Comedy clubs and festivals in Toronto
The number of famous comedians who got their start in the business in Toronto’s clubs, stages and media outlets is impressive. It includes John Candy, Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, Russell Peters, Aliya Kanani, Gerry Dee, Catherine O’Hara, Samantha Bee, Eugene Levy, Rick Moranis, Will Arnett, Sabrina Jalees, Scott Thompson and Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall and even Lorne Michaels, the creator of Saturday Night Live. And the list continues to grow with new, up-and-coming comedians.
Prepare to laugh out loud at these comedy clubs and events in Toronto.
Watch talented comic actors create scenes, characters and jokes on the spot at The Second City Toronto, one of the best comedy clubs in Toronto renowned for its improvisational comedy.
This popular theatre opened its first location in Toronto in 1973, with no air conditioning or liquor licence and very little audience. Despite these hurdles, its unique blend of improvisational comedy and sketch performances mixed with insightful social commentary attracted the city’s comedy lovers. Many successful comedians launched their careers at this theatre, including Dan Aykroyd, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short.
Location: 1 York Street, Toronto
A well-known comedy club chain across Canada, Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto has been a fixture in the city’s comedy scene for over 40 years.
You’ll be seated in a cozy and intimate setting, close to the actors and with clear views of the stage. Many of the comedians interact with their audiences, giving you the chance to banter with them and personally connect with the show.
The club is known for providing a platform for emerging comedy talent, so it’s a great place to support up-and-coming comedians. Catch regular comedy shows and competitions such as “Rising Stars of Comedy”, “Yuk Yuk’s Legendary Amateur Night” and “Comedy Melting Pot” for a night of endless laughter.
In addition to its central Toronto location, you’ll find Yuk Yuk’s in Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Burlington and Oshawa.
Location: 224 Richmond Street West, Toronto
Witness the art of live stand-up comedy shows at Absolute Comedy Toronto.
This classic comedy bar lets you sit close to the stage for an electrifying comedy performance. You’ll have numerous shows to choose from, with a wide range of comedic styles ranging from one-liners to observational humour. Many of the comedians are local talent from the club’s close-knit comedy community.
Order food to your table to dine during the show or purchase the “Dinner Show Package”, which includes à la carte or buffet-style foods. Enjoy alcoholic drinks from the full-service bar and snacks like nachos, chicken wings and garlic bread.
You’ll also find Absolute Comedy, one of the top Ottawa comedy clubs, in the nation’s capital city.
Location: 2335 Yonge Street, Toronto
Founded in 2008, Comedy Bar began as the meeting place for the weekly, in-house sketch comedy show “Sunday Night Live.”
Today, comedians of all genres continue to gather here and bask in the bar’s party-like atmosphere, marking this place as Toronto’s official comedy hub. Popular comedians who performed include famous comedians like Tim Meadows, Janeane Garofalo and Marc Maron have performed here.
Because of its popularity, the place soon added a second theatre, the Cabaret Room, for more experimental shows and developing comics. With the Toronto Comedy Bar open seven nights a week and about 363 days a year, over 150 shows are performed every month.
Enjoy a night of memorable, high-quality comedy at the Royal Comedy Theatre.
In 2021, a few comedian friends banded together to open their own entertainment venue, one that would push the boundaries of free speech while still delivering a quality experience.
Popular for parties and corporate events, the Royal Comedy Theatre has a maximum capacity of about 60 people and treats all its guests like royalty with fine customer service. Each night features a different performance. You’ll enjoy open mics on Tuesdays, variety or charity shows on Wednesdays and headliner specials on Fridays and Saturdays.
Location: 1051 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Comedy events and festivals
Every year, the Just For Laughs comedy festival arrives in Toronto, featuring a diverse lineup of established and emerging comedians.
Originally based in Montreal, this internationally renowned festival showcases stand-up, sketch comedy, improv and comedy theatre, presented by famous comedians from Canada and around the world. Discover special events, Q&A sessions and workshops hosted by industry professionals that give insight into the comedy industry and allow comedy lovers to talk to their favourite comedians.
Just For Laughs Toronto takes place over several days, with a variety of unique and experimental shows being held at venues all across Toronto.
Date: September 21-30, 2023
Location: Multiple venues across Toronto
A new addition to the city’s comedy scene, the Toronto Comedy Festival builds on Toronto’s incredible comedy history by featuring a broad selection of comedy talent.
Enjoy shows by Jarrett Campbell, Rob Bebenek, Adrienne Fish, 2SLGBTQIA+ comedians and many more funny and talented performers.
Date: May 26-28, 2023 (check back for 2024 dates)
Location: Multiple venues across Toronto
Founded in 2005, the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival is a highlight of Toronto’s vibrant comedic traditions.
Also known as TOsketchfest, it’s Toronto’s longest-running comedy festival. It was created to honour Toronto’s rich history and excellence in sketch comedy. The main festival is held each March, where you’ll catch over 10 days of live, scripted comedy by talented comedians from all across North America. From solo character work to musical comedy and drag, there’s a wide assortment of performances you won’t want to miss.
During the year, you’ll have the opportunity to see shows by local and celebrity comedians, written by comedic writer-performers. Some of the events, like the Toronto Sketch Comedy Showcases, draw thousands of comedy enthusiasts every year.
Date: March 8-19, 2023 (check back for 2024 dates)
Last updated: October 25, 2023