Improv comedy clubs in NYC
The city's No. 1 improv theater attracts actual celebrities to perform at its shows—ASSSSCAT 3000 on Sundays and hip-hop improv show Take It Personal on Fridays are particularly star-heavy—but even on those rare occasions when you don't recognize the performers, it's close to guaranteed that it will be funny thanks to the theater's ultra-codified teaching system ($400–$475 for eight classes). Alumni of the theater, co-founded by Amy Poehler, include Silicon Valley's Zach Woods, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer from Broad City and numerous Saturday Night Live cast members.
The Magnet values patient, character-based, Chicago-style improv comedy—and that means the theater attracts some of the best improv teams in the city. Though overall the theater's output is less consistent than UCB, teams like Trike (Saturdays), The Boss (Thursdays), and Hello Laser (Thursdays) can be even better than what you'll find at that comedy behemoth, so it’s totally worth a shot—and frequent deals on tuition mean the classes are often cheaper (score!).
With three locations, the Peoples Improv Theater puts on more shows per week than any other improv club in the city, so count on an eclectic range of shows (and, admittedly, show quality). Current standouts include the semi-regular comedian-rock-show from Battle of the Bands, the Saturday sketch show MURDERFIST and the scripted Puffs, or: Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic (yes, it’s a Harry Potter parody).
Come to this Williamsburg-based venue and you'll find a weirder, more aggressive aesthetic (fake blood is a frequent prop in its scripted shows). Though it's technically an improv theater, The Annoyance shines best as a venue for more conceptual comedy—highlights include The Roast of Your 15 Year Old Self (exactly what it sounds like) and the Sleep No More–esque Dark Down Deep Down Dark, which puts the audience in the POV of the Chilean miners trapped underground in 2010.That’s exactly what you think about when you think comedy, right?
The latest improv theater in town (it opened in January), Reckless already has a passionate group of fans and performers even though it has a very limited amount of shows on its calendar (like the Saturday night Big Fiasco improv show). But every theater starts out small—and we have high hopes for this newbie, which also offers eight-week class sessions for beginners ($385).