Comedy Scene Over on MacDougal

MacDougal Street

I’ve stopped in for a late dinner at MacDougal Street’s Olive Tree Cafe a few times over the years. On those visits, I noticed a line forming beneath it, didn’t think too much about it. I had no idea that New York City has a thriving comedy scene until reading this story in the New York Times over the weekend. I’ve been to a comedy club perhaps once, ever, so it’s not entirely surprising that this would escape my attention. But to think that two of the hot comedy clubs are right here on MacDougal (and engaged in some, uh, healthy competition).

From the article:

Catch [a Rising Star] was the leading New York club of the 1970s. Today the Comedy Cellar is the new Catch, a comedian’s hangout attracting big names (Chris Rock and Louis C. K.) and regularly selling out. You might say that the Greenwich Village Comedy Club is evidence of the Cellar’s popularity. “Am I successful because of its overflow business?” Mr. Martin asked. “Possibly.”

Sitting in the Olive Tree, a dark room with stained-glass windows, line drawings and a screen showing silent films, Mr. Dworman, a slight man with glasses hanging off the neck of his sweater, took little credit for the Cellar’s success. With a quietly confident New York snap in his voice, he said critical decisions — like a ’90s renovation that established a comics’ table, now a bruising loudmouth version of the Algonquin Round Table — preceded him.

Like Michael Corleone, Mr. Dworman, whose first love is music, reluctantly took over the family business when his father passed away in 2004. But he has built on it with savvy moves, adding a fourth show on Friday and Saturday and resisting the temptation to expand. While he defers most comedy decisions to Ms. [Estee] Adoram, he takes competition and criticism seriously.

Since I typically root for the ‘underdog’ (and at times like to avoid crowds), I probably will check out the Greenwich Village Comedy Club first at some point – and they have last minute half price ticket specials.


Comedy Cellar 117 MacDougal Street
Greenwich Village Comedy Club 99 MacDougal Street
Both between Bleecker and West 3rd, two blocks from park.

Photo: Robert Stolarik, New York Times

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