NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2018: Last Updated Thursday 2/1/18

February 1, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my 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 February 2018 include (with much more to come soon):

Gilbert Gottfried, Anthony Atamanuik, and Karley SciortinoThursday 2/1: Gilbert Gottfried (iconic comedy legend; scores of credits include Robert DeNiro film The Comedian, Showtime’s Episodes, and Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show), Anthony Atamanuik (brilliantly innovative comic; star of Comedy Central hit The President Show; Trump vs. Bernie, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien; recently wrote A Viewer’s Guide to Donald Trump for The New York Times), and Karley Sciortino (star of Viceland’s Slut Ever…which will be released as a book this month; columnist for Vogue) perform and/or are interviewed by Scott Rogowsky and Scott’s dad for this comedy talk show: Running Late with Scott Rogowsky (7:00 pm, $25, Gramercy Theatre at 127 East 23rd Street off Park Avenue South)

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)

R. L. StineFriday 2/2: “Do you ever leave a comedy show saying ‘Hmm, that was pretty funny but not enough reading’? Literati is a night of comics in character performing hilarious readings—sometimes while wearing wigs,” with superstar author R.L. Stine (who, aside from selling a zillion Goosebumps books, is a delightful quick wit) and comics Annie Donley, Desi Domo, Eric Feurer, and Larry Owens hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About Books and the Idiots Who Write Them (9:00 pm, $8, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

DestinyTuesday 2/6: Scientists, geeks, and comics—including Hossein Aleysian (neuroscientist), Aletha Maybank (physician), Peter Brannen (science journalist), and Anita Flores (comic)—tell tales related to science, with this month’s theme Destiny, hosted by Erin Barker & Paula Croxson: The Story Collider: Destiny (8:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Happier HourWednesday 2/7: A show about philosophy, love, and happiness, with guests Skye C. Cleary (Australian philosopher teaching at Columbia University and Barnard; author of Existentialism and Romantic Love), Terri Cole (psychotherapist, relationship expert, and founder of Real Love Revolution and Boundary Bootcamp), and Dr. Home H.C. Nguyen (founder of the MindKind Institute, which provides leadership coaching) hosted by Monica McCarthy (actress, and host of numerous events focused on purpose and interdisciplinary connections): The Happier Hour: Philosophy to Make Your Life Suck Less (7:00 pm, $25, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"Wednesday 2/14: World-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). This is a phenomenal show year-round, but it’s extra special on Valentine’s Day—which is why Evan & Rebecca will be doing it twice tonight, at 7:00 and 9:30: Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm; $15, which is a good deal—this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Emily MathwichThursday 2/15: Emily Mathwich demonstrated she’s a sharp writer and highly compelling comedic actress at last year’s Solocom, for which she performed a mini-play about a post-apocalyptic world where her only hope for survival was to form a relationship with iPhone’s Siri. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch this Solocom highlight in November, take advantage of this brief revival (with a musical opening by Taylor Ortega and Max Ash): Hey Siri. Am I Gonna Die? (8:30 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th 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 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

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…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