Comedy Cellar

Bar / Comedy Club / Restaurant
Comedy Cellar One of New York's most hallowed halls of stand-up, the Comedy Cellar – which has hosted the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chapelle, and Jon Stewart – remains a go-to venue for tourists, groups of giggling college students... New York United States 40.730131 -74.0004598
3.6 14
Comedy Cellar - Bar | Comedy Club | Restaurant in New York.
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Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review One of New York’s most hallowed halls of stand-up, the Comedy Cellar – which has hosted the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chapelle, and Jon Stewart – remains a go-to venue for tourists, groups of giggling college students... ... read full review

  • Subway:

    A, B, C, D, E, F, M: West 4th Street-Washington Square-6th Avenue

  • Phone:

    212-254-3480

  • Links:

  • Hours:

    Performances Su–Th 9pm and 11pm; F 8pm, 9:45pm, and 11:30pm; Sa 7:30pm, 9:15pm, 11pm, and 12:45am

  • Recommended as:

    • Night Spot

Party Earth Comedy Cellar Review

The Scene

One of New York's most hallowed halls of stand-up, the Comedy Cellar – which has hosted the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chapelle, and Jon Stewart – remains a go-to venue for tourists, groups of giggling college students...

One of New York’s most hallowed halls of stand-up, the Comedy Cellar – which has hosted the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chapelle, and Jon Stewart – remains a go-to venue for tourists, groups of giggling college students, and business types in the market for a few good laughs.

A hallway hung floor to ceiling with headshots of the Cellar’s past performers leads patrons into a wide but intimate cocktail lounge and restaurant, where couples and future comedians grab a bite to eat and peruse the collection of silkscreen posters of famous comedy performances.

The focal point, of course, is the small stage in front of an exposed brick wall, where a zealous MC introduces at least two shows a night featuring up-and-coming comics with resumes that include The Tonight Show and 30 Rock.

Patrons should be aware that the comedians make use of the downtown vibe and intimate space to test out some of their more scandalous material, and those seated next to the stage might find themselves the butt of a joke – much to the delight of the other guests seated a safe distance away.

Despite its modest basement space and slightly out-of-the-way address, Comedy Cellar remains one of the world’s best comedy joints for young comedians and enthusiastic laughers alike.

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Tip from Emma:

The best way to avoid the sometimes snippy staff at the door is to make a reservation. Better yet, check out the website for special offers, which just might save you the cover charge and drink minimum.

  • Crowd

    Out-of-towners, groups of friends, students, aspiring comedians, dates, couples, and business professionals, 20s to 40s.

  • Entertainment / Music

    At least two performances nightly featuring four or five comedians. Ambient music between sets. Stand-up classes offered for hopeful professionals and hobbyists.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Full menu includes wings, salads, wraps, burgers, and desserts. Two-item minimum.

  • Prices

    Cover charge $10/M–W, $12/Th and Su, $18/F–Sa. Salads $6+, burgers $10+, entrées $11+, desserts $5+. Beer $4+, wine $7+, cocktails $7+. Comedy lessons $400 for eight three-hour classes, two live performances, and DVDs of each performance.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Nice casual: untucked button-downs, jeans, comfortable dresses, jackets, boots, flats.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Just about any night, though the late shows on Fridays and Saturdays usually feature the biggest-name comics.

  • Close By

    The Olive Tree Café upstairs offers a fuller restaurant menu and a coffee shop.

