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The best comedy clubs in NYC

If you're trying to find the city's best comedy shows, just take a look inside the best comedy clubs NYC has to offer.

New York is one of the greatest cities in the world for comedy, and when it comes to comedy clubs, NYC really has the best of the best. On top of all the amazing planned shows, anyone from Chris Rock to Whitney Cummings to Gilbert Gottfried could drop by unannounced, so get out there and get giggling. (And please, remember the list of things not to do at comedy shows).

RECOMMENDED: See all of the best comedy shows in NYC

Carolines on Broadway

Critics' pick

Even comics who are regulars at the city’s other stand-up rooms have to work extra hard to get stage time at this venerable institution. Carolines is the best place to see marquee names, including sitcom-ready stars, familiar faces from the ’80s comedy boom, Friars Club–style spritzers and cable-special ravers. You’ll never see anything less than professional. Show times vary.

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Midtown West

Comedy Cellar

Critics' pick

Claustrophobes, beware: It gets crowded down here, especially on weekends, thanks to the immense popularity of this Village standby. Big names from Louis CK to Aziz Ansari will just drop by for a set and on any given night, you can expect to see other local greats whose acts are more X-rated than at other clubs (and who will distract you from your bachelorette-partying neighbors).

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Greenwich Village

The Creek and the Cave

This burgeoning, multi-level comedy palace in Long Island City is the deserving gem of the Queens comedy scene. Owner Rebecca Trent programs shows seven nights a week, and at times you can catch up to five free shows on a busy weekend night. Among it's features: cheap, serviceable Mexican food, a ramshackle theater hosting larger events, a smaller space downstairs for intimate stand-up or storytelling shows and a bar with adjoining patio on which to ply friends for their opinions after the show.

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Long Island City

Gotham Comedy Club

Chris Mazzilli’s vision for his club involves elegant surroundings, professional behavior and mutual respect. That’s why the talents he fosters, such as Jim Gaffigan, Tom Papa and Ted Alexandro, keep coming back here long after they’ve found national fame. Though these big names aren't appealing to families, kids will find a laugh or two in special twice-monthly shows featuring adolescents ages 11 to 18.

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Chelsea

Greenwich Village Comedy Club

Al Martin, the longtime owner of both the New York Comedy Club and Broadway Comedy Club, follows the same basic tenets of those ventures in his new room—an intimate basement space below an Indian restaurant. Though a few pillars in the 60-seat venue interfere with sight lines, the pub grub, extensive cocktail selection and long list of stars who just might do a spot while passing through town are drawing crowds every night. Regulars include staples Christian Finnegan, Marina Franklin and Tom Shillue.

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Greenwich Village

Magnet Theater

The community of house teams and solo performers at Armando Diaz’s upstart black box has grown strong, cementing the Magnet—the signature style of which is slower and therefore frequently more rewarding than other improv styles—as one of the best places to watch improv in the city.

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Chelsea

Peoples Improv Theater

After many years in Chelsea, this improv and sketch theater moved crosstown to a dramatic East Side location, with a warm proscenium stage, a black box in the basement and an inviting bar. Cheap shows and free jams keep the crowds young and lively; a full evening of free improv shows every Wednesday anchors the weekday schedule.

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The Stand

Critics' pick

Sons of Essex’s Seth Levine turns out comfort-food spins—like cheeseburger pot stickers and duck-topped pizzas—at this comedy club–restaurant hybrid. After dinner, head downstairs to the club, where you can sip cocktails designed by Minetta Tavern vets, while acts like Judah Friedlander and Artie Lange supply the belly laughs. Test your stand-up knowledge and try to name all the comedians on the wallpaper in the bathrooms.

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Midtown

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

Critics' pick

The improv troupes and sketch groups anchored at UCBT are some of the best in the city. Stars of Saturday Night Live, VH1 and writers for late-night talk shows gather on Sunday nights to wow crowds in the long-running ASSSSCAT 3000. Other noteworthy teams include Death by Roo Roo (Saturdays) and the Stepfathers (Fridays).

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Chelsea

UCBEast

The newest branch of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, which has replaced the old Two Boots Pioneer Theater, brings the same sort of cheap, raw and rowdy shows featured on the West Side, though this space focuses as much on sketch and stand-up as it does improv.

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East Village

Comments

3 comments
George S
George S

For the price of Caroline’s on Broadway you could go to a Broadway Show ... 


No real NY'er has ever actually been in there .. Or would ever recommend it.

It’s a tourist trap.


George S.

Joseph S
Joseph S

If you are looking for more stand up comedy venues I highly recommend Best Comedy Tickets website. They have most of the top comedy clubs in New York and you can see who is playing there and buy tickets. Here is a link and I have been using them for years. http://www.bestcomedytickets.com/schedule

PatBaer
PatBaer

UCBEast features very little sketch and a ton of improv. Wednesday and Friday nights are your best bet for great improv.