The Lantern Comedy Club
167 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012
Bleecker Street has a reputation for being the social centre of NYC, but it presents problems if you want to run a successful comedy gig. The foot traffic, though plentiful, is erratic and oftentimes drunk which makes for unpredictable audience numbers. As a result, I’ve seen dozens of comedians and promoters (including me) attempt to run shows at The Lantern and all of them, sooner or later, kicked the bucket.
Luckily for us, comedian, actor and NYFA instructor Craig Fox has figured it out.
As the director of The Lantern Comedy Club, Fox doesn’t micromanage any of the dozen shows a week performed in the basement of the Village establishment. Instead he hands them off to capable comics with a good eye for talent, who focus on original ways to build a brand and a following for their own shows. Comedian Max May, for example, who runs his show on Friday at 8pm, has found his audience through a relationship with Hostelling International (103rd and Amsterdam) from where, like a kindergarten teacher, he personally navigates 30+ young, curious tourists on the C train all the way down to the Village every week. This, coupled with “endless promotion” on social media, Fox says, sustains the venue with shows reaching a sixty seat capacity regularly.
The Lantern Comedy Club’s greatest claim to fame is that Louis C.K. shot some stand up there as part of the first season of his eponymous TV show, but alas he hasn’t been back since. Not that it matters. The Lantern is a place for young comics to get real good, real quick in front of a real audience.
Thankfully you don’t have to pay Louis C.K. money to see a show here. There isn’t a cover charge to enter, however, as with a lot of comedy venues a two-drink minimum is enforced – but $5 margaritas and $6 PBR-and-a-shot make that particular pill easy to swallow.
I thought about ending this with some tortured metaphor about lanterns and shining light on new talent but instead I’ll say this; there’s a reason every young comic in the circuit wants to get on stage at this venue. You should do yourself a favor and go see exactly why that is.
Monday – Friday 4pm – 4am
Saturday – Sunday 12pm – 4am
A,C,E,B,D,F,M to West 4th Street
Written by Roddy MacInnes