East Austin Comedy Club Opens at Tiger Den
The speakeasy and humor hub will offer an intimate, first-rate experience for comedy fans
By Meher Qazilbash
East Austin Comedy Club, Austin’s newest hotspot for laughs, will celebrate its grand opening weekend July 21 through 23. The club will debut with a series of evening shows showcasing some of the city’s best comics.
Founded by Austin-based comedians Raza Jafri and Andre Ricks, East Austin Comedy Club is located within multi-purpose venue Tiger Den. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the space will feature diverse lineups of both nationally-known and locally-based comedic talent.
Jafri began his standup career in Chicago five years ago, but made a pilgrimage to Austin during the pandemic.
“I moved out here about a year-and-a-half ago because everything was shut down,” says Jafri. “I was looking for a lawless land.”
Immediately after moving, Jafri started to frequent locales around town where he could perform and produce shows. Along with the pursuit of finding venues came struggles, particularly regarding the search for a spot that could provide a first-rate viewing experience.
“I wanted something that was more intimate and ideal for standup,” he says. “No ambient noises, no ruckus. A place where people are just paying attention to what’s happening on stage.”
When he came across Tiger Den, he saw its potential. A 49-seat space decorated with red velvet curtains and vintage chandeliers, the ambience is reminiscent of a comedy basement in New York City. After pitching his idea to use the space as a show venue to the Tiger Den owner, the concept for East Austin Comedy Club was born.
The opening of the new concept comes at a particularly exciting moment for Austin’s comedy scene. Although the city has always been a hub for funny people, the population of comics is now growing at a higher rate than ever before.
“When Joe Rogan moved out here, despite whatever you think of him, he brought an emphasis to Austin,” explains Jafri. “When I moved here, it was part of this mass migration of disheveled comedians and it’s been really interesting. Now, there’s so many independent shows that are running and it’s a very vibrant scene. The goal for East Austin Comedy Club is to contribute to that.”
A goal of the modern speakeasy’s existence is to diversify talent and bring fresh perspectives to audiences. Jafri hopes to create opportunities for a varied selection of local comedians, giving them a stage to sharpen their skills and make themselves known.
“As Austin continues to grow, it’s easy to get lost as a creative,” Jafri shares. “Our goal is to shine a light on untapped talent and ensure they get the exposure they deserve.”
The plan to foster careers will be implemented with the club’s artist residency program. Select comics will get the chance to practice and evolve, with up to 20 guaranteed paid prime spots going to program participants over the course of four weeks.
“The world needs comedy now more than ever,” says Jafri. “We’re excited to launch a truly unique space in Austin where guests can leave behind their worries and laugh with us.”
Tickets to opening weekend shows are available at EastAustinComedy.com for $20. Guests can partake in an open wine bar or BYOB.