NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2018: Last Updated Sunday 1/7/18

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).

In addition, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for January 2018 include (with much more to come soon):

If You Build ItSunday 1/7: Jena Friedman (wry dark political stand-up; Stephen Colbert, @midnight, The New Yorker, Adult Swim, Netflix mockumentary Undecided; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Harris Mayersohn (recurring character Stoney Von Dankington on Stephen Colbert; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Bang Bang), Kenice Mobley (FOX’s Laughs), Katie Hannigan (MTV’s Inside Joke), Geoffrey Asmus, and Liz Magee perform stand-up produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Alison Leiby (writer for The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It (7:30 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Judah Friedlander and Lane MooreMonday 1/8: Star Judah Friedlander (above left; one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly; Netflix stand-up special America is the Greatest Country in the United States; bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), brilliant rising star Lane Moore (above right; HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), and Mamoudou N’Diyae perform stand-up hosted by the charming Ruby Karp: We Hope You Have Fun (7:30 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Battle of the Divas: Janet Jackson vs. Jennifer LopezWednesday 1/10: Because there isn’t enough division in this country, this monthly show strives to create more discord by asking the musical question “Whose side are you on: Janet Jackson (Rhythm Nation) or Jennifer Lopez (This is Me…Then)?” Comic Sydnee Washington argues for JJ and Rob Haze makes the case for J.Lo, with illustrative diva drag performances by Elizabeth James and Shuga Cain, plus music from DJ Molly Austin, with fabulous hosts Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, stellar Ars Nova show It’s Christi, B*tch!) & Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code): Battle of the Divas: Janet Jackson vs. Jennifer Lopez (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

PostmenThursday 1/11: A hour of sketches from 3-guy group Matt Barats (The Onion), Carmen Christopher (MTV), and Anthony Oberbeck (IFC), plus guest stand-up Rob Haze (Adam Devine’s House Party, Viceland’s Flophouse, Dish Network’s Cabbage Town): Postmen (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Pia Glenn and Lane MooreSaturday 1/13: A search for romance in New York via the app that redefined online dating is led by the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above right; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), who goes 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 Pia Glenn (above left; cast member of Comedy Central’s The Opposition), Darcie Wilder (bestselling author of Literally Show Me a Healthy Person), and Patrick Tobin (co-host of We’re All Gonna Die). This show usually sells out, so I highly recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Blythe Roberson and Lorelai RamirezMonday 1/15: Comics each perform an argument for why he or she should receive a Pulitzer Prize—with tonight’s candidates Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s; co-host of The Scientists and Book Club), Lorelei Ramirez (VICE; host of Not Dead Yet), and Joe Pera (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, Adult Swim)—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 (8:00 pm, $8,:Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mary WisemanMonday 1/22: Mary Wiseman (Sylvia Tilly, a.k.a. Silly, on CBS’ Star Trek Discovery; Meg Joyce on A&E’s Longmire; FX’s Baskets) is the guest of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jean Grae & John HodgmanThursday 1/25: Jean Grae & John Hodgman have written topics on a carnival wheel. In this show they spin the wheel and then chat about whatever subject they land on, along with a surprise guest. What else do you need to know?: Jean and John (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Phoebe Robinson and Sandy HonigFriday 1/26: Comics give funny pseudo-scientific lectures on an assigned topic TBA, starring Phoebe Robinson (co-host of live & Net hit show 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Glamour Magazine) and Sandy Honig (sketch group Three Busy Debras), and hosted by the brilliant & delightful Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s) & Madelyn Freed (ace improvisor & computer programmer): The Scientists (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Josh GondelmanSaturday 1/27: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for phenom HBO news satire series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper) performs an hour of stand-up in Brooklyn for one night only as part of a national tour: Josh Gondelman: The Team Wolf Tour (7:30 pm, $13, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Josie LongThursday 2/1: Josie Long is a witty, honest, irresistible UK star who The New York Times has called “a gem” and Time Out NY has lauded for “her blend of sunny enthusiasm and intellect”—I once saw Josie advise “If you’re ever short on funds and have to choose between food and a book, always buy the book.” Josie is briefly visiting NYC, and tonight both performs a deliciously long stand-up set and hosts fellow UK comic Jonny Donahoe (star of musical comedy group Jonny & The Baptists): Josie Long : It Is Difficult to Be Alive (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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 Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases 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 Hell’s Kitchen 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 Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10

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

The Magnet
254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Bell House
149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

Carolines Comedy Club
1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club
208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live
1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

The Standing Room
4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!

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.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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