Laugh Out Loud At Chennai's Weekly Stand Up Comedy Scenes & Open Mic Nights

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Yes, there is a stand-up comedy scene in Chennai. I’ve been doing comedy for close to three years now, which means the comedy scene has been around for longer than that. There are open mics happening through the week, and ticketed shows on weekends. So, if you’re still waiting to be introduced to the stand-up scene in the city, here’s a quick list of places you can check out in Chennai. There are atleast four open mics that happen every week and they are at the heart of any comedy circuit. The number of open mics a week are an indicator of how active the scene is. The open mic isn’t just for experienced comedians to perform, it’s also where people try stand-up for the first time. The best thing about the open mics in Chennai — the venues don’t serve alcohol, and sober laughs are the best way to start. 

Mondays: Mad Bean Café and Roastery, Santhome - Chennai Comedy

Mad Bean is open from 10 am to 10 pm, and usually, hosts office goers in the area who are looking for a quick chill-pill after hours. The café shares the compound with a veterinary clinic {Heart2Heart Veterinary Hospital} and is a little hard to spot. The open mic happens here every Monday between 8 and 9 pm. The menu has coffees from eight different countries, along with the usual hot and cold kinds. They also serve wraps and rolls, pizzas, noodle bowls, and Thai curries. For the fitness freaks who count calories, there are a few salads you can try out.

Tuesdays: Urban Desi House, Thoraipakkam - Chennai Comedy

Urban Desi House powered by the Indian Youth Café is right off Old Mahabalipuram Road, lovingly known as the IT Corridor of Chennai. This is a relatively new venue for open mics, and attracts techies from the nearest tech park. There’s a young vibe about this place, and they encourage all sorts of artistic activities. So, if you’re a singer, photographer, painter, comedian, or any kind of artist, you can get in touch with them to exhibit your talent. The menu is economically priced, and if you like listening to some dank Punjabi tunes while waiting for your food, this is the place to be. The open mic happens on the first floor, and the boys and girls from the hostels next door go up to their terrace to peep in on the show. 

Wednesdays: Café Central, T.Nagar - Tanglish Comedy

Café Central is home to Tanglish Comedy’s open mic. Tanglish Comedy is the newest group in the stand-up circuit in Chennai, and they’ve recently completed a year doing shows and open mics in the city. Café Central has a cozy ground floor {where the open mic happens} and a spacious first floor. Their cuisine is a mix of burgers, wings, fries, waffles, shakes, chai-coffee, and Indian meals. If you’re someone who calculates GST before ordering your food, they’ve also got Maggi under the section on the menu called Mummy Ka Magical Maggie. In the same section, they have an item named Sausage Party. I leave that to your imagination.

Thursdays: Ashvita Bistro, Alwarpet - Evam Standup Tamasha

The first regular open mics in Chennai started in Ashvita Bistro back in 2014, run by BBC {Burma Bazaar Conspiracy}. Though BBC isn’t active anymore, the open mic is back at Ashvita after a two year hiatus, thanks to Evam Standup Tamasha. Since August 2016, the open mic has been happening here every Thursday. This is the only open mic that requires people to register in advance. They have an entry fee of 100 bucks for the audience, but that’s fully redeemable when you order food and drinks. Ashvita Bistro serves pastas, Thai curry, burgers, fries, and fried starters. They’ve also got pizzas, and their monster shakes can feed an army. 


Every 1st Saturday: Wandering Artist, RA Puram - Chennai Comedy

Wandering Artist offers trainings, performances, a creative co-working space, and a café. They also have a little store where you can buy art, and the ground floor area serves as a café. The performances happen in the second floor at the end of a winding staircase. The comedy show curated by Chennai Comedy is aptly named Stairway to Laughter. The capacity of the performance area is around 60-70 people, and is the closest thing to a comedy club experience in Chennai. 

Every 3rd Saturday: Backyard, Adyar - Chennai Comedy

Backyard was launched in February 2017. It is a co-working space, and probably Chennai’s first dedicated non-café for those who want to get work done or just chill. They are vehemently against being called a café and got their listing removed from Zomato. Even their WiFi password is #notacafe.

Everyone who comes into Backyard, knows exactly what the place is all about. Customers are charged by the hour. In return, they get free and unlimited WiFi, tea, and coffee, and two doggies to play with. There is a food menu, and it comprises dishes made by home chefs. Nithya and Akshaya {who run the place} admittedly love puns. Backyard also hosts all-inclusive open mics, storytelling sessions, workshops, and music nights. They have a first floor space that is used for performances. 

Every 4th Saturday: The English Tearoom, Kasturi Ranga Road - Chennai Comedy

The English Tea Room is as English as it sounds. The eatery is also film director Gautam Vasudev Menon’s favourite hangout spot. You can see him sitting in a corner couch table, staring into his MacBook, or immersed in discussion {sometimes with himself}. The English Tearoom has a gallery space set within the café, which has recently been rebranded as Peach Tree Hall. The Peach Tree Hall serves as a performance space as well as a hall that can be rented for baby showers, meetings, kitty/tea parties, and the likes. Soon after the first comedy show, the management decided to break the wall that runs down the middle of the gallery to make way for more chairs. Comedy really can break walls, people!

Every Sunday: Bay 146, Savera Hotel, Mylapore - Evam Standup Tamasha

Bay 146 is the bae of the comedy circuit in Chennai. It has been the longest standing show venue, and is the only pub in Chennai that has a “Mainstage” set up as part of the decor. The first shows here were produced by BBC, then by Chennai Comedy until June 2016. Since then, Evam Standup Tamasha has been producing shows here every Sunday. Bay 146 has a steady slew of events happening every week. They have music gigs on Fridays, DJ nights on Saturdays, and Sunday brunches.