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).
All that said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for November (last updated Friday 11/17) include:
It’s the fifth year of this annual 4-day PIT festival devoted to over 100 new comedic solo shows. (The fest was originally created by Peter Michael Marino & co-produced by Ronny Pascale, both giants in PIT history, but they’ve moved on this year to let others curate & run the extravaganza.) 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.
On the second day of Solocom, standouts included Filip Jeremic (UCB’s Characters Welcome), an exceptional writer/performer who proved himself to be one of the most talented comedic character actors in NYC (casting directors, please take note); Craig Mangum, who told gripping tales of his experiences as a young man growing up as both Mormon and gay while attending Brigham Young University; and musical comics Austin Sanders and Evan Kaufman, with Sanders playing a former rock ‘n roll superstar who’s now an octogenarian but still doing concerts, and Kaufman playing “Michael Jordan McDonald,” a character combining basketball legend Michael Jordan and Grammy-winning singer Michael McDonald:
Potential highlights this Saturday include Phoebe Stonebraker telling about her 11 years devoted to competitive figure skating 5:15 pm at The Underground; Claire Yale Raynes sharing her memories of Church Camp 8:30 pm at The Underground; Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%) recalling the times he “should have shut up” 9:00 pm at The Striker; Nate Foster providing “a history of the world as told through the comedic routines of famous historical figures” 10:30 pm at The Underground; and Erin Wagner lecturing about “the worst women in herstory” 11:00 pm at The Striker.
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 (Striker), Downstairs, and Attic Theatres at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th 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 (Saturday 11/18, 8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Fifty comics gather to each share a minute’s worth of observations about a bit of pop culture with which he or she can’t be bothered. Tonight’s participants include Lane Moore, Joel Kim Booster, Brandon Scott Jones, Giulia Rozzi, Philip Markle, Anna Roisman, Natasha Vaynblat, Chelsea Clarke, Jonathan Braylock, and many more, hosted by Matt Rogers & Bowen Yang (above; hosts of the acclaimed Las Culturistaspodcast): Las Culturistas Live: I Don’t Think So, Honey (Saturday 11/18, 10:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
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. 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)
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 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
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
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.