5 Spaces Dedicated To Celebrating The Art Of Comedy
It's been said that laughter is the best medicine. From festivals celebrating the healing power of humor to workshops teaching kids the art of comedy, there are plenty of spots dedicated to this art form. Whether one is a comedy aficionado or is just looking for a few laughs, here are, in no particular order, a few places that can take a joke.
First up at #1 is the National Comedy Center, the United States' official cultural institution and museum dedicated to presenting the story of comedy and preserving its heritage for future generations. Opened in August 2018 in Jamestown, New York, the complex features exclusive collections and exhibits, using state-of-the-art technology to enhance the visitor experience.
Guests can take a journey through comedy history, from vaudeville to the latest viral memes, throughout over 50 immersive exhibits within the 37,000-square-foot facility. The center's archives hold a collection of materials such as handwritten notes, annotated scripts, correspondence, recordings, and screen or stage-used props and wardrobe.
Coming in at #2 is the Halifax ComedyFest, which takes place at multiple venues across downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. The festival, founded in 1995, claims to be one of Canada's longest-running and most successful. It is one of few of its kind to be broadcast nationally and has been nominated for multiple Gemini awards.
The festival began with the aim of supporting and nurturing the careers of Canadian stand-up comics. Mark Critch, who has hosted the event's TV series, is best known for his work on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, a weekly comedy show on CBC TV.
At #3 is Comedy Club 4 Kids, a venue that runs family-oriented shows and workshops for children ages 6 and up who want to learn about stand-up. The establishment's London base is in Soho, with regular shows at the Soho Theatre and workshops at the nearby Phoenix Artists Club.
Occasionally, kids from the Comedy Academy will join in and be a part of the show. A grown-up act who has never performed for a family audience might find themselves on a bill with a nine-year-old comedic powerhouse. The group also tours around the country, appearing in theaters and festivals throughout the UK and Ireland.
Coming up at #4 is LaughFest, a 10-day festival based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was created by Gilda's Club Grand Rapids and launched in 2011 to honor laughter as an essential part of emotional health and well-being. The event showcases celebrity comics such as Maria Bamford, Jeff Foxworthy, and Jim Gaffigan.
All proceeds benefit Gilda's Club Grand Rapids, a free community resource with a comprehensive education program. Gilda's Club began in New York City in honor of comedienne Gilda Radner, who passed away from ovarian cancer in 1989. The festival carries on her legacy of laughter to an average of 50,000 attendees every year.
Last but not least, at #5 is the Sacramento Comedy Spot. It is a non-profit organization that also features a theater with improv, stand-up, sketches, and short films, and is Northern California's largest comedy school. Its stage is home to many local celebrity performers and often hosts headlining acts.
The Sacramento Comedy Spot prides itself on being a place of diversity and inclusion for the greater Sacramento community. There is a free monthly workshop for students who identify as people of color, a diversity scholarship for students for whom money is a barrier, and even an improv group for kids.