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).
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.
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).
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.