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That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for the rest of March 2019 (with more to come soon) include:
Tuesday 3/19: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) performs stand-up, and hosts Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country, currently touring with show Must Be Nice; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno; finalist on Last Comic Standing; comedy specials include Boyish Man, In This Economy, and It’s About Time), and Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Presents special; co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast) : David Cross Has Guests (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 3/19: The history of XXX party records—which helped launch the careersof Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, LaWanda Page, Skillet & Leroy, and Tina (Calling all the Freaks)—is discussed by Harmon Leon, Scott Calonico, and Chris O’Neil for this live taping of their podcast: Comedy History 101 Live (7:00 pm, $8, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Tuesday 3/19 (also 3/36 & 4/2): In this free weekly show, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Wednesday 3/20: Emily Flake (brilliant writer/cartoonist; The New Yorker, The New York Times) & Kate Willett (Comedy Central’s The Jim Jeffries Show and This Is Not Happening; VICE’s Flophouse, Netflix’s Comedy Lineup; comedy album Glass Gutter) host this monthly show & podcast that features funny people sharing their nightmares, with tonight’s guests Emily Althaus (cast member of Orange is the New Black and Togetherness), Iris Bahr (HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry the Cable Guy; host of X-Rae Live), Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, co-host of Battlicious), Sharron Paul (co-host of Cheap Date), Derek Humphrey (ABC, MTV, host of podcast Derek Mansplains It All), and Katie Compa (upcoming comedy album Hard Pass): Nightmares: The Best People Tell Their Worst Dreams (6:30 pm doors, 7:00 pm show; no cover but 2-drink min.; KGB Bar’s upstairs Red Room at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)
Wednesday 3/20: Actress Greta Lee (Maxine in Netflix’s Russian Doll) and writer Leslye Headland (co-creator and co-director of Russian Doll) are tonight’s guests of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $20, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Wednesday 3/20: 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) performs a deliciously long stand-up set, with an opener from one of his stand-up pals: 60-90 Minutes of Comedy with Chris Gethard and a Friend (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 3/20: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate Disney’s maddeningly problematic 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid , with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie just once the previous week. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in The Little Mermaid but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:” The Little Mermaid…Entirely From Memory (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 3/20: Stand-up and/or storytellers TBA tell tales about losing their virginity hosted by Angela Cobb (Sirius XM): My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling Show (9:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Thursday 3/21: Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for NBC’s Great News, Comedy Central’s Broad City, and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) perform’s a deliciously long stand-up set, with opener Pat Regan (The Eric Andre Show, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Seek Treatment podcast): Naomi Ekperigin and Friend (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 3/21: Comics TBA who are immigrants perform stand-up, storytelling, or characters, and comics who aren’t perform immigrant-related material, for this show celebrating talents who weren’t born in the US hosted by German-American Lucie Pohl (above; voice of Mercy in Overwatch and Harmony in Red Dwarf XI): Immigrant Jam (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Friday 3/22: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast celebrates its 10th Year Anniversary with two back-to-back shows at 7:30 and 9:30 pm, featuring guests Aparna Nancherla, Evan Kaufman & Rebecca VIgil (genius musical improvisor duo Your Love, Our Musical), and ace UCB improv group Airwolf, followed by an afterparty DJ’ed by Taela Naomi: North Coast 10th Anniversary Shows: Improvised Hip-Hop (7:30 pm & 9:30 pm, $17 online for one show or $27.63 for the double-bill, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Friday 3/22: Two of the sharpest and most likeable comics in the biz, Natasha Leggero & Moshe Kasher, celebrate being married parents and still funny on this tour in which each performs a long solo stand-up set, after which the two of them play around on stage as a couple: Natasha Leggero & Moshe Kasher (10:30 pm; $35, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Saturday 3/23: A satire & humor weekend minifest, today featuring a 3:30 pm show with Emma Allen (cartoon and humor editor for The New Yorker) and Jen Spyra (writer for Stephen Colbert and The New Yorker), and a 7:00 pm showcase of short humor from over a dozen writers, including Karen Chee and Jen Spyra (writers for Stephen Colbert and The New Yorker): Satire and Humor Festival (3:30 pm and 7:00 pm; $25 per show or $75 for all three shows in the minifest; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Saturday 3/23: Seven comics, whose origins range from Ireland to Palestine to Colombia, perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to NYC, all hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above; also from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Saturday 3/23: Comics TBA share their love for the weirdest animals on the planet hosted by Karen Chee (The New Yorker, McSweeney’s): The Biodiversity Jam (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Saturday 3/23: The fabulous Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, stellar Ars Nova show It’s Christi, B*tch!; unforgettably observed the woman in the photo on the wall of the Union Hall stage looks like Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire) & Petey Deabreu (host of Petey’s World) celebrate this monthly stand-up show’s 3 Year Anniversary with guests Rosebud Baker, Evan Williams, Mary Beth Barone, Paris Sashay, Rob Haze, and David Rey Martinez: White Chocolate (10:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 3/24: The last of three shows in this satire & humor weekend minifest, featuring a panel discussion from