By Joe Hedges

When you think of stand-up comedy, you probably picture the bright lights of New York City or the big names in Los Angeles.

What many Louisville residents do not know is that there is a vibrant comedy scene in their very own city, with dozens of up-and-coming comics performing weekly. Louisville has developed a bustling scene for stand-up, not only for headliners performing on the weekends but also for rising comedians from the likes of Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Nashville who are eager to get up at an open mic at one of the city’s three premier comedy clubs.

Many students have been to comedy shows at places such as The Palace or the KFC Yum! Center. What they have yet to discover is a more engaging experience at one of their local clubs, where they can share laughs with their favorite comedians in a more intimate environment.

Longtime Louisville residents are familiar with The Caravan Comedy Club on Baxter Avenue. It has been running since 1987 and has hosted big-name talents such as Mitch Hedberg, Pauly Shore, and Howie Mandel. With all this buzz over the years, they have earned a very loyal open-mic audience every week.

A view of the stage at The Caravan Comedy Club. File Photo // Joe Hedges, The Louisville Cardinal.

Planet of the Tapes is another local favorite for comedians and comedy fans. It has a unique showroom with jokes being told in front of its signature red curtain backdrop. You would be hard-pressed to find something more fun to do on a Monday night. They also have had great weekend shows, featuring acts like Eddie Pepitone and Lemaire Lee from Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast.

A view of the stage at Planet of the Tapes. File Photo // Joe Hedges, The Louisville Cardinal.

Louisville Comedy Club is my personal favorite of the three. What it may lack in name creativity, it makes up for in having great acts week in and week out. It is the newest of the clubs, being established in 2022, but it has already presented headliners like Mark Normand, Maria Bamford, and Matt Rife. Unlike other clubs, it features two weekly open mic nights, with one specifically catered towards new performers.

Did I forget to mention that attending all four of these mics costs a total of $5? Each show is for those 18 years and up.

Listed below are the times and locations of each club’s open mic nights, as well as their websites and open mic sign-up instructions.

  • The Caravan Comedy Club 1250 Bardstown Road

    Open Mic Nights are Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. $5 entry fee per person. There is a 1 item minimum per attendee, with 18% gratuity added to their bill. To sign up, just email [email protected] \

  • Louisville Comedy Club 110 W Main Street

    New Talent Tuesday is every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Open Mic Nights are on Wednesdays at 7:30. Signups are on If you forget to sign up, feel free to show up at showtime to enter your name into the Lucky Bucket, for a chance to perform the same night.

  • Planet of the Tapes 640 Barret Ave

    Open Mic Nights are on Mondays at 8 p.m.To sign up, email [email protected] For a last-minute option to perform, show up before show time to submit your name for a chance to be drawn out of the Lucky Bucket.

Luckily, Louisville’s many bars that welcome comedians and comedy fans every week. These mics are “show up and go up”, meaning there is no online sign-up required. They are also open to budding musicians and poets.

On Tuesdays at 8 p.m., the 21st In Germantown hosts an open mic night for any and everyone. If you aren’t too full of laughter and cheeseburgers from 21st Street, head on to Kaiju after, where they have open mic signups beginning at 9 for their 9:30 p.m. show. Similarly, every Wednesday, High Horse Bar has signups for their 9:30 show.

As midterms slowly fade away, some of us may look for a new means of stress relief. These places provide a perfect place to laugh amongst the academic rigor.