For as long as I can remember, downtown Pittsburgh never had a centrally located comedy club. There was the Funnybone over in Station Square and the Improv in Homestead. Yet iconic Pittsburgh streets like Boulevard of the Allies, Penn and Liberty Avenues remained clubless. Sure there were grand theaters and small stages. But those were reserved for stuffy productions of Oklahoma and college poetry slams. No comedy in the bunch.
Now there is the Arcade Comedy Theater. Located on 8th and Liberty, the new club has already garnered a lot of attention from the Pittsburgh Press. It’s part of the overall revival of the Theater District and is a welcome addition to the rotation of comedy stages. The collective vision of Jethro and Kristy Nolen, Mike Rubino, Abby Fudor and Randy Kirk was to provide an interactive platform for audiences to experience forms of theatrical comedy, from proven standards to off-beat styles. Their opening weekend featured YouTube Sensation Pittsburgh Dad, Improv troupe Player One, touring magician Lee Terbosic, and stand up comedy from Sean Collier, Gene Collier, and me.
It’s an intimate room. It feels entirely different from a comedy club. The Arcade has that “you never know what you might see” feel to it. – Lee Terbosic
The space of the Arcade has a unique vintage feel. With old tin ceilings, low lighting and bring-your-own-booze policy as the backdrop, it elicits images of speakeasies and flag-pole sitting. However, The Arcade’s 20’s style architecture is contrasted by its Atari inspired brand of interior decorating. The bright accents of the décor, the posters of old Nintendo games and the 8-bit soundtrack that plays before and after the show off provide the details necessary to make it a memorable spot.
Where: Downtown Pittsburgh (8th and Liberty)
Feature: Variety show feel. Slanted towards Improv and Sketch
Attire: Middle Class Portland
Parking: Smithfield and Liberty
Cover Charge: $5-20 depending on the act. I can’t stress this enough though. It’s BYOB. You’d spend twice that amount if you decided to go to a bar instead.