I've tried going to open mike nights, but have never liked them because like a box of chocolates, you really never know what you are going to get (and it usually is not something you like). I prefer regular comedy shows with people who have already cut their teeth and know how to perform with stage presence and without notes.
I had a fun night of comedy at Ha Ha's Comedy Cafe in North Hollywood watching my friend Kyle Stone finally make the jump into stand-up comedy last week, performing his first real gig at Ha Ha's. I went with some friends to see him and give him some moral support; I found a low-key friendly place, with a local crowd and some famous comedians. Last Tuesday night Damon Wayans was there trying out some new material, so Kyle was part of his warm-up posse (way to go for a first time gig!). There is a nice supportive vibe to the place; the comedians tend to work off each other instead of against each other, so the audience benefits from the cohesive energy of people who are happy to be there.
Ha Ha's has a basic menu of bar food and drinks which will do in a pinch, but try to get to the area earlier than the show and have dinner up the street in the new NoHo district just to the north of the comedy club. Go have a snack and a glass of wine just three blocks up at Ecletic Bar and Grill. This bar has some great wine flights to compliment their diverse global cafe menu. If you have enough time before the show, drive over to nearby Barsac which offers French and Italian classics like ossu bucco and bouillabaisse, but I would go for the escolar (fish) that is served with a puree of vegetables, grilled tomatoes and snow peas, with a champagne and sage sauce.
North Hollywood isn't just a bedroom community anymore, there are laughs, drinks, and good food here to enjoy. With the new Orange Metro line running into the center of the new NoHo district, you don't even have to drive here if you live on the west side of the valley or downtown, just hop on the metro and remember to leave before midnight or like Cinderella you will end up walking home.