Comedy Clubs

When work proves trying and the world seems bleak, counter the dreariness with a visit to one of New York's best comedy clubs. These entertainment havens provide evenings of laughter and escape, ensuring that patrons walk away with a cheerier outlook and a lighter spirit. Shows can include improv, stand-up, or group comedy, and as seen at venues like Joe's Pub, they highlight New York's nightlife scene and the lightning-quick wits of local and national comics.

10 Manchester Pub
Manchester Pub offers New Yorkers the chance to experience an authentic English-style pub in all its glory. The neighborhood folks and even a few diplomats from the United Nations enjoy the pub's laid-back atmosphere and the fact that, here, Boddington's flows freely. If you are looking for a place to catch football — UK-style of course — or to just toss back a few Boddington's, then this Midtown East pub should be high on your list. TRAIN: 4, 5, 6 to 51st St- Lexington Ave (212-935-8901, 212-935-8905)

9 Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre
Chicago-style improve is alive and well in the Big Apple thanks to the efforts of this energetic group of comedians. Indeed, founders Matt Besser, Amy Poehler, Ian Roberts, and Matt Walsh all hail from the Windy City, and their unique brand of cutting-edge comedy has been raising eyebrows and breaking ribs since the late 90s. The group's been so successful that it moved into a state-of-the-art theater that allows them to offer several performances and comedic seminars each week. TRAIN: C, E to 23rd St; 1, 2, 3, 9 to 28th St (212-366-9176)

8 Carolines on Broadway
Not for the timid, Caroline's presents well-known acts performing raunchy comedy. A two-drink minimum is strictly enforced, but you will want more than two if you sit close to the front since you will end up being part of the act. TRAIN: C, E, 1, 9 to 50th St; B, D, E to 7th Ave; N, R to 49th St (212-757-4100)

7 Dangerfield's
Bearing the name of its famous co-founder, Rodney Dangerfield, this comedy club is one of the most respected on the Upper East Side — no pun intended. Situated between 61st and 62nd Streets, the charmingly seedy Dangerfield's hosts a good mix of young and old talents each month, and some are almost as funny as the club's infamous hecklers. The best seats are close to the stage, especially if you don't mind being the punch line for a few jokes. TRAIN: 4, 5, 6 to 86th St (212-593-1650)

6 Stand-Up New York Comedy Club
In between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue stands the red brick Stand-Up New York, one of the Upper West Side's premiere live comedy venues. Arranged like the quintessential comedy club, Stand-Up tends to get crowded as the weekend approaches, especially if the headliner is well known. The club's only drawbacks: the bathrooms are located rather inconveniently downstairs, and there is a two-drink minimum. TRAIN: 1, 9 to 79th St (212-595-0850)

5 National Comedy Theatre
Comedy teams compete for your applause at these family-friendly performances, which are reminiscent of Drew Carey's popular TV show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" The battle of wits and barbs lasts around an hour and half, and all topics are generated using audience suggestions. This is improv comedy at its best — and cleanest — so bring your best ideas and be prepared to laugh the night away! TRAIN: A, C, E, 1, 9 to 34th St (212-629-5202)

4 Comic Strip
If you're looking for a comedy club with a long roster of distinguished alumni, the Comic Strip is it. Around since before the days of disco, this spot has hosted everything from post-prom bashes to off-color fundraisers over the years, and its audiences have been able to catch stand-up routines by eventual big-names like Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. Reservations are a must for Friday and Saturday night shows. TRAIN: 66 to 77th St (212-861-9386)

3 Gotham Comedy Club
A great place to catch stand-up acts, Gotham has been on the scene since the mid-90s. The space's stylish red interior, designed by co-owner Chris Mazzilli, captures the magic of 20s-era New York, and upon the lobby walls are photos of many of history's greatest comedic talents. Comics do more than decorate the walls, though — they also take the stage, and Gotham crowds have been entertained by some of the industry's top stand-ups in recent years, including Dave Chapelle and Lewis Black. TRAIN: F, N, R, 1, 9 to 23rd St (212-367-9000)

2 Broadway Comedy Club
Formerly the Improv, this snug club routinely churns out some truly fun nights, especially if you're into sketch comedy (the Wednesday-Friday show put on by Chicago City Limits stands as the city's longest-running improv show). The space is intimate, so if you sit close to the stage be aware that one (or more) of the performers that night may make a joke or two at your expense. Looking for star-quality? The Broadway advertises that each show features at least four national headliners. TRAIN: C, E, 1, 9 to 50th St (212-757-2323)

1 Comedy Cellar
If the Village has a funny bone, this is where it gets tickled thanks to a star-studded group of alumni that includes Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Ray Romano, Jerry Seinfeld, and Damon Wayans. The space is intimate (translation: seating is limited, so be sure to make reservations!), and this means that many comedians incorporate audience members into their acts. If you visit during non-show hours, head upstairs to the pubby Olive Tree, which offers a full dinner menu and creative mixers like the white Russian shake. Two-drink minimum for shows. Shows are 18+ from Sunday to Thursday. TRAIN: A, C, E, B, V, D, F to W 4th St (212-254-3480)

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Maps and Directions

Manchester Pub 10Best List Arrow
Type: Bar, Late Night / After Hours, Pub, Sports Bar
Neighborhood: Midtown East
Carolines on Broadway 10Best List Arrow
Type: Comedy Club, Lounge
Neighborhood: Midtown West
Dangerfield's 10Best List Arrow
Type: Comedy Club
Neighborhood: Midtown East
Stand-Up New York Comedy Club 10Best List Arrow
Type: Live Entertainment, Lounge
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
National Comedy Theatre 10Best List Arrow
Type: Comedy Club
Comic Strip 10Best List Arrow
Type: Comedy Club
Neighborhood: UPPER EAST SIDE
Gotham Comedy Club 10Best List Arrow
Type: Comedy Club
Neighborhood: Chelsea
Comedy Cellar 10Best List Arrow
Type: Comedy Club
Neighborhood: West Village