If you like to laugh, New York City is the place for you: There are numerous clubs dedicated solely to comedy. Some are big and flashy, featuring some of the greatest comedians of our time. Others are more mysterious, with up-and-coming artists honing their craft in low-key basements. Many offer exceptional snacks and drinks to enjoy during the show. The one thing they all have in common is great talent. Regardless of where you go, you'll be cracking up all night long. Here's the guide to New York City's greatest comedy clubs.
Greenwich Village is the neighborhood in New York City where people from all over the world come to break into the competitive world of comedy.
Tucked into one of the neighborhood's busy streets is the Greenwich Village Comedy Club. The bar is dark, underground, and cozy—and audience members get totally sucked into the shows. The club is known for spotlighting up-and-coming comedians, many of whom make it big. It also has open mic night seven times a week.
The Gotham Comedy Club, located in Chelsea, is one of New York City's biggest and most beautiful comedy clubs. The 10,000-square-foot space has an art deco décor that evokes the Roaring Twenties. The club attracts the city's most elite performers, including Dave Chapelle and Colin Quinn, and was even featured in Jerry Seinfeld's documentary "Comedian." There is a show almost every night of the week. The club also has an extensive cocktail list, so why not enjoy a chocolate martini during the show? Just make sure not to spill when you start laughing hysterically.
Greenwich Village's Comedy Cellar is the city's busiest club, with multiple shows every night. Many of the performers come from late night television, learning from the likes of Seth Meyers, John Oliver, David Letterman, and more. The theaters are small, dark, and lined with exposed brick walls. The ambiance is intimate, and the shows are interactive. Don't be surprised if you get pulled into a joke.
With two locations in Gramercy and the East Village, the New York Comedy Club screams wild and sexy (we chalk it up to the fact that the rooms are lit only by candlelight). There are shows seven nights a week by rising stars like Sam Morril, named one of Comedy Central's "Comics to Watch." If you like cocktails, this is the place for you. There are pre- and post-show specials on drinks, so the fun starts early and continues well into the evening. If you want to try your skills, there are open mic nights at 5 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for $3.
A show at the Upright Citizens Brigade—lovingly called UCB by locals—is a steal. For just $14 or less, you can see the city's funniest comedy, improv, sketch, and stand-up shows. Fans of "Parks and Rec" should definitely catch a show here, as Amy Poehler was a founding member and Aziz Ansari is a regular here. Sign up for the training program, and you might find yourself performing on the UCB stage like many of the theatre's performers.
Carolines is located in the heart of Times Square, just steps away from Broadway's most famous theatres. It started as a small cabaret club in 1982, but now attracts the city's top talent, including Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Billy Crystal, Rosie O’Donnell, and Jay Leno. The 300-seat theatre is colorful and full of lights, making every show a feast for the eyes. The venue also hosts the annual New York Comedy Festival, a week-long event that brings talent like Sarah Silverman and Rocky Gervais to the city.
Dangerfield's Comedy claims to be the oldest comedy club not just in New York City, but in the entire world. Since it first opened on September 29, 1969, the institution has attracted top talent: Thelma Houston, Kenny Burrell, and of course, Rodney Dangerfield, the comedian the club is named after. With performances seven nights a week, only headliners are allowed on stage here. The club is also regularly used as a venue for HBO's productions.
One of the city's newest theatres, BATSU! isn't your regular comedy club. All the performers are members of comedy group Face Off Unlimited. During the show, they compete against each other to dodge getting punished by paintballs and an egg-smashing chicken (you read that right). Audience members also participate for a chance to win free beer and other prizes.
Shows are Tuesday through Saturday, and ticket prices range from $40 to $500. Wara, a Japanese izakaya restaurant, serves food during the show—so you can get all the sushi and sake you want without missing any of the action.
Tribeca Comedy Lounge has one goal: to combine world-class comedy with world-class food. At other comedy clubs, you might find bar food like nachos and beer on the menu—but not here. The owners tapped famed New York chef Kenneth Johnson to make authentic Italian fare.
While chowing down on delicious pizza, you will be entertained by comedians who got their start on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," Comedy Central, and more. Almost every night, there are multiple comedians on the line-up, so you know you are getting bang for your buck.