Post Overview: Best Comedy Clubs NYC
I can’t be the only one who has stayed in on a Saturday night with a cheap-wine buzz, kicked my feet up and scrolled Netflix’s catalog of stand up comedy specials looking for a good laugh. Having said that, on the days you want to take it up a notch visiting comedy clubs in NYC takes the fun to a whole new level.
New York City has been a hotbed for up-and-coming comedians for years, and as such is home to some of the best comedy clubs in the world. On any given night there are comics of all backgrounds, ages and comedic styles taking the stage across the Big Apple hoping to put on a good show.
But with the sheer volume of clubs and comedians you’re bound to come across a few duds. So what do you do when you’re looking for the best comedy clubs in NYC but don’t know where to start? You keep reading this article that has been researched by yours truly over my lifetime in New York.
I’ve left clubs with damn-near a six pack from the workout my abs get from laughing so hard, I’ve also left before the show was over on more than one occasion (and I always feel bad about it, but my time is precious you know?).
And I’m here to share my first hand, local’s take on the best comedy clubs NYC has to offer so you can walk away thinking you got more than your money’s worth.
but hey – enough of the small talk. Are you ready to get to the good stuff? Because I am!
Visiting New York City? If you haven’t decided where to stay (yet) check out our helpful guide on Where to Stay in New York City (The best neighborhoods for first timers +2 to avoid). Don’t have time? Here’s our favorite hotel in NYC, hands down.
Tips for Visiting Comedy Clubs in NYC
Arrive Early: Comedy clubs in NYC have strict starting times and when it rolls around you want to be in your seat, drinks ordered and ready for the show. Plus arriving early will give you the chance to pick good seats. If you don’t want to be in the front row being teased by the comic you better be early so you can snag a table of your choosing.
Look at the club’s schedule before buying tickets: Comedy Clubs in NYC do a good job of updating their websites with events, themed-nights, and line ups. Rather than shooting in the dark just take a quick peek online and book the show that sounds most fun to you, it could help you avoid a show you’re not interested in.
Don’t heckle the comics: Odds are you’ll eventually come across a comedian that doesn’t tickle your fancy. My suggestion is to wait them out. Comedians can be ruthless and more times than not, the crowd is on their side. Not to mention they could be trying something new, and your silence tells them all they need to know.
Best Comedy Clubs NYC
#15. The Village Underground
The Village Underground is a historic music venue turned into one of the best comedy clubs in NYC. Its had a rich history, and performers like Bob Dylan have used the venue as a launching pad for their global careers.
Present day The Village Underground is a sister club to the Comedy Cellar (which we’ll talk about a little later) and only hosts comedy shows. Similar to its golden-age as a music venue, fresh talent is part of what makes it one of the best clubs in NYC. You never know if you’re witnessing the foundation of the next big comedian!
Seven days a week you’ll find the joint full of locals who have come to expect a good time and plenty of tear-inducing laughter. You can make reservations and there is a cover fee ($17), but this is one of the best comedy clubs in NYC, so it’s not unreasonable.
Something to note is that The Village Underground makes you put phones and smartwatches in a sealed envelope during the show. You get to keep the envelope with you, but if you pull out your phone you’ll be asked to leave.
Like most comedy clubs in NYC, you can expect a two-purchase minimum per guest (not included in the cover charge). You can choose from a menu of food and drinks (including non-alcoholic) to meet the requirement.
Address: 130 W 3rd St, New York, NY 10012, United States
#14. Greenwich Village Comedy Club
Staying in the same neighborhood as The Village Underground we have the Greenwich Village Comedy Club. Here you’ll find one of the best comedy clubs in NYC, with acts that are as diverse as the city itself.
They host Comedy en Español, LGBTQ+, Asian, South Asian and improv nights throughout the year in their cozy club. The wide range of comics provide fresh takes and new subject matter as well as foster a sense of community.
And if you’re looking to try your hand at stand-up yourself you can swing by on Mondays at 6PM for an open-mic. The Greenwich Village Comedy Club is as good as any place to try, especially since it’s on the smaller side.
You’ll find a two-drink minimum which is on par with other comedy clubs in NYC, and you can purchase tickets online.
