Sunday, April 11, 2010

Great clubs stretching past northwest Ohio

Earlier this week, Northwest Ohio Comedy took a look at the comedy venues in and around northwest Ohio.

But comedy stretches much farther than the heartland of America.

Wondering where some of the funniest comedians perform?

In 2005, USA Today writers traveled across the country to the find the elitists of comedy clubs.

And after traveling to hundreds of clubs and listening to dozens of experts, the newpspaer compiled what they believed to be the top-ten clubs in the United States.

Here is their list of the craziest chuckle clubs:

The Laugh Factory, Los Angeles, 323-656-1336

Richard Pryor got his start here, 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.

The Punch Line, San Francisco, 415-397-7573,

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.

Gotham, New York, 212-367-9000

Its chic ambience ices the cake of decent prices and good sight lines. When comics are happy, the crowds are, too.

The Comedy Club at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, 609-317-1000

A "tremendous room" in both senses, it's also a rarity — it holds about 900 people. The room boasts tiered seating and "understated, classy d├ęcor."

The Riviera Comedy Club, Las Vegas, 877-892-7469

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 Punchline, Atlanta, 404-252-5233

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.

Hilarities 4th Street Theatre, Cleveland, 216-241-7425

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.

Charlie Goodnight's, Raleigh, N.C., 919-828-5233

A lot of stand-up comics come from the South, and they'll base themselves here, or Atlanta or Chattanooga. The greats and near-greats have autographed the stage wall, where one yukster scrawled, "Raleigh: Where Barney Fife goes to party.

Bear's Place Ale House & Eatery, Bloomington, Ind., 812-339-3460

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.

Note: Comix Cafe, located in Tonawanda, N.Y. shut down and no longer exists. It was on the top 10 list

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