Arcade Comedy Theater delivers lots of laughs for low cost

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Penny Arcade at the Arcade Comedy Theater

Want a laughter filled night out that won’t break the bank or require a two drink minimum?

Look no further than the Arcade Comedy Theater, located in the Cultural District in Downtown Pittsburgh, for affordable comedy shows where you can bring your own beer and wine.

Featuring local and national talent, the Arcade Comedy Theater offers audiences interactive shows in a small, intimate 75-seat venue. All types of comedy are performed on stage including improv, sketch comedy, variety acts and much more. Truly, the theater is one of Pittsburgh’s hidden gems.

The Arcade Comedy Theater features a mix of standard shows that run on the same day of the week like “Dinner with the Nolans,” which takes the stage on the first Saturday of the month. For this show, co-founders of the Arcade Comedy Theater, Kristy and Jethro Nolen, invite special “dinner” guests for a night of improv. Another favorite standard show is “Knights of the Arcade,” where a game of Dungeons and Dragons comes to life on stage, complete with costumes and an epic quest that even non-nerds will love. There’s even a Comedy Royale competition that pits four to six improve comics against each other in a series of games and scenes with a referrer, points and audience member judges. In this show, the points absolutely matter.

Adults aren’t the only ones who love the Arcade Comedy Theater. A special “Penny Arcade” event is held just for kids on the second Saturday of each month. “Penny Arcade” is a fast-paced comedy performance improvised on the spot based on audience suggestions, ideal for kids five to 12 years old.

“The Arcade absolutely strives to keep ticket prices low, said Abbey Fudor, Founding Creative Director for the Arcade Comedy Theater. “Our price point is a significant distinguishing factor among the theater options in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District (as well as Pittsburgh in general). Our non-profit mission is to elevate and advance the art of comedy in Pittsburgh, and thus we want everyone in this city to have the opportunity to see this art form.”

“Penny Arcade began as a collaboration between teacher-artist Tessa Karel and the creative directors of the theater (specifically Education Director Kristy Nolen),” said Fudor. “We had been asked ever since we opened our doors, ‘do you have shows for kids?’ Going along with my previous sentiment, we want not just every socioeconomic background to be able to see great live comedy, but also every age! Also, we hope to be growing future audiences; Penny Arcade conveys that the lessons and entertainment inherit in improv are found from childhood to adulthood. It was important to us to build a show that was truly engaging for young ones, but also something parents would enjoy alongside them.”


Arcade Comedy Theater offers low cost family fun

The Arcade Comedy Theater also offers classes in improv, sketch writing, musical improv, acting and stand-up.

“Our teachers are talented members of our artistic ensemble, dedicated to adding and improving the skills, confidence, and joy for individuals of any background or skill level., “said Fudor. “The next session of classes are enrolling now and begin early to mid-October.”

All shows are general admission with tickets ranging from $5-$20 and available through ShowClix and the Arcade Comedy Theater box office the day of the show. Advance purchase for all shows is highly recommended as many shows do sell out. All advance ticketholders will be guaranteed a seat. For most shows, there is also a reduced ticket price for patrons with a valid student ID. Students can line up 15 minutes before show time to buy a first-come first serve ticket at $5.

Most shows are recommended for age 16 and up, unless otherwise stated due to the nature of the content; however, shows are open to all ages unless specifically labeled as 18+ or 21+. All audience members over the age of 21 can also bring their own six pack of beer or bottle of wine to a show. There is a $2 per person fee and the theater provides cups and wristbands. FMI: – Photos courtesy of the Arcade Comedy Theater.
Story Hayley Lynn Martin for Pennsylvania Bridges