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Get Your LOL On

Check out the East Bay's funniest spots.


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Shawn and Marlon Wayans, Courtesy of Tommy T’s

Stand-up comedy holds the distinction of being the only art form that aims for a single reaction: to make people “laugh out loud on purpose against their will,” to quote local political wit Will Durst. If it’s been a while since you busted a gut, we thought you’d like to see our list of the funniest spots East of the Caldecott.

Masses Sports Bar and Grill

The show here boasts both local and marginally famous comics such as Shawn Pelofsky of NBC’s Community. The setting is a little divey but in a way you’d expect for a billiards-bar hangout.
Comic we love: Scotch-sipping, cigar-smoking host Greg Asdourian was a Shakespearean actor before converting to stand-up.
LOL meter: Eight, since the experienced host livens up the room.
Raunch factor: Sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll. Obviously.
Food: You go here for the drinks, especially the $4 draft brews, but Masses also serves sliders, fries, and buffalo wings.

Wednesdays at 9 p.m., free; 2721 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 256-7665, masseswc.com.
 

Tower Bar and Grille

Since comedian-producer Pat McCoy’s arrival last fall, this comfortable spot to catch a game has been earning a reputation for comedy, too. The lineup includes headliners with TV credits, such as Dan St. Paul of Comedy Central and A&E.
Comic we love: Emeryville’s Chris Riggins, a regular, shares hilarious musings on fatherhood, race, and recreational drug use.
LOL meter: Seven, a mix of experienced and up-and-coming yuksters.
Raunch factor: Occasional f-bomb and sexual references—nothing most comedy-loving adults can’t handle.
Food: Pasta, burgers, and fried calamari, plus beers on tap and a selection of cocktails.

Mondays, 8:30 or 9 p.m., $5 cover with dinner, $10 without; 1950–B Grant St., Concord, (925) 825-8768, towergrille.com.
 

Anjelah Johnson, by Mark HillFather Nature’s Hideaway

In addition to a lineup of experienced comedians, check out the recurring Girls Comedy Night Out, which features female comics from around the state.
Comic we love: Punchline regular and two-time Late Show With David Letterman guest Larry “Bubbles” Brown often stops by for a set.
LOL meter: Nine, because experienced bookers bring in proven talent.
Raunch factor: It varies, but generally, expect a lot of blue jokes.
Food: Father Nature’s is known for its breakfast and brunch menu, but nighttime offers classic American steaks, salads, and burgers.

Second Tuesday of the month (every Tuesday beginning in April), 8 p.m., $5 cover with dinner, $10 without; 172 E. Prospect Ave., Danville, (925) 837-2206, wildvinehideaway.com.
 

Tommy T’s Comedy Steakhouse

The East Bay’s only dedicated comedy club draws national headliners from George Lopez to Sinbad. Local talent steals the spotlight on Tuesdays for open mic, and staff awards the funniest and most-improved comics of the night.
Comic we love: San Jose native Anjelah Johnson frequents this club. You may know her from her viral YouTube and MADtv characters.
LOL meter: Ten. This is a bona fide comedy club.
Raunch factor: Interchangeably clever and filthy. You never know.
Food: Steaks, of course, plus a full bar and decadent desserts such as mud slides and cheesecake.

Check website for schedule and ticket prices; 5104 Hopyard Rd., Pleasanton, (925) 227-1800, tommyts.com.
 

Karen Rontowski, by Sue CarneyFirehouse Arts Center

Here’s a spot to see smart, clean comedy that’s still patently adult humor, just not the crass kind. Think Bill Cosby or Bob Hope.
Comic we love: On February 13, catch Karen Rontowski, whose bubbly optimistic humor has landed her on Comedy Central, Comics Unleashed, and the Late Show With David Letterman.
LOL factor: Seven, always hilarious, but humor tends toward the clean and intellectual.
Raunch factor: Almost none at all.
Food: Beer, wine, and concession stand snacks.

Second Wednesday of the month, 7:30 p.m. $15 cover; 4444 Railroad Ave., Pleasanton, (925) 931-4850, firehousearts.org.

 

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