The best comedy clubs in Edinburgh

Find your funny any time of the year in Edinburgh at one of the city’s legendary comedy venues.
If there’s one thing Edinburgh does brilliantly, it’s history. If there are two things Edinburgh does brilliantly, it’s history and whisky. If there are three things Edinburgh does brilliantly, it’s history, whisky and comedy. Each August, Auld Reekie becomes the centre of the comedy universe as funny folk from far and wide descend to test out new material, debut new shows and maybe pick up a coveted trophy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. But what about the other 11 months of the year? Is the city about as funny as a five-hour debate on the best tyre pressure for effective ploughing? No, it’s even funnier! Here are some of the best comedy clubs in Edinburgh, Fringe or no Fringe.

The Stand Comedy Club
The Stand is an Edinburgh institution. It first opened in the 90s to an overwhelming crowd of seven people, but things have picked up a little steam since then. These days, it’s widely regarded to be the centre of all things funny in the city. Regular shows include Stu and Garry’s Improv Show – which is rather surprisingly a free improv show by a man called Stu and a man called Garry – and the slightly risqué Viva La Shambles. Saturday nights combine a big-name headliner, a few support acts and one complete newcomer in a two-hour comedy extravaganza. This is where you might catch someone like Frankie Boyle or Dylan Moran dropping by unannounced to try out new material. Thursday nights offer the same line-up but it’s a fiver cheaper, providing excellent value for money. Keep an eye on their listings for line-ups and one-off events.

Monkey Barrel Comedy
When the stage has a giant illustration of Steve Martin next to it, you know you’re in the right comedy club. If there’s a serious rival to The Stand’s… um… standing, it’s Monkey Barrel. This excellent venue on Blair Street only holds around 100 people, so it’s intimate, for better or worse – mostly worse if you’re one of those people who dreads being picked on for the audience participation bits. This is an excellent place to find the next big thing, especially their weekly comedy competition Top Banana, which is dedicated to finding the funniest newcomers in Edinburgh, voted for by the audience on the night. Upcoming highlights include appearances by hysterically funny Canadian Glenn Wool and British rising star Stuart Goldsmith, both of whom earned rave reviews from their 2017 Fringe shows.

The bigger theatres
Comedy pops up in plenty of other spots around the city. The Edinburgh Festival Theatre is an excellent destination for bigger shows by household names. Upcoming 2018 highlights include Sarah Millican and Ross Noble. Similarly, Edinburgh Playhouse primarily hosts music and plays, but also features stand-up comedy from the more famous comedians on the circuit. Forthcoming shows for 2018 include Russell Brand, Jason Manford, Dave Gorman and Kevin Bridges. Finally, a list of Edinburgh comedy venues wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the Pleasance. This Fringe Festival favourite has a wealth of theatres inside, and even hosts Fringe shows in the courtyard. It’s also a favourite venue for comedy stars road-testing material before heading out on tour.
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