Watching stand-up on TV doesn’t have the same atmospheric joy as being in-person, with the raw, unedited, in-person version of an act being the most entertaining to both viewers and performers.
Take a trip to one of Belfast’s many comedy hotspots to soak in the local talent and enjoy a variety of shows on offer across the city. Here are some suggestions for you to try.
Lavery’s Comedy Club
Dubbed one of the funniest comedy nights Belfast has on offer, Lavery’s transforms its bar area into an intimate evening filled with funny gags and guaranteed laughs.
Seats aren’t reserved, so head down early to avoid the front row where you’re highly likely to become the star of each comedian’s sharp and edgy show. Running every Wednesday and Thursday, Lavery’s Comedy Club is ticketed only.
For more information, visit wegottickets.com/generalbanter
The Empire Laughs Back
One of Belfast’s most famous comedy clubs that was previously hosted by none other than Patrick Kielty, The Empire Laughs Back is known for providing a stage to the best up-and-coming comedians to try their routines before a crowd.
Held every Tuesday night, top quality acts from across Ireland, the UK and the international comedy circuit appear as well as unknown faces that you are sure to love.
Entry is £12, which includes get a free pint of Harp on entry, which for some will be an even bigger incentive to go and see the show.
For more information, visit empirelaughsback.com
Queen’s Comedy Club
Queen’s Comedy Club has been around since February 1993, making it one of Belfast’s staple comedy groups to visit.
Over the years, it has seen a range of major comedians such as Peter Kay, Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, the late Sean Lock, Sarah Millican, and Ed Byrne all take to the stage.
The club returned in September 2022 following a hiatus and now has a forthcoming list of performers including Laura Lexx, Aaron Butler and Micky Bartlett among many others.
For more information, visit queenscomedybelfast.com
Every week, members from Belfast Improv perform comedy acts across Belfast, holding regular performances at The Pavilion and the Sunflower Bar.
As well as their on-stage appearances, Belfast Improv run classes for both complete beginners in the comedy world as well as individuals who are more experienced comedy improvisers.
The group also gives back to the wider community, providing workshops for schools and businesses to benefit from interactive communication tests, making it safe to say they know their field.
For more information, visit belfastimprov.co.uk
Pug’s Comedy Club
Hosted in the outdoor area of Pug Ugly’s in the Boneyard bar, the club is fronted by funnyman Dave Elliot and plays host to a wealth of new and established standups.
Held on a Thursday night, Pug Ugly’s Comedy Club can be paired with the famous Pug Pizzas for a night of enjoyment for everyone.
In the past the club has done important fundraising gigs for local charities like Aware NI who are there to assist those struggling with depression, making people laugh all for a good cause.
For more information, visit puguglys.com
Hatfield House Comedy Supper Club
The Ormeau Road bar and restaurant recently launched their supper club with Lurgan’s funnyman Mickey Bartlett at the helm of the comedy madness.
As well as enjoying some fresh comedy talent, including Bartlett’s witty interjections, the current deal ticket also includes a cheeky meal and dessert to add to the quality comedy on offer.
For more information, visit facebook.com/TheHatfieldHouse
Limelight Comedy Club
The ever-popular Belfast venue regularly hosts local acts’ own solo standup shows like Holywood’s very own Shane Todd, who has gained immense fame since going viral online.
Pre-pandemic the club ran a comedy club every Thursday with a mix of local comedians and acts from elsewhere in the UK like Paul Tonkinson, with post-pandemic things at the Limelight starting to fully return to how they were.
For more information, visit chortle.co.uk/belfast_the_limelight
This is billed as Northern Ireland’s only alternative comedy night, based in LOFT Studios in Belfast’s North Street.
Voicebox has made a name for itself as an alternative comedy night within the local Belfast amateur comedy scene and is built on a strong foundation of traditional standup comedy, featuring less mainstream humour and more lesser-used mediums in the genre such as surrealism, sketches, character skits, short films, songs and comedy lectures.
For something inventive and different from any other show in Belfast, Voicebox Comedy is the perfect option to sit and enjoy the wackiest shows.
For more information, visit voiceboxcomedy.com
With a range of improv and stand-up shows available, Accidental Theatre has something for everyone on stage.
The Accidental Comedy Club sees several different comedians take to the spotlight to showcase their best sets, on offer to the audience for a mere £5.
With no set day in which acts ignite laughter on stage every week, the events can be very popular so booking in advance is advised.
For more information, visit accidentaltheatre.co.uk/on-stage
Additional reporting by Maisie Laughton