Splitsider

 

Splitsider's Guide to Vancouver's Comedy Scene

Live comedy, for many, is an art form that is still confined to two major centers: New York and Los Angeles. Other cities — Chicago, Boston, Toronto, San Francisco, Austin, Montreal, Seattle, and Denver — are often unfairly relegated to the periphery. They represent thriving scenes that matter because they exist, but aside from that are generally ignored and rarely scouted.

If the latter cities make up the periphery of the comedy scene, then it would be fair to say that Vancouver, British Columbia — tucked far away in the Pacific Northwest, three hours from Seattle, six hours from Portland, and too many hours from anywhere else — lies in [...]

The Splitsider Guide to Boston's Comedy Scene

Four hours North of New York City, Boston proper exists in the perpetual shadow of one of the largest comedy scenes in the country. Boston Proper is a smallish city but its comedy scene is spread out amongst two interconnected cities: Cambridge (The People’s Republic Of) and Somerville. There's not much of an entertainment industry in Boston, but with over fifty colleges in the greater Boston area that provide ample audiences, and a large and growing number of shows and venues, Boston is a great scene for comics to develop. It's a scene that responds to innovation, but also respects the past. Boston's audiences vary from Harvard students to [...]

Splitsider's Guide to LA's Comedy Scene

The City of Angels. La-la Land. Lipstick City. Tinsel Town. Hollyweird. I could list hokey nicknames for LA all day long, but maybe it’s just best to describe the town as an overcrowded mess of traffic, pollution, street gangs, broken dreams, and one of the most vibrant and active live comedy scenes in human history.

Because Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, most of your favorite comedians from movies and TV live here, and a lot of them make it a habit to, despite their busy day jobs, continue to perform live stand-up or improv to keep their chops up. Celebrities aren’t the only ones taking [...]

Splitsider's Guide to Toronto's Comedy Scene

Despite a sketch comedy history that rivals almost any city (SCTV, Kids in the Hall), and being the breeding grounds for a number of amazing standups, Toronto is rarely discussed among the big comedy cities of North America. But while most of the continent may know Toronto best for the shout outs it receives in Drake lyrics, the comedy scene in the city has taken off in recent years. From the birthplace of the Paul F. Tompkins 300, to turning WWE superstar Bret “the Hitman” Heart into an improv all star, to the explosion of original and alternative comedy shows springing up, Toronto has evolved into a phenomenal [...]

Splitsider's Guide to NYC's Comedy Scene

"This is where comedy works — where people are the most miserable," Doug Stanhope lamented as he walked the streets of New York City at the beginning of his special, No Refunds. Maybe it is the misery, dirt and exhaustion that comes with life in NYC that fosters great comedic voices; an optimist would say its the city's vibrancy, diversity, and bustling energy. Either way, it's impossible to deny that no place does comedy like New York. Though in the past, we've looked at the stellar comedy scenes of both Los Angeles and Austin, I'll faithfully defend New York as the greatest comedy city in the world.

There's more comedy to see [...]

Splitsider's Guide to Austin's Comedy Scene

Though I was not born in Texas, and did not get here as fast as I could, and while much of what lies outside Austin City Limits is a mystery to me, there’s one local fact I know for sure: Austin’s got an insanely great comedy scene, and it’s growing fast.

It took awhile to get the timing right. In 1997 Austin Stories premiered, an effort to introduce an emerging stand-up scene to MTV’s hip audience with the help of Howard Kremer, Chip Pope, Laura House and Matt Bearden (also Patton Oswalt, who briefly served as head writer). Decidedly Slacker-inspired, its washed-out world [...]

Splitsider's Guide to Chicago's Comedy Scene

As any Chicago-based comedian, writer, or performer will tell you, there’s a glass ceiling everyone faces when developing a career in this city, due to the lack of an entertainment industry. Soon after a performer really begins to come into their own, firing on all cylinders (and sometimes before), they make the decision to move out to NYC or LA. It’s helpful to think of Chicago as a sort of comedy incubator, preparing comics for the big time.

That also means audiences regularly get to catch rising talent right before they hit, which makes Chicago’s comedy shows some of the scrappiest, most unique, and most reliably solid shows in [...]

Check Out a Field Guide for the Residents of 'Portlandia'

Fast Company just put out a field guide for Portlandia's recurring characters, showing the ins and outs of everyone in town from feminist bookstore owners Toni and Candice to entertainment-obsessed to Doug and Claire to Fred and Carrie, themselves. Flipping through the guide really show's how amazing Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein's abilities as character chameleons are and a reminder of how many different types of frustrating people they've managed to capture in a funny way.