The Long Island Comedy Festival, which won a thumbs-up from Newsday in 2009, sends laughing fits rippling through southeastern New York with showcases of some of the area's most accomplished comedians. The namesake festival spreads out across Long Island every summer, landing at venues that might range from an old-fashioned playhouse to a family amusement park. Many alumni return to perform year after year, making for a festive atmosphere that executive producer Paul Anthony likens to "a comedy party that the audience members have been invited to," rather than one that they sadly listen to through the floorboards. During the rest of the year, the organizers stay busy producing comedy series at other historic venues and exporting their team of comics to college shows.
At Richie B's Diamond Club, an amiable sports-bar atmosphere presents eight large-screen televisions proudly broadcasting events such as football. On weekends, live music and comedy shows entertain as patrons dine on burgers, wraps, wings, and appetizers. Balls scatter across the blue felt of two pool tables as a jukebox plays on.
More than a dozen times—that's how often Treehouse Comedy Productions has been voted the "Best Comedy Showcase" by the readers of Fairfield County Weekly. As the first full-time comedy showcase in Connecticut, Treehouse Comedy Productions has curated stunning selections of world-class standups for more than three decades. The heavy hitters in the Treehouse family tree include Rosie O'Donnell, Jon Stewart, Bill Mahar, Chris Rock, Gilbert Gottfried, and Jerry Seinfeld, who once bid farewell to standup at Treehouse gig just before his TV show, That's So Jerry!, became a hit. With roving locations at area restaurants, casinos, and bars, the arbiters of spit-takes continue to cull the sharpest cut-ups in the country for weekly showcases.
Joker's Wild Comedy Club's stage showcases comics drawn from both the national touring circuit and the local scene. The intimate venue, which recently replaced its space-hogging booths with brand-new seats, features headlining comedians who fill Thursday–Saturday evenings with laughter during 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. shows. On Wednesday night, fledgling funny folk strive for their five minutes of fame at open mic night. Joker’s Wild also runs its own School of Comedy, where budding comedians can chase their dreams of cracking up audiences and keeping glasses of water on a stool. The club’s full menu of pub food mutes growling stomachs with appetizers and entrees for patrons hoping to perfect an onion-ring spit take.
Owner and Sao Paulo native Felipe Franco embraces the culinary traditions of his home country, telling the New Haven Independent in 2012 that "my interest is to show Americans Brazilian food and culture." His menu brims with the country's signature cuisine, including Brazil's peppery national stew of black beans and meat, as well as moqueca—a seafood stew of fish, shrimp, mussels, calamari, or kraken-gone-astray that simmers inside a handmade clay pot. To accompany these entrees, the bartenders deftly mix potent yet refreshing caipirinhas using cachaça, or sugar-cane rum, Brazil's favored spirit.
Located amid Mashantucket's rolling hills in the middle of the Foxwoods Resort Casino, Comix treats audiences to shows by the country's top comedians. National headliners, up-and-comers, and musical acts all fill the venue's spaces. Performers in the 1,400-seat Fox Theater play to a larger but still intimate audience, while the 4,000-person MGM Grand Theater hosts such hilarity-generating superstars as Louis C.K., Jim Gaffigan, and Margaret Cho. Before shows, guests can take advantage of happy hour, perusing a menu of tasty appetizers such as wings and pizza, as well as a drink selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.