From standup to improv, fall’s got comedy covered | Fall Arts Preview | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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From standup to improv, fall’s got comedy covered 

Highlights include Arcade’s big move, D.L. Hughley, and John Cleese

Ian Abramson, Sept. 30 at Club Cafe
  • Ian Abramson, Sept. 30 at Club Cafe

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This fall, the big news in local comedy is that Arcade Comedy Theater is moving to roomier new digs right up the street from its original location Downtown, on Liberty Avenue. Shut down during the transition, Arcade re-opens with a big weekend Sept. 29-30, with shows by improv troupes including Player One and Change Machine, and standup by Norlex Belma, Sean Collier and more. Into autumn, Arcade resumes its mix of local and touring standup, sketch and improv comedy, with in-house favorites like Dinner With the Nolens (Oct. 7, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2) and Knights of the Arcade (Oct. 14). Special events include a return visit from original Kids in the Hall member Kevin McDonald (Nov. 18 and 19).

Arcade Comedy Theater grand opening, Sept. 29 and 30 - PHOTO COURTESY OF LOUIS STEIN
  • Photo courtesy of Louis Stein
  • Arcade Comedy Theater grand opening, Sept. 29 and 30

Pittsburgh’s still-growing comedy scene also includes at least two other independent, all-comedy venues. Steel City Improv Theater, in Shadyside, offers multiple weekly shows, mostly improv (like Swipe Right, which does improv based on Tinder profiles), but also including Young Guns Stand Up showcases. Over in Lawrenceville, Unplanned Comedy Warehouse offers weekly shows by its Unplanned Comedy Players and, for six weeks starting on Nov. 11, hosts the Pittsburgh premiere of Point Break Live, the touring, audience-participation live spoof of the Keanu Reeves action film.

Point Break Live, Nov. 11 at Unplanned Comedy - PHOTO COURTESY OF ALEX SYPHERS
  • Photo courtesy of Alex Syphers
  • Point Break Live, Nov. 11 at Unplanned Comedy

Other indie venues include Club Café, whose fall programming lists nationally touring standup comics Sean Patton (Sept. 25), Ian Abramson (Sept. 30) and Wyatt Cenac (Nov. 3). 

At Pittsburgh’s biggest comedy club, the Improv, guests include such nationally known standup talents as Joey Diaz (Sept. 28-30), Bob Golub (Oct. 19), D.L. Hughley (Nov. 10-12) and — in his first-ever Pittsburgh shows — a special appearance by French-American comic Gad Elmaleh (Oct. 12-14).

D.L. Hughley, Nov. 10-12 at the Improv - PHOTO COURTESY OF SHANNON MCCOLLUM
  • Photo courtesy of Shannon McCollum
  • D.L. Hughley, Nov. 10-12 at the Improv

Yet for a certain breed of fan, the season’s highlight might just come Sept. 29, with a Heinz Hall screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail — followed by an evening with Python’s John Cleese himself.


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