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:
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 & correspondent 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), Brooke Van Poppelen (co-host of TruTV’s Hack My Life; The View, @midnight, HBO, CBS, VH1), 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), Mary Mack (Last Comic Standing), 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 pioneer) 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)
Jamie Aderski performs exceptionally honest and funny tales of what it was like for her to become a mom (for a trailer, please click here) in this popular one-woman show that’s been extended to run every Saturday night in December: Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood (Saturday 12/9, 7:00 pm; $12, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th 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 guests Michelle Buteau (above left; VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Abbi Crutchfield (above middle; Broad City, MTV, VH1), and Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code, Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim). This show usually sells out, so I recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (Saturday 12/16, 8:30 pm, $15, 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)
Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more: The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project (Wednesday 12/27, 8:00 pm, $12, 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.