The biggest names in comedy now sell out arenas, sometimes stadiums. That’s why Kevin Hart and Dave Chapelle aren’t on this list. Jerry Seinfeld occasionally plays at casinos, but he just doesn’t do that many dates anymore, so not on the list. Matt Rife, one of the hottest comedians out there, isn’t touring at the moment, so next year. Like most good lists, and most good comedy, it’s fluid. We’re also not counting Las Vegas residencies, so no Carrot Top. These are the road warriors who still tour the country, hitting up casino locations along the way.
At No. 1 is Jay Leno. At 73, Leno shows no signs of slowing down and has probably told more setup/punchline jokes than anyone alive. When he’s not working on his car collection, the former “Tonight Show” host still spends a chunk of his time building up his frequent flyer miles and visiting parts of the country most top comedians avoid. Leno’s schedule for the final two months of 2023 includes Nov. 11 at the Hard Rock in Gary, Indiana, the next night at the Encore Theater at Wynn in Las Vegas.
The following week, Nov. 18, he’s at MGM National Harbor outside of Washington, DC. On Dec. 2, it’s Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California, with Dec. 8 finding him as Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, then a hop across the border for a gig at Caesars Windsor in Ontario. Unless he adds more dates, Leno finishes his year’s schedule Dec. 16 at Deadwood Mountain Casino in South Dakota.
At No. 2 is Sebastian Maniscalco. Maniscalco mostly divides his time between Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but he plays a lot of dates. A physical comedian who plays off his Italian heritage, he’s at the Borgata in Atlantic City from Nov. 9-13 and Nov. 16-18 and then starts at Wynn Las Vegas in January.
Anthony Jesselnik, at No. 3, is probably the darkest comedian on the list and is certainly not for every taste – probably not the show to bring your grandparents for a night of laughs. Jesselnik, who can occasionally come off as unhinged, will be bringing his unique brand of “offensive” comedy to the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida, on Nov. 18, and the Seminole Hard Rock in Tampa on Nov. 19. On Dec. 4, he’s at Wind Creek Bethlehem in Pennsylvania and on Dec. 8 it’s Foxwoods in Connecticut.
The only woman in the current top 10 is No. 4 Nikki Glaser, who’s been successful mixing cute and crude with a pause and effect comedy style. The host of the streaming series “FBOY Island,” Glaser’s upcoming casino dates are Nov. 11 at the Hard Rock in Atlantic City, Nov. 16 and 17 at the Venetian in Las Vegas with David Spade and Nov. 30 at Casino Rama in Ontario. She’ll be at Foxwoods in Connecticut on Feb. 17, 2024.
Jim Jefferies, No. 5, may not be as dark as Anthony Zellenik, but the Australian comedian can be just as offensive. If you’re into an atheist telling dirty jokes and ripping on everyone, Jefferies is your guy. On Nov. 18 he’ll be at the Hard Rock in Catoosa, Oklahoma, and then Dec. 8-9 at the Mirage in ls Vegas.
No. 6 is Gabriel Iglesias, aka Fluffy, who’s not quite so fluffy now after a fitness regimen helped him drop over 100 pounds. Iglesias still jokes about his obesity but also finds humor in his Mexican American roots and race relations. He’s pretty much all ages. Iglesias will be at Caesars Windsor in Ontario on Dec. 26 and at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas on Dec. 29-30.
At No. 6½ is John Mulaney, the dry, deadpan observational comic, who is playing a number of casinos this fall. On Nov. 9 he’s at Rama Casino in Ontario and the next night at Caesars Windsor. Nov. 30 finds Mulaney at Live! Casino Maryland. On Dec. 14 he’s at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa and the next night he’s Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood.
“You might be a redneck” comedian and former sitcom star and game show host Jeff Foxworthy, No. 7, is another mainstream comic, but he finds humor in his Southern upbringing and working-class roots. On Nov. 4 he’ll be at the Del Lago Resort & Casino in upstate New York, and on Dec. 15-16 he’ll be at the Mirage in Las Vegas.
Nashville-based nice-guy Nate Bargatze, No. 8, is an understated joke teller with a soothing delivery, who this past spring sold over 19,000 tickets to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, the building’s biggest crowd ever. Bargatze is not quite as family friendly as Gaffigan and Iglesias, but close. He’s going to be at Wynn Las Vegas on Nov. 10-11.
Fans of rage humor have a patron saint in No. 9 Bill Burr, who’s politically liberal but whose anger is bipartisan. Burr, who hails from Massachusetts, sold out Fenway Park and frequently sells out arenas. Seeing him in a smaller casino setting – Nov. 5 at Foxwoods in Connecticut and Dec. 9 at Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida – is a treat.
No. 10 is Jim Gaffigan, probably the cleanest comedian on the list, who jokes more about fatherhood, his family and his Catholic upbringing. Like all the comedians here, Gaffigan also plays venues not in gambling dens, but his casino dates are Dec. 8-9 at Wynn Las Vegas.
As for some of big names who missed our list – for now – George Lopez is at the Silver Legacy Casino in Reno on Nov. 3 and at Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida, on Nov. 10. Tracy Morgan will be celebrating his birthday at the Palms in Las Vegas on Nov. 9. Jerry Seinfeld is at the Borgata in Atlantic City on Dec. 1, and at Foxwoods in Connecticut Dec. 9. Bill Maher will be at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nov. 3-4. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are at Resorts World Las Vegas on Dec. 10-11. Kevin Hart is performing two shows Dec. 15 at Winstar Casino in Oklahoma with Chelsea Handler and Tiffany Haddish. Dave Chappelle is at Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, Florida from Dec. 26-29.