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That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for this first day of May 2018 include:
Tuesday 5/1: A wild monthly pun competition hosted by father-daughter duo Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) and 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; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow), with 18 audience members fiercely competing for wordplay dominance. Tonight is the show’s Seventh Anniversary, and features as its Celebrity Judge national treasure Jason Zinoman, who covers comedy brilliantly for The New York Times, and who performed a mind-boggling amount of research and insightful analysis to create the massively bestselling and acclaimed book Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night—which just recently came out in trade paperback. Come see Jason, Jo, Fred, the Human Clap-O-Meter, and much more on this special all-star edition of Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm; $10—sold out of advance tickets, but there’ll be 150 tickets available at the door; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early (doors open at 7:00) to nab a seat, or plan on standing)
Tuesday 5/1: This African-American stand-up show features Dillon Stevenson (writer for HBO’s Wyatt Cenac’s Problem Areas), Abbi Crutchfield (Broad City, MTV, VH1, Witsream), Jordan Carlos (cast member of Netflix’s Friends From College; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim), Shalewa Sharpe (Keith and the Girl; comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), and Chris Lamberth (AXS TV) hosted by Brandon Collins: Don’t Think Once (7:30 pm; $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 5/1: PLEASE NOTE: This show has ENTIRELY SOLD OUT. David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (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 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 Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. 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.
From comedy & rock goddess Lane Moore (host of smash hit Tinder Live; author of How to be Alone; lead singer of Brooklyn band It Was Romance): Hy Bender lives and breathes comedy. He knows what he’s talking about. Listen.
Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at email@example.com.