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 February 2018 include (with much more to come soon):
Saturday 2/3: Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who chooses correctly gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s superb yarn-spinners are Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages), Sandi Marx (7-time Moth StorySlam champion), and Joey Novick (Comedy Central, MTV). Come let these storytellers and host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, exceptionally nice guy) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show (6:00 pm; $20, which includes one drink; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319; West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia Street)
Saturday 2/3: Elna Baker (brilliant storyteller, and bestselling author of comedic book The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance; NPR’s This American Life; writer for Glamour, Elle; for sample tales, please click here) is tonight’s guest monologist, telling true personal tales springboarding off audience suggestions. Skilled improvisors will then bring Elna’s stories to three-dimensional life: The Armando Diaz Experience (7:30 pm, $10, The Magnet at 254 West 29th Street)
Tuesday 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)
Wednesday 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)
Wednesday 2/7: Rebekah Sebastian hosts this crime trivia show that challenges your knowledge of serial killers, unsolved mysteries, the legal system, OJ, and much more: Yellow Tape (9:00 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Thursday 2/8: Melena Ryzik (above right; roving culture reporter for The New York TImes), Danielle C. Gray (former Cabinet Secretary and Senior Advisor to President Obama; described by Newsweek as “the most powerful staffer you’ve never heard of”), and Emily Wells (above left; singer/songwriter/musician acclaimed for her use of classical and modern instrumentation and deft sampling) are the impressive guests at this eclectic live podcast recording hosted by Shonali Bhowmik (Variety SHAC; leader of musical group Tigers & Monkeys) & Christian Felix: We Don’t Even Know (9:30 pm, $8, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Thursday 2/8: Enjoy some of NYC’s best character comics audition for Montreal’s prestigious Just for Laughs Festival—as well as various show biz industry execs with an eye out for fresh talent— at this free show running about an hour: Just for Laughs Character Auditions (5:00 pm, Free!, The Magnet at 254 West 29th Street)
Friday 2/9: Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On) and Phil Costello (Dave’s bandmate in groups Valley Lodge and—with Moby—Diamondsnake) perform Dave’s epic email exchange with a Norwegian black metal record label while pretending to be “Lance, a teenager living with his parents in Gary, Indiana who also just so happens to be the lead singer and sole member of the most extreme, brutal, and Satanic black metal band of all-time, WitchTaint, and hopes to get signed on the strength of one excruciatingly bad song called Necrodreamraper.” To get a feel, visit Dave’s website devoted to these emails, The Black Metal Dialogues, and then come enjoy the stage version: Witch Taint Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Saturday 2/10: Four sharp comics TBA tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Tuesday 2/13: Caroline Cotter (above right; Seth Meyers, College Humor; UCB improv group Goat) & Mike Camerlengo (MTV’s Joking Off) host a Valentine’s Eve show “to teach you how to find love and hold onto love. From sending dick pics to when to ask about bra size, this educational seminar covers all the basics, including butt stuff (which Mike and Caroline consider 3rd base). Helping out are unlucky-in-love guests James Dwyer (above left; Master of None; co-star of UCB’s A Big Dumb Thing), Nayomi Reghay (dating columnist for The Daily Dot), and Julia Young (MTV’s Joking Off): Mike and Caroline Know Love (10:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
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)
Thursday 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)
Thursday 2/15: Comics TBA play dead celebrities who give TED Talk-style lectures, “sharing the knowledge of history’s most inspired thinkers willing to push aside death’s veil,” hosted by Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) playing Elaine Stritch and Richie Moriarty (The Tick, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Going in Style) playing Don Pardo: DED Talks: Celebrities Return From the Dead to Give One Last TED Talk (7:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Friday 2/16: A live version of the popular podcast Tinder Tales that provides stories of Tinder dates, dating advice, and fun games, with guests Rachel Green, Hannah Harkness, and more hosted by David Piccolomini: Tinder Tales Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Friday 2/16: Storytellers Samantha Ruddy, Andrew Casertano, Misha Han, and Nick Nicosia share cringe-worthy experiences from their pasts hosted by Brendan Busee & Ron Raganella: Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy Show (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Friday 2/16: To my eye, it’s a pretty decent movie; but regardless, tonight 1997’s Air Force One will be screened & mercilessly skewered by some of NYC’s finest comics: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Jess Salomon (SiriusXM), and Freddy G (NPR) hosted by Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Everythign Is Dumbn, and Bunk Bed and Murray Povich open mics): Movies R Dumb: Air Force One (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Sunday 2/18: Comics TBA demonstrate their brilliance at thinking on their feet by hilariously answering questions at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Monday 2/19: Stellar stand-up Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts comics Baratunde Thurston, Nat Towsen, Jaqi Furback, and Eudora Peterson: The Myq Kaplan Show (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Thursday 2/22: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) is interviewed during a game of Jenga (as soon as the tower falls, the conversation ends), plus stand-up or storytelling by Chanel Ali, Melissa Diaz, and Savannah DesOrmeax hosted by Molly McGaughey: Everything is Falling Apart (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Friday 2/23: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Saturday 2/24: Comics and comedic storytellers (TBA) join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to tell well-crafted tales of comedic adventure: Risk! (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Saturday 2/24: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically sharp comics TBA: Dancify That! (10:00 pm, $18, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd 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.