The best weekly comedy open mic nights in Shanghai

Where to get your laughs for free

Photograph: courtesy Blackout Comedy
Shanghai's stand-up comedy scene is absolutely booming and has established itself as one of the best in Asia. Attracting heaps of international talent such as Russell Howard, Bill Bailey and Mark Normand and more recently the likes of Theo Von and Dean Edwards, performing in Shanghai is as popular with professional comics as ever.

As well as shows with the pros, there is also a hotbed of local amateur talent, plying their trade on a weekly basis at open mics all across the city. Laughter is also a great stress reliever, so hitting up a comedy show is the perfect remedy after a tough day at work.

Now, remember, open mic is free for a reason – you have no idea who is going to turn up, how good they are, or what they're going to say. You may see a comic at the top of their game or a complete novice bombing. You'll probably end up sitting through a lot of squat toilet and 'China is different to America, huh?' jokes, but, at the end of the day, you're going to get your money's worth.

Here are the best places to get laughs for free and watch local up-and-coming comics work on their acts and, if you're lucky, there might be the occasional big name dropping in.
The Attic at Real Shanghai
Photograph: Erica Switzer (Ian Badenhorst)

The Attic at Real Shanghai

A popular  open mic at Real Shanghai Bar & Cafe, see comedians ranging from China International Comedy Festival finalists to complete beginners working on their material in a fun environment, with every mic concluding with a hilarious roast battle. Follow 'RealShanghaiBar' on WeChat for more info. 

When? Mondays at 8pm.

The Shanghai Comedy Bunker
Photograph: Courtesy SCC

The Shanghai Comedy Bunker

Tucked away inside Cages Bar & Sports, Shanghai Comedy Bunker is a popular Shanghai stand-up venue, attracting international headliners (in the past they've had Doug Stanhope) and putting on weekly showcases as well as free open mics. Follow 'ShanghaiComedy' on WeChat for more details.

When? Tuesdays at 9pm and Sundays at 7.30pm.

Un Cafe Bar
Photograph: Jorge Castellanos (Adam Hopkins)

Un Cafe Bar

An open mic from the team behind the shuttered Kung Fu Komedy, Un Cafe Bar is another spot to see a mix of Shanghai's best and newest comedians working on their material. Drinks deals are available.

When? Wednesdays at 8pm; Sundays at 7.30pm.

Comedy UN
Photograph: courtesy Comedy UN

Comedy UN

Putting on shows in English and Mandarin with the odd international headliner thrown in for good measure, Comedy UN's weekly English-language open mic is another popular spot for Shanghai's local comedic talent. Add WeChat ID 'comedyUN1' for details.

When? Wednesdays at 8.30pm.

Blackout Comedy Open Mic
Photograph: courtesy RoadHouse Comedy Open Mic

Blackout Comedy Open Mic

The Thursday open mic at RoadHouse, run by Apriel Powell, offers food and drinks deals to lighten the mood, including 30 percent off quesadillas and nachos during the show, as well as 25RMB house wine, house pours and Carlsberg draft.

When? Thursdays at 7.30pm.

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