

It all underlines the strength of the comedy scene here in Nashville, and points to bigger and better things on the horizon, too.

If you’re a comedy fan, our city’s growth in that department isn’t really news. We’ve had a great, steady home base for live comedy for a long time that helped pave the way: Zanies on 8th has kept our city with steady access to some of the best names in the stand-up business for more than three decades, and you’ll find something spectacular there just about any night of the week. (Check the calendar at the Zanies Nashville website.) But it’s far from the only place offering regular onstage (purposeful) hilarity in Nashville today.

If you’re looking to explore beyond Zanies, here are a few of the other places you can go to chase down a laughing fit:

Belcourt Taps
2117 Belcourt Ave., Hillsboro Village

Twice a month, Belcourt Taps in busy Hillsboro Village brings PG-rated comedy to the stage for its regular comedy nights — if you prefer to skip sets that go blue/maybe blast a few f-bombs, this one’s for you. Bo Shuster and Maria Tucker host the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, starting at 7 p.m. No cover (but lots of food/drinks to be had).

Bobby’s Idle Hour Tavern
1028 16th Ave. S., Music Row

Bobby’s Idle Hour is known for its place in the annals of Nashville/country music history (its former location was a steady drinking hole for many a songwriting legend). Today, it lets live comedy seep into the walls too, with Monday night open mics that start at 7.

411 Gallatin Avenue, East Nashville

The second Wednesday of every month, beloved Eastside dive Dino’s hosts the free KAMIKAZE KITTEN comedy show, with local and touring comedians taking the stage, led by gifted Nashville comic Chad Riden. (8:30 p.m., no cover.)

The East Room
2412 Gallatin Avenue, East Nashville

The Broken Record Comedy Show might be the longest, but it’s definitely not the only comedy show you’ll catch on The East Room’s stage. Among the regular events hosted there: SPiFFY SQUiRREL, a weekly pro roundup (also hosted by Chad Riden) that kicks off every Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ($5 cover); Luxury Prestige, a monthly showcase for local comedians and filmmakers, with a mix of sketch comedy and short films (every third Friday, 7:30 p.m.); and the Ultimate Comedy open mic, led by host Brad Edwards and house band The Grey Grays every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. (no cover).

Mad Donna’s
1313 Woodland St., East Nashville

Nashville comic Mary Jay Berger hosts Flying with Jaybird, a curated monthly stand-up show upstairs at this low-key East Nashville restaurant. Scheduled for the third Wednesday of each month, the show features a mix of locals and touring acts popping into town.

The Night Owl
330 Welch Rd., Nashville

The Night Owl — a mostly music club/bar on the south side of town, right off Nolensville Pike — threads comedy shows into its schedule, including the free weekly Bubba and Friends show (led by Nashville’s Bubba Bradley) hosting local and touring acts every Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Wilburn Street Tavern
302 Wilburn St., East Nashville

The late-late-night crowd might wanna head East to the Wilburn Street Tavern on Tuesdays — host Joe Kelley gets this free weekly open mic started at 10:30 p.m. The beers are cheap ($3) and the bar is generally filled with friendly locals. If you’re a comic, sign-up’s at 10, and everyone does five minutes.

Been to any of these shows? Have others you think we should hit? Let us know!

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