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 more to come soon):
Tuesday 1/23: Josh Gondelman (above right; Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), iconic star Jerry O’Connell (Sliders, My Secret Identify, Crossing Jordan, Jerry MaGuire, Stand by Me), Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing; for hilarious cartoon about LA pet owners, please click here), Ian Karmel (staff writer/performer for James Corden; Conan O’Brien, Showtime, TruTV), Baratunde Thurston (author of How to Be Black; former writer/producer for The Daily Show; has been pundit on HBO’s Bill Maher, MSNBC, Comedy Central) and more perform stand-up, sketch, and/or music for host Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1): Sweet (9:00 pm, $10, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)
Wednesday 1/24: Stellar comic book parody writer/artist R. Sikoryak (author of The Unquotable Trump, Masterpiece Comics, Terms and Conditions) and 8th grader kid cartoonist Sasha Matthews (author of Everyday Superheroes) are interviewed by Maxine Krenzel (professor at Brooklyn College) at this free event benefiting the ACLU and hosted by bookstore Bookculture: Superheros: R. Sikoryak and Sasha Matthews (7:00 pm, Free! (optionally RSVP here), Bookculture at 450 Columbus Avenue between 81st & 82nd Streets)
Wednesday 1/24: Sharp storytellers Ashley Brooke Roberts (pizzahead above; energetic, enormously likeable stand-up, sketch comic and actress; 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), Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; album “The Human Comedy;” for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), and Neil Goldberg (performance artist whose works are exhibited in the permanent collection of MOMA) tell comedic tales on this month’s theme Vices hosted by the wonderful David Martin: The Nights of Our Lives: Vices (8:00 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Wednesday 1/24: Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code) is the guest for this podcast taping hosted by Michelle Buteau (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) & Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code, Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim): Adulting (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 1/24: Sixteen comics—including John Reynolds, Connor O’Malley, and Ana Fabrega—perform characters, songs, and a variety of other comedic bits: Yardsdale Comedy Night (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 1/25: Kelsey Caine & Carmen Lagala host stand-ups and then interact with them after their sets…via puppets! Tonight’s stellar comics are Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), and Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac): Puppets Present: A Stand-Up Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 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)
Friday 1/26: Ronny Chieng (above left; correspondent for The Daily Show), Chris Redd (above right; cast member of Saturday Night Live), Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Michelle Buteau (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), Joe Pera (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), Chris Laker (Jimmy Kimmel), Lorelei Ramirez (Adult Swim), and Eudora Peterson perform stand-up hosted by Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of The Secret Loft Show): Camouflage: A Comedy Show (9:00 pm; Free, $5, or $10, depending on how far in advance you nab tickets (buying online is also a good idea because this show often sells out)—price includes Free Pizza!; Brooklyn’s Big Irv’s at 381 Hooper Street)
Friday 1/26: Comics give funny lectures on a science-related topic—which this month is the experiments & inventions of hairy genius Leonardo da Vinci, starring Phoebe Robinson (author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain; 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: Leonardo (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Friday 1/26 (see also 1/31): 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 (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Friday 1/26: Superb improvisors Adrian Sexton (above left; co-host of Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show, Ouiser & Clairee, George/Martha, and The Darklings; host of Pet Prov), Jay Malsky (above left; highly talented, super-charged character comic; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; FringeNYC solo show Elaine Stritch: Still Here; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend), and more TBA form improv group The Community Players, which makes up a play on the spot based on an audience suggestion to artfully create Theatre! Theater! Theatah! (8:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)
Saturday 1/27: Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s) & Colin Stokes (Associate Cartoon Editor at The New Yorker; The Onion, GQ) read a book every month so you don’t have to and then discuss it for your edutainment, with tonight’s classic Nancy Drew: The Clue in the Diary (a prequel to Bobby Mueller: The Clues in the Dossier) by Mildred Wirt Benson under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Soak in culture while being amused by comics Jen Spyra (staff writer for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast; former Senior Writer/director/producer for The Onion), Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), and Rebecca O’Neal (Netflix’s Easy; Vanity Fair, Gawker, Vulture; former host of local Chicago TV show One Night Stand-Up): Book Club—A Comedy Show: Nancy Drew: The Clue in the Diary (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 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)
Sunday 1/28: A small army of comics—the Cocoon Central Dance Team, Julio Torres, Matt Rogers & Bowen Yang, Dylan Marron, Josh Sharp, and about a dozen more—perform stand-up, dance, or sketch to help raise money for the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, hosted by Marybess Pritchett & Patti Harrison: Generous Laughs (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 1/31 (see also 1/26): 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 (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 1/31: Brilliantly innovative comic Anthony Atamanuik (star of Comedy Central hit The President Show; Trump vs. Bernie, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo) plays oddball characters in a mix of sketch and improv, helped by cast members and guests TBA, in the resurrection of this classic show that used to serve up anarchy weekly at UCB East before Anthony became an international star via his genius impersonation of Trump: The Tony Show (11:00 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Thursday 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
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
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
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
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.