The first Improv Comedy Club was founded in New York City in 1963. Since then, locations have sprung up throughout the United States. More than 20 locations are currently open – three of which are in Florida. Over the years, the Improv has hosted a veritable who’s who of comedians, including Richard Pryor, Jay Leno, Milton Berle, Drew Carey, Jeff Foxworthy, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld, and many more. The Orlando Improv is located on the upper level of Pointe Orlando on International Drive.
I have to admit that I haven’t spent nearly as much time as I should have at Pointe Orlando. Due to a stroke of good luck, I recently wound up at Orlando Improv twice in just a few weeks. Not only did my coincidental fortune introduce me to a fun new place to catch a laugh and a few drinks, but it gave me the perfect opportunity to check out the rest of Pointe Orlando (albeit briefly). I fully intend to make Pointe Orlando a more regular stop on my entertainment route!
Orlando Improv is a fantastic spot, although it’s a bit enveloped by its surroundings. You could potentially miss it if you weren’t keeping an eye out for it, but it’s near the entrance point from the second level of the parking garage. A ticket window is tucked in the corner, and the entrance is to the side of it. The Improv shares its location with Fat Fish Blue – a New Orleans style eatery. While I have not tried the food here, I will say that I love the atmosphere. It’s open, rustic and fun.
The Improv itself is the perfect place for a date night or simply a kid-free evening out. Admission is 21 and up only. Drinks are reasonably priced, and a full menu of meals and appetizers is available. Unlike many comedy clubs I’ve visited, there is no “order minimum” quietly attached to your ticket purchase, so you won’t be forced to continue spending on-site… but you will want to!
The Improv has a very cozy, intimate setting. A small stage is in the front of the room, with tables bordering it, and levels of tables continue in semi-circle rows through the room. There is not a bad seat in the house, but seating is not assigned. If you wish to be front and center to the action, arrive early as they seat from front to back on a first come, first served basis. Most tables seat four, and if you come as a party of two, you’ll likely be seated with another couple. Likewise, if you are part of a group of eight, expect to be seated next to each other, but at different tables.
Photos are not allowed during most performances at The Improv. When I went for a private luncheon, photos didn’t seem to be a concern, but when I returned to see Pauly Shore – no photos. This was a heartbreaker for me, but obviously not something the venue can be blamed for. In this type of situation, I do realize that it would be a nuisance to have countless cameras clicking off throughout the performance.
The Improv hosts a wide variety of local and national acts. Prices range greatly, depending on the performer. Local shows can often be attended for only $15-$25, while well-known celebrities will often have a price tag of $30-$50 on their performance. Complimentary tickets and discounts are usually not very difficult to find for local/regional acts. Shows are scheduled for most Wednesdays and Thursdays, and all Fridays – Sundays. Fridays and Saturdays typically offer two performances each night.