Originally published on January 29, 2019 in The Downtowner newsletter.
Located at 943 Liberty Avenue, Arcade Comedy Theater is the only non-profit theater in Pittsburgh dedicated to comedy, as well as the only comedy theater located within the Downtown area. The comedy theater features a group of monthly shows that range from game shows to improv and stand up.
Opened in February 2013, Arcade Comedy Theater was founded by a group of creative minded friends that had a vision to bring comedy to Pittsburgh.
The mission of Arcade Comedy Theater is to continue to elevate and advance the art of comedy, especially in Pittsburgh. Director of Operations Jason Clark explains that “comedy is an art form. Most people generally do not think of it that way, but it is important for people to understand that. We are giving people an opportunity to express themselves through comedy, and that in itself is a valuable form of art.”
Arcade Comedy Theater incorporates different aspects of comedy in all the shows they offer. One of their top selling shows is “Knights of the Arcade,” a dungeons and dragons live show. The comedy theater also has many different house teams that perform on a rotating basis each month.
All the shows at Arcade Comedy Theater are great, but Clark suggests if you’re looking for a show to see for your first time “Dinner with the Nolans” is a great option. “Kristy and Jethro Nolan are fantastic and seeing their show will definitely make you want to come back for more” said Clark.
Penny Arcade is also one of the popular shows at the comedy theater and it is specifically geared towards children. The show is fully interactive and the children get to essentially create the show through suggestions that the actors will use to improvise with. “Penny Arcade is special because it is a pay as you wish show. We want to make comedy available to as many people as possible and this is just one way we can do that” explained Clark.
During the week, Arcade Comedy Theater turns into a designated learning space where they offer classes in improv, sketch writing, and stand-up comedy. They have many different levels of classes, but everyone starts with 101 course and works up through their unique philosophy.