If laughter is the best medicine, fight the cold and flu this season with a trip to a comedy club. From the classic brick-walled nightclubs to some undiscovered gems, we’ve rounded up the best places in the country to experience live comedy up close and personal.
It isn’t easy being the class clown in Music City, but Zanies Comedy Night Club in Nashville, Tenn., has been hosting the stars for 30 years. Icons like Richard Lewis, D.L. Hughley and Marc Maron frequently grace the club’s intimate stage. It’s also a great place to discover homegrown talent at showcase nights. The space is small and shows sell out quickly, so book ahead!
Surrounded by pizza places and jazz clubs in Manhattan’s bustling Greenwich Village, you might walk past this small basement space a few times before you find it. But once inside, you’ll recognize the Comedy Cellar from the critically acclaimed FX comedy series Louie. On any given night, you can see a parade of stand-ups: from Saturday Night Live writers to famous acts like Colin Quinn and Wanda Sykes. Even legends like Jon Stewart and Jerry Seinfeld have been known to drop by.
Funny in San Fran
San Francisco’s only full-time comedy club, the Punch Line has been in business for over 32 years. The tiny basement bar is legendary for giving stars such as Robin Williams, Ellen Degeneres and Chris Rock their big breaks. Its stellar history and friendly audiences continue to attract hot new talent. Want to brag that you discovered the next Margaret Cho? Be sure to check out a Sunday showcase of local rising stars.
For 50 years, the Improv in L.A. has served as a clubhouse for comics: legend has it that Jim Carrey and Judd Apatow worked the door and Jay Leno helped paint the ceiling. Most modern masters of stand-up have paid their dues here, and they frequently return to this old-fashioned comedy club to check out emerging acts. The theater also hosts the monthly Comedy Rocks, where comics interview musicians onstage.
The laid-back vibe of Austin’s Cap City Comedy Club attracts the country’s top touring comedians to the Texas capital. Housed in a strip mall, the room is not glamorous, but with acts like Mad TV’s Bobby Lee and Joe Rogan, you’ll forget the surroundings fast. The best bang for your comedy buck is Tuesday night’s PUNCH!, showcasing the best upcoming comics for only $5.
Off the beaten track but well worth the trek is the Comedy Attic in Bloomington, IN, named one of the 10 best comedy clubs in the nation by USA Today. Pro shows are held Thursday to Saturday, while Wednesday is open-mike night. Famous funny faces that have graced the Attic’s stage include Emo Philips and Todd Barry, as well as “comedians’ comedians” like Hannibal Buress and Amy Schumer.
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By Rhonda Riche