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The 7 Best Comedy Clubs in Manhattan

Category Broadway

|by Mark Robinson |


Get ready to laugh at these classic NYC comedy joints

We all love to laugh! It has been called the “best medicine” for whatever ails you, and they say that smiling “increases your face value.” So, where does one go in New York City in order to find a sidesplitting evening of humor? A comedy club, of course. Manhattan is overflowing with such venues, and guests of the Big Apple have many options of where to go to get their funny bones tickled. Here are 7 of the city’s best.

Judah Friedlander performs at the Comedy Cellar in New York City (Photo: Debra L. Rothenberg/Getty Images)

Judah Friedlander performs at the Comedy Cellar in New York City (Photo: Debra L. Rothenberg/Getty Images)

Caroline’s on Broadway (1626 Broadway)
Easily identified on Broadway for the motley design of its marquee, Caroline’s on Broadway is one of the city’s most renowned comedy clubs, particularly for the number of stand-up specials that have been filmed there. Open 365 days a year, Caroline’s has played host to some of comedy’s greatest performers including Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Leslie Jones, Marlon Wayans and John Mulaney. Named for its co-founder Caroline Hirsch, Caroline’s is a 300-seat venue offering, on average, 55 shows per month.

Gotham Comedy Club (208 West 23rd Street)
A comedy mainstay of the Chelsea district, Gotham Comedy Club has played host to iconic comedians such as Jim Gaffigan, Rosie O’Donnell, Dane Cook, Gabriel Iglesias, Dave Chappelle and Colin Quinn. First established in 1996 on West 22nd Street, the venue eventually moved to its current home adjacent to the Hotel Chelsea. The popular Comedy Central series Live at Gotham features comedians performing at the club.

Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street)
Take yourself to the basement at 117 MacDougal Street and you’ll find yourself amidst the hysterics at Comedy Cellar. Positioned below The Olive Tree Café, the venue is one of New York’s most celebrated comedy clubs. Comedian Ray Romano recently filmed part of his Netflix comedy special Right Here, Around the Corner at the Comedy Cellar. Other comedians of note that have taken the stage there include Jim Norton, Judah Friedlander, Nick Di Paolo, Louis C.K. and Dave Attell.

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (307 West 26th Street)
For a night of laughs that grows out of some of the city’s finest improvisational comedy, make haste to The Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theatre. Many of NYC’s top improvisational troupes light up the stage here, pulling comedic out of the ether with their jaw-dropping talent and skill. The Upright Citizen’s Brigade itself is an improvisational comedy ensemble that formed in Chicago in 1990 who founded UCB theatres in both LA and in New York.

Greenwich Village Comedy Club (99 MacDougal Street)
For an intimate comedy club experience, check out the Greenwich Village Comedy Club founded by Al Martin, a mover and shaker in the world of stand-up comedy. The venue is known as a showcase for up-and-coming talent, a place for them to try out their acts is a supportive environment. The Greenwich Village Comedy Club is the perfect place to catch innovative talent on the rise. You might just see tomorrow’s headliners!

Stand Up NY (236 West 78th Street)
Located in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Stand Up New York is one of the city’s premiere comedy clubs, playing host to such comedians as Amy Schumer, John Stewart, Aziz Ansari, Colin Jost and John Oliver. Stand Up New York is certainly one of the city’s most elegant comedy venues, and features a line-up of nonpareil performers from the world of comedy. Many high-profile guests also frequent this spot, and you just never know what celebrity you might bump into there.

The Duplex (61 Christopher Street)
Not only an iconic venue, but also one steeped in history, The Duplex is an intimate club space where both comedy and cabaret perform regularly. In its early days, The Duplex played host to such early luminaries of comedy as Joan Rivers and Woody Allen. Often, you will find, small, one-performer, comedy shows at the Duplex where emerging talent of the stage and screen will have you laughing heartily at life’s ups and downs.

Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. His forthcoming book, Sitcommentary: The Television Comedies That Changed America, will hit the shelves in October, 2019. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.

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