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).
That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for December (with much more to come soon) include:
In this unique spin on musical improv, comedy duo Maggie Lalley & Jillian Vitko (a.k.a. Beautiful Dreamers) ask the audience to suggest a location, a victim, and a crime, and then make up a musical that tells the story of that felony: True Crime: The Musical (Friday 12/1, 7:00 pm; $7, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)
Please note: This show has been CANCELED The lovely Natalie Wall (above) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, which tonight features Shalewa Sharpe, Jes Tom, and Patrick J. Reilly telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (Friday 12/1,8:00 pm, $20—which includes free beer and wine, The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue between 60th & 61st Streets)
Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On) and Phil Costello (Dave’s bandmate in groups Valley Lodge and—with Moby—Diamondsnake) perform Dave’s epic email exchange with a Norwegian black metal record label while pretending to be “Lance, a teenager living with his parents in Gary, Indiana who also just so happens to be the lead singer and sole member of the most extreme, brutal, and Satanic black metal band of all-time, WitchTaint, and hopes to get signed on the strength of one excruciatingly bad song called Necrodreamraper.” To get a feel, visit Dave’s website devoted to these emails, The Black Metal Dialogues, and then come enjoy the stage version: Witch Taint Live (Friday 12/1, 9:30 pm; $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)
Brilliant improvisor & character comic Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers) transforms into “filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host! He’ll be joined by his hilarious talk show sidekick”—equally brilliant comic Griffin Newman (Arthur on Amazon’s The Tick, HBO, MTV)—”as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema,” with fab guests Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs on Twin Peaks), Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), and Daniel Kibblesmith (writer for Stephen Colbert; author of Santa’s Husband): The George Lucas Talk Show (Friday 12/1, Midnight, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd 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.