I should also mention I’ve had friends tell me they’ve gotten in without a cover (as walk-ups). I can’t speak to this as I’ve always bought tickets online, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it.
Address: 99 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012, United States
#13. Comic Strip Live
Comic Strip Live is hollowed ground for fans of comedy, having been graced by the likes of Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy. With all that famous firepower it’s no wonder it’s on most folks’ shortlist of best comedy clubs in NYC.
Over its nearly 50 year history the club has yet to slow down. There is a new show with up and coming comedians seven days a week, including an open mic and a new talent showcase.
The full schedule can be viewed online and Comic Strip Live does a great job showing who’s who in their lineup. Whether they’re writers for Saturday Night Live or Comedy Central, you’ll know exactly who you’re going to see.
And if you’re interested in comedy but don’t know where to to start? Comic Strip Live even offers classes. It’s an eight week course taught by an experienced comedian. Plus, at the end of your training you get to perform on the stage of one of the best comedy clubs in NYC!
Address: 1568 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028, United States
#12. Union Hall
Although it doesn’t fit into the pantheon of the most historic comedy clubs in NYC, Union Hall is still a worthy addition to your rotation of laugh-factories. Located in Park Slope, Brooklyn it’s array of worthy performers are well worth going out of your way for.
And Union Hall is so much more than one of the best comedy clubs in NYC. The place is an adult playground where you can indulge in a meal next to a fire, enjoy a drink in the outdoor garden, or play indoor bocce ball (seriously!).
If all this sounds confusing it’s because the bar and restaurant is upstairs. Downstairs you’ll find one of the best secret venues in NYC. You can enjoy live music, DJ’s and karaoke on top of one of the best comedy clubs in NYC.
The performance and line-ups vary per day so be sure to check the schedule online before making a bee-line for Union Hall.
Address: 702 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215, United States
Caroline’s has been one of the best comedy clubs in NYC for over 40 years! The club has thrived in locations in Chelsea, the Seaport and Times Square leaving belly-aching laughter in their wake.
Like other historic NYC comedy clubs, Caroline’s has had its fair share of legends come across its stage. Here’s a fun fact: Caroline’s opened originally as a cabaret but when the decision was made to make it comedy club its first performer was none other than Jay Leno.
Unfortunately, Caroline’s was a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic and had to shutter its doors. Even after reopening with the help of aid, the club’s landlord increased rent and they had to close up shop.
In the meanwhile the club has a newsletter you can follow for updates as they search for a new location. I’m confident that when they do we’ll once again have one of the great NYC comedy clubs back in our midst.
Address: 1626 Broadway, New York, NY 10019, United States
#10. Grisly Pear
Grisly Pear is that friendly neighborhood bar you go to for brews and burgers. It’s also the home of one the best comedy clubs in NYC, where you can enjoy dinner and a show.
The shows are made up of quick 10-20 minute sets, so you can hear jokes from a lot of different comedians in a single visit. The pub is small but lively, seriously the energy is always top-notch.
If you’re lucky you might even get a drop in, which is when a famous comedian performs unannounced. They do this to try new material and get on stage without having it be a full, organized tour or event.
Cover fee is $10 which is less than most comedy clubs in NYC. And another plus is that Grisly Pear just opened a second location in Midtown to pair along with its longstanding outpost in the Greenwich Village.
Address: 107 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012, United States
#9. Broadway Comedy Club
The Broadway Comedy Club in NYC is sister clubs with the Greenwich Comedy Club in Midtown. Run by the esteemed comedian Al Martin, the three stage, two floor club flows with an almost poetic smoothness.
Similar to the Greenwich Comedy Club, here you’ll find themed shows showcasing LQBTQ, Latino and Asian comedians. The diversity helps make the shows resonate with a wider audience and in turn create a livelier atmosphere. You can see a full schedule on their official website.
As one of the premier comedy clubs in NYC you shouldn’t be shocked to know some heavy hitters have performed at the club. The laundry list is a long one but it includes Tracy Morgan, Pete Davidson, Tim Allen and Rosie O’Donnell.
