I've heard a real mixed bag about Al Martin's clubs - New York Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club, and the newest Greenwich Village Comedy Club. But I know enough by now to take every gripe from any comedian with a grain (or ten) of salt and anyway, I like to make my own mind up about things.
I've been to NYCC a couple of times and, while it's not much to look at, the smooshed in crowds can be pretty great. And many comedians swear an allegiance to the place for giving them good stage time as they came up.
So, when I arrived, I had a good idea already what the aesthetic would be and I wasn't too far off. A dark little basement space, with the tables packed not-quite-too-close and right up against the low stage. No real green room to speak of (I saw comics just hanging out in the hallway to the kitchen while they waited to go up). But that's not necessarily a bad thing. The room is deeper than most, but low-ceilinged enough that the laughs can travel and build and there's something kinda great about seeing comedy in a place with that dingy rock show vibe.
The Saturday 10:30 show crowd was a mixed bag. They felt like they'd all taken advantage of the nice weather and gone out day drinking and were in various stages of sobering up, getting sleepy and getting drunk again. But they were good enough to enjoy energetic host Larry Beyah and give so-so hot-and-cold energy to most of the lineup, but they all came together for veteran headliner Mike Britt. And like NYCC, when the crowd in this small space gets good, it's sooo good.