The Ten Best Places to Find Live Comedy in Melbourne All Year Round

Head to these Melbourne pubs, fringe theatres and dedicated comedy clubs just about any day of the week for a night full of deep belly laughs.
Andrew Zuccala
February 29, 2024

The Ten Best Places to Find Live Comedy in Melbourne All Year Round

Head to these Melbourne pubs, fringe theatres and dedicated comedy clubs just about any day of the week for a night full of deep belly laughs.

When you're after some live comedy in Melbourne, you don't have to wait for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival to roll around. There are pubs and comedy clubs all over the city that host local and international acts all year long. Some of them give newbies the opportunity to try and make strangers laugh for the very first time, while others prefer showcase more experienced performers who are either putting on a proper show or just warming up for something bigger.

At these Melbourne comedy spots, you'll likely be a part of some awkward silences and come across a few ill-advised amateur hopefuls who should maybe call it quits, but that's a part of the whole experience. Great comedy takes some time to finesse, and watching comedians workshop shows can be great fun — especially when you're with a few mates and you've got a beer in hand.

But to help you find the best Melbourne comedy, we've rounded up the organisers that gather together some of the funniest people around. Read on to find where you'll get your next full belly laugh here.

  • 10
    Coopers Inn - Melbourne Comedy Club

    The Coopers Inn, a heritage-listed CBD pub that’s been serving punters since the 1850s, has only been hosting comedy nights for six years, but it’s already earned the reputation as a bit of an institution. Every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm, the pub ushers punters into the back room for a mixed bag of stand-up.

    Past acts have included Dave Thornton, Anne Edmonds, Celia Pacquola and everyone’s favourite quiz show host, Tom Gleeson. But you never know who you’ll get as the lineup is kept a secret. Roll the dice at these regular Melbourne comedy shows.

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  • 9
    The Butterfly Club in Melbourne - comedy, cabaret, live music, and theatre

    Melbourne’s Butterfly Club has entertained the public since way back in 1999. At one point, it was Melbourne’s only full-time cabaret venue, with cabarets still regularly performed today. The venue itself is found hidden down a laneway in the CBD and consists of a bunch of small rooms connected to each other like a maze.

    You’ll find just about any kind of fun fringe performance taking place within these rooms, from one-person shows and sketch performances to musical acts and comedy sets. And while there isn’t a set date for comedy shows, there’s usually one running every Saturday night. And when the Melbourne International Comedy Festival or Melbourne Fringe Festival rolls around, there’s back to back gigs every night.

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  • 8

    The Exhibition Street site, formerly home to sticky-floored comedy haunt The European Bier Café, was transformed into a modern hospo space back in 2023. It got a $4 million makeover that thankfully didn’t clean out its comedy offerings.

    In fact, the stand-up basement got its own little reno, giving it a New York-style underground comedy club vibe. Run by Basement Comedy Club, the site regularly hosts world-class acts and brings in big names for long-running residencies.

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  • 7
    Speakeasy Theatre - comedy club in Melbourne

    If you want to release your inner wild child, head to Speakeasy Theatre on Flinders Street. The diverse entertainment lineups under the spotlight from Thursday through Sunday can feature burlesque artists, comics, musicians and beyond.

    All this fun is housed inside a historic building with maritime origins just back from the banks of the Yarra. There are limited-time performances and one-off fundraisers as well as regular shows like Comedy Untamed — the high-energy night dedicated to laughs and improv, with a weekly-changing roster of comedians.

    Image: The Vaudeville Revue.

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  • 6
    Chapel off Chapel - home ot some of the best comedy in Melbourne

    Located in a historic blue-stone chapel, Prahran’s Chapel Off Chapel has long been an institution for emerging Melbourne creatives. The venue is famous for hosting all kinds of stuff, from dance performances, live music and cabaret to plays and comedy gigs.

    When it comes to stand-up comedy, there isn’t one particular night to visit. Individual comedians and groups of funny folks will regularly run one-off shows or series, some of which are filmed and streamed online. Check the venue’s What’s On page to see what’s coming up — with heaps of comedy showing running before and during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

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  • 5

    Hawthorn’s Lido Cinema is best known for screening feature films up on its rooftop but the team also runs one of Melbourne’s best comedy nights every Tuesday. There are usually at least four acts each Tuesday night, so if one comedian isn’t your vibe there’s no need to worry —  there’s a good chance the next one will be.

    And while they post the lineup ahead of time, the odd celebrity comedian will come up unannounced to try some new material. Past big names include Hannah Gadsby, Celia Pacquola, Dave Thornton and Dave O’Neil.

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  • 4
    St Kilda's Local Taphouse - one of the best Melbourne comedy clubs

    The Local Taphouse is a local institution — one of Melbourne’s best pubs, home to one of the city’s best rooftops and hosts comedy every Monday night. The club curates a selection of about six different comedians for the night of laughs, including a few up-and-comers alongside seasoned veterans. Surprise celebrity guests also stop by on the odd occasion.

    And when the Melbourne International Comedy Festival hits town, The local Taphouse tends to host more regular shows with even bigger names.

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  • 3
    The Catfish - home to some of the best comedy in Melbourne.

    Gertrude Street’s The Catfish is a brilliant sticky-floored boozer in its own right, great for those wanting big Saturday nights of drinking and dancing as well as hangover cures the day after (its Bloody Mary is somewhat legendary).

    But come Tuesday night it’s all about live comedy. The crew gathers a bunch of comics together each week and lures even more locals in with a $5 pot and $9 pint deals. It’s a simple but effective combo. Follow it up with a late-night cheesesteak sanga at the bar.

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  • 2
    The best comedy clubs melbourne - Rochester Hotel

    In the heart of Fitzroy, The Rochester Hotel (better known as the Rochey) is a favourite among locals, and for good reason. On top of the roaring fire and welcoming atmosphere, the place serves up delicious and classic pub grub with Aussie wines, craft beer and tasty cocktails, and is home to some of the best comedy in Melbourne on Thursday nights.

    Instead of a dank room out back, the team lets the comedians take over the beer garden (when weather permits). Unless they have a big name performing, shows are free, plus there’s always food and drink deals running up until the show starts at 8pm. Get in early for cheap steak and pints before settling in for a night of laughs.

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  • 1
    Club Voltaire - home to some of the best comedy in Melbourne - comedy club melbourne.

    Located down a small laneway in North Melbourne (right behind the Comic’s Lounge) lurks one of Melbourne’s most interesting venues. This 50-seat theatre hosts everything from live theatre, and comedy to vaudeville, drag shows and magic acts. They’ve got it all. But Friday nights are a strictly live comedy affair.

    While many fans head to the massive Comic’s Lounge around the corner, we prefer this spot because it’s where you get more intimate gigs that are less mainstream. You’ll also find a more diverse range of comedians taking to the stage here (meaning the whole lineup won’t be white dudes).

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Top image: The Local Taphouse in St Kilda

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