Of all the restaurants in New York City, the Olive Tree Cafe is . . . one of them. You won’t find it in the Michelin Guide and it’s not on Eater’s buzzy hot new restaurant lists. But it does own one major distinction that no other restaurant has: It may be the most important restaurant in American comedy.
The Olive Tree Cafe is the restaurant above the Comedy Cellar, the legendary club that’s hosted every important stand-up comedian since time immemorial. It is here, over hummus and kebabs, that comedians from Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Schumer to Dave Chappelle break bread. You can argue the most memorable bits of American comedy, jokes that’d garner 10 million views on YouTube, are forged here between sets.
On this week’s episode of Proof, producer Stephen Calabria brings us today’s story of the Olive Tree Cafe, the Comedy Cellar, and the cast of comedians and bookers who’ve called the restaurant home.