Sometimes the mirror doesn’t provide enough laughs.
Hence the advent of the comedy club.
Las Vegas is home to a growing array of them, with numerous new venues opening in the past two years.
All of the rooms are appreciably different, with distinctive atmospheres and talent lineups.
With this in mind, here’s a guide to five of the top comedy clubs in town:
The Comedy Cellar at the Rio
The faces say nothing and everything at once.
The first thing you see when entering The Comedy Cellar is dozens of framed photos of comedy prime movers of the past and present, names such as Bob Saget, Ali Wong, Mitch Hedberg and many more.
All of them cut their teeth at the original New York City location of one of stand-up comedy’s most celebrated talent incubators.
The Vegas version, which opened in April 2016, was designed to approximate its East Coast originator, from the decor — the brick wall behind the stage, the iconic stained glass logo hanging from it — to the way the shows are programmed: Instead of longer sets from a given headliner, the club favors a showcase approach, where upward of a half-dozen headliner-quality acts might perform, usually for 20 minutes apiece.
“They really did it to a T,” veteran comedian Robert Kelly told the RJ in 2018 of the similarities between the Cellars. “It’s the same exact vibe. It’s the same show.”
Notable past performers: Dave Attell, Jeff Ross, Ari Shaffir, Todd Barry
Upcoming shows of note: Tom Rhodes (Friday-Sunday), Dan Naturman (Feb. 24-March 1), Dean Edwards (March 2-8)
Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM Grand
With his 6-foot-8-inch frame, hangdog features and Bela Lugosi-deep voice, Brad Garrett cuts a distinct figure.
His comedy club follows suit.
Originally opening at the Tropicana in 2010 before moving across the street two years later, the club was designed to have a 1920s New York City speakeasy vibe, with a brick facade, dark brown banquettes and maroon walls lined with vintage signage and portraits of comedic greats, from Rodney Dangerfield to Johnny Carson to Richard Pryor.
The club’s roster revolves around crowd-pleasing comedians with a broad reach, acts who can resonate with sitcom fans drawn to Garrett and his extensive TV past, no laugh track necessary.
Notable past performers: Ray Romano, Jason Alexander, Jerry Seinfeld, Jen Kober
Upcoming shows of note: Brad Garrett (multiple dates in March and May), Debi Gutierrez (May 4-10), Alonzo Bodden (May 25-31)
Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at The Linq
His name is on the marquee, his fingerprints are everywhere else.
Las Vegas native Jimmy Kimmel was hands-on when it came to designing the Strip’s newest comedy club and curating the talent.
As such, it has a distinctly personal feel to it.
The two-level club opens into a bar area appointed in gray and green tones, with walls covered in memorabilia from Kimmel’s career, from “Crank Yankers” puppets to framed family photos. Upstairs is the fairly spacious main room, where capacity crowds on the weekends conjure a raucous vibe.
The familial atmosphere extends to some of the talent, with Kimmel’s former “Man Show” co-host Adam Corolla stopping by for drop-in sets and ex-girlfriend Sarah Silverman doing a guest set during the club’s grand opening.
Locals take note of “L8nite,” a three-act, 80-minute show Saturdays at midnight where tickets start at $20 and drinks are discounted via a reverse happy hour menu.
Notable past performers: Chris Tucker, Nikki Glaser, Pete Holmes, Ron White
Upcoming shows of note: Tracey Ashley (March 6-7), Jimmie “J.J.” Walker (April 17-19), Hal Sparks (April 24-26)
The Laugh Factory at the Tropicana
A who’s who of stand-up standouts have punched the clock at The Laugh Factory’s signature Hollywood location, which has launched more careers than your average comedian’s unhappy childhood.
To this day, it just might be the most famous comedy spot in America.
The chain has grown to five clubs across the country, and the Vegas entry taps into the franchise’s deep reservoir of talent.
The room itself boasts a throwback lounge feel, intimate and largely unadorned, with the iconic Laugh Factory logo illuminating the red-curtained stage.
The Vegas Laugh Factory doesn’t quite get the big-name drop-ins that its West Coast counterparts do, though it’s a monthly haunt of Andrew Dice Clay and is among the spots in town to feature the Vegas-based Rocky Dale Davis, one of the city’s funniest stand-ups.
Notable past performers: Jim Belushi & the Board of Comedy, Dean Delray, Tom Arnold, Pauly Shore
Upcoming shows of note: Don Gavin (March 9-15), Adam Ray (March 16-22), Andrew Dice Clay (March 27-29)
The Comedy Works at the Plaza
Because downtown needs relief from the “comedic relief” of humor’s kidney stone: the ubiquitous underdressed rotund fellow doffing his pants for tourist bucks along the Fremont Street Experience.
Enter The Comedy Works.
With its flagship club launching in Albany, New York, in 1981, Comedy Works has hosted greats such as Robin Williams, Denis Leary and Chris Rock, to name but a few.
A location opened last summer at the Plaza Showroom, where an old-school Vegas vibe hangs in the air right alongside the crystal chandeliers and velvet gold curtain, with seating on four circular tiers.
The draw here is value and diversity: Tickets start at $20 to see all different types of stand-up, with a lineup ranging from an acerbic comedian’s comedian such as Nick Di Paolo to rising acts like Jade Catta-Preta, the new host of “The Soup,” who takes the stage Friday and Saturday.
Notable past performers: Steve Byrne, Jim Florentine, Tim Meadows, Lisa Lampanelli
Upcoming shows of note: Thea Vidale (March 12-14), Vic Dibitetto (April 9-11), Nick Di Paolo (Sept. 24-26)