The Price of a Laugh

How do you feel about going out to shows? I’m guessing you don’t mind it once you’re there, but it takes some effort to get up and actually do it. And the high-end shows are great, but getting in and out of the big showrooms only adds to the hassle.

One way to do the show thing with minimal aggravation is to hit a comedy club. They play in the smaller rooms that are easier to access and, more important, they’re the most inexpensive shows in town. Note that I’m talking about comedy “clubs,” which are different from comedy “shows” featuring headliners such as George Wallace or Carrot Top. A comedy club typically has an MC/opening comic, then two or three other comics over the course of the night.

Following is a close-to-inclusive list of the clubs. New ones come and go fast, so it’s possible that something’s been left out. Rather than take up this entire space with disclaimers about which include tax, box-office fees, both or neither, I’ve put the clubs in price classifications, which tells the story well enough. And I’m looking at the lowest price when there’s a range. You can pay up to $68 at Brad Garrett’s club (when Brad’s performing), but do you really need to be up close to appreciate a comedian? Nah.

The top-level shows come in at between $35 and $50. Those include Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club at MGM, the Sin City Comedy Club at Planet Hollywood, the Improv Comedy Club at Harrah’s, Comedy After Dark at LVH, and the Laugh Factory at the Trop.

At the middle level, tickets are about $30 for the Las Vegas Comedy Show at Tuscany, the L.A. Comedy Club at Cabo Wabo Cantina, and Big Al’s Comedy Club at the Orleans (and there’s a free open-mic night on Sundays).

Finally, at the bargain level, tickets are in the $10 range, including Wolf’s Comedy Den at the Clarion, the Riviera Comedy Club at the Riv, and Bonkerz Comedy Club, if you don’t mind making the drive out to Primm Valley Resort.

Keeping in mind that there tends to be a graduation in the talent level as prices rise, all the classifications seem to make sense, except for one: the Riviera Comedy Club. This club has been part of the Riviera’s entertainment roster for years, and it’s hosted some top-level comedians on their way up. Consequently, tickets were $41, putting it in the top level for cost. But prices were reduced last month to $19 (including all fees) and just $10 for locals, which makes this the top comedy-club play in town.

To top it off, most of these shows discount with twofer offers that you can find online, in magazines and at the discount booths on the Strip. Use a twofer for any of these and you’ve scored one of the true deals in Las Vegas’ vast entertainment universe.