Nocturnal Nights in the O.C.

When asked about their favorite comedians, UC Irvine students usually respond Kevin Hart, Aziz Ansari, Conan O’Brien and Key and Peele. Many revealed that they have never been to a comedy show and have simply watched the comedians on YouTube. Although the life of a college student is stressful and everyone needs to escape it at some point, the desire to laugh should not be restricted to a video or an Internet search — and thanks to Irvine’s local improv club, it doesn’t have to be.

The Improv Comedy Club is conveniently located in the Irvine Spectrum near the Edwards Movie Theater. The club has the standard bouncer security system, in which a viewer must have a ticket in order to enter. Tickets can be bought online or purchased in the ticket booth at the club itself. Prices usually range from $15 to $25, depending on the comedian or host.

Improv usually hosts a show every night and stays open until after midnight. The club starts to close when all performances are finished and the audience leaves, which is around 2 or 3 a.m.

The club features a modern and casual setting. The interior of the club has the organization similar to a large classroom. The stage sits in the front and the tables are organized in order to have a clear view of the front. Five levels worth of tables and seats fill the club, with each level a few inches higher than the one above it. Pictures of popular comedians and guests decorate the brick walls of the club.

The menu mostly contains meat and burger entrées. The prices are relatively fair. Burgers range from $10 to $15, appetizers cost around $8 to $10, alcoholic beverages range from $8 to $16 and bottles of wine and champagne cost $30 to $50.

“We have a nice variety of food to serve like salads, but our alcohol and burgers are usually the main thing people order,” said a waiter.

Improv can also host events, parties or other social gatherings. If reservations are made in advance, the club can discount the prices of several meals or drinks. The club can also be completely or semi-rented in the event of a party.

Comedians and hosts of the show are relatively well known. While some do not have the prestige of Kevin Hart or Aziz Ansari, many have established themselves as excellent comedians. Christopher Titus, Bill Crawford and Tom Green are a few of the many comedians that have hosted shows at the club.  Improv has even hosted big-name comedians, like Gabriel Iglesias.

When I first entered the comedy club, I was amazed by the size of the dining area. The tables are small and seat four people, but can be easily combined to host a larger group.

The view of the stage was relatively clear and the volume of the performer could be heard from the highest and farthest level from the stage.

Skipping appetizers and immediately ordering burgers, I noticed that the food took a relatively long time to arrive. Numerous factors can be attributed to the slow place but the primary reason is the small amount of servers.  A simple request such as a glass of water may not be delivered until several minutes later but frequent reminders usually alert the servers to your order.

The jokes and stories from the comedians were captivating and quite humorous. Some stories will satirize and poke fun at big or prominent events while others criticize serious jokes and issues in society.

The comedians provide a perspective on issues, events and people in unique ways that the general audience would not expect.

“The funniest are probably the stories the they share,” explained a worker. “Because they’re comedians, it’s really funny to know what goes on in their heads when something happens.”

Several jokes contain vulgar and inappropriate words. Offensive language is usually for emphasis and is not frequently used throughout the show but that should not deter you from visiting; the comedians have such perfect timing and tasteful execution  that people hardly notice.

When it’s a late Saturday night, you can expect an energetic crowd. Laughter reverberates throughout the room and is typically louder in the lower and closest level and echoes to the top. Excitement continues to build as food is being cranked out from the kitchen and the drink orders never seem to end. Once the crowd has had their fill of food and drink, all side conversations end, the lights dim and the comedian commands their full attention, delivering a performance that has the audience howling with laughter and grabbing their aching sides.

Going to a comedy club is not just a good way to get you out of those comfy sweatpants and away from your overheating laptop, but it’s a refreshing change of pace; the roar of laughter from a live audience and steady stream of jokes makes for a night that will help you decompress and forget about your midterms (at least for the time being).  So, when you are feeling sick of school, bring some friends, put aside the textbooks for a night and visit Irvine Improv Comedy Club; after all, laughter is the best medicine.