Six of the best: comedy clubs in NYC

It’s said that New York houses more comedians per capita than anywhere else in the world, so we’ve collated six of the best laugh-out-loud haunts to visit next time you’re looking for giggles in the Big Apple

Asylum NYC

The much-loved Asylum NYC wrapped up its tenure at the basement theatre beneath Gristedes in Chelsea at the end of December, before its move to new bigger premises in the Flatiron district at 123 East 24th Street. From Thursday to Monday, Asylum hosted some of New York’s best sketch comedy, improv, stand-up and variety shows, so we’re super excited to see what the club puts on when it reopens very soon. If being a passive spectator of comedy is not enough, Asylum also holds brilliant improv, stand-up and sketch-writing classes for you budding SNLers.

123 East24th Street, Manhattan; asylumnyc.com


As Caveat says itself, ‘We celebrate quick wits, sharp observations, and fast-thinking with a side-order of silly’. Housed deep underground on the Lower East Side, Caveat is a 120-seater comedy and cabaret club that prides itself on showcasing some of the city’s sharpest, smartest, and nerdiest comedy. Co-founders Ben Lillie and Kate Downey curate a brilliantly diverse and eclectic calendar, with Sunday’s Raaaatscraps improv night being a regular favourite and a great way to put off thinking about Monday mornings (they also livestream a lot of the shows).

21A Clinton Street, Manhattan; caveat.nyc

Comedy Cellar

The Comedy Cellar opened an outpost in Las Vegas in 2018, but the New York venue in Greenwich Village is still the mecca of American stand-up, where you’ll often find A-list drop-ins testing out new material. From Robin Williams and Chris Rock to Louis CK, Dave Chappelle, and Amy Schumer, the iconic brick wall backdrop of the Comedy Cellar has played host to some of the sharpest wits in comedy, so if you like your headliner comedians, it’s the best gig in town and has been ever since it opened in 1982. From Sunday to Thursday, you can expect a handful of shows each night, filling out to about 10 shows per night on Friday and Saturday, split between the Comedy Cellar and the Village Underground, which is just a skip around the corner.

117 MacDougal Street, Manhattan; comedycellar.com

Comic Strip Live

Comic Strip Live is the grandad of New York comedy clubs, co-founded in 1975 by the now departed Richie Tienken, and is widely known to be one of the world’s oldest stand-up comedy showcase clubs. This Upper East Side venue has spawned some of the greatest comedy careers known to mankind, including the likes of Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, and Adam Sandler. Bizarrely, it also once held the Guinness World Record for the Longest Continuous Stand Up Comedy Show, which clocked in at just over the 50-hour mark. If you fancy yourself as a stand-up comedian in the making, the Strip’s new talent show is a great proving ground for you to try out your content and get invaluable experience in one of the world’s most famous clubs.

1568 Second Avenue, Manhattan; comicstriplive.com

Gotham Comedy Club

TV comedy is inextricably linked with the Gotham Comedy Club in Chelsea, which has been the home of numerous specials and showcases since it opened in 1996. Now run by the Mazzilli brothers Chris and Steven (Chris was the original co-founder), it’s still a magnet for famous drop-ins, not least Jerry Seinfeld, who filmed his documentary Comedian there. Gotham launched the careers of the likes of Jim Gaffigan and Amy Schumer and has also hosted heavyweights such as Kevin Hart, Bill Burr and Jim Breuer. Tuesday’s Comedy Juice night is much lauded as the best mid-week stand-up night in all of New York.

208 West23rd Street, Manhattan; gothamcomedyclub.com

The Stand

The Stand owners Patrick Milligan and brothers Cris and Paul Italia have created a truly great comedy venue near Union Square, not only hosting the city’s finest new talents and A-list headliners, but combining them with top-class Italian food and superb cocktails. It has been named New York’s best comedy venue by New York Magazine and Time Out NY, and we’re not going to argue with that. Expect names such as Bill Burr, Tracy Morgan, Artie Lange, Judah Friedlander and Janeane Garofalo delivering side-splitting stand-up performances.

116 East16th Street, Manhattan; thestandnyc.com

Ryan Thompson is a UK-based menswear and lifestyle writer, whose work has appeared in, among others, the Financial Times, Mr Porter, The Rake and Ape to Gentleman

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