the writers of Seth Meyers, Samantha Bee, The Opposition, and more: Satire and Humor Festival Finale (3:30, $35, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Sunday 3/24: 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) host this podcast taping, with stellar guests Michelle Collins (above; host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise), Jessica Kirson (HBO’s Crashing, The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), and Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for NBC’s Great News, Comedy Central’s Broad City, and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX): Adulting (5:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 3/24: Stellar TV writers & comics Josh Gondelman (Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Desus & Mero), Ziwe Fumuduoh (Desus & Mero), Sudi Green (Saturday Night Live), Ariel Dumas (Stephen Colbert), and Jiji Lee (The New Yorker) share jokes that they love but were rejected by their bosses—plus cartoonists for The New Yorker—hosted by Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s): Rejected (7:00 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)
Sunday 3/24: 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) host this podcast taping (the second today, following a 5:00 pm show), with guests Dulcé Sloan (above; powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Irene Bremis, and Mike Doyle: Adulting (7:30 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 3/24: Storyteller Lyssa Mandel and her boyfriend/co-host Phil Casale invite Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life, Moth GrandSlam Champion, comedy album & show And I Am Not Lying), Oscar Collazos (Comedy Central),and Angel Yu (AzN PoP) to “expose their bleeding-heart adolescent artifacts (journal entries, poetry, original songs, and art), then laugh at and with their own flaws,” plus improv songs by Rebecca Vigil (powerhouse singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante) and stand-up by 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; podcasts Broccoli and Ice Cream): The Bitch Seat (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Sunday 3/24: A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Two straight men TBD enter the arena, but only one leaves with the title of Queen of the Straights. Lifelines include a Woman Who Gets It and a Wise Queer” hosted by Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni, who invite you to “come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck:” GAYme Show (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Monday 3/25: This weekly stand-up show’s 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) hosts guests Josh Gondelman (above; one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up album Physical Whisper), Ryan Beck (Comedy Central, MTV), and more: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 3/27: Storytellers TBD tell tales about the strong women in history who helped make NYC the greatest city in the world: Yeah She Did: She Built This City (7:00 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 3/27: 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 (7:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Wednesday 3/27: Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, PBSKids, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!, co-host of Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate), Matthew Broussard (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Taylor Ortega (UCB, The PIT), John Trowbridge, Brian Park, Alexander Boyce, and Katie Balloons tell jokes and/or sing or dance for this party-like show that’s a mix of stand-up and music hosted by Jenny Gorelick (Improv Anywhere; perpetual birthday gal): Jenny’s Birthday Variety Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 3/27: Host Dave Hill (@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; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On) gives his first person account of different periods throughout history, while calling bullshit on most of what Dave’s saying are Jim Biederman (previous Executive Producer for numerous comedy shows, including The Kids In The Hall, The Howard Stern Radio Show, The Tom Green Show, I’m With Busey, The Whitest Kids U Know, and The Onion News) and Jodi Lennon (renowned improvisor who’s performed at Chicago’s Second City, The Annoyance Theatre, and iO; writer for Billy On The Street, Hulu’s Difficult People, TruTV’s Impractical Jokers and At Home with Amy Sedaris): You Had to Be There (9:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Thursday 3/28: Learn the history of the MTA via fun lectures, sketches, and more at this ongoing comedic history series about NYC transit, this month focusing on our city’s buses, with guest Tabitha Decker (Deputy Executive Director of TransitCenter, a foundation that works nationally to improve public transit), hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Bus is F*cked (7:00 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 3/28: A guest comic, two audience members selected on the spot, and hosts Glen & Wade play a game of Dungeons & Dragons “as a multimedia epic, with music, visual guides, drinking games, and a stand-up comedy set that will be woven into the story:” Q.E.D&D (7:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Friday 3/29-Sunday 3/31: An immersive interactive musical based on the true story of Hypatia, the last librarian of the Library of Alexandria during the apocalyptic end times and raucous festivals of the Roman Empire: Expect “a bacchanal of epic proportions, where surprises abound; with a mild (historically accurate and perfectly legal) hallucinogen included in your ticket price. It’s the end of the world as we know it, so let’s get weird,” written by Lia Tamborra & Harry Einhorn, with orchestrations & additional music by Bálint Varga, and directed & choreographed by Sidney Erik Wright: Hypatia and the Heathens: A Musical Bacchanalia (6:30 pm or 10:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 7:00 pm Sunday; $35 for seats or $20 for standing room; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Tuesday 4/2: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics Sam Taggart, Emily Duke, and Mary Kate Doherty roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention hosted by Matt Strickland: The Roast of History (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex 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 at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14
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
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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.
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.