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 and bars in NYC

Photograph: Filip WolakThe Stand

Some of the best comedians in the world call NYC home, and whether you're seeing them in Manhattan clubs or Bushwick dive bars, you're guaranteed to be blown away. Here's our rundown of the venues where you can see the best comedy in NYC this month—including hilarious NYC podcast recordings and sets from favorites like Joel Kim Booster, Michelle Buteau and Sandra Bernhard

RECOMMENDED: See all of the best comedy shows in NYC

Best comedy clubs in NYC

The Bell House

This sprawling spot’s two bars—one nestled in an ornate front room, the other in the rear performance space—provide plenty of drinking options. Skip toxic cocktails in favor of one of 12 beers on tap—from Anchor Steam to Smuttynose—or a taste of more than 20 bourbons. The large rear performance space is a favorite for podcast recordings, intimate band gigs, and wild comedy shows. 

Buy tickets Read more
Gowanus

Black Cat LES

This cozy Lower East Side cafe has become a haven for students, freelancers and anyone else looking for a comfortable place to get some work done. At night, the exposed-brick spot hosts cozy free comedy shows. 

Read more
Lower East Side
Advertising

Broadway Comedy Club

Called the New York Improv when it opened in 1963, this club showcased legends such as Bill Cosby, Andy Kaufman and Robin Williams during its first stint. After being closed for years, former collaborators opened this basement joint a few blocks from the original, and they showcase TV faces and other regulars from the club circuit. 

Read more
Hell's Kitchen

Carolines on Broadway

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. 

Book now Read more
Midtown West
Advertising

Club Cumming

Daniel Nardicio and Alan Cumming took over the former Eastern Bloc bar in 2017 and reimagined it as a cabaret, comedy and party hub evocative of NYC's golden era of downtown nightlife. Count on Broadways singers belting out favorites by the piano, wild ’90s dance parties and stellar cabaret and comedy nights. 

Read more
East Village

Comedy Cellar

Claustrophobes, beware: It gets crowded down here, especially on weekends, thanks to the immense popularity of this Village standby. Big names from Amy Schumer to Aziz Ansari will 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).

Read more
Greenwich Village
Advertising

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.

Read more
Long Island City

The Duplex

Setting the pace for campy, good-natured fun, the city’s oldest cabaret is still going strong at 55. A generous mix of regulars and tourists laugh and sing along with drag performers, comedians and rising stars in the cabaret room on the second floor. (Special showcases are still in the intimate game room, which is also upstairs and has a separate bar.) 

Read more
West Village
Advertising

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. 

Read more
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. 

Read more
Greenwich Village
Advertising

Littlefield

There’s a deliciously arty feel to this left-leaning, eco-friendly BK venue, which runs on wind power and serves old-fashioned cocktails from a bar built from salvaged bowling alley lanes. Littlefield’s booking policy is similarly eclectic: A typical week features hip-hop, folk and soul gigs, plus quirky club and comedy nights.

Read more
Gowanus

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.

Read more
Chelsea
Advertising

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.

Read more

The Pit Loft

This satellite of the Peoples Improv Theater hosts a wide range of late night sketch, improv and variety shows. 

Read more
Chelsea
Advertising

The Stand

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.

Book now Read more
Gramercy
Advertising

Union Hall

Upstairs in this bi-level bar, boozers chomp miniburgers and nip at microbrews like Sixpoint in the gentlemen’s-club–style anteroom (decorated with Soviet-era globes, paintings of fez-capped men, fireplaces)—before battling it out on the clay bocce courts. Downstairs, spectators are treated to a rotating roster of live talent, such as blaring bands, comedians and a monthly science night.

Read more
Park Slope

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

NYC's unbeatable comedy bastion moved its Chelsea HQ to Hell's Kitchen in late 2017. Expect the same steady lineup of bonkers improv, sketch and solo shows every night from young and veteran performers. 

Read more
Hell's Kitchen
Advertising

UCBEast

The East Village branch of the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre brings the same sort of cheap, raw and rowdy shows featured on the West Side, and focuses as much on sketch and stand-up as it does improv.

Read more
East Village

See this month’s best comedy shows!

Comments

6 comments
K E

We bought the tickets from a guy hanging around Time Square.He told us when the shows were and that all we need to do was show up about 30 minutes early and we could stay for as many shows as we wanted.All we had to do was buy 2 drinks each.It did say to make reservations on the ticket but it also said $50.00 and we paid $40.00.We didn’t know to make reservations because he said all we had to do was show up.When we arrived the next night at 7:00 p.m. we were told we had to make a reservation and they only had availability at 11:00 p.m.They pretended not to know the guy who signed the back of the ticket and was selling their tickets and acted like it wasn’t their problem.We were told the people selling the tickets made their money selling the tickets and they made their money selling the drinks and they didn’t have any control over what we were told by people representing their club.They didn’t care that we had been lied to about the tickets they just acted like it wasn’t their problem and they weren’t nice about it either.

NYC_DNB

@K E Never buy anything from a random person off the street in NYC, especially Times Sq. That place is a tourist trap, scammers are everywhere for that reason. To be honest, it wasn't the club's problem, you just didn't have street smarts :/

Mr S

not even a mention of Dangerfields on First Ave?

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

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

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