You can see live comedy any night you wish in Dublin. Yes we know of The International, Laughter Lounge and The Bankers (still going?) but what about new places and faces. But some of these comedy nights can take place off the traditional pub, club and theatre circuit so only privy to a few.
In the 1980s they called it Alternative Comedy. Now comedy is gone so mainstream and predictable (hey you reading this – where are you from? what do you do?) that a few people are bucking the trend and going under the radar to deliver more challenging shows in far more interesting venues. We’ve collected the top five ‘alternative’ venues for comedy for your perusal below:
- An Anarchist Bookstore – The Barricade Inn
The Barricade Inn is an occupied collective (think socialising for socialism) who are using a place that has been empty for ten years to host their events. I don’t know squat about squats but as far as I’m aware it’s legal? I’m not a lawyer, although I have spent a lot of time in unisex toilets like they had in Ally McBeal.
So far they’ve hosted two comedy nights, alongside screenings of documentaries about revolutionaries and clowning workshops. It’s BYOB (booze, not banners) and on the plus side you probably won’t have to sit next to any bankers. Worth a visit for the Facebook check-in alone!
Update: Gareth Lyons from the above gig (The Black Hole In The Wall, also on Facebook) has given us the headsup that they’ve moved on to A4 Sounds on Dorset Street, *Like* those Facebook pages for updates on future gigs!
- A Coffee Shop – Accents Coffee
If you’re cutting down on alcohol sometimes it can feel like you’ve been sent to a social apocalypse. You may feel that there are events you can’t or won’t go to because of the pervasive atmosphere of fermented liquids.
As an alternative, why not check out the different alcohol-free shows that Accents hosts in their downstairs venue. Dry of booze but dripping with coffee, check out their Facebook page for when you can next see comedic poetry and one man shows while partaking in pastries and pies.
- A Music Venue – Whelans (Pop the Cherry)
You’ve probably seen the likes of David O’Doherty or Axis Of Awesome put on shows in the main downstairs venue but what you might not know is that comedy also happens in other nooks of the building. For example, comedy newcomers Pop The Cherry have been putting on successful gigs on the upstairs stage (and also in Edinburgh for one night of fun!) to great feedback.
So if you’re looking for easy access to the newest comedy talent and a smoking area filled with beards and irony, why not take a trip to the hipster mecca that is Whelans.
- Where Filmmakers Meet – Filmbase – The Firehouse Film Contest
Not so much a comedy night as a night filled with comedy films, The Firehouse Film Contest was founded and run by two princes of alternative comedy, Connor O’Toole and Simon Mulholland. On the first Saturday of each month (venue permitting) a motley crew of comedy filmmakers gather to show their videos at 24 frames a second.
From humble beginnings (in a firehouse, obvs) they’ve gone on to be the birthplace of viral videos, production companies and an RTE webseries.
- A Vegetarian Restaurant – Cornucopia
If you’re a strict meat-only meal eater you might not have heard of this place, but for those people who live on a diet minus all the fleshy bits this eatery can become a second home. But even those people familiar with the restaurant might not know they’ve hosted comedy shows (alongside some stellar dairy-free strawberry cheesecake).
Keep an eye out on the different theatre Fringe festivals that happen over the year, you could see comedian Tomie James performing his show about committing to an organic diet or Conor O’Toole (yes, from The Firehouse Film Contest!) telling jokes based on the concept of Manhood. Laughter, definitely. Learning? Sure, why not. That cheesecake does sound great after all…
And just in case you’re living on another planet The Project Arts Centre – the ‘ avant guard’ capital of Dublin theatre is hosting a brand new radio comedy festival Comedy Showhouse from Jan 31st to Feb 7th with a host of star acts inc SEAN HUGHES, ANDREW MAXWELL, DEIRDRE O’KANE, THE NUALAS, FRED COOKE, GEAROID FARRELLY, FOIL ARMS & HOG and more. More information here
Know of any more off the beaten track places you can see comedy? Let us know here!