Home Is Where The Laughs Are: Our Favourite Comedy Venues Of 2023

By DA Staff 18 December 2023 6 mins read

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Comedy clubs and venues form the backbone of the standup comedy ecosystem. They’re where the magic happens. Where newbies learn the ropes and get over their fear of bombing. Where a five-minute set is transformed—slowly, by hitting the stage night after night—into a 60-minute special. Where the next stadium-selling comedy superstar learns their chops. But being a standup comedy venue, or even putting together a live show isn’t easy. That’s why we see new comedy clubs pop up and others fizzle out, year after year. In the face of a host of challenges, there are some comedy venues and productions that continue to stand out. They become incubators of the culture. Spaces for the community to fraternise. They create just the right vibe to have patrons doubling over in laughter. In no particular order, here are some of our top picks from around the country in 2023!

Just BLR (Bengaluru, Karnataka)

Just BLR has built a name for itself as a comedy hotspot in Bengaluru. The bar on the bustling street of Brigade Road has three rooms spread across two floors; a 50-seater and two 150-seaters. It has shows on the daily, with regular mics taking place between Monday to Friday and bigger shows taking up the weekends. In just the last quarter, it has seen the likes of Anirban Dasgupta, Karunesh Talwar, Abijit Ganguly, Punit Pania, Azeem Banatwalla and more perform to adoring crowds. A special aspect of Just BLR is that it also has an active busking culture, where comedians hit the busy street below the bar to reel in crowds for their shows. Everyone does it! But some are better than the rest. Special mention goes to showrunner Sachin Kumar, who is so proficient at busking that he’s earned a fabled status amongst local comedians for the hundreds of patrons he has pulled in during his time working for the venue. That’s dedication!

Happy High (New Delhi)

What’s better than a compact 55-seater room with nice lighting, a low ceiling, a great sound mixer and a red brick wall? Happy High is a comedy club in the heart of South Delhi that places comedians right in front of the crowd. This specific combination of factors means that when a comedian kills, they really kill. It’s recording-friendly too (Kumar Varun recently shot Kvizzing With The Comedians at the venue). It’s also got a great support staff that’s artist-friendly and goes the extra mile to keep comedians who frequent their premises happy.

The Habitat (Mumbai, Maharashtra)

If you’ve watched more than five Indian standup comedy clips, you’ve watched a comedian performing at the Habitat. It’s become the one place where anyone with a budding dream of comedy stardom wants to perform. The prestigious comedy club, located in Khar, consistently hosts India’s top comedians and even international stars. It’s got two rooms; a 70-seater called the Habitat and Above The Habitat, a 250-seater space. It has been instrumental in building an audience for comedy in Mumbai with the star-studded lineup shows that they host on the daily. If you’re a traveling comedian, you’re going to put the Habitat on your list of venues to hit just so that you’re on the map. It really is the place to be. So if you’re a comedy fan or even trying out a night of standup for the first time, walk in, grab a seat and you’re going to have a great night. And who knows, you might even see comedy royalty like Vir Das pop in to test out his brand-new material and show off his Emmy!

Jaipur Comedy Club (Jaipur, Rajasthan)

The Jaipur Comedy Club opened up doors to its new space in 2022 and since then, there’s been no looking back. The comedian-run club has single-handedly bootstrapped a budding standup scene in Jaipur. The 100-seater club is all about promoting local comedy, and even provides accommodation to travelling comedians performing at the space. A quick look at the shows happening at JCC, and you’ll notice that it encourages regular performances by women in comedy. That earns them bonus brownie points from us.

Backspace (Thane, Maharashtra)

Backspace offers a gorgeous royal blue backdrop against which some of India’s most popular comedians have performed. It’s only natural that they make it to the list; they’re run by Chalta Hai Comedy, the winners of the Best Producer Critics Choice Award at this year’s DeadAnt Comedy Awards. Though it’s a bit out-of-the-way, the venue is always hosting India’s top comedians. Why? Because, being run by comedians, it offers just the right environment for a comic to show up on any given day and make a killing. At Backspace, when you’re on fire, you’ll know and the crowd will ride that wave with you. It’s a tight and compact space, and we’ve heard that the distance between the stage and the audience is just right. Yeah, these are the little things that matter, and that’s why Backspace is on this list.

Topcat Retired Comedy Club (Kolkata, West Bengal)

Top Cat Retired Comedy Club has a 150-seater, a 50-seater, a 30-seater and even a cosy little rooftop venue where they host open mics. It’s a club owned by comedy lovers and run by standup comedians and so both the space and the production of each show is optimised for laughs. The space is frequented by India’s top comedians, who regularly perform there when in Kolkata. In fact, the Kolkata leg of Rahul Subramanian’s Rahul Talks To People was shot at TRCC!

The J Spot (Mumbai, Maharashtra)

Comedian Pankaj Sharma originally founded J Spot in 2017 as a venture that produced open mics and comedy shows at venues across Mumbai. As it grew and found more success, Sharma opened the doors of the cosy 70-seater venue in 2019. But it was forced to shut in July, when the entire building the club was in was acquired by a major business enterprise. Sharma promised that the venue would soon be back, and in late September, J spot opened again. The aesthetic has changed, the space is larger but the fundamentals remain the same. There are shows every night. The venue hosts active open-mics, which means that their footfall of new comedians is comparatively huge. The Juhu comedy club has resumed its role as a key incubator and hub for the city’s comedy scene, earning it a spot on this list.

Medai – The Stage (Chennai, Tamil Nadu)

When the pandemic hit, Chennai’s top comedy clubs were forced to shut down. Amongst them was the Counter Culture Comedy Club in Alwarpet. But late in 2021, Chennai Art Theatre launched a performance space called Medai–The Stage at the same venue. It helps that the space is run by B. Charles, a lighting designer (and founder of Chennai Art Theatre) who has ten years of experience in producing everything from classical dance, to theatre and even standup specials. Comedians love the space for its accessibility (it’s bang in the middle of Chennai and even shares a boundary wall with the state’s chief minister), and the fact that it places artists in the centre of its plans. Want to record a set for YouTube or even a podcast? They’ve got the recording facilities. How about a powerpoint presentation in your set? They’ve got a projector for it. Thinking of adding an element of music to your act. They’ve got a sound system in place too. Whatever the request, Medai can get it done, making it one of the favourite destinations for comedians in the city!

The Laugh Store (New Delhi)

The Laugh Store is Delhi’s premier standup comedy venue. It’s got everything a comedian could ask for in terms of production. Shows run smoothly, the equipment is state of the art, you can record a set at the Laugh Store, and it’s even got a brick wall (granted it’s black, but at DeadAnt we’re suckers for a classic backdrop). The 200-seater is frequented by Delhi’s finest, and regularly hosts everyone from Anubhav Singh Bassi to Aakash Gupta, who have even shot many of their standup sets for YouTube there. A recurring theme we came across was that the place has comfortable seats, and word is that they were specially designed and manufactured for the room. If you’re a Delhi-based influencer who wants to try out their standup chops (for the camera), this is the place you’re going to do it. If you’re a Delhi-based comic who has been hustling in the city to make a name, this is the place you’re going to want to sell out. Fun fact, their green room is stacked! It’s got everything a comedian would want to eat and more. What do we mean by more? A certain comedian has even made sure that the green room has a pair of dumbells.


DA Staff

Damn straight. Dead Ant has staff. You’d better believe it.


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