Let’s start with a joke. What’s brown and sticky?
*taps microphone* Is this thing on? C’mon. It wasn’t that bad.
If you’re looking for humans that are actually funny, I’ve got you. I’ll cover the best places to check out a comedy show in West Michigan. There are a few options – Grand Rapids even hosts our own comedy festival, LaughFest, a multi-day and multi-site affair put on by Gilda’s Club.
Alright, ready to laugh? From traditional comedy clubs to open mic nights to improv, I’ll take you on a tour of all the comedic hotspots in Grand Rapids. Let’s have some fun.
- Map of Comedy Clubs near Grand Rapids, MI
- The best comedy clubs in Grand Rapids
- Hilarious improv options
Map of Comedy Clubs near Grand Rapids, MI
The best comedy clubs in Grand Rapids
The best comedy club downtown: Dr. Grins
Laughter is the best medicine (take that, penicillin!), and Dr. Grins has the prescription for ya. It’s located on the third floor of the B.O.B. (That’s an acronym for the big old building if you’re new to town). It’s Grand Rapids’ oldest and most consistent comedy destination.
If you close your eyes and imagine a comedy club, Dr. Grins is probably what comes to mind. There’s a brick wall. There’s a two-drink minimum. The comedians Dr. Grins pulls are hilarious, but they can get very “blue.” If risqué routines peppered with four-letter words aren’t for you, you’ll want to do some research into the comics that are performing. You’ve been warned.
Dr. Grins hosts nationally touring comics. If your favorite comic has performed on Kimmel or Fallon, odds are they’ll show up at Dr. Grins. Expect an MC to do some crowd work between sets. The food here is of the small-bite variety – grab a meal at another restaurant or one of the three inside the B.O.B. if you’d like. I’m partial to the views from the Sky Deck at Bobarino’s.
- Address: 20 Monroe Ave NW #3f, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
- Website: Dr. Grins
The best comedy club that also teaches you how to be funny: The Comedy Project
The Comedy Project (TCP) is the new kid on the comedic block. They opened their doors in 2019 after launching a successful Kickstarter campaign. Their goal was to bring a wide array of comedy to West Michigan – from open mic night to improv to comedy training. Mission accomplished.
What is comedy training? Glad you asked. The Comedy Project can help you hone your comedic chops. They’ve got classes that teach improv, stand-up, and sketch writing. Channel your inner Michael Scott and take an improv class. Just leave your imaginary firearms at home.
If you’re looking for stand-up, head to The Comedy Project on a Monday night and laugh your [you know what] off. Or head there on the weekend if improv is more your thing.
The space is ultra-hip, and there’s a bar if you’re thirsty. There’s no kitchen at The Comedy Project, so if you’re hungry, grab food before the show at Long Road Distillers or The Mitten. Both are right across the street.
- Address: 540 Leonard St NW B, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
- Website: The Comedy Project
The best free comedy show in a bowling alley: Sunday Night Funnies
A comedy club? In a bowling alley? Yes. Roll with me on this one.
Sunday Night Funnies is held at Spectrum Entertainment Center. Besides housing one of my favorite bowling alleys in town, Spectrum is also home to Woody’s Press Box. On Sunday nights, a slew of stand-up comics take the stage at Woody’s. The shows are always free, and whoever said you get what you pay for never saw a stand-up set at SNF. I’ve seen some local gems perform here.
Go ahead. Grab some grub from Woody’s (an actual restaurant – way better than typical bowling food), catch some stand-up comedy while you eat, and cap your night by bowling a few games. Talk about an epic Sunday night.
- Address: 5656 Clyde Park Ave SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
- Website: Sunday Night Funnies
Hilarious improv options
Better improv than Second City: Pop Scholars
Pop Scholars is the most fun you can have in Grand Rapids for under twenty bucks. True story – I’m friends with one of the Scholars (the cute one!), and I’ve seen them perform a half dozen times. And they slayed every single show. The four friends met at Calvin back when it was a College and have been cracking up West Michiganders for over a decade.
Hot take: I’ve seen the legendary Second City Improv crew perform in Chicago. They were amazing. Pop Scholars is amazing-er.
Expect your face to hurt after a show. It’s okay, it’s the good hurt. Pop Scholars’ performances are mostly clean, edgy, smartish, and frenetic.
Their “home base” for performances is Wealthy Theater, but they perform at other venues as well. They’re also available to book for private events. So if you’re looking to host the WORLD’S GREATEST corporate event, block party, retirement party – whatever – hire the Pop Scholars and make it happen. Mention this blog post for 0% off your order.
- Address: N/A
- Website: Pop Scholars
The best improv crew for everyone: River City Improv
River City brought the art of improv to Grand Rapids way back in 1993. I’ve seen River City perform their wacky, family-friendly brand of comedy several times, and their performances are consistently delightful. They’ve got a large crew of uproarious actors. And while the cast of RCI has evolved over time, the laughs have remained consistent.
Fun fact: five of the O.G. founding members of River City still perform with the troupe. People have been paying to see them perform for 30 years, so you know they’re funny.
Looking for a one-of-a-kind form of entertainment for an event? Look no further. Book RCI, and let the merriement ensue.
Like Pop Scholars, River City perform all over town, but their main venue is the historic Wealthy Theater.
- Address: N/A
- Website: River City Improv