A year and a half ago, I co-founded Block Party, a comedy open mic at The New Movement Theater. At the time, it was one of two Thursday night shows in town — up against the esteemed Velveeta Room, which draws 30+ local stand-ups each week — but one of only a few weekly open mics.
Since then, Austin comedy’s gone through some big changes (for one, Block Party’s now helmed by the hilarious James Patrick Robinson and Rob Gagnon). Scores of stand-ups from across the country have moved to town, seeking stage time and gearing up for the annual Funniest Person in Austin contest (held in April at Cap. City Comedy). Open mics that used to allow night-of sign ups are increasingly turning to online submissions to accommodate the large number of performers vying for their three-to-five minutes.
It’s no surprise that, over the past few months, more open mics have popped up around town — and they’re quickly attracting regular performers and devoted fans alike. Here are a few new nights you might want to check out:
Monday Night at ColdTowne
When ColdTowne expanded their programming to seven nights a week last summer, they added a second open mic on Mondays due to the crazy success of their longstanding Friday show, Live at ColdTowne. Where Live is curated, spotlighting ten locals each week, the Monday night mic is a free-for-all, with sign-up opening at
The Java Lounge
Every other Wednesday (March 14, March 28 and so on), the Austin Java on 12th and Lamar hosts an anything-goes show in their huge side room, the Java Lounge. Hosted by stand-up (and CultureMap contributor) Duncan Carson, the show begins at 8:30, with sign ups starting at 8 on the dot (get there early, it tends to fill up fast).
Wide Open Mic
Every Wednesday at 10 p.m. at the Cedar Door, right downtown on Brazos and 2nd, the Wide Open Mic showcases four-minute sets from local stand-ups; you’ll have to sign up in advance via email, so don’t just show up expecting to go up.
The Legendary White Swan
Comic Chad Warren hosts this Sunday night show, offering four-minute sets starting at 10 p.m. Held at East Side dive / Austin staple the White Swan, there’s also a jukebox and billiards, making it a place you won’t mind hanging out at (a refreshing change from coffee shop shows).
Innuendo Comedy Open Mic
Held every Saturday from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. at South Austin wine bar / boutique / event space Aviary, Innuendo Comedy is one of the newest and fastest-growing open mics in town. Hosted by Chris Magyar, the show’s been earning accolades for its unique location and fun vibe.
For details on these and other open mics, stand up shows and touring acts, check LastGasComedy.com.