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Louis CK Alert: With his first three Madison Square Garden shows selling out incredibly quickly (in about a day each time—which is damn impressive for a stadium with over 18,000 seats), Louis has added a fourth show on Tuesday January 27th. If you’ve been shut out so far, this is your chance to experience one of the greatest stand-ups of all time having fun telling silly jokes about babies, death, and The Wizard of Oz. The best deals are actually the highest-priced seats at $65; otherwise Louis will essentially be a moving dot, but you can see him up close via giant TV monitors in front of your $45 or $25 seats. Grab tickets now here.
Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:
[TOP PICK] 1:00 pm ($30): There are hundreds of walking tours in NYC, but my favorite so far is this survey of artwork in the New York City subway system. While guide Phil Desiere isn’t in any way a comic, the artwork itself primarily is comedic (and often includes a comic book sensibility). If you’d enjoy having your eyes opened to the whimsical art strewn about heavily traveled NYC subway stations that millions of busy commuters never notice, treat yourself to this 2½ hour expedition happening on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 1:00 pm: New York City Subway Art Tour
[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($7): A stand-up who’s appeared on Conan O’Brien, CNN, MSNBC, and Showtime, writes for The Huffington Post, and co-hosts Citizen Radio performs a long set at The Magnet theatre: Jamie Kilstein
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 8:45 pm and 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Judah Friedlander, Ryan Hamilton, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 7:00 show; Mark Normand, Ryan Hamilton, Greer Barnes, Rachel Feinstein, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 8:45 show; Dave Attell, Todd Barry, Ryan Hamilton, and Greer Barnes at the 10:30 show; and Joe Machi, Greer Barnes, Keith Alberstadt, Big Jay Oakerson, Joe List, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 12:15 show, with all four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Sunday
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing; for hilarious cartoon about LA pet owners, please click here), Michelle Buteau (FOX’s Enlisted, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Anton Shuford, Steve Forrest, and Julia Reiss performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door or $11.59 online): Iconic former child actress Mara Wilson (Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire; currently a writer; cast member of podcast Welcome to Night Vale) hosts this show about “death, commitment, sock puppets—everyone’s afraid of something. Laugh at your fears as Mara takes you through comedians’ anxieties (and a few of her own),” featuring Judy Gold (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, The View), Brennan Lee Mulligan (graphic novel Strong Female Protagonist), and Marc L. Abbott (one-man show A Gamble of Faith) performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: What Are You Afraid Of?
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10; no min.): Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Joe List (HBO,David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’sGuy Code), and Paul Virzi performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien): Christian Finnegan, Joe List, and More
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): “Josh Krebs & Liz Richards are in love. Josh also loves horror movies. Liz does not. Each show these two will watch a horror movie separately and come together to discuss it. Will their relationship survive? If so, what will be left of it?” Tonight the selection is Dan O’Bannon’s classic 1985 Return of the Living Dead, which is one of the greatest zombie films, and dark comedies, of all time, so there’s not much to dislike…but if you’re curious what Liz will say, come find out at The PIT downstairs lounge: Josh and Liz Watch Return Of The Living Dead
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Superb improvisors and guest improv groups join host Skycopter (which typically includes the incredible David Carl) to make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One
[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Saturday Night Live writers Natasha Rothwell, Alison Rich, Meredith Scardino, Claire Mulaney, and Katie Rich get on stage to improvise scenes at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: SNL Writers Unscripted: An Improv Comedy Show
[FREE] 10:00 pm: “Bringing comedy back to its vaudeville and cabaret roots, a no holds barred strictly R-rated comedy show featuring filthy stand-up and storytelling sandwiched between some of the hottest burlesque acts in the city” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Charles Stunning & Freddie Heinemann: Raunchy Risque
Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages
[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket at 3:45), providing 3 minutes or more per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by James Ferrarella: Face-Plant Comedy Open Mic
[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Christi Chiello:Lance Bass Space Mic
Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling
Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; shows free-$10; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world)
Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seat main theatre, bar area for open mics; shows free-$10)
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$15)
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)
Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)
Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)
Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)
Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)
Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)
From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com. He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.
If you have a comedy show you want considered for listing, simply create a Facebook page for the event—including price & lineup—make sure we’re FB friends, and invite me through that page.
Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.