The Broadway Comedy Club also hosts one of the most popular open-mics in town, called The Industry Room. Aspiring comics are invited to try their hand on the stage of one of the best comedy clubs in NYC. As an added bonus, there’s a live audience that includes the Booking Director and New Talent Scout of the Broadway Comedy Club.
Address: 318 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, United States
#8. Gotham Comedy Club
Few comedy clubs in NYC are as recognizable as Gotham, and that’s because the club has had its fair share of time on the big screen. Comedy Central even had a show called Live at Gotham filmed exclusively at the club. And the network’s most famous show Last Comic Standing used the club for four seasons!
Other notable works include the pilot episode for Curb Your Enthusiasm with Larry David and the 2002 documentary film Comedian starring Jerry Seinfeld. Needless to say, the club is nearly as famous as its performers.
The lineups change week to week but you can get a glimpse of the full schedule online. If you’re lucky, a celebrity will drop in for a surprise set and you’ll have a memory to last a lifetime. I’ve yet to be surprised, but I keep visiting in hopes that it happens, this is one of the best comedy clubs in NYC at the end of the day.
If you want to make a whole date of it, I suggest getting tickets to the Mixtape Comedy Show. It’s an engaging mixture of both music and comedy by some of the biggest names in the industry including famous rappers, live bands, DJ’s and of course – top-flight comedians.
Address: 208 W 23rd St, New York, NY 10011, United States
#7. New York Comedy Club
The New York Comedy Club has been one of the pillar clubs in NYC for over three decades. Even with the changing of ownership, locations and comedians the joint has been a consistent place to get a good laugh.
They currently have two comedy clubs in NYC, one in the East Village and another in Midtown. Both locale’s boast a steady stream of both guests and comics that are energetic and amped for a great time.
Their website has a calendar that shows what’s happening and when at both locations. I suggest it out before buying tickets because you might be more interested in a show happening across town at the same time.
I will say that the New York Comedy Club is one of the pricier comedy clubs in NYC. Cover charge can be as high as $40, and the two drink minimum per guest is steep since their cocktails float around the $20 mark.
With that said – if you check the schedule and there’s a comedian you really want to see I say swipe (or in this day and age, tap) that card, baby.
Address: 241 E 24th St, New York, NY 10010, United States
#6. West Side Comedy Club
If laughter is really the best medicine then consider me as healthy as a horse. I can credit this to one of the best comedy clubs in NYC, the West Side Comedy Club. Only a few blocks from my apartment, I’m constantly enticed by the thunderous laughter I hear emanating from Amsterdam Avenue.
Having hosted comedic powerhouses such as Jerry Seinfeld, Jessica Kirson and Bill Burr, this New York City comedy club doesn’t shy away from up-and-comers either. Check out the new talent showcases offered on Saturdays for a chance to see the rising stars.
Or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous (after a few beers) try your hand at the open mics session! If you’re not at that point yet sign up for a comedy workshop instead.
Regardless of whether you’re planning to perform or simply looking for the best comedy clubs in NYC, you’re sure to have a good time. All I ask is that if you see me up there, save your tomatoes for the next guy!
Address: 201 W 75th St, New York, NY 10023, United States
#5. The Tiny Cupboard
The Tiny Cupboard is even cuter than its name would suggest. The Bushwick comedy club welcomes you with colorful, hippie-esque graffiti at the door and boasts a bright pink paint on the inside.
The happy vibe is contrasted against the club’s struggles. When COVID hit they began hosting socially-distanced comedy shows on their roof, and that alone makes them one of the best comedy clubs in NYC.
The effort and dedication The Tiny Cupboard has towards giving its community a good laugh should not be understated. Luckily – that effort translates into engaging shows with comics that are excited to be doing what they love.
And the crowd at The Tiny Cupboard is always a hoot. In case you didn’t know, when choosing the best comedy clubs in NYC having the right crowd is almost as important as having the right comedian. Crowds that are giggly and fun make the comedian more confident, and they feed off each other’s energy.
The energetic crowd, unwavering commitment to putting on a good show and fun atmosphere help make The Tiny Cupboard one of the best comedy clubs in NYC. And before I forget, most cover charges are $12 online and $20 at the door, so I suggest booking your tickets ahead of time!
