Comedy Cellar

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The Comedy Cellar stage as seen from the audience left

The Comedy Cellar is a comedy club in Manhattan where many top New York comedians perform. It was founded in 1982 by then standup comedian, and current television writer/producer Bill Grundfest. It is located in the heart of Greenwich Village on 117 Macdougal Street between West 3rd Street and Minetta Lane. The upstairs portion is a restaurant called The Olive Tree Cafe to which it is connected, and where many of the comedians hang out after performing. The businesses share the same menu, kitchen, and staff.

The Comedy Cellar, like The Comedy Store, uses a showcase format, as opposed to a headline format like most clubs. A show will consist of between five and seven comics performing sets of roughly 20 minutes each.

Regular performers there include Todd Barry, Colin Quinn, Jim Norton, Mitch Fatel, SNL star Darrell Hammond, Rich Vos, Dave Attell, Louis C.K.,[1] Nick DiPaolo, Artie Lange, Dave Chappelle, and podcast host Marc Maron. Also, some rising stars in comedy frequently perform, including Dov Davidoff, Robert Kelly, Harrison Greenbaum, Sherrod Small, Amy Schumer, Keith Robinson, Gregg Rogell, Nikki Glaser, and Ben Bailey.

Each week consists of three shows a night on Sunday through Thursday and four shows each Friday and Saturday.

The New York Post regularly rates the Cellar as the best comedy club in New York.[2] Musician John Mayer can also be seen dabbling in stand-up here occasionally.[3]

Much of Jerry Seinfeld's 2002 documentary Comedian was filmed at the club, and it also can be seen in a 2006 Pepsi commercial starring SNL star Jimmy Fallon.

The beginning sequence of Louis CK's television series Louie shows him walking into the Comedy Cellar. Many scenes in the show are filmed in and around the Comedy Cellar and Olive Tree Cafe. Speaking with ESPN's Bill Simmons about the club on a Grantland podcast in June 2012, CK discussed playing shows at the Cellar to empty rooms in the 1990s, stating that then-owner Manny Dworman "kept comedy alive" by making comedians perform on empty stages, in an effort to lure in potential customers.[4] The club was also featured in Chris Rock's film Top Five, including a performance by his character, Andre Allen.

In September 2015, the club launched its public-policy debate series [5] with a debate on the Iran nuclear deal. The debate featured professor and lawyer Alan Dershowitz and journalist Fred Kaplan, among others.

In March, 2016, writer Jessica Pilot and Katla McGylnn wrote an oral history of the club for Vanity Fair.[6]


  1. ^ "Comedian Louis C.K.: Finding Laughs Post-Divorce". NPR. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  2. ^ "Business Info, reviews, and directions". Citysearch. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  3. ^ "My Big Mouth Strikes Again". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ McGlynn, Katla. "An Oral History of the Comedy Cellar". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2016-03-20. 

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Coordinates: 40°43′48″N 74°00′01″W / 40.730131°N 74.000403°W / 40.730131; -74.000403