Here are, according to me, the best open-mike comedy shows off the Strip. Please note that “comedy time” is different than normal time. So if a show is supposed to start at 9 p.m., it might start at 10. Remember: That’s part of the fun!
Mulligans Landing. This is a bar show with a bar crowd. It’s possible to play to a packed room or it’s possible that there might be 10 people there. The couple who run the show, Mark and Teresa, who also work at the bar, are very nice and supportive. It’s also the only place I’ve been punched by an audience member during my set. She hit pretty hard. 10 p.m., 2851 N. Rancho Dr., 395-2904.
Boomerang’s Beach Bar. This place has the longest-running open-mike show in Las Vegas, thanks to a loyal audience and host Diaz Mackie. He’s had this show at four different venues (at least), but hasn’t missed a week in the last few years. It’s the best “urban comedy” show in the city. If you stink, the crowd has no problem letting you know. But they love you if you bring the goods. Each show has a musical performance by a local hip-hop act, adding to the entertainment. 9:30 p.m., 6670 Vegas Dr., 631-4711.
Meatheads. Located in a tiny backroom in a small bar, this is an intimate show for both performer and audience. It’s a good place to see a variety of comics with different experience levels. Newer comics do shorter amounts of time, and more seasoned comedians have a long leash. It’s a fun workout room, and it’s the only show in the city run by women! The hostesses, Myracle and Angie, are both funny, too. Besides the open-mike, they also run a feature show every Saturday night with both local and out-of-town comics. If that’s not enough, they’ve just started a new show Friday nights at the Power Exchange, so if you want some laughs before your orgy … 8:30 pm., 1121 S. Decatur Blvd., No. 120, 870-4440.
Club Ethio. There used to be a show at the Bunkhouse where young foreigners who were staying at the nearby youth hostel would frequent. Did it matter that a good portion of them didn’t speak much English? This is a new venue that is just getting up and running. The crowd is a mix of Americans and immigrants. Comedians have to work hard to keep the audience, which isn’t a bad thing. 10:30 p.m., 3400 S. Jones Blvd., 252-4697.
Grind Burger Bar. This is another new show, and it’s the only one on the east side of town. Enjoy a burger and get some laughs. It features a different guest host every week, giving each show a different feel. Now if only comics could get free grub here … 9 p.m., 360 E. Tropicana Ave., 262-9181.
Bonkerz. Here’s an oddity: A comedy club open-mike show in Las Vegas run like a normal comedy club open-mike show. Comics are given a set amount of time, and each show features entertainers with all different levels of experience and ability. Part of the fun is not only seeing how good some performers are, but also seeing how bad others can be. Many local comedians who end up in the main shows start here. 7 p.m., in Palace Station, 2411 W. Sahara Ave., 367-2411.
A final note: For feature shows with out-of-town headliners and local comedians, check out Bonkerz (Thursday-Saturday), L.A. Comedy Club at the Four Queens (Wednesday–Saturday) and Sin City Comedy at Planet Hollywood (every night).