New York City is one of the best cities in the world for comedy. The gritty streets, late nights, flowing booze, and vibrant theater scene (not to mention plenty of major TV station’s making NYC their home base) has led to NYC having a storied comedy scene.
Ask any comic or stand up comedy enthusiast what the best club in New York is, many of them will inevitably tell you to go to the ‘Cellar.’ The Comedy Cellar, founded in 1982, has been the go-to spot for both budding comics and veterans.
Regular performers include big names like Louis CK, Dave Attell, Amy Schumer, Nick DiPaolo, Colin Quinn and occasionally even comic superstars like Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and Jerry Seinfeld. Pretty much anyone in the who’s who of NYC comedy has done their 15 minutes with the iconic brick wall and stained glass “Comedy Cellar” sign behind them.
Seeing famous comedians can usually put a dent in your wallet. But, there is a way to go to the Comedy Cellar and laugh your ass off without the inevitable crying when you go to the ATM later.
GO ON ANY NIGHT EXCEPT FRIDAY AND SATURDAY.
Yep. You can save more than half the money on admission at select weekday shows. For example:
Monday and Tuesday: $12.00
Wednesday: 8pm and 9:45 pm shows, $14. 11:30 show $10.
Fridays and Saturdays range from $20-$24.
On Wednesday and Thursdays, at 11:30 pm or 12 AM, the Cellar has its “Nasty Show” which features particularly raunchy comedy. However, you can expect R-rated humor at any show, so have no fear if sex or offensive humor is your bag. This is not the club for “So, the duck tells the bartender, ‘just put it on my bill’” jokes that your grandma laughed at in resorts in the Catskills in the 1950s.
The best part is, the lineups are always good and a big name can be on stage any day of the week. Just because it is a weekday or the show is cheaper does not mean you are getting any less of the great comedy you can expect at the Cellar.
Keep in mind, that like almost all comedy clubs, there is a two-drink minimum. At the Cellar, this is a two “item” minimum: you can get alcohol, food, dessert or coffee as part of your minimums, and the prices are reasonable for a comedy club. Food comes from the Olive Tree café from upstairs, which serves solid American fare like burgers and salads and Middle Eastern dishes like falafel. Comics often hang out in the back in the cafe, and it’s fun to see a celebrity just hanging out.
So, come on down to the Cellar and see the timeless art of comedy. Even if you don’t think a comic is funny, you can still appreciate the guts it takes to do one of the hardest things possible in the arts: stand on a stage by yourself and try to make a room full of different kinds of people think you’re funny. I know, because I’ve performed myself as part of a class the Comedy Cellar offers. In any case, the two drinks you need to buy will help loosen those laughs.
The Comedy Cellar is at 117 Macdougal Street. Recently, the Comedy Cellar teamed up with the nearby arts venue The Village Underground, which is right around the corner at 130 W. 3rd St (also called “The Comedy Cellar at the Village Underground). Comics perform at both locations, and the Village Underground is roomier. Given a choice, I’d choose the Cellar for its intimacy and history. Make sure to get your tickets online or show up early, as shows sell out quickly.