If you often walk through Times Square or Greenwich Village, odds are you’ve come across someone hawking comedy club tickets and assumed they’re all tourist traps. But this is no laughing matter! Lots of things in New York get cast away in the tourist pile, yet many are actually worthwhile pursuits for New Yorkers, including comedy clubs.
Sure, some of them can be pretty cringe-worthy, but they can also vary dramatically (comedically?) from night to night, so it’s worth giving them a chance. For example, the first time I went New to Dangerfield’s in the Upper East Side it looked like it was barely hanging on to every ounce of cool it used to have, and the midnight show on a Friday night had 8 people in the audience, including me and a friend. It was an uncomfortably small crowd as the comics struggled to interact with the few people watching, and I assumed that Dangerfield’s was pretty much a has-been.
Yet several months later, I went back for a Sunday night show, assuming it would be as dead as the Friday night one, but it turned out to be a packed house with a long lineup of comics who rocked the house, even though they weren’t famous.
If you’re looking for fame, though, many New York comedy clubs such as Comedy Cellar and Gotham Comedy Club sometimes have big name drop-ins like Louis CK, Amy Schumer and Jim Gaffigan. And those clubs have such good regular lineups that the celebrity drop-ins sometimes aren’t even as funny that night as the others! Many clubs also have minor celebrities on regular rotation, like Judah Friedlander from 30 Rock, who performs all over New York, such as at The Stand in Gramercy.
Comedy clubs are also an awesome value for a night out. Broadway shows are great, but you’ll have to gain an affinity for instant ramen and PB&J for a little while if you want to afford tickets, whereas comedy clubs can accommodate pretty much any budget. Some shows are even free, like at the bar Lucky Jack’s in the Lower East Side. At my personal favorite Comedy Cellar, for instance, tickets range from $14-$24 with a two-item minimum, and those items are actually fairly priced. Plus, if a big name comic drops in, the value of your ticket skyrockets.
So next time you need a little pick-me-up from some laughs or are just looking for a fun night out that doesn’t entirely revolve around bumping into people in a packed bar, try one of New York’s many great comedy clubs.
Leave a comment with your favorite comedy club or ask if you need any recommendations!