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:
Two comedy giants, Neal Brennan (razor-sharp, edgy comedy veteran; HBO, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, co-creator of Chappelle’s Show, comedy album Women and Black Dudes) and Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show; previously staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers; stellar HBO hour-long special Nice Lady, which Neal directed) perform stand-up joined by Drew Michael (writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central Half Hour; NBC’s The Carmichael Show), Iris Bahr (HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, NBC, ABC, CBS; award-winning solo show DAI (Enough)), and more for host Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1): Sweet (Tuesday 12/5, 10:00 pm, $10, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)
This wildly popular monthly pun competition (to watch last month’s show on YouTube, please click here) is hosted by father-daughter duo Fred Firestone and Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, co-host of Monday stand-up show Butterboy; co-author with Fred of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers). Enjoy the spectacle as 18 audience members—maybe including you—compete in Punderdome 3000 (Tuesday 12/5, 8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Matt Bellassai (longtime Buzzfeed writer, webseries Whine About It and To Be Honest) celebrates the release of his bestselling book Everything Is Awful And Other Observations in this solo stand-up show that’s part of a national tour: Everything is Awful Tour with Matt Bellassai (Wednesday 12/6, 8:00 pm; $40—which includes a signed copy of Matt’s $22 hardcover book; Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
A hour of sketches from 3-guy group Matt Barats (The Onion), Carmen Christopher (MTV), and Anthony Oberbeck (IFC), plus superb guest comic Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Horace and Pete, Chelsea Lately): Postmen + Liza Treyger (Wednesday 12/6, 8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
A spectacular collection of hilarious holiday-themed film & TV clips and guest pop culture experts—including Wendy Mays (host of Pet Cinematary podcast), Bill Scurry (host of I Don’t Get It podcast), Paul Murphy (co-host of Screen Psychics podcast), Chico Leo (co-host of Scream Squad podcast), Ryan Arey (creator of Rick Pulsar podcast), and Kristen Sollee (author of new book Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive)—hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher (for a video teaser, please click here): Kevin Geeks Out Saves Christmas (Thursday 12/7, 7:00 pm; $15 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and fascinating ideas typically sells out; Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at 445 Albee Square West—take the 2/3 subway to Hoyt Street)
Comics each perform an argument for why he or she should receive a Pulitzer Prize—with tonight’s candidates Ashley Nicole Black (writer & corespondent for Full Frontal With Samantha Bee), Tony Zaret (writer/producer for USA), and Lucy Cottrel (CBS’ Unforgettable)—plus actual Pulitzer winner Du Yun (2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her opera Angel’s Bone, pictured above)—hosted by Caroline Schaper (writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, former writer for David Letterman) & Eliza Cossio (Senior Latina Correspondent for The Daily Show): Pulitzer Surprises (Friday 12/8, 10:0 0 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
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 Brooklyn stand-up show with Irish comic Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk). Tonight’s guests include Julio Torres (marvelously nuanced, outside-the-box stand-up; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Katina Corrao (HBO, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, co-host of Lasers in the Jungle), and Guy Montgomery: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (Monday 12/11, 8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Alyssa Mastromonaco (former Deputy Chief of Staff of President Barack Obama and author of Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?) is the honored guest of this podcast taping hosted by Rachel Wenitsky (Associate Editor/writer for Reductress) & Nicole Silverberg (Editor-at-Large for Reductress): Mouth Time (Wednesday 12/13, 8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show: Mortified (Thursday 12/14, 8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Bobby Tisdale (former staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; voice of Zeke on Bob’s Burgers; numerous other TV credits, and NYC downtown comedy pionner) hosts this out-of-the-box holiday comedy show featuring John Roberts (Linda Belcher in FOX’s Bob’s Burgers; NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s Broad City, Netflix’s The Characters and Wet Hot American Summer), Brett Davis (HBO’s Animals; TruTv’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; creator/host of weekly Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; co-host of The Macaulay Culkin Show; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award), Ana Fabrega (Portlandia, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Chris Gethard Show, host of Sundays with Ana), Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell), and Chris Maxwell: The Wards of Merkin (Friday 12/15, 7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
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 Brooklyn stand-up show with Irish comic Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk). Tonight’s guests include Naomi Ekperigin (above left; dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) and Ashley Brooke Roberts (above right; energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; 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): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (Monday 12/18, 8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett 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 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.