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That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for November 2018 (with more to come soon) include:
Friday 11/23: 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, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Sunday 11/25: Storytellers TBA tell DIY healthcare tales, which in the past have ranged from homeopathic cures for yeast infections to at-home surgery, hosted by Allie Kokesh and Sarah Burton: I’m a Doctor Now: Stories About Self-Diagnosis (7:00 pm, $9.47 online or $10 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Monday 11/26: Dulcé Sloan (above; powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), Jacob Williams (America’s Got Talent), Sara Hennessey (comedy albums They Know Too Much and Trouble in Paradise), Chris Daniels, and Negin Farsad perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 11/27: Iranian comic Mehdi Barakchian (host of Passport Control, co-host of Brunch Night, improv group Kibbles and Bits) and writer Kylie Holloway will answer your questions about the relationship between the US and the Middle East—”Why are we still hanging out with Saudi Arabia?’, “Why is Iran is so mad at America?”, and “What the heck is an Aleppo, and is it bigger or smaller than a Venti?”: It’s Complicated: How the U.S. Shaped the Middle East (9:30 pm, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Wednesday 11/28: The sultry Karen Chee (above; Stephen Colbert, The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney’s), Ryan Beck, and Benito Skinner get drunk and present comedic dissertations about sex, with science judge Dr. Zhana Vrangalova PhD and hosts Joanna Rothkopf (Deputy Editor of Esquire), Shannon Odell (neuroscience PhD student at Weill Cornell), and Jordan Mendoza (once played doctor in webseries): Drunk Science Presents Sex (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 11/28: Storytelling, sketches, and more about sex, including “practical takeaways for the audience,” from Keisha Zollar, Emmett Jack Lundberg, Selena Coppock, Joanna Hausmann, Anna Suzuki, and Eman El-Hussein hosted by Dani Faith Leonard: Adult Sex Ed (9:30 pm; $16.89 online, $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Thursday 11/29: This live-on-stage edition of Lifehacker podcast The Upgrade is devoted to the theme of failure, hosts Melissa Kirsch & Alice Bradley interviewing Chris Gethard (comedy genius; star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; co-star of Mike Birbiglia film Don’t Think Twice; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; The Office, Comedy Central, IFC; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York) and Akilah Hughes (Fusion’s Pop and Culture), and Brittany Luse & Eric Eddings (co-hosts of Gimlet’s The Nod): The Upgrade: How to Fail (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Thursday 11/29: Learn the history of the MTA via fun lectures, sketches, and more at this ongoing comedic history series about NYC transit, with guest Sarah Meyer (Chief Customer Officer of MTA New York City Transit), hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked: Trash, Rats and Track Fires (7:00 pm; $16.89 online, $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Friday 11/30: In this energetic, silly, and way fun show, 50 comics gather to each share a minute’s worth of observations about a bit of pop culture with which he or she can’t be bothered, with hosts Matt Rogers & Bowen Yang (above; hosts of the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast): Las Culturistas Live: I Don’t Think So, Honey (8:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Friday 11/30: Stellar comics share their love for the weirdest animals on the planet, with tonight’s zoologists Aaron Jackson, Jes Tom, Lorelei Ramirez, Peter Smith, Arti Gollapudi, and Mike Ross hosted by Karen Chee (The New Yorker, McSweeney’s): The Biodiversity Jam (9:30 pm, $11.59 online or $12 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Friday 11/30: In this acclaimed monthly show, stand-ups Myka Fox, Clark Jones, Greg Stone, and Anthony DeVito each perform a 10-minute set while they “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne & Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls?f” For a sample torture set with the delightful Christi Chiello, please click here; and if you’d then like more, Matt & Doug will See You in Hell (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Friday 11/30: 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, live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) asks comics how they make their everyday decisions, this month featuring Starlee Kine (This American Life, The New York Times Magazine, host of podcast Mystery Show), Jermaine Fowler (star of CBS sitcom Superior Donuts; star of Showtime special Give ‘Em Hell, Kid; MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), Tim Dillon (Comedy Central, Netflix, Last Comic Standing; co-host of podcast Stewed), and Joyelle Nicole: Everyday Decisions with Jo Firestone (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 12/1: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (middle; author of superb bestselling book How to be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guest comics Darcie Wilder (author of Literally Show Me a Healthy Person), Michael Pielocik (staff writer for Stephen Colbert). and Jaclyn Friedman (author of book, and host of podcast, Unscrewed). This show usually sells out, so I recommend nabbing tickets in advance online for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union 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 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.
Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.