“I’ve got to tell you, that’s a gorgeous four-and-a-half hour drive in from the airport.” – Jimmy Pardo
New York City is revered for its comedy scene, and why shouldn’t it be? Some of the greatest comedians are from, or got their start in New York City. From Jay Leno, to Chris Rock, to Lily Tomlin, to Billy Crystal, to Jon Stewart, some of the funniest minds of the past few decades have started in the city that never sleeps. They may have gone on to star in television and films, but all of them got their start in stand-up or improv comedy.
What is it about New York City that makes it such a comedic destination? One of the most important contributors to local humor is the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater. In 1996, the troupe known as the Upright Citizen’s Brigade (Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, Ian Roberts, Matt Walsh) came to New York City and started performing shows, and teaching improv classes.
Since then they have become one of the premier comedy training programs in the United States of America with campuses in New York City and in Los Angeles. Comedians and Actors of various backgrounds take these incredible classes as a way of furthering their craft, and their alumni include Donald Glover (Childish Gambino, Community), Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover), Aziz Ansari (Parks & Recreation, Funny People), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Recreation, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), and more! If you find yourself looking for a laugh, swinging by UCB in the East Village (153 E 3rd st. (212) 366-9231) or in Chelsea (307 W 26th st. (212) 366-9176). Tickets are around $10. Purchases can be made on the website or at their locations.
It’s not just improv comedy that makes New York City a special comedy destination. Stand-up comedy is famous here. As anyone who has walked through Times Square can tell you, there are ticket salesmen out at all hours of the day selling tickets to various clubs around the city. Some of the best stand up comedy shows in the city can be bought from those ticket vendors. Comedians like Judah Friedlander (30 Rock), Charlie Murphy (Chappelle’s Show), and the aforementioned Donald Glover (Childish Gambino, Community) play the shows that are sold in Times Square. The tickets tend to be around $30 per ticket, but these salespeople allow haggling. Often you can get them for $10-$20 if you buy a couple tickets all at once. Be warned, though, most shows have a two drink minimum while you’re at the show.
Famous New York City stand-up locations include:
• Gotham Comedy Club – 208 W 23rd st. | (212) 367-9000 | gothamcomedyclub.com
• The Comedy Cellar – 116 Macdougal st. | (212) 254-3480 | comedycellar.com
• Caroline’s – 1626 Broadway | (212) 757-4100 | carolines.com
At The Ride, we always have an appreciation for good improv comedy. If you’ve been on our show, then you know our indefatigable hosts, Scott and Jackie, are working with the audience in and outside of a script to create a one of a kind show. Many of the jokes you hear on our show will never be heard again by another audience, as Scott and Jackie work to stay in the moment and speak off the cuff with our riders. This extremely difficult skill-set allows our show to be a one-of-a-kind experience for New Yorkers and Tourists alike, seeing the city through the lens of humor and theatre, and bringing new life to the streets of New York City. Want to laugh your way through the streets of New York? Buy your tickets for our show and come see the most unique show on four wheels!