Stage and Cinema film and theatre reviews

The ACME Comedy Theater in Los Angeles

by John Topping

published March 8, 2010


picture - Acme Comedy TheaterIf there is such a thing as a Dream Come True for venues to perform comedy, then the ACME Comedy Theater is it (named, one supposes, after the company from which Wile E. Coyote made his many purchases).  Comedy performance can take too many forms to always be pegged into a nightclub setting, and stand-up comedy itself is often going in theatrical directions these days with stand-up storytelling, such as Mike Birbiglia's Sleepwalk With Me.  How often I've pined, while watching stand-up, to be in a theater instead of a club; then put me in a theater and I might gripe that it's too big for what should be a more intimate performance space.  The 99-seat ACME Comedy Theater at 135 N. La Brea in Hollywood is the first place I've visited that finds a happy medium.


First of all, the stage is small enough that a stand-up comedian will not get lost on it, and big enough for a sketch comedy or improv group to perform without worrying about falling off the stage.  And, so long as sets or props are minimal and portable, it's even big and comfortable enough for a more ambitious production to set up shop.  What's more, the acoustics are excellent – I wasn't always sure whether I was hearing miked or unmiked voices during the show I saw there, Broad Comedy.


For the audience, it's the best comedy venue I've ever seen.  Comfortable seats!  No being lined up at odd angles or impossibly small tables that you must usually share with strangers; just good old-fashioned theater seats, all facing the proscenium in the same direction, and well-raked so that you don't have to despair if someone taller than you sits in front.  And no two-drink minimum!


Oh, but you really want that alcohol to enhance your laughs?  No problem:  the adjoining Amalfi Ristorante & Bar is perfect for drinking or schmoozing before or after the show.  Even better, you can take your drinks into the theater.  There's no cocktail waitress on duty inside the auditorium – and praise be to Allah for that, because it means no interruptions or distractions while you're trying to watch the show.


Another big plus:  easy street parking; and if you prefer valet parking, that's available, too.


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