Comedy shows and clubs are generally more casual environments, so you don’t need to go too formal with your outfit. Jeans and a nice top or a dressy blouse and pants would be appropriate choices.
What to wear to a comedy club show, then, is as crucial as what you drink (usually a craft beer or something with tonic as opposed to a martini or an opulently composed cocktail) and what you say (and don’t say: no heckling, no talking on phone, no texting). With that thought, what to wear to a comedy show is dependent upon your actions. Plan on being a big drunk goofball eating chips and guacamole or mozzarella sticks with unusually red and fake-me-out dipping sauce? Better wear something sturdy, durable and washable. Plan on being a loudmouth critic on the Left or on the Right who yells at the stage every time that the main act jokes about something – remember, these are jokes – that you don’t agree with? Don’t wear pricey cotton linen or something silken or fine that can’t be rumpled or creased, because you are going to get your ass handed to you by the bouncers when they manhandle (or person handle) you and subsequently toss you out of the same comedy club. Maybe bring knee and elbow pads too so to cushion the blow to the pavement.
What to wear to a comedy show is as thoroughly planned out as who it is you are going to see at a club or a theater. No one just runs willy nilly to go see a Mike Epps, a Samantha Bee or a Jim Gaffigan. There are pricey tickets to negotiate and baby sitters to snag in time for the show (save for Gaffigan who is altogether family friendly, so bring the kids). No one just stops in and decides to see a Michele Wolf, a Dave Chappelle or a Eugene Mirman – their brands of epigrammatic comedy are too avant-garde for the beer swilling, broad thought masses. There is a mindset that one must have or put themselves into in which to witness and willingly take part in stand-up or sketch comedy that is simply more cerebral. Like Russell Brand. You might as well wear a smoking jacket and a monocle to go see Brand, or even Bill Maher (don’t, however wear any Catholic or Christian symbols to a Bill Maher show or the heretic will tear you down). And if you are planning on trying to see a Kevin Hart, a Bill Burr or a Sebastian Maniscalco – they are hockey arena acts. You can’t afford those Ticketmaster price hikes. Go see Carrot Top. He’s cheaper.
Ultimately, what to wear to a comedy show – stand-up, improv and sketch – becomes as important as the comic that you are planning on seeing.
A great example as to what to wear to a comedy show actually starts with the hockey arena comics such as Hart, Burr and Maniscalco. The stand-up comedy arena show requires that its attendees either wear previous tour t-shirts and hoodies just like with those shows from classic rock entities. You go and see Roger Waters or Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2023, you’re wearing your faded Pink Floyd t-shirt from The Wall and the Californification hoodie.
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If you are heading out to a dude comic show – that would be the Right-sided likes of Shane Gillis, Adam Carolla or the Left’s Alonzo Bodden – what to wear to comedy show depends how much stone wash stuff that you have in your closet, and-or what is left of your flannel collection after the days of Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains shows. And a leather jacket that hasn’t broken in or gotten any creases. If you are on a date, or a couple seeing Chelsea Handler or Wanda Sykes or someone woke, what to wear to a comedy show always becomes dependent upon what your other half is wearing. Woke comedy is always co-dependent. Phone first and dress accordingly.
WHAT TO WEAR TO A COMEDY SHOW OR CLUB
When I accept an invitation to an event like this, the next thought that pops into my head is…what do I wear?
I mostly feel this way because comedy shows are not on my regular outfit rotation. That change, while fun, brings some anxiety because I like to dress appropriately for every occasion, so I feel like I fit in.
Here’s my best advice to look good while feeling comfortable so you can relax and enjoy yourself.
BEST TIPS FOR ATTENDING A COMEDY SHOW
#1. FOLLOW THE DRESS CODE
Since many comedy shows are nightclub-type venues, you can expect some of the same dress codes to be in place.
I recommend checking the comedy club ahead of time, but here are some of the clothes commonly prohibited at shows and clubs. It’s best to avoid ripped jeans, sweatpants, flip-flops, gym shorts, and sports hoodies.
If there isn’t a dress code, you’ll have more flexibility in your choice of attire.
#2. DRESSY CASUAL
Comedy shows and clubs are generally more casual environments, so you don’t need to go too formal with your outfit. Jeans and a nice top or a dressy blouse and pants would be appropriate choices. Be sure to check out the outfit ideas below!
#3. COMFORTABLE SHOES
You’ll likely be sitting for a while during the show, so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes that won’t pinch or rub. Mules, loafers, slides, sneakers, or low-heeled boots are good options.
#4. SMALL/CLEAR BAG
Many comedy shows are similar to concerts in that they don’t allow large bags, and bags are subject to search for security. Opt for a small evening bag or a clear bag to make getting into the show smooth and effortless. I’ve selected a few of my favorite show-approved clear handbags, crossbody bags, and a belly bag to choose from.
COMEDY SHOW OUTFIT IDEAS
Still stuck not knowing what to wear to a comedy night? I’ve taken the guesswork out of it for you by rounding up several complete outfits for a perfect night out.