When Matt Kemple heard the former Brenner brewery and taproom was for sale in Walker’s Point, he spotted an opportunity. Kemple is the founder of a comedy production company that has put on shows across the city for years, including the Milwaukee Comedy Festival.
Milwaukee Comedy was in year two of a five-year expansion plan, and a new venue dedicated to comedy was an ideal next step.
“Comedy is our passion,” Kemple says, and when he saw how well the venue could suit that passion, he closed the deal. The Laughing Tap opened last month at 706B S. Fifth St.
The front room seats around 100 with a long bar along the side. Chairs face the center attraction: a raised stage for performers. You can come in the early hours for a happy hour drink, and stay later for a show.
The plan for The Laughing Tap doesn’t stop there. An expansive backroom, once filled with towering stainless-steel fermenters and other brewery equipment, is being emptied out to be replaced with a larger space for 200-seat shows. And if that goes well, a balcony could boost capacity to 300.
In a move that might shock comedy club regulars, The Laughing Tap will not have a two-drink minimum. That’s all part of the underlying philosophy of Milwaukee Comedy.
“Some clubs don’t care about who’s on stage,” Kemple says. “They care about selling drinks. We’re comedy first.”
Milwaukee Comedy books shows every night of the week. Check their website to find what’s on tap now.