As most parents know, comedy is generally a strictly adults-only form of entertainment, but the National Comedy Theatre is different. One of the few comedy troupes that are entirely kid-friendly, any performer or audience member who says something inappropriate has to wear a brown paper bag on their head.
Because that’s right, the audience is involved! This is improv, not stand-up. Instead of a single person and a microphone telling a series of jokes, you’ve got teams of performers who put on hilarious and unscripted skits based on suggestions from the house. The venue is intimate, with space for only 90-some people in old-school theatre seats, and the energy created between stage and audience is crackling.
There’s two performances every Friday and Saturday night, one at 7:30 and one at 9:45. Each show is a competition between two groups of performers, moderated by a referee in the classic striped shirt. The audience gets to vote who’s funnier—the red team or the blue team—but there’s a lot of other involvement before the finale. You and your kids will decide what improv games the troupe will play, shout out ideas for characters and scenarios, and maybe even end up onstage. Sometimes a member of the audience will get called up to be a participant in a sketch or the protagonist in a story.
Concessions are quite reasonable, with popcorn for the whole family and locally-brewed IPAs for Mom and Dad. If you ever want to visit without the kids, try the once-a-month uncensored Midnight Show. And you can even take improv classes!
National Comedy Theatre
1111 S. Longmore
Mesa, AZ 85202