Laughing Skull Lounge stands up for intown comedy

Former Funny Farm owner Marshall Chiles runs an intimate, one-of-a-kind venue

Originality matters in comedy, from the joke being told to the stage it's told from. In that vein, Atlanta's newest comedy venue, the Laughing Skull Lounge, brings a rare personal feel to the often-intimidating world of stand-up. Located in the back of the Midtown Vortex Bar & Grill on Peachtree Street, Laughing Skull has a maximum capacity of 74 seats. It bills itself as “the smallest full-time comedy venue in the world” and has recently applied to the Guinness Book of World Records for that exact title.

Local comedian Marshall Chiles, who ran the recently shutdown Funny Farm, owns and operates Laughing Skull. He's especially excited about the creative opportunities the new room offers. "It's about the art of comedy. This room isn't for mainstream comics who do the normal clubs, it's for real, progressive comedians. Our contract with the Vortex actually states that we're not allowed to do homogenous, family-friendly comedy."

It used to be that ATLiens craving a laugh had to travel to the basement of a Roswell strip mall (Funny Farm's former location) for their fix. But Atlanta's stand-up scene has proven robust enough to support an intown comedy venue, and the Laughing Skull Lounge fills that void. It's more than the convenient location that makes the Laughing Skull Lounge stand out, however. It's also the vibe. While the room can fit 74 people, shows often go on with few more than one- or two-dozen audience members. Big-name comedians such as Todd Barry and Doug Benson are bringing acts they've prepared for the sold-out club masses, and tailoring them to the suddenly intimate setting. The result? Anything goes.

At a recent Mother's Day show, comedian Ben Gleib performed in front of an astounding audience of two people. Yeah, two. So, while he told many of the jokes he'd lay on the usual 200- to 300-person crowds, he also brought the couple on stage to renew their wedding vows. He played the role of pastor, conducting the ceremony in the form of a freestyle rap. If you get paid the same amount whether you perform in front of two or 74 people, why not take some liberties?

In a room that small, crowd work becomes an inside joke, and the comic you've seen on TV transforms into your hilarious buddy, albeit with a microphone and a spotlight.

More By This Writer


Thursday November 17, 2011 11:32 am EST

The Boston Comedy Festival is one of the biggest comedy festivals in the country, and this year an Atlanta comic won the whole thing. Landry, who was also named Atlanta’s Best Comic at last year’s Atlanta Stands Up Awards, took top prize as the prestigious competition, and recently spoke with CL about the experience and what he hopes to come out of the win.

Tell me about the festival and the...

| more...


Friday November 11, 2011 12:55 pm EST

Rory Scovel is one of comedy's rapidly rising stars, and arguably the most original act currently working the circuit. While he’s a gifted joke writer and story teller, it’s his other-worldly improv skills that makes each of his truly unique performances stand out in the world of stand-up. On Saturday, Nov. 12, Scovel is bringing his Dilated Imagination Tour to Atlanta’s Relapse Theatre.


| more...


Wednesday September 28, 2011 01:13 pm EDT

Adam Carolla has made quite a career for himself in stand-up, radio, and television, as the comedic voice of the working man. This Friday he will be bringing his intelligent, unfiltered mix of observations, rants and story-telling to the Tabernacle.

You’ve been on hit television shows, written a best-selling book, currently host the most downloaded podcast on the internet, "The Adam Carolla...

| more...


Wednesday May 11, 2011 12:49 pm EDT
Few people will ever understand the world of stand-up comedy like Marshall Chiles. Arguably the most consistent and influential presence in the Atlanta comedy scene for the last decade, Chiles is not only a comedian, he also fosters a burgeoning local scene by booking, managing and owning two prominent Atlanta clubs, the Funny Farm and Laughing Skull Lounge. This weekend, the man of many hats... | more...


Thursday May 5, 2011 01:31 pm EDT

Kyle Kinane is an unmotivated, self-aware misanthrope. He's also one of the best comedians on the planet. CL recently spoke with Kinane, who will be headlining Comedy Gold at the Buckhead Theatre on Saturday, May 7, about his start in comedy, his career trajectory, and why he should be nicer to audiences.

You're performing at the Buckhead Theatre on May 7, but you also did the Star Bar last...

| more...
Search for more by Noah Gardenswartz

[Admin link: Laughing Skull Lounge stands up for intown comedy]