Iowa knows how to bring the laughs. From national venues to underground comedy shows, the state of Iowa is stacked with all sorts of comedy clubs and venues to keep you in your seat the whole night through. Whatever type of show you see, in whatever unique venue Iowa has to offer, know that entertainment is close at hand with any of these 10 best comedy spots in Iowa.
One of the first names in comedy clubs in Iowa is the Des Moines Funny Bone located in close proximity to the Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines. Featuring national-touring comedians and locals that are sure to get a laugh, The Des Moines Funny Bone has everything you’d expect from a quality comedy club including a comfortable atmosphere, a full bar and some of the best acts you can see onstage anywhere else in the nation.
Featuring open mics and nationally-known performers, Penguin’s Comedy Club is a premier showcase of comedic talent not only in Iowa, but throughout the country. Penguin’s gets a lot of notoriety for the big acts that show up on their stage, but their biggest key to success is the comfortable atmosphere they deliver alongside the laughs.
Located within the Mississippi Moon Bar at the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque, it’s a safe bet that even if you’re not a gambler, you’ll find some first-class entertainment at the Laughing Moon Comedy Club. Featuring shows and stand up, the Laughing Moon Comedy Club serves up the talent every Wednesday night with two entertainers taking the stage, making a trip out to the Diamond Jo Casino a potentially weekly voyage.
Showcasing shows and variety hours over stand up, The Talent Factory out of Nevada isn’t your typical comedy club, but it is guaranteed good for some laughs. Whether you catch a magic comedy routine or go see the regulars do their thing with their monthly variety show, you can rest assured that this family-friendly venue will be well worth your time spent laughing in your seat.
The Yacht Club is an Iowa City staple venue most commonly known for their subterranean atmosphere and live music, but every Monday and throughout the year, the Yacht Club also hosts a great space for stand-up comedy. Monday night is open mic night, and brings out some of the best and ambitious comedians in the Iowa City neighborhood, and throughout the year you can find special performances by comedians definitely worth seeing, so you can see for yourself why the Yacht Club hosts the perfect space for a comedic night out.
The Last Laugh Comedy Theater focuses on the art of improv more than stand up, and as of recently have moved out of their permanent location in Windsor Heights and now does performances at Inspired Grounds Cafe in Valley Junction. Though the space has changed, the comedy hasn’t reached its final guffaw for the Last Laugh Comedy Theater, and when you see for yourself what improvisational fun is to be had, you too will understand the good this comedy theater does for the community.
Not strictly classified as a comedy club, the reason why Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines is on this list is because they bring some of the biggest touring comedy acts in all the state of Iowa. Between musical performances and community events at this historic theater on Sherman Hill in Des Moines, you can find acts such as Dave Chappelle and John Mulaney, but you have to act quick, because tickets for these events seem to snap up the moment they are available.
Another historic venue not always associated with comedy, the Englert Theater in Iowa City has seen some significant stand-up comedians on their renovated stage. While the Englert really specializes in live concerts and featured shows, if you are looking for a high-quality night out watching someone who can really make you laugh, then look no further than the marquee outside of the high-class Englert Theater.
The Des Moines Social Club on Mulberry Street is a defining establishment of the growing culture found in the capital city. With workshops, parties and classes available, the Des Moines Social Club also operates the Kum & Go Theater which features local and featured talent taking the stage for a whole assortment of creative performances. If you’re looking for comedy, the Des Moines Social Club hosts Underground Comedy Night every month on the Kum & Go Stage, where you are invited to come and share a laugh.
Every college campus requires an outlet for future stand-up stars to shine, and for the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, that outlet is the Octopus College Hill bar and performing space. Featuring open mics and comedy showcases, besides being a great place to hear a joke or two, the fun and friendly atmosphere of Octopus College Hill will have you wanting to stay and order a few more drinks after the comedy show is over.