NYC Top Comedy Choices for October 2017 (updated 10/19)

On Hiatus

I didn’t take any time off during the summer, but am putting this site and on hiatus for part of the fall so I can more fully focus on several projects. These include my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts On Drugs (for details, please click here), a comedy screenplay that needs a lot of research, and some other challenging items that’ll require extra time and energy.

I’ll be off for at least a month, so please check back here on November 1st for an update.

Meanwhile, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and while it’s not as complete as this daily site, you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.

That said, here are a few extra special recommendations for October:

Kevin Geeks Out About HagsploitationOn Halloween month, this glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and guest media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher focuses on the most terrifying subject imaginable: being an aging actress in Hollywood. This show covers the gamut, “from the former Hollywood A-listers who gained second careers in b-movie grindhouse fare, to post-modern witches and psycho-biddies. The power of the hag is like no other, whether they are reminiscing about better times from a decaying home to tormenting younger women with mind games and/or axes.” For a sneak peek video, please click here. Presenters include movie gurus Bob Satuloff, Cristina Cacioppo, Jamie Righetti, Tom Blunt, Tenebrous Kate, Wendy Mays, and Trav S.D.: Kevin Geeks Out About Hagsploitation (Thursday 10/19, 7:00 pm; $15—buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and fascinating ideas typically sells out; Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at 445 Albee Square West—take the 2/3 subway to Hoyt Street)

NYC SketchFest NYC 2017The Sixth Annual NYC SketchFest runs four days, Thursday 10/19-Sunday 10/22, at all three of The PIT’s theatres. Notable groups performing include City Hall, Funny as Tech, National Scandal, The Chris and Paul Show, Dinner for One, Uncle Function, Aspergers Are Us…and lots more. Shows are $10 each, but the sensible thing to do is buy an all-you-can-see pass for a mere $40: NYC SketchFest 2017 (Thursday 10/19 6:00 pm-Midnight, Friday 10/20 6:00 pm-12:30 am, Saturday 10/21 3:00 pm-12:30 am, Sunday 10/22 5:00 pm-11:30 pm; $10 per show or $40 for an all-you-can-see pass; The PIT Mainstage & The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

The 10th Annual Schtick or TreatFor the 10th year of this fabulous annual event, over 40 NYC comics get a couple of minutes each to do a set as a famous comedian (e.g., Louis C.K., Amy Schumer, George Carlin, Jimmy Fallon, Rodney Dangerfield…the possibilities are endless) hosted by Mark Normand & Matt Ruby: The 10th Annual Schtick or Treat (Sunday 10/29, 8:00 pm, $15, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Again, I’ll be attending all four days of New York Comic Con; will also be at most of the shows above; and will probably be at lots of other comedy shows this month. If you spot me, please feel encouraged to come over and say hey.

You can find the vast majority of notable NYC live comedy shows by using the links below to explore the schedules of the following top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10

The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

The Magnet
254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Bell House
149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

The Stand
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.

Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 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.

The Standing Room
4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.

In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.

All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.

There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible…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.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at


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