10 great places to sit down and
|If you don't feel April Foolish today,
inspire your sense of humor at a live comedy show. Whether you're
home or traveling, there's one near you, say Brian McKim and Traci
Skene, who have performed in all 50 states. They also run shecky
magazine.com, an online monthly for comedians and their fans,
which they launched five years ago today. McKim shares some of the
couple's favorite comedy clubs with Anne Goodfriend for USA
The Laugh Factory
Richard Pryor got his start in this
"star-studded room (where) you'll always see someone you know"
onstage. Saturday Night Live alum Jon Lovitz holds forth on
Wednesday nights, and Fox TV's Comic Strip Live is taped here
on Saturdays. "So many comedians move to Hollywood, (the club)
always has a good choice" of headliners. 323-656-1336; laughfactory.com.
The Punch Line
"A wonderful comedy town with savvy fans," San
Francisco isn't as loaded with industry types as Los Angeles, so
comics can "do longer sets and be a little more experimental" here.
Margaret Cho, Dave Chapelle and other cutting-edge stars have graced
the Punch Line, which bills itself as the city's longest-running and
only full-time comedy club. 415-397-7573; punchlinecomedyclub.com.
"Everything is right about" this relatively new
club in the hip Flatiron District: Its chic ambience ices the cake
of "decent prices and good sight lines. When comics are happy, the
crowds are, too." Tonight and Saturday, four stand-up acts are the
"All-Pro Lineup from Letterman, Leno, Conan, Comedy Central &
HBO." 212-367-9000; gothamcomedyclub.com.
The Comedy Club at the Borgata Hotel Casino
"The newest club in town ... was built
especially for performers, mostly for comedy." A "tremendous room"
in both senses, it's also "a rarity it holds about 900 people."
The room boasts tiered seating and "understated, classy dιcor."
Dennis Miller appears April 23. 609-317-1000; theborgata.com.
Hilarities 4th Street
The old Hilarities Comedy Hall helped revive
the city's historic Warehouse District; its successor is part of a
restaurant and entertainment facility. Although the theater can hold
up to 425 guests, it still feels intimate. "If a room is run
correctly the show starts on time, there's a warm-up before the
headliner, the first drink has been served, the lights and sound are
good and the crowd knows what to expect from professional comics,
they'll have a good time." 216-241-7425; pickwickandfrolic.com.
The Comix Cafι
"The audience was rabid when we played there in
January. It's not fancy, just a shoe-box-shaped room in a strip
mall" near Buffalo. "But when the show starts, it's a love affair
between the audience and the comic." 716-835-4242; comixcafe.com.
The Riviera Comedy Club
Booked "consistently well" by Steve Schirripa
(who plays Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri on HBO's The Sopranos),
this club "always has three or four comics on the bill, usually from
L.A. or New York." The hotel, a Vegas classic, describes the room on
its Web site as "reminiscent of a Manhattan nightclub, complete with
neon-studded walls and canopy entrance." 877-892-7469; rivierahotel.com/entertainment_comedyclub.asp.
"This might be the best club in the country,"
with its top acts and a room that holds "185 rabid comedy fans." The
stage that has featured such stars as Robin Williams and Rich Little
welcomes Nick DiPaolo Emmy-nominated for his writing on The
Chris Rock Show - next week, Monday-Thursday. 404-252-5233; punchline.com.
"A lot of stand-up comics come from the South,
and they'll base themselves here, or Atlanta or Chattanooga." This
club "draws on comics from all over the Southeast as well as the
Northeast." The greats and near-greats have autographed the stage
wall, where one yukster scrawled, "Raleigh: Where Barney Fife goes
to party." 919-828-5233; charliegoodnights.com.
Bear's Place Ale House & Eatery
"We have to include a one-nighter," the staple
of comic road warriors everywhere. This one, just off the Indiana
University campus, presents its "Comedy Caravan" only two nights a
week, "but it gets packed, and everybody who's anybody in comedy has
played there there are pictures of them on the walls."