Best Venue for Live Comedy - 2010
A priest, a rabbi and Jack Nicholson walk into a soulless retail-and-entertainment farm next to the 405 freeway in Irvine, and they stumble into a happening comedy club. "Hey, what's an Improv doing in the middle of this soulless retail-and-entertainment farm next to the 405 freeway in Irvine?" Jack asks."The backstroke," deadpans the rabbi, prompting the priest to do disgusting things with a family from Iowa passing by before announcing, "The Aristocrats!" Okay, we're forgetting part of the joke—something that rarely happens at the Irvine Improv because it draws top-shelf stand-ups and talented up-and-comers. The first Improvisation was founded by Broadway producer Budd Friedman in New York in 1963, and the likes of Richard Pryor, Billy Crystal and Lily Tomlin passed through. The Improv moved west to Los Angeles in 1975, and several more Improvs opened around the country, including Irvine, during the 1980s comedy boom. Today, Irvine Improv is known for stiff drinks, a generally college-age crowd, and bookings of many comics you see on TV or film. It's enough to make you forget the darkened club where your gut is busting is in a soulless retail-and-entertainment farm next to the 405 freeway in Irvine.