Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).
In addition, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.
That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for what’s left of November (with more to come) include:
Tuesday 11/21: Comics perform their darkest, saddest, and most traumatically funny bits for this monthly catharsis machine—with tonight’s guests TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic who’s the newest correspondent of The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Casey James Salengo (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Chris Laker, Mehran Khaghani, and Jess Salomon— hosted by Shane Torres, Nate Fridson, and Alison Zeidman: Dark Spots (8:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 11/21: Two superb comics, Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable—as you can see above—stellar co-host of Fresh Out and Camp; former writer for Nat Geo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely) and Matt Koff (staff writer for The Daily Show), each perform a 30-minute stand-up set hosted by Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code): Ashley Brooke Roberts and Matt Koff (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar at 406 Third Avenue)
Wednesday 11/22: Two-thirds of legendary improv trio Hot Sauce (Gil Ozeri is in LA) make up scenes for your amusement: Pally & Schwartz (8:00 pm, $7 [sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing], UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)
Wednesday 11/22: Two-thirds of legendary improv trio Doppelganger (Nicole Byer is in LA), plus guest improvisor Tim Meadows, make up scenes to dazzle you: Doppelganger: Sasheer Zamata & Keisha Zollar (9:30 pm, $7 [sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing], UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)
Friday 11/24: While David Bowie’s classic album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars plays from beginning to end, comics perform acts based on the songs, with participants including Matt Dennie, Joel Kim Booster, Michael Wolf, Mo Fry Pasic, and Marcia Belsky hosted by Josh Sharp: Cool Shit / Weird Shit: David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust (Midnight, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)
Friday 11/24: Brilliant improvisors Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, and Brandon Scott Jones spearhead this character-based improv show driven by the following premise: “Six months ago Principal Ratliff accidentally shot himself in the head and lost all of his memories, so the alumni of Fuckville High are making this year’s reunion special. All classes are invited in order to help Principal Ratliff get his memory back! Class of 2014, maybe you can vape in his face? Class of 2000, do you want to lie about how your life is still okay? Class of 1994, wanna talk about how fat/skinny/dead you are? Class of 1985, can you remind Principal Ratliff about that pneumonia epidemic? We are asking for all Classes to attend. Hope to see you there!”: Fuckville High’s Annual Reunion (Midnight, $7, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)
Sunday 11/26: There’s nothing more unpredictable on a stage than an animal. In this endearing monthly show, improvisors perform along with their real-life pet dogs, plus other improvisors TBA, and wonderfully humane host Adrian Sexton (superb Unauthorized: The Musical series, improv groups The Community Players, Ouiser & Clairee, George/Martha, and The Darklings), all making up scenes for Pet Prov (6:00 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Monday 11/27: Top improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is way fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $7 [sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing],UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)
Monday 11/27: Ronny Chieng (correspondent for The Daily Show), Lauren Adams (Gretchen in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and Travon Free (writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) chug a couple of beers on stage and talk politics at the UCB East theatre hosted by Charlie Todd & Cody Lindquist: Two Beers In (7:30 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)
Monday 11/27: Two of America’s very finest comics, Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None) and Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon), host this weekly stand-up show with Irish comic Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk). Tonight’s guests include Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Alison Leiby (writer for The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Joyelle Nicole, and Gary Richardson: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 11/28: Jean Grae & John Hodgman have written topics on a carnival wheel. In this show they spin the wheel and then chat about whatever subject they land on, along with a surprise guest. What else do you need to know?: Jean and John (8:00 pm, $15, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Tuesday 11/28: Host Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show,Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TruTV, Playgirl Magazine, comedy album True Love) explores the feeling of Sadness via interviews with Jacqueline Novak (top row right; exceptionally smart, fresh stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; Inside Amy Schumer; comedy album Quality Notions; book How to Weep in Public) and Matt Johnson & Kim Schifino (top row left), plus stand-up by Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; Steve Martin’s Comedy MasterClass; comedy album Good Year), Kenny DeForest (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit), and Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), and music by Jessica Rowboat (bottom row left) and DJ Therap-E: Feelings (8:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 11/30: Brilliant comic Adrian Sexton (superb Unauthorized: The Musical series, improv groups The Community Players, Ouiser & Clairee, George/Martha, and The Darklings; host of Pet Prov) and Tamara Young host a variety show that incorporates tarot cards—show up an hour early for a free reading!: Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show (9:30 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
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
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
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
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
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 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.
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 BestNewYorkComedy.com…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 email@example.com.