Something funny was in the water. Not in a gross, toxic way or anything. Maybe it should be, “Something was in the funny water?” Nope. You know what we mean! Beginning with the stand-up and sketch comedy boom of the 1970s, clubs and theaters popped up and currently inhabit every decently populated city in North America. They’re great for some local laughs and improv classes for people who might need a little public speaking help, but every so often, one of these little comedy hubs became a breeding ground for world class talent. 

Sometimes they had the special sauce that attracted top tier talent, and sometimes one or two comedy juggernauts put them on the map, and helped attract future generations of funny. Either way, it all got us wondering how some of the biggest comedians and comedy writers began popping up in the same places at the same times. Here are 12 comedy hotbeds that gave us genre-defining creators, comedians, and writers.

The little sketch troupe that could.

Comedy hotbeds THE UPBIGHT TR GIIZENS BRIGADE Originally Amy Poehler and Adam McKay's Chicago based sketch troupe, their NYC classes got so popular that it became its own theater company. Notable alumni include Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Ed Helms, Nick Kroll, Kate McKinnon, and Donald Glover. CRACKED

Comedy Central


We get it, Chicago.

Comedy hotbeds was ROSTHERTEMS iO CHiCAGO ImprovOlympic was founded in 1981 by Del Close, and became known for long form improv. Many Second City and SNL alumni performed here, and others include Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Angela Kinsey, David Koechner, Danny Pudi, and Andy Richter. CRACKED

IO Improv, NBC

IO Improv

Taking stunt videos to new heights.

Comedy hotbeds big brother No Kris BIG Markovich interview BROTHER All in english MAGAZINE No bothersome page numbers en DO This skateboarding magazine was founded by Steve Rocco in 1992. Their videos included stunt segments by Johnny Knoxville and Steve-0, which Big Brother writer Jeff Tremaine used as footage for the Jackass pilot on MTV. CRACKED

Big Brother Magazine

Surfer Today

They used to be known for so much more than those direct to video college movies.

Comedy hotbeds NATiONAL LAMPOON If You Don't Buy This Magazine, We'll Kill This Dog In the '70s, John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Gilda Radner were discovered through their stage and radio shows. Harold Ramis went on to write Animal House, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters. CRACKED

National Lampoon

Mental Floss

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