Known for his appearances on Comedy Central and NBC's Last Comic Standing, Jim McCue draws the audience into a rib-tickling, year-ending performance at convivial Italian restaurant Bucca di Beppo. With an impish grin, McCue picks out and good-naturedly picks on guests in a freewheeling set. The chief joke-slinger and supporting comics wrap up the fun before midnight, granting partiers the option to visit a different bar or return home before their cars revert to pumpkins.
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.
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.
At City Steam Brewery Cafe, the owners concoct some of the area’s finest beers, scoring “best of” awards from Hartford magazine and Connecticut Magazine. They also brew potent batches of laughter inside their 200-seat comedy show-room theater. Ensconced in the historic Brown Thomson and Co. building, which was the state’s largest department store in 1877, Brew Ha Ha once was known as the Last Laugh Comedy Club, where fledgling unknowns such as Ray Romano and Kevin James vied for laughs in the smoky rathskeller of a restaurant.
Reborn in 1997 under a new moniker, the standup speakeasy keeps its calendar packed with nationally touring comics and local joke slingers. During shows, guests can toast with mugs of handcrafted beer and make edible sculptures of their favorite comedian using menu’s custom burgers, pizzas, and omelets.
The first Funny Bone location opened in 1982 and has spread infectious laughter ever since. Established stars such as Drew Carey and Jerry Seinfeld have graced the clubs’ stages, as well as up-and-coming talents with fresh faces, fresh routines, and that fresh pine scent. The venue also plays host to a full-service bar, where patrons may steep their sorrows in calming brews, then ingest them triumphantly.
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.