This venue is closed.
Climb the illuminated staircase to the Laugh Factory’s main showroom and you’ll feel you’re traveling back in time, to the once-reviled, raunchy heyday of Times Square. Every square inch of wall and ceiling is paved in tiny mirrored tile or lined with crimson or onyx-black panels, evoking the steamy ghost of ShowWorld, one of Eighth Ave’s last great peep and skin houses. All that’s missing are the poles. At the top of the stairs, a few dozen café tables and a small bar serve as the showroom’s lobby. The main room, one of the club’s five performance venues, seats 280 guests; smaller rooms host spoken-word, improv, special events, and private parties. Owner Jamie Masada—an Israeli-Iranian immigrant whose success story may well trump Horatio Alger’s—built the West Coast Laugh Factory with up-and-coming comics who are now firmly entrenched in the Hollywood firmament: Chris Rock, Steve Martin, Dave Chappelle, and Roseanne. He earned a rep as a do-gooder, running summer camps for impoverished kids; serving free Thanksgiving and Christmas meals to thousands; and hosting High Holiday services for disenfranchised (and funny) Jews. (He’s also gained notoriety for having introduced a certain young boy, struggling with cancer, to Michael Jackson.) The local Laugh Factory doesn’t yet measure up to the Tinseltown’s renown. But if you’re looking for comedy quantitatively, you can’t go wrong: A half-dozen comics on an average bill plus another as emcee.Extra
For rising talent undaunted at the prospect of public ridicule, open mic nights mean a shot at the big time. Interested? Send tapes less than 10 minutes long to Jack Keller.
Come thirsty—but not hungry. All shows carry a two-drink minimum, with nary a potato chip in sight.
The Times Square Laugh Factory hosts free Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for the comedy community and anyone else who's hungry and alone. In the fall, the club sponsors East Coast High Holiday services (Reform, with plenty of room for improvisation).
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.