Address: 10 Cooper St, Brooklyn, NY 11207, United States
#4. The Bell House
The Bell House is on this list of the best comedy clubs in NYC largely thanks to its energy. The place feels like a club, because on most days it’s a bar and music venue.
However when The Bell House hosts comedy shows it has a sprawling space to do so. There’s a working kitchen and a full bar, so you’ll be well fed and as happy as can be.
And since the NYC comedy club is a multi-use space it’s easy to understand why there’s different types of comedy. Whether you want a traditional stand-up or even live tapings of comedy podcasts, The Bell Tower hosts it all.
It’s no wonder I’m willing to make the trek from my Upper Manhattan apartment down to Gowanus Brooklyn, it’s one of the best comedy clubs in NYC. However because of the wide ranging acts I wouldn’t visit blindly, check their calendar before boarding the subway in their direction.
Address: 149 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215, United States
#3. Stand Up New York
Sometimes you don’t want all to visit the comedy clubs in NYC with flashy names and flocked by out of town visitors. Sometimes you just want a neighborhood club where you can enjoy a drink and hang out for a while.
And that’s what makes Stand Up New York so special. It’s one of the handful of comedy clubs in NYC that provide no-frills, easy entertainment.
And since it’s such a simple place they don’t sell any food. Having said that you are allowed to pick up food from the neighboring restaurants and bring them with you.
The only bummer is that there is an $18 per-person spend minimum for most shows. Double check your show’s required spend when booking online to avoid sticker-shock.
Their rotation of comedians always seems to toe the line blend between too much and just right masterfully. The Upper West Side joint is a gem and one of the best comedy clubs in NYC.
Address: 236 W 78th St, New York, NY 10024, United States
#2. The Stand
The Stand is almost as good of a restaurant as it is a comedy club, and that’s saying a lot. It’s one of the best comedy clubs in NYC with a fun and lively group of comedians and it’s near impossible to not have a good time.
In fact the owners put together such a strong lineup that The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon hired them as stand-up comedy bookers. They basically serve as scouts because they’re that good at finding talent.
It’s one of my go-to comedy clubs in NYC for date night because the vibe is just right. Drinks flow easily, the laughter comes from the pit of your stomach and the staff is some of the best you’ll find at a comedy club.
I might sound like I’m exaggerating, but with so many strong comedy clubs in NYC The Stand still finds a way to stand out among the crowd.
The only issue is that I can’t afford to make The Stand part of my regular circuit of comedy clubs in NYC. It’s not that it’s ridiculously expensive, I just have such a good time I justify “another round” way more often than I should.
Address: 116 E 16th St, New York, NY 10003, United States
#1. Comedy Cellar
The Comedy Cellar first opened in 1980 and boasts long lines every day of the week. They don’t have headliners, unlike most comedy clubs in NYC, rather they have 5 to 7 comics perform 15-20 minute skits per night.
As such, you never know who to expect on stage, but you’re guaranteed to have a good time because the Comedy Cellar always attracts top-notch talent.
Past comedians who’ve performed there include Robin Williams, John Stewart and Kevin Hart. Needless to say, this is one of the best comedy clubs in NYC.
The only folks that love the Comedy Cellar more than the guests are the comedians themselves. That’s why so many big-name comics drop in while touring.
The possibility of having a comedy-heavyweight drop in out of the blue for a quick set is too enticing to pass up. The Comedy Cellar is the preeminent comedy club New York City has to offer and if you can only visit one, this is it.
Address: 117 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012, United States
NYC Comedy Clubs (Post Summary)
- Comedy Cellar
- The Stand
- Stand Up New York
- The Bell House
- The Tiny Cupboard
- West Side Comedy Club
- New York Comedy Club
- Broadway Comedy Club
- Grisly Pear
- Union Hall
- Comic Strip Live
- Greenwich Village Comedy Club
- The Village Underground
Best Comedy Clubs New York City (Map)
And there you have it friends, the best comedy clubs in NYC according to yours truly. Let me know if you think I missed a spot.
Megan McCarthy says
What map ?