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See tomorrow’s stars tonight at open mic stand-up comedy shows in Nashville

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Every comedian you’ve ever heard of - Louis CK, Sarah Silverman, Daniel Tosh - ALL of them got their start at an open mic somewhere. They went to some bar or a restaurant with a microphone set up in the corner of the room and put their name on a sign-up sheet. They waited for their turn and got up on stage and for the first time ever, told original jokes that they wrote to a room full of strangers. Some of them got laughs, some jokes fell flat. They learned from the experience, made some changes and went to the next open mic to try again.

There is no shortcut in comedy. There are no “one hit wonders” or overnight successes. It takes years to get great and all of your jokes have to be consistently funny before people really start paying attention. Even then there’s no rest. Once they’ve heard your jokes and remember them, it’s time to write more to replace the old act.

This process happens just about every night in cities all across the world. Open mic comics work on the jokes they wrote that week. Traveling, full time comics drop in and try out that new thing they thought of. Some random guy sits watching the show with a page of jokes folded up in his pocket, trying to get the nerve to sign up for the first time. Comedy fans fill the seats watching live comedy in it's rawest, most unfiltered, most unadulterated form.

Imagine being in the room when a young David Letterman went on stage for the first time. Or being a part of the legendary Boston comedy scene when Steven Wright was completely unknown to anybody who wasn’t there, watching him develop for years. The super famous incredible “breakout” comics of 10-15 years from now are trying standup comedy for the first time ever this week and you could be there to see them.

Nashville’s local comedy scene has had regularly scheduled open mic nights for decades. The current crop of new comics are energetic, excited and pro-actively putting new shows together all around town. Sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re not, but in general they’re a lot of fun. Here’s a list of the current recurring shows where you can show up and go up:


Corporate Juggernaut presents OPEN HOUSE at The Mercy Lounge

when: Most Mondays
sign up: 8 pm
show: 8:30 pm
Hosted by: Gary Fletcher
cover charge: none
smoking: on the deck outside
food: occasional vendor on the deck
drinks: full bar

Open House is advertised as happening “Most Mondays” in the pool room of the Mercy Lounge because occasionally Corporate Juggernaut books a famous comedian to do a show Monday night in the High Watt instead of the mic. In general, you can expect to see local regulars and a few traveling comics doing four minutes each. A timer counts down for each comic on a television screen and flashes red when they’ve gone over their time.

Mercy Lounge
1 Cannery Row, Nashville, TN 37203


Corporate Juggernaut presents ULTIMATE COMEDY Open Mic at The East Room

when: Every Tuesday
sign up: 8 pm
show: 8:30 pm
Hosted by: Brad Edwards
cover charge: none
smoking: on the deck outside
food: Pizza Dogs by Pizza Buds
drinks: beer

Ultimate Comedy is a loose, fun show where host Brad Edwards is joined on stage by house band "The Grey Grays" featuring Sean Parrot on guitar/vocals and Gary Fletcher on drums/vocals, playing intro music for comics, randomly interacting with the performers and playing them off if they go too long. Each comic gets four to five minutes.

The East Room
2412 Gallatin Ave., Nashville, TN 37206

Spanky’s Open Mic at Spanky’s Sportsbar & Grill

when: Every Tuesday
sign up: 8 pm
show: 8:30 pm
Hosted by: rotating hosts
cover charge: none
smoking: yes
food: yes
drinks: full bar

Located behind the WalMart at the intersection of Nolensville and Harding Place, Spanky’s Sportsbar has a blue collar atmosphere. Smoking indoors is permitted. Full bar available. Comics get five minutes each. Weekly winners receive a can of delicious Fresca plus a ten minute set at next week's show.

Spanky's Sportsbar & Grill
330 Welch Road, Nashville, TN 37211


DIVE LAUGHING open mic at Springwater Supper Club

when: 1st Wed. every month
sign up: 9 pm
show: 9:30 pm
Hosted by: Sean Parrott
cover charge: none
smoking: yes
food: no
drinks: beer

There’s always an element of danger with comedy shows at Springwater. Several things can be rough: the crowds, the language, and finding a seat in the packed house. You never know what’s going to happen, but you can bet it’ll be funny and exciting.

Springwater Supper Club & Lounge
115 27th Ave N.
Nashville, TN 37203

KAMiKAZE KiTTEN comedy show w/ Chad Riden and friends at Dino’s Bar

when: 2nd Wed. every month
sign up: 8 pm
show: 8:30 pm
Hosted by: Chad Riden
cover charge: none
smoking: yes
food: yes
drinks: beer

A stand-up comedy showcase featuring various comedians traveling around the country and local favorites. Comics are booked in advance but there are always several shorter “bucket” spots available for anybody in the audience. The show is always loose, weird and pretty hilarious. Bucket spots are five minutes each.

Dino's Bar
411 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206


The HOPEFULLY FUNNY OPEN MIC at Cult Fiction Underground

when: Every Thursday
sign up: 6:30 pm
show: 7 pm
Hosted by: Josh Inocalla
cover charge: none
smoking: no
food: popcorn
drinks: beer

Cult Fiction Underground is beneath Logue's Black Raven Emporium on the corner of Gallatin and Trinity in East Nashville. Parking and the entrance are located behind the building. Most beers (even the good ones like Guinness, Stella, etc.) are only $4. The lounge / bar area is one of the coolest, most comfortable places with the most interesting decoration you’ll find anywhere, but the real fun is in the intimate show room with it’s theater style seating. Comics get 4-5 minutes each.

Cult Fiction Underground
2915 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN 37216

The Laugh Cycle: An Evening of Open Mic Comedy at the Family Wash

when: 2nd Thurs. every month
sign up: 8:30 pm
show: 9 pm
Hosted by: Daniel Swinney
cover charge: none
smoking: no
food: yes
drinks: full bar

The Laugh Cycle is a fun monthly open mic at The Family Wash in East Nashville. Comics get five minutes each. For table seating, please see the hostess first. Bar seating is open to first come, first seated.

The Family Wash
2038 Greenwood Ave, Nashville, TN 37206

Go check out some of these shows. Pick out your favorite up and coming local comics. Tell them what you thought about their sets. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter and share their videos with your friends. Buy them a beer! Every famous comedian you've seen on tv started off the exact same way and they probably remember the first time they had a fan. Support your local comedy scene and you're supporting tomorrow's comedy superstars when they need your support the most.


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