Stand up Comedy is booming in India.
Back in 2010, there wasn’t a single dedicated comedy club in the country until the UK Comedy Store invested a sizable chunk of money into the now-closed Canvas Laugh Club Mumbai.
However thanks to that initial investment and YouTube showing the country all flavors of stand up, it is now one of the most interesting growing entertainment verticals.
Unfortunately, although “comedy clubs” and “comedy nights” pop up weekly, they’re very few venues that:
- do it consistently,
- pay their artists on time
- and keep it professional.
A lot of people read this blog on how to do stand up comedy, but I thought I’d jot down the best comedy clubs in each major Indian city. Running a comedy club isn’t easy because it’s a business in which everybdoy wants to use you as a stepping stone, so right when you have built up a market and loyal customer based and employees (comedians), most comics jump ship on to bigger shows because well, they need to eat.
But they’re a few that continuously push through this and have built a system to succeed that most bar or pub owners will never figure out, so lets jot some down here.
If you’re a visiting comic to India and curious about the best rooms (they’re plenty more great shows outside of these places which you can check by filtering for comedy on BookMyShow in your city) OR you’re a new comic hopeful looking on where to perform eventually, these should be on your list of goals. (Which you have right?!?)
Best Comedy Clubs in Mumbai
A great space for comedians to record their specials. You can watch some of the top comics in the country doing their sets here weekly, shows for major acts are usually sold out.
Snug art cafe where a lot of comics will also perform and run their sets and recordings.
Best Comedy Clubs in Delhi
The goal for Indian stands up comedians will be to have a recording here, as it subconsciously plays a role in YouTube impressions and views. There have been issues with management but for the average person, it’s still one of the best club and rooms in the country. Regardless, Canvas and the former comedy store are 90% of the reason you see comedy in India the way it is today.
Update August 26th: Looks like both venues are shut temporarily. *Facepalm*
This comedy club I believe has Papa CJ (veteran comedian) helping with promotions and PR or management and seems like a wonderful room that knows how to produce comedy shows. It’s likely tiny and not fancy (which is how comedy should be) but do check it out!
Best Comedy Clubs in Chennai
Aravind SA and Baggy who were both with Evam (also opening up a new club soon) have launched this new club and hopefully it sticks around for a while, which I imagine it will. Pictures so far look gorgeous.
Xu at the Leela Palace
Amin Ahmed runs this show as of August 2019 at the Leela Palace and seems to get a very consistent crowd.
A great business opportunity will be available for anybody to open up a comedy club, but somebody who knows what truly makes it good. And to be honest, food and beverage is hardly it. I’ve seen super successful comedy nights run in India in a box of a room with no AC, so it just depends on a few key factors and I think many on this list are cracking it.
Suggestions? I’m sure I missed some so if you’d like me to add them let me know by commenting the website, the name and the reason why. The requirements are:
- Been doing shows for a while or have a stand-up comedy backing
- Pay artists on time
- Dedicated venue with website and FB page.