What to Wear to a Comedy Club

By Kathryn Walsh

Funny, funky and fabulous outfits for a comedy club outing

What to Wear to a Comedy Club

Knock-knock. Who's there? Hopefully a better joke when you show up to enjoy a night at a comedy club. Whether it's Caroline's in New York City, the Second City in Chicago or a hole-in-the-wall club in a small town, dressing for a comedy show requires no funny business. Don't worry about packing anything special just to wear to the club. The person onstage is the one who's concerned with making a good impression. You can dress for comfort.

Applaud: Something casual

Don't wear gym clothes or pajamas to a comedy club. For the most part, though, you'll fit right in wearing whatever clothing you'd wear on a normal day of sightseeing. Jeans, shorts and T-shirts are totally acceptable attire at most comedy clubs.

If you prefer to be a little dressier or have dinner plans before or after the show, feel free to wear dress pants and a nice shirt or a dress. Just know that looking like a wedding guest can mean feeling out of place in the club crowd.

Applaud: A warm layer

Clubs can be really hot. They can also be really cold. Sometimes they feel really cold when you sit down but get uncomfortably warm over the course of the show, due to lots of people being crammed into a small space. Wear or bring a top layer to pull on and off as needed, like a cardigan or jacket.

Applaud: Comfortable shoes

Some comedy clubs sell assigned seats, but many operate on a first-come, first-served basis. That means that getting a good seat could involve arriving at the club as much as an hour before the show. In small venues that put on multiple shows per night, like the Upright Citizen's Brigade in Los Angeles, the audience has to line up outdoors on the sidewalk until the previous show ends. So, standing around for some time before getting seated is a possibility. Wear flats or low, comfortable heels.

Boo: Hats

Comedy clubs use a few types of common setups. The club may have tiered, auditorium-like seating, or everyone may sit on one level looking up at the performer on a slightly raised stage. In any case, having a clear view of the comedian is an important part of enjoying a comedy show. Even if the person's just talking, good comics use their faces and hands to punctuate their jokes. You wouldn't want your view blocked by someone's hat, and neither will the person who sits behind you. If you wear a hat to the club, plan to take it off when you reach your seat.

Tip

Before going, check out the club's website for any dress code specifics. Most clubs have no dress code, and casual dress is encouraged. Some ban certain types of clothing, however. For example, LA's Laugh Factory doesn't allow guests to wear shorts or men to wear open-toed shoes.

Boo: Anything remarkable

Unless you want the comedian to point you out and improv a 10-minute bit about your fashion taste, dress to blend in at a comedy club. Many spaces are small and lit well enough that the person onstage can see audience members, and some comics like to engage and even mock audience members. Avoid wearing anything bold and unusual, unless you wouldn't mind be publicly ribbed.

About the Author

Cooking, travel and parenting are three of Kathryn Walsh's passions. She makes chicken nuggets during days nannying, whips up vegetarian feasts at night and road trips on weekends. Her work has appeared to The Syracuse Post-Standard and insider magazine. Walsh received a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.