Throughout the middle part of the 20th century, comedians like Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Joan Rivers, Woody Allen, and Bill Cosby shared stage time with folk musicians, Beat poets, and activists in the basement bars and coffeehouses of Greenwich Village. The Improv Comedy Club, founded in 1963 in Hell's Kitchen, expanded to a Hollywood outpost in 1974, paving the way for the first -- and, with two dozen venues, still the largest -- chain of comedy clubs in the United States. The Upper West Side's Comic Strip, opened in 1976, would be where the likes of Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dave Chappelle were discovered. The 1980s saw MacDougal Street's Comedy Cellar emerge as the most inviting workout room in the country for talent including Ray Romano, Louis C.K., Jon Stewart, Dave Attell, and Colin Quinn.
|Amy Schumer: "I like these sick, sad, loud, honest people. I fit in."|