Cape Cod is known for its beautiful beaches, quaint shops and small-town atmosphere. But what is there to do at night? Two comedy clubs, The Comedy Cottage in South Yarmouth and The Comedy Lounge in Hyannis, hope to provide the answer.

Cape Cod is known for its beautiful beaches, quaint shops and small-town atmosphere. But what is there to do at night? Two comedy clubs, The Comedy Cottage in South Yarmouth and The Comedy Lounge in Hyannis, hope to provide the answer.

The Comedy Lounge is the veteran club still growing its business, having been on the Cape four years. The Comedy Cottage is the newcomer, opening over Memorial Day weekend.

Best described as friendly, cozy and non-threatening, The Comedy Cottage in South Yarmouth is an exception to the rule. A light, tropical décor replaces the quintessential dark coloring of other clubs. Rather than a rowdy crowd of 20- and 30-somethings looking for a thrilling night out, the audience is a bit older, more composed, but still in the mood for some off-color jokes that will get them roaring with delight.

“It’s controlled, relaxed, not a place to get drunk. The shows end at 11, so you can still get home at a reasonable hour,” says owner Don Weagle.

His wife, Sharon, adds, “We want people to have a nice night out that they’ll remember for days. We’ve seen people come here for a date night, girl’s night, or to celebrate birthdays or wedding anniversaries.”

Located inside Christopher’s Restaurant on Route 28 in the heart of the hotel and resort strip, The Comedy Cottage features comedic performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, along with a weekly Wednesday night performance by Frank Santos, the R-rated hypnotist.

Offering a different nighttime option was one of the main motivators for Don Weagle to pursue this venture. His wife had worked at the Red Jacket Resort in the past, and always struggled to provide vacationers with things to do at night. “The Cape really lacked entertainment, and I’m trying to fill a void,” Weagle says.

Weagle grew up in Cambridge, the comedy mecca of the early 1980s. He went to high school with prominent Boston comedian Lenny Clarke and often visited Ding-Ho, the now infamous Cambridge nightclub known as the launching point for many Boston-area comedians.

Entertainment was always part of Weagle’s life, but The Comedy Cottage is his first comedy undertaking since 1982, when he introduced it to Pufferbellies in the club’s inaugural season. Soon after its inception, longtime Pufferbellies owner John Morgan moved the club in a different direction and dropped the comedy acts. Weagle then pioneered his own security company and was regularly tied to the entertainment and film industry. “Comedy was always in the back of my mind, but just now everything fell into place.”

As a new club, it can be difficult to manage all the expenses while still booking great acts. Fortunately, Weagle has a connection to a comedy club based on the North Shore owned by Lenny Clarke’s brother Michael. Michael has been able to send many of his lineups to the Cape, as his business slows down in the summer.

Weagle is pleased with the club’s success. “We sold out Memorial Day weekend when Lenny Clarke opened up. We had hoped to break even in June, but we’re doing better than expected.”

Atmosphere is key

Though located inside a hotel, The Comedy Lounge prides itself on serving year-round comedy to locals on the Cape. “I’m here for the people who love comedy. I wasn’t going to make this just a tourist thing,” says John Lincoln, owner of The Comedy Lounge. The club is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights in the summer and Friday nights in the off-season.

After looking at several locations, he settled on a room inside the Radisson hotel on Route 28 in Hyannis. “Atmosphere is very important for comedy,” says Lincoln, noting that his room, which seats 150 people, was intimate yet lively enough for everyone to enjoy the acts.

Lincoln, a comedian himself, opened The Comedy Lounge while a student at Northeastern University, working toward a marketing degree. He has developed the club from a seasonal operation to a year-round comedy venue, with the help of business partner Jeff Fairbanks.

“A lot of people told me ‘you’re stupid to do this,’ but I knew that people live here and they want comedy,” says Lincoln of his decision to go year-round on the Cape. Despite slow months like October and March, the room is still close to or at capacity many winter nights. New Year’s Eve is a sellout, with two shows. Lincoln even recalls a night with blizzard-like conditions in December 2005 as one of his most successful shows that season.

Having been in the business five years, Lincoln contacts other comedians performing various styles. He hires those he likes and brings back comics who have garnered rave reviews from his customers.

A typical show features a national headliner with an opening act by a newcomer. Lincoln describes the headliners he books as “people who have made a lot of noise in the industry and who have amazing credits, but you just may not have heard of them yet.” Among the lineups for this summer include Brian Kiley, a writer for “Late Night With Conan O’Brian,” nominated for seven Emmys.

“Things just keep growing for us,” says Lincoln, who has added a Thursday night show and will debut a “Last Cape Codder Standing” competition to find “the funniest person on the Cape.” The talent search will be sponsored by WCOD Wednesdays in August. The winner will get $500 and a weekend opportunity to perform at the clubs in Boston. Lincoln is also in the process of opening up Comedy Lounges in Boston and Worcester. “Here it’s about the comedy, not the business,” he says.

The Comedy Cottage and The Comedy Lounge each have their own personality and target audience. Still, both club owners note that what’s most enjoyable for them is seeing people of all ages and backgrounds enjoying a good laugh at the same joke. “Comedy really is universal,” says Lincoln.

More information about the two clubs can be found on their respective Web sites, thecomedycottage.com, and thecomedylounge.com.