Comedy Cellar User Reviews

Average rating:
Go early for best seats
Erica S. Feb 21, 2013
I used to go to this place when there was no cover charge which is always a plus when your forced to buy drinks. I remember all the comedians drink at the bar at the restaurant before and during the show. Dave Attell was always creeping around and Sharrod Small would invite everyone back to his place. Random Wednesday nights are usually when well known comedians show up. I think it was a Wednesday night when I saw Dane Cook. Definitely wasn't his best material but it made for a very memorable night. I would recommend showing up early because I remember having to wait outside in single file for seats and its a really tight squeeze in that basement.
Flying gin!
Reina B. Feb 19, 2013
I came here back in December, right around Christmas. Given the hype surrounding this place, I was surprised at the ease involved in booking tickets and getting a good seat at the show. First off, when you book online, don't expect to find out exactly who will be performing until closer to the day. And even when the list of names is published, do not be put off if most of the acts are unrecognizable, for two reasons: 1 -- this place is famous for having surprise drop ins (Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, just to name a few up-and-comers) 2 - the less famous comedians end up being hilarious. When I showed up to the venue, there were two separate lines -- one for those who hadn't booked, and one around the corner for those who had. Here is a warning -- while you are waiting on line, you may or may not be accosted by some homeless men that want to show you their card tricks in exchange for money. This happened to us. But this is New York. No jaws were dropping. But, after the first two men came by and showed us their haphazard card magic, a third guy came by and by that point we decided to push him away and not give him a chance to start up. Unfortunately, the shabbily dressed man that was trying to approach us was in fact an employee of the Comedy Cellar, and wanted us to show him our tickets so he could let us in. Oops. After the little misunderstanding he was none too pleased but let us in without much fuss. Learn from my mistakes. When you are here, welcome every potentially-homeless person with open arms. Once inside, you will find that the space is quite tight, making for a cozy environment, and also guaranteeing that nearly anywhere you sit will give you a good view of the stage. The night I was there, Tom Papa, Jim Norton, Gregg Rogell, and Robert Kelly performed. I was drinking a gin and tonic when Papa opened his mouth, he made me laugh so hard that I spit out my drink and couldn't breath. Too many funny things were happening on stage for me to care. If you're a comedy buff, or just enjoy a good chuckle every now and again, book your tickets and go.
A Must-See for Comedy Fans!
Lauren C. Jan 25, 2013
This is a true testament to underground comedy culture! Scanning the line-ups you might only pick out a couple of familiar names, but this show never fails in my opinion. In fact, as Chris mentioned below, sometimes the headliners are not the best acts! The lesser known comics are always spot on, and really work the crowd well. Because the venue doesn't hold a lot of people, there is a more intimate vibe, and no seat is a bad seat in the Comedy Cellar. Chris Rock also stopped by on a night I was there, it was amazing, and something I hear happens quite often. The acts of always diverse, featuring different comics with different styles of delivery and humor. Each time I've been, the MC is just as entertaining as the comics, slipping in a few jokes and questions for the audience between each act. Makes for a well-rounded experience. There is a two drink minimum, but if you want more than that be sure to drink up quick! They'll come by with the bill and call last call before you know it. I think it's to regulate how rowdy everyone gets. No one likes a heckler. After you reserve online, my advice is to stop by early before the show because it increases your odds of getting a good table. If you're feeling brave, pick a table right next to the stage. Sure, you'll get made fun of, but it always makes the evening more interesting. Ladies, bring you guy here and stick him in the front with you. It's inevitable that one of the comics will throw a jab in there.
Excellent place for live comedy
Mark S. Dec 12, 2012
The iconic comedy cellar is a great place to spend an evening with friends. If you like live comedy, there aren't many (if any) better places in the city to go. Don't be surprised to have a big name comedian show up unnanounced to practice some routines (a la Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, etc). Your enjoyment of the night might certainly rely on the comedians performances that evening. There is a drink minimum that is easily attainable, and I can not attest to the food, but I imagine its regular pub fare level. If you are coming here for the food or drink, you might be the type of person that a comedian would make fun of. Otherwise sit back, relax and enjoy the show!
Favorite Comedy Club
Risa C. Dec 8, 2012
I've been coming here since I was 16 and have yet to have a night that hasn't been thoroughly entertaining. They host a lot of really great acts, and the cover charge + drink requirement is pretty reasonable. They also have a tendency to have "surprise acts" which can be very a-list celebrities. A few years ago when I went on a very memorable (read unmemorable since I drank a bottle of vodka before I went) night when they announced a special guest which ended up being Dave Chappelle in the prime of the Chappelle show era, and only 3 days before he disappeared to Africa. They also are big on audience abuse which always makes for a unique show. Also, a lot of the comedians hang out upstairs at the bar before and after their acts so if you want to get heckled some more, now you know where to find them.
