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Arts and Entertainment

Recession Obsession: Live Comedy

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Laugh Or Be Rabbit Food | Photo by A.C. Thamer via LAist's Featured Photo pool on Flickr

Laugh Or Be Rabbit Food | Photo by A.C. Thamer via LAist's Featured Photo pool on Flickr
The Official Recession has enveloped us for sixteen official months. It’s still no reason we can’t enjoy life. This is LA -- we have a ton of inexpensive options! A Recession Obsession is truly fantastic, regardless of whether times are good or you're unemployed. We last obsessed over the sweet baked goods at the panderia, and El Salvador’s pupusas. Today, we obsess over...

Many LAist Recession Obsessions have been meals which are downright world class, and cost less than an appetizer at a boutique hotel's pool bar. After all, these sour economic times are good for stuffing feelings with food. Not only does LA feature such wallet-friendly grub, but there are many high-quality, low-cost things to do.

Thanks to our city’s large creative community there is a wealth of comedy. You can see big stars taking risks for local audiences or catch lesser-known comedians adventuring through both standup and improv. That’s why Live Comedy is LAist’s latest Recession Obsession.

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LAist’s resident comedy guy, Farley Elliott, is here to help our weak wallets traverse LA’s playgrounds of inexpensive comedy. He’s in the award-winning sketch comedy group The Seven Year Plan, and performs improv at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. If there's funny to be found, you'll probably find Farley there (or in an adjacent alley.) Here are Farley's picks:

Stand Up

  • What’s Up, Tiger Lily? A weekly stand up showcase at Cuba Oro in Los Feliz that’s hosted by Maria Bamford and Melinda Hill. Regulars include Steve Agee, Matt Besser, Sean Conroy... Not to mention the free parking and no cover.
  • Potluck. The Comedy Store says no to a cover charge on Sundays and Mondays from 7 - 9 p.m. Get in, see some stand up, and get the F out before they hit you with the $10 price tag at 9 sharp.
  • Showcases These happen all the time, all over town, and aren’t hard to seek out. Scour Craigslist, or get to know a few comics, and you’ll start getting invites. There's about 300 entertainment showcases a week and they’re almost always free.
Check out a Showcase: LAist fave Jason Nash performs on Monday, April 6th at 8pm at the Improv Lab on Melrose. (The Improv Lab is next to The Improv on Melrose.)


  • Tuesday Night Thunder A weekly showcase of talented teams that may not be getting as much stage time as they want around town, TNT is absolutely free admission, with bodega-priced drinks.
  • Local 132 at iO West Starting at 8p on Wednesday night, Local 132 (2007 iO West Harold Team Champions), you can pay $5 and stay all night for all the shows at iO West. Great drink specials, too, including the already cheap-as-hell PBR.
  • I’d be remiss if I didn't include the best deal in comedy: the free Sunday ASSSCAT show at UCB. The best performers, the best improv, and completely free (donations accepted at the end). An absolute Recession Obsession. (While you’re at it, most every show at the theatre are $8 or less.)

Sketch / Misc.

  • The Seven Year Plan Farley Elliott’s very own sketch comedy team likes to take care of it’s own during the recession, which means a $5 show on the second Saturday of every month at the Westside Eclectic, with FREE drinkables.
  • Crashbar Improv Every Thursday night 8pm, $5 will get you in the door for five improv teams and one stand up comic. Beer and water is available ‘by donation’, which usually = cheap as hell.
  • Comedy Central Stage From stand up to sketch to one person shows to great, interactive theatre, the CC Stage has it all. FOR FREE. It’s a great place for alternative comedians to try out new show ideas, or to just catch the eye of someone in a position to help. BE THAT SOMEONE.

Where do you laugh your ass off on the cheap? Comment below!

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