With improv, sketch, and stand-up shows seven nights a week, the UCB theater in Chelsea is the place to see the comic A-listers of today perform alongside the comic A-listers of tomorrow. All shows are gut-busting, but it's Sunday's frenetic "Asssscat 3000" that regularly features improv by cast and writers from SNL, 30 Rock, and The Colbert Report. (Who you may see: Jason Sudeikis, Jack McBrayer, and founding member Amy Poehler — when she's in town).
UCB Theater, 307 West 26th Street (between 8th and 9th avenues); 212-366-9176.
Gotham Comedy Club
Another landmark club, Gotham (est. 1996), is located in trendy Chelsea and packs its showroom for headliners such as Lewis Black, Pablo Francisco, and Dave Attell. New Talent Nights here offer a mix of unknowns with the occasional celebrity drop in— Jim Gaffigan and Jerry Seinfeld have stopped by in recent months.
Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd Street (between 7th and 8th avenues); 212-367-9000.
Carolines on Broadway
A staple of Manhattan's club circuit, Carolines is the perfect venue for locals and tourists alike, regularly bringing out names like Adam Carolla, Susie Essman, and Tracy Morgan. Located blocks above Times Square, a night at Carolines may be the perfect cap to a day spent sight seeing or at work in West Midtown.
Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway (between 7th and 8th avenues); 212-757-4100.
The Comedy Cellar
The Cellar — the go-to spot for stand-up in the West Village — has recently garnered even more exposure through its many guest appearances on FX's Louie. Indeed, Louis CK performs here frequently, as do Colin Quinn, Amy Schumer, and Hannibal Burress, all of whom get in on the club's showcase-style evenings.
Comedy Cellar, 117 MacDougal Street (between West 3rd Street and Minetta Lane); 212-254-3480.
The third of New York's major improv theaters, The Magnet is another home base for nightly improv and sketch. Don't be fooled by the smaller theater size (compared to, say, UCB), laughs here are just as big as anywhere else. Regulars "We're Matt Weir" are two dudes with one name guaranteed to bring the funny.
Magnet Theater, 254 West 29th Street (between 7th and 8th avenues); 212-244-8824.
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