‘Crashing’ HBO visits notable clubs in NYC comedy scene

HBO’s scripted comedy series “Crashing” has no shortage of New York City scenes.

The Judd Apatow-produced show, loosely based on the career of comedian Pete Holmes, has shot several episodes on location at some of the city’s legendary comedy clubs, both old and new. For those that require resurrecting — like The Boston Comedy Club and Rififi — a little on-set magic does the trick at Cine Magic East River Studios in Greenpoint.

Below, a look at some of the notable local comedy clubs that have made appearances in the first two seasons of HBO’s comedy series.

The Boston

Formerly at 82 W. Third St., the real Boston Comedy Club shut its doors back in 2005. Nonetheless, the venue was a staple for Pete in the first season as he struggled to find his footing in the stand-up scene. Holmes himself included the venue in the series as a flashback of sorts to his own rise in comedy — he used to “bark,” or hand out flyers without pay, outside the former West Village club more than a decade ago. HBO brought the club back to life for the series on a set in Greenpoint.

Several notable scenes took place on the recreated club’s stage, so we’ll take it back to the pilot. Pete bombs the first time we see him on this stage (the audience calls it “painful”), but it sets the tone perfectly for the rest of his long, long journey.

Gotham Comedy Club

This stand-up club has been a staple in the local scene since the mid-’90s. Several notable comedians, from Jerry Seinfeld to Dave Chappelle and Colin Quinn have taken to the Gotham stage (now at 208 W. 23rd St.), with some, like Larry David, using it as a backdrop for taped comedy specials and TV series. “Crashing” has filmed on site and the venue even throws viewing parties for the series.

A must-watch scene filmed at the Gotham: the second season’s finale, where Pete gets burned by his girlfriend, Ali (Jamie Lee) during a roast battle.

Word Bookstore

The Brooklyn-based bookstore, which has locations in Greenpoint and New Jersey, is known for its classes and events, like its comedy nights. It’s been around since 2007 and popped up in the second season of “Crashing.”

You can see Ali and Pete drop by Word Bookstore in “Too Good” (season 2, episode 5) as she takes him on a tour of the city’s alt-comedy scene.

Comedy Cellar at The Village Underground

The live-music venue’s comedy room in Greenwich Village was founded in 1982. Several well-known comedians, including Jim Norton, Judah Friedlander, Amy Schumer and Louis C.K. have performed sets on its stage. It’s been the backdrop of commercials, comedy specials and shows, like “Louie” and “Crashing.”

Pete takes to the stage at The Village Underground in the pilot. It’s the very first time we see his stand-up set in the series. We’re brought back to the venue when Pete shadows T.J. Miller (episode 3) after the whole yard sale fiasco.

Upright Citizens Brigade

UCB, with locations in Hell’s Kitchen (555 W. 42nd St.) and the East Village (153 E. Third St.), holds weekly open-mic nights, perfect for Pete. The venue itself opened in NYC in 1999 and later moved from Chelsea to Hell’s Kitchen in 2017.

The venue was used as a filming location in the second season, during episode 5, featuring comedian John Mulaney, as himself.


Just like The Boston, HBO recreated the legendary Rififi club at Cine Magic East River Studios in Greenpoint. The East Village club’s actual location shut its doors in 2008.

Rififi pops up in the second season when Pete follows Ali as she records her comedy tape.