Tight quarters, but worth it for a night of laughter
Michele P. Nov 30, 2012
Having been there 4 times over the years, we have watched several SNL cast do their act on this stage. It's very small and they usually have more than one show per night. The best thing about the cellar is you hear 4 or 5 comics in a show, and usually you won't have more than one dud.
Hit or miss
Chris K. Nov 15, 2012
What the Comedy Cellar does well is showcases some of the best and brightest comedians in the city, nay, the world. Guys like Hannibal Buress, Louis CK, or Nick DiPaolo will just show up on a given night and do one of the greatest, most side-splitting sets you've ever heard in an intimate and energetic atmosphere. This is a historical venue, a comedy mecca. But honestly, the two-drink minimum can be a pain, and given the size and intensity of the crowd, the staff can get overwhelemed and forgetful. It can also get cramped, and a little dark. So, for the record, great comedy, meh bar. I wish I could give this two-and-a-half stars.
...and then Chris Rock showed up
Chris M. Nov 8, 2012
I went to the Comedy Cellar for my birthday and was pretty excited when the lineup came out and Artie Lange was the biggest name. And then Chris Rock showed up! Normally everyone does about 15 minutes and there were 2 acts, then Artie, then Chris Rock for about 30 minutes, and then one more act. Artie was actually the worst of the group, the other 3 I didn't know but they had their act together and were true professionals, hitting the laugh lines well. Especially impressive was Greer Barnes who followed Rock and kept the laughs right on going. The Comedy Cellar is small and they pack you in right before the show and get you out pretty quick after. Cover was $24 plus 2 drinks, it ended up coming to about $40/person for our group which is very reasonable. We sat at a table where 2 in our group were actually facing away from the stage and had to turn sideways to see the show, but they made it work. They put up 4 shows a night on the weekends and I recommend reserving seats but not too far in advance. They don't even announce the lineup until the week of and special guests like Chris Rock can appear unannounced. I have seen a lot of comedy and not everyone hits every night, but everyone we saw was pretty on. Chris Rock had maybe one joke prepared, some 9/11 material right before Hurricane Sandy hit, that was hilarious, and then just asked the audience for some topics and he just riffed for a while. And he is funny enough to pull it off. Artie seemed similarly unprepared but wasn't able to pull it off quite as well. The others, Ryan Hamilton, Greer Barnes, and another guy had their polished act together and were in good form. Great spot in the Village next to a ton of other stuff and a pretty affordable way to see some top notch talent.
A comedy institution
Jonathan K. Oct 5, 2012
The Comedy Cellar is probably the protoypical comedy club in New York. If you’re a Louie CK fan, it’s in front of the classic brick wall at the Cellar where he tapes his stand-up bits for his show. It‘s been the home club for dozens of comedians who’ve made it big, and remains the home club for many even after making it big. Its rich history immediately becomes apparent as you enter and see the pictures and autographs of what seems to be virtually every major comic of the last few decades. This is the sort of venue where comedians can be their most vulgar and least restrained, exactly as we want them. Sadly, comics lament the fact that they have to be more careful than ever now, since everyone seems to have a compulsion to tape absolutely everything. While the daily lineup seems to have gotten a little light lately, there’s no question that every comic who gets up there is a true professional. You’ll almost certainly see someone great you’ve never heard of, and it’s likely you’ll see some comics you have heard of. For instance, a guy like Dave Attell is still a regular. Unfortunately, the last few times I’ve seen him he’s mailed it in, which is a shame since he’s capable of being one of the great club comics out there. If you get especially lucky, you may see a true superstar stop by to practice some material. I was in the front row years ago when Chris Rock decided he wanted to drop by and use the Cellar to practice his Oscars hosting material. Some advice for audience members: Don’t be offended if the comics do some crowd work and make fun of you a bit. Don’t be afraid to interact with them, but don’t try to be a comedian either. Leave it to the professionals. In the immortal words of George Carlin, “What kind of audience member will I be? Will I be the pride of my row?”
Non stop laughter
Sandy S. Aug 29, 2012
I was last at the Comedy Club almost a year ago but I still remember the amount of fun I had like it was yesterday. I was lucky to have observed a great set of performers at their act which made it all the more better. One thing you do have to keep in mind is that you should be prepared for a barrage of dirty and racial jokes which a lot of them might not be able to handle when picked on and on a sidenote - Do NOT be late as you will for sure be picked on unless you want to put yourself through misery for the rest of the night. There is nothing fancy about the place but I liked it cos it created an intimate setting with just the performer and you not being too far away which in my opinion is great since you are not seated miles away from the stage. Food was okay but you are not really there to enjoy the meal so I didn't really pay much attention to it, there is however a 2 item minimum which I think is standard nowadays. I booked tickets in advance which I would recommend everyone to do as you will surely save yourself some trouble. I would recommend this place highly to anyone looking to have a good time in NYC as for sure you will not be disappointed.
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