Gilbert Lawand, 44, comic from Atlanta, Georgia, performs at Moonlight Theater Company in Athens, Georgia on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. He is performing two nights in a row.(Photo/Jason Born)

With over 10 different spots around the Athens-Clarke County area to find comedy, getting a laugh in between midterms and club meetings is easy. This semester is jam-packed with world-famous comedians, such as David Perdue, Leo Mohr and Mark Kendall performing at shows around town.

1. Moonlight Theater Company

Many theaters, such as the Moonlight Theater Company on Pulaski Street, are looking to bring organic talent in an original way to the diverse population of Athens. 

“I think coming to a show, no matter what kind of show, you see a diverse crowd,” Chase Brantley, owner and founder of Moonlight Theater Company, said. “From UGA students to older citizens 65-and-up, you can expect them on a typical night.”

The diverse crowd attending these events can see everything from world-famous to brand-new comedians, just getting their start as a University of Georgia student

Moonlight Theater, rated on Yelp as one of Athens’ best comedy clubs, hosts new comedians monthly. Brantley hopes to bring a new, light-hearted type of comedy to Athens, including a new category of comedy, rap and poetry combined. 

Brantley said October and December will feature holiday-themed shows. 

2. Improv Athens

Improv Athens is just one example of student-led comedy organizations at UGA. The troupe performs short and long form improvisation on campus and in downtown Athens, in addition to competing around the United States. They perform weekly at the Miller Learning Center at 7:30 p.m.  

Miles Calderon, a sophomore studying chemistry from Atlanta has participated in comedy clubs in the last two years, including UGA’s Improv Athens. This exposure allows comedians, like Calderon, to experience the stage without the pressure of a large audience.

“The crowds are always fairly forgiving. Like you know they’re not huge,” Calderon said.  “So you can get big laughs.”

3. Decaf Comedy Open Mic 

Hendershot’s “Decaf Comedy Open Mic” is hosted every second and fourth Tuesday, and offers the opportunity for amateur comedians and the-like to share their comedic talents at 8:30 p.m. Not only is this event open to those new to comedy, but also famous Atlantean and Athenian comedians. 

From a student perspective, getting involved in Athens’ comedy scene is relatively easy. The ever-changing crowd makes for a comfortable environment. The difficult part comes with the confidence to get up and get out there, said Jesse Donck-Rains.

Donck-Rains, a sophomore studying public relations from Mansfield, Georgia, has been involved in the comedy scene for the last seven months and has already seen great improvement in the organizational structure of stand-up comedy in Athens. 

“I feel like it has changed for me just because we’re more comfortable in it now. It’s like less of a scary thing and more of a friendly environment,” Donck-Rains said. 


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