This is National Humor Month and it’s time to laugh. We know that comedy can be universal (and the best usually is), but there’s something to be said for black comedy spaces – places where we can really hang out, relax and be ourselves without all the political correctness plaguing the culture.
Mainly, April’s a good time to enjoy some comedy in the metro Detroit area – at some spots you might have heard of and others that are new or newer. Native Detroiter Heather Jay has been a professional comic for about a decade now, opening for such acts as Hannibal Buress, Aziz Ansari, Amy Schumer, Jamie Kennedy and others.
She has performed at Apollo Theater, The Comedy Store, The Hollywood Improv and Laugh Factory on Sunset Boulevard. Jay also writes the Chelsea French novels, a crime/comedy series set in Detroit. “(You) can’t ignore that gentrification in downtown will probably soon bring a major chain to the city,” Jay says.
“Comedy in Detroit has already become more integrated than it has ever been with the audiences and the talent. Whether or not that’s good for us, only time will tell. I am hopeful that new clubs coming will increase opportunities not exclusion.” Here, Jay guides us through some of the best spaces to check out some black comedy in her beloved city.
310 S Troy St., Royal Oak
“The last Friday of every month, Mike Bonner hosts Uptown Friday Nights at Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle. His show begins promptly at 10 p.m. It’s important because he is the black show at that historically very white club. Also, it’s a great show, as he is booking comedians that Mark would not. Once a month, Josh Adams – who just might be the funniest man in this town – hosts Clevervizion’s Goin Up at the Marble Bar in the midtown district.”
20510 Livernois Ave., Detroit, 313-345-6300
“In the wake of the passing of comedy legend Coolaide, his best friends – Martini Harris, Melvin Bender, Martez Jackson and Shanie D – have taken over the longest running show in the city, affectionately known as Coolaide’s Comedy Night, every Monday.”
The Prosper Center
17575 Livernois Ave., Detroit, 313-629-7118
“The ‘Deacon of Comedy’ Mic Larry hosts a clean show the last Sunday of every month at The Prosper Center on Livernois – ‘clean’ means no cursing or vulgar language. Perfect for the after-church crowd.”
18426 Plymouth Road, Detroit, 248-955-3016
“A black-owned comedy club in Southfield that brings in national headliners every weekend. They run shows during the week as well as featuring some of the city’s finest comedic talent. Visit their website for a calendar of upcoming shows. They bring in a lot of cool and famous comics.”
Bonus Spots: For My Hood Folk
“Every Friday night, comedian Foolish hosts a late-night show at Cartier Lounge on Morang and Nottingham (east side) and Detroit Red hosts Chick’s Bar on Warren and Southfield (west side). Simply Shanell hosts Let’s Go Comedy every Tuesday at Ford Patio Bar and Grill in Detroit.”
Cartier Ultra Lounge
11233 Morang Ave., Detroit, 313-986-5352
18550 W. Warren Ave., Detroit, 313-441-6055
18490 Ford Road, Detroit, 313-406-4351