Best comedy theaters in New York

Chortle to your heart's content at one of these great laugh spots

0

Comments

Add +


Where comedy is concerned, New York is very much a stand-up town; but there are still plenty of options for those with a taste for improv, sketch or storytelling. Here are a few of the dedicated venues sure to make you laugh any night of the week.

RECOMMENDED: Best comedy in NYC

Carolines on Broadway

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

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.

  1. 1626 Broadway, (between 49th and 50th Sts)
Book online

Comedy Cellar

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

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).

  1. 117 MacDougal St, (between Bleecker and W 3rd Sts)
More info

The Creek and the Cave

  • Price band: 1/4

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.

  1. 10-93 Jackson Ave, (at 49th Ave)
More info

Gotham Comedy Club

  • Price band: 2/4

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.

  1. 208 W 23rd St, (between Seventh and Eighth Aves)
More info

Greenwich Village Comedy Club

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4

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.

  1. 99 MacDougal St, (between Bleecker St and Minetta Ln ), 10012
More info

Magnet Theater

  • Price band: 1/4

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.

  1. 254 W 29th St, (between Seventh and Eighth Aves)
More info

Peoples Improv Theater

  • Price band: 1/4

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.

  1. 123 E 24th St, (between Park and Lexington Aves)
More info

The Stand

  • Critics choice

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.

  1. 239 Third Ave, (between 19th and 20th Sts), 10003
Book online

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

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).

  1. 307 W 26th St, (between Eighth and Ninth Aves)
More info

UCBEast

  • Price band: 1/4

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.

  1. 155 E 3rd St, (between Aves A and B), 10009
More info


Users say

2 comments
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.

Read more comedy features

The best free comedy shows in NYC

Laugh along to both budding and established local comedians at these free comedy shows in New York City

Bob’s Burgers interview

H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman and Larry Murphy stuff their faces and gear up for season five

The top 10 funniest women in NYC

Meet the ten local stand-ups, scribes and performers you need to know right now

See more in Comedy