Live comedy is once again enjoying a boom period, even if some of the bigger clubs and bloated chains around the country are going bust. Thanks to the Internet's generous enabling of DIY promotion, production, talent booking and ticketing, who needs a humorless industry gatekeeper when one can simply throw their own show anywhere, anytime?
True, actually it helps to be, you know, funny. You'll also have to get other funny folks to take you seriously. And find a decent sound system and venue where the talent won't be heckled by drunks or forced to compete with televised sporting events blazing overhead. OK, so it's nowhere as easy as it looks. But those running the shows below are doing (most) everything right at a time when comedy options have never been more wide open ... or so overwhelming.10. The Josh and Josh Show, Bar Lubitsch
Joshes Haness and Weinstein's Thursday get-together is one of the more reliably relaxed offerings on the scene. Doors to the retro-red, speakeasy-vibed back room open at 8, the free show kicks off around 8:30 and includes an informal meet-and-greet and no-pressure singles mixer afterwards...as well as the odd Jon Hamm sighting. Little surprise, then, that Conan writer Andrés du Bouchet chose the same locale to record his 2001 debut, Naked Trampoline Hamlet; rumor has it Brody Stevens may be doing the same in the near future. 7702 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd., (323) 654-1234, www.twitter.com/joshandjoshshow.9. Tomorrow! With Ron Lynch, Steve Allen Theater
Saturdays, midnight, $8 and titular madman Ron Lynch just might be the only constant variables of this eclectic variety free-for-all whose recent themes have ranged from the circus, acts consisting of duos, sets completed in five minutes or less and "Men Talk About Menstuff." In other words, the hook is that there is no hook ... or every hook in the book, depending on perspective. The Willy Wonka-esque atmosphere is simultaneously bewildering and brilliant, and, as the name implies, adamantly forward-thinking. 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd., (323) 666-4268, www.facebook.com/tomorrowshow.8. This Is Not Happening, Hollywood Improv
The Moth has long been a juggernaut frontrunner of the storytelling form, but smaller, scrappier, comedy-minded versions recently seem to be multiplying like proverbial rabbits, and TINH is one of the best of this new breed. Hosted by Ari Shaffir, produced by Eric Abrams and always revolving around a specific theme, the show is a mostly monthly ("the third Tuesday of the month or something ... usually Tuesdays, sometimes Wednesdays," offers Abrams) chance for performers to flex their narrative muscles in ways traditional stand-up doesn't always favor. As an added bonus, one of artist Kevin Christy's posters is autographed by the comics and given away at each show. 8162 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd., (323) 456-0720, www.hollywood.improv.com.