Amsterdam Comedy Shows
The Amsterdam comedy scene is well respected throughout Europe, and the city often plays host to well known international comedians from Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States. There are a number of venues dedicated entirely to comedy, while many of the larger venues host stand up shows in addition to concerts, nightclubs, plays and other events. There is also a vibrant local comedy scene, and in many of the dedicated comedy clubs Amsterdam comedians appear regularly with their own local brand of humour, as do many expat comedians living in the Netherlands. For local comedy shows, it is worth noting that routines are often performed in Dutch, and so it pays to check before buying a ticket which language the comedian will be speaking. International acts, however, are always in their own language, with the vast majority speaking English.
For a relatively small city, Amsterdam comedy is well looked after with a decent amount of comedy clubs for performers to take to the stage in. Perhaps the most famous Amsterdam comedy club is Boom Chicago, a lively little theatre that can be found on Rozengracht 117. Inside, a regular cast of expat comedians performs improv and stand up routines in English for international audiences. Dinner is served before the shows and a late night bar and nightclub help keep the night going afterwards.
Nearby, the Comedy Café at Max Euweplein 43–45 can be found between the Hard Rock Café and Paradiso music venue. While not as hyped as Boom Chicago, the Comedy Café is a popular venue for comedy in Amsterdam. The focus here is more on local comedy, with open mic nights being common throughout the week, although the club also features a troupe of Dutch comedians who perform regularly. Comedy here is delivered in a mixture of Dutch and English, so always ask before entering.
Another Amsterdam comedy venue worth checking out is the Comedy Theater at the Nes, found in the city centre at Nes 110. Friday nights are for international acts in this well respected club, while on other nights of the weekend shows may be in Dutch. Toomler, a little further out of the centre at Breitnerstraat 2 is close to the Amsterdam Hilton. This venue is known for giving many Dutch comedians their start and so most shows are in Dutch. However, the regular Comedy Train International events bring English speaking comedians from all over the world to join their Dutch counterparts.
Festivals and Events
Stand up comedy in Amsterdam is not simply restricted to small shows in dedicated venues. Throughout the year, a number of festivals take place that take stand up out of the comedy clubs and into larger venues. The most obvious of these is, of course, the Amsterdam Comedy Festival that takes place every year at the end of May. This international festival fills the stages of Melkweg, one of the cities most popular music venues, with English speaking stand up from the Netherlands and abroad, including many well known names. Tickets are best purchased in advance and give you access to all shows in the festival.
The Comedy Train International Summer Festival is the largest collection of English speaking events at this dedicated comedy club and takes place over a number of weeks in July and August. Each week hosts a different pair of comedians and tickets to shows are purchased separately.
For a different kind of Amsterdam comedy event outside of a dedicated club, the Easy Laughs improv group performs every Friday in Crea at Turfdraagsterpad 17, near the Amsterdam University campus. This international group performs their shows in English and even offers the chance to get involved, as they run comedy courses and workshops for anybody interested in flexing their own comedic muscles.