For at least the rest of this year, I’m replacing the daily comedy listings on this site and HyReviews.com with monthly listings 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.
However, I’ll still provide last-minute info on shows that especially merit attention, so please feel encouraged to check in regularly for updates. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this 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.
All that said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for November (updated Sunday 11/12) include:
The annual New York Comedy Festival is happening November 7-12 in venues all over NYC. Some of my top picks from the fest appear below. For the complete list of shows and to buy tickets, please click New York Comedy Festival 2017
Sean Patton is one of the very finest stand-ups in the country and among my all-time favorites. Among his credits are killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, a Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, the feature film Wifed Out; and co-hosting Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America. Simply the best, don’t miss this rising superstar: Sean Patton (Sunday 11/12, 8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Tonight’s superb comedy lineup consists of Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None), Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon), Adam Conover (star of TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything), Rae Sanni (New York Magazine), and Sam Jay (Comedy Central), produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (Sunday 11/12, 10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
The Brooklyn Podcast Festival hosts live-on-stage shows by 17 popular podcasts, including Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show, Reductress’ Mouth Time, political comedy show Chapo Trap House, Bowen Yang’s & Matt Rogers’ Las Culturistas, Blythe Roberson’s & Madelyn Freed’s The Scientists, Kevin McCaffrey’s Serious Matters, We Hate Movies, Pulitzer Surprises, and lots more—plus a free panel about podcasting—running November 14-19. Some of the shows are described in detail below (in chronological order). For the complete schedule, please click Brooklyn Podcast Festival 2017 (Tuesday 11/14-Sunday 11/19, $10-$25 depending on the show, with each show taking place at The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue), Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street), or the BRIC (647 Fulton Street; take 2/3/4/5 subway to Nevins Street or B/Q/R subway to Dekalb Street)
It’s the fifth year of this annual 4-day PIT festival (co-created by Peter Michael Marino) devoted to over 100 new comedic solo shows. The only requirements for any production are that it’s a one-person show that’s funny and has never been performed in public before. The types of entertainment are therefore wide-ranging, encompassing sketch, characters, storytelling, stand-up, cabaret, music, dance, puppetry, magic, clowning, multimedia, and more. Notable shows this year include, at The PIT Underground, Filip Jeremic (extraordinary character actor and rising star; UCB’s Characters Welcome) on Friday 11/17 at 7:30 pm and Evan Kaufman (genius musical improvisor of Your Love Our Musical and North Coast; VH1) Friday 11/17 at 10:30 pm. You can catch any show for $10; but the sensible thing to do is buy an all-you-can-see pass for $30, which gives you access to all shows throughout the fest: Solocom 2017 (Thursday 11/16-Sunday 11/19; $10 per show or $30 for an all-you-can-watch 4-day festival pass; The PIT Upstairs, Downstairs, and Attic Theatres at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Comics give funny pseudo-scientific lectures on an assigned topic—which this month is Dinosaurs—featuring Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Paul Gale (MTV, Huffington Post), Allie Goertz (musician and Mad Magazine editor), and more TBA. It’s all brought to you by brilliant & delightful hosts Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s) & Madelyn Freed (ace improvisor & computer programmer): The Scientists (Friday 11/17, 8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above right; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions during the adventure are tonight’s guest Janeane Garofalo (above left; movie & TV star with too many amazing credits to list). This show usually sells out, so I recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (Saturday 11/18, 8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s) & Colin Stokes (Associate Cartoon Editor at The New Yorker; The Onion, GQ) read a book every month so you don’t have to, with tonight’s classic What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Learn culture while being entertained by comics Dylan Marron (Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast), Halcyon Person (writer for Blaze and the Monster Machines), and Sandy Honig (Three Busy Debras, The Special Without Brett Davis): Book Club—A Comedy Show: What Happened (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.