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 what’s left of November (with more to come) include:
The spectacular 4-day Solocom festival, featuring over 100 new comedic solo shows, concluded last night at 11:00 pm; but while it’s over, the last day’s best of the fest still merit recognition. I spent nearly 11 hours at Sunday’s Solocom scouring for notable talent at The PIT’s Striker and Underground theatres. I never made it to The Loft, with apologies to all the wonderful comics who performed there.
That noted, standouts on the final day of Solocom included Melanie Owens relating what it was like to have a stroke at age 28—and the effects of brain surgery on bangs—with extraordinary joyfulness and juiciness, turning a potential trauma into an opportunity to be a luminous and sexy force for life who’s also way funny; Emily Mathwich proving herself a highly compelling comedic actress in a mini-play she wrote in which the world has been nearly destroyed and her only hope for survival is a relationship she forms with Siri (titled Hey, Siri, Am I Gonna Die?); and Jen Adams cleverly and hilariously articulating what we’re really thinking when we spout cliche responses—e.g., “I can’t wait to see your one-man show!” = “I have to go to this, don’t I.”
As Adams points out, some solo shows can be little more than an obligation imposed on friends. But in the hands of superb talents like the comics above, and scores more performing on all four days of Solocom, the one-person show is a vibrant form for sharing and creating experiences that can be as riveting and funny as the best offerings from Broadway or Hollywood. Huge kudos to everyone involved at The PIT for their continued support of this magical festival.
The sharp and lovely Rachel Feinstein (stellar Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour) headlines this intimate monthly stand-up show, plus Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Artie Lange, VH1), Liam McEneaney (Comedy Central, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Showtime),Jeff Lawrence, and Frank Vignola hosted by the exceptionally kind and charming John Morrison: Morrison Motel (8:30 pm; $20 at the door—which includes one drink—if you mention code HyReviews.com or BestNewYorkComedy.com [otherwise $25]; you can make a reservation by calling 212.989.9319, or otherwise simply show up; West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia 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.