Atlanta is becoming an up-and-coming city more and more everyday. One facet of this is its blossoming comedy and improv scene. As I recently attended Atlanta’s new Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theatre, I must say that the city is now a contender in the arena with such a notorious venue under its belt.
The Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theatre joins the company of bars, restaurants and lounges in the Andrews Entertainment District which houses East Andrews, Prohibition, Stout Irish Sports Pub, Sal’s Pizzeria, Cellar 56, Andrews Upstairs and Czar Ice Bar. The month of October is dedicated to the grand opening events of the comedy club with a solid line-up of known TV comedians such as Louie Anderson, John Henton and Henry Cho. November brings the “pitbull of comedy” Bobby Slayton plus Lachlan Patterson and Maryellen Hooper.
I had the chance to catch the opening night of TBS funnyman Owen Benjamin from Sullivan and Sons. The red carpet media and hospitality event brought out a packed house of popular & local comedians, media, concierges as well as lovers of laugh alike.
Guests entered through a hallway lined with photos and a video playing of famous performers who have graced the Improv stage. Inside, the club was set up like its renowned predecessors with the trademark brick walled stage at the center of the space. I opted for a high-top table in the back which seats two intimately to avoid being in the line of fire during the main event. Throughout the main section and along the back walls are also regular tables of six, all topped with low, dinner-style lighting on each table.
Before the show began, there was an army of fast wait staff armed with pen and paper to take orders. In fact it took a smooth 60 seconds between the time I received a menu and got a drink placed in front of me. The menu dons favorites from the district’s restaurants such as Cellar 56’s BBQ pork egg rolls, sushi from Czar and Stout’s pub fare like fish-n-chips & emcee platters. My favorite part of the menu are the upscale cocktails. They are featured from the likes of Prohibition and East Andrews and promoted ordering ‘top shelf’ with Ketel One Vodka.
One order of All-American Wings and a Tie Me To The Bedpost (Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Captain Morgan, Pineapple, Amaretto) later, the show began with an opening greeting from Improv Founding Partner Budd Friedman, who came in from LA to see the 24th location of Improv Comedy Club kick off. Next on the line up were opening acts Gene Pompa and Jamie Ward, one of Atlanta’s own up-and-coming.
Hands down, Owen Benjamin’s act was one that everyone sat anxiously in their seats to see. Benjamin’s pre-rehearsed gig, complete with singing, overt visuals and a stint on the keyboard, transitioned smoothly with a sprinkle of Improv. Indeed, it wouldn’t be a show without the comedian picking out an unsuspecting audience member or two to make the butt of his jokes.
A surprise closing performance from Atlanta-native George Wallace rounded of the night and left everyone anxious about the coming line-up now that that the comedy club is open.
The Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theatre is definitely a recommended spot for a mature night out with a date or a group of friends. Early arrival is encouraged as dinner/drink service stops 20 minutes before the last act wraps up. A good sense of humor is also recommended.
The Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theatre opened in Atlanta on October 4th. Perhaps best known for its A&E network show An Evening at the Improv, the legendary comedy club was founded by Budd Friedman in New York in 1963. Expanding in 1975, the renowned club debuted its second location on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. For almost a half century, The Improv Comedy Clubs have remained the premiere stages for live comedy. Over the decades, the talent who has played center stage represents the Who’s Who of American comedy including Richard Pryor, Billy Crystal, Lily Tomlin, Freddie Prinz, Andy Kaufman, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Jay Leno, Chris Rock, Dane Cook, Ellen DeGeneres, Jamie Foxx, Adam Sandler, and Dave Chappelle.
WHEN: Thursday- Saturday | Doors open: 7p.m. Show starts: 8 p.m.
Improv Comedy Club and Dinner Theatre
56 East Andrews Drive NW Atlanta, GA 30305
PH: (678) 244-3612
TICKETS AND SCHEDULE: Purchase tickets and view show schedule here.