NYC Top Comedy Choices for July 2019: Last Updated Sunday 7/21

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 310,000 copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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 July 2019 (with more to come) include:

Rockefeller ParkSunday 7/21: This free outdoor NYLaugh.org stand-up show takes place at Battery Park City’s Rockefeller Park (above), featuring comics Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Carmen Lynch (America’s Got Talent, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Inside Amy Schumer, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, @midnight, Last Comic Standing finalist; SiriusXM 2017 comedy album of the year Dance Like You Don’t Need the Money), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), and more: Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, Battery Park City’s Rockefeller Park at River Terrace & Warren Street)

Sean PattonSunday 7/21: Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland; feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America) performs a deliciously long set in an intimate venue, with several talented stand-ups as openers: The Great Sean Patton (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

SPONTOURCOSunday 7/21: Superb, hilarious improvisors Paul F. Tompkins, Eugene Cordero, Tawny Newsome, and Janet Varney interview a special guest (TBD) and then make up comedy on the spot, accompanied by improv pianist Eban Schletter: Spontourco (7:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $30, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue. PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT.)

Hypatia and the HeathensMonday 7/22: This work-in-progress musical is effectively a staged reading—except it’s mostly singing. The latter is part of the problem, as there’s so much singing and so little story that it’s closer to operetta than musical; plus the songs vary in quality. That said, the foundation is compelling: This is based on the true story of Hypatia, the last caretaker of the Library of Alexandria during the apocalyptic end times of the Roman Empire that in some ways eerily echoes what’s happening right now under the Trump administration. Also, the singers are terrific, especially Lia Tamborra who stars as Hypatia (and also co-wrote the book and songs, and is pictured above left). There are times when Tamborra achieves magic, such as when she schools the audience on what’s most important in life, and them combines those lessons into a song that’s memorable and surprisingly moving. There are also periodic moments when you’ll be lifted up by especially lovely harmonies. And the ending packs a wallop that, despite the various issues, made me grateful to have experienced this show: Hypatia and the Heathens: A Musical Bacchanalia (7:00 pm, $22.32 in advance or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Adrian Sexton's BeatlemaniaMonday 7/22: Adrian Sexton is one of the sharpest and most inventive improvisors in NYC, starring or co-starring in numerous shows including The Community Players, George/Martha, Ouiser & Clairee, Pet Prov, Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show, and Unauthorized: The Musical. Adrian normally expresses herself in the moment through characters, but tonight will let you see a more vulnerable side as, at times, she speaks directly from her heart about her lifelong love of the greatest band of all time. In this solo show, Adrian explores what John, Paul, George, and Ringo have meant to her, sometimes movingly, sometimes not (this initial Monday night run is effectively a workshop for the script), but always with the playful charisma that makes Sexton a rising star worth keeping an eye on: Adrian Sexton’s Beatlemania (8:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Colin QuinnTuesday 7/23 (also 7/24): Broadway, TV, and film star, and one of the most beloved stand-ups in the biz, Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, national comedy treasure) tries out new material for his next solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Gary Gulman and Emmy Blotnick: Tuesday 7/23: Stellar lineup of Gary Gulman (above left; 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), Emmy Blotnick (above right; brilliant rising star stand-up who writes for and performs on Stephen Colbert; Comedy Central Half Hour; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, The President Show, Roast of Rob Lowe, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1; comedy album Party Nights), Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Gordan Grant (Boost mobile spokesman), and more perform stand-up for host Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1): Sweet (9:00 pm, $14.30 in advance or $13 at the door, Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street)

Emma Vernon & Pooja Reddy: Tuesday 7/23: The fab Emma Vernon (North Coast Hip-Hop Improv, Anybody: The Improv Musical, Off Top; host of In a World) & Pooja Reddy (host of Kutti Gang) debut this free biweekly comedy show, tonight featuring Marcia Belsky (Reductress; Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; lead singer of band Free the Mind), Dekunle Somade (host of Cry Baby Comedy), Eric Neumann (stand-up album Nervous Lover), and Solange Azor (member of Lady Parts Justice League): Critical Darlings (9:00 pm, Free!, LES’ Under the Oven Gallery Serafina Ludlow at 98 Rivington Street—take the F/M/J/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Colin QuinnWednesday 7/24: Broadway, TV, and film star, and one of the most beloved stand-ups in the biz, Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, national comedy treasure) tries out new material for his next solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Dave Hill: Wednesday 7/24 (also 7/31): For this new podcast, 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): Dave Hill: History Fluffer (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Robert KellyWednesday 7/24: Robert Kelly (Louie, Trainwreck, HBO, CBS, two Comedy Central specials, frequent guest on The Opie and Anthony Show) performs a long stand-up set in an intimate venue, with several other talented stand-ups as openers: Robert Kelly (8:30 pm, $15 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Jaws.jpgWednesday 7/24: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate the Steven Spielberg 1975 masterpiece Jaws, 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 Jaws but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:” Jaws…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Democratic Debates—Featuring Mimi!Wednesday 7/24: “There’s plenty of great candidates at the 2020 democratic debates, but there’s only one Mimi! Mimi is an uninformed hyper-liberal millennial whose heart is in the right place, but her policy is a bit misguided. She wants universal healthcare, but only for women and cats. She supports a ban on fracking, but also a ban on knowing what fracking is. Bottom line, she cares less about making sense and more about feeling right. Watch Mimi debate Biden, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris, and all the rest. There will be incredible political impressions, parodies, video sketches and a live improvised debate” with Becky Chicoine (Comedy Central; half of sketch duo Girls With Brown Hair) as Mimi and Jared Eimicke as writer & host: The Democratic Debates—Featuring Mimi! (10:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Here to Make FriendsThursday 7/25: Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco and other special guests help dissect an episode of ABC’s The Bachelor along with hosts Emma Gray & Claire Fallon for this live taping of their podcast: Here To Make Friends Live (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue. PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT.))

Characters Welcome: Thursday 7/25: The talented comics of UCBT group Velvet MommyJon Bander, Kami Dimitrova, Desi Domo, Johnny Drago, Woody Fu, Chrissie Gruebel, Adrienne Ianniciello, and Corin Wells—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Velvet Mommy (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Rachel FeinsteinFriday 7/26: Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five) performs a long set about her marrying an FDNY captain in September and other life milestones: Rachel Feinstein: On Fire (7:30 pm, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Roast of HistoryFriday 7/26: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics Alison Leiby, Khalid A. Rahmaan, Dave Bluvband, Taylor Garron, Mary Kate Doherty, and host Matt Strickland roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention: The Roast of History (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Katie BoyleSaturday 7/27: Seven comics who were born outside NYC, with homes ranging from Norway to Ireland to Canada, perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to NYC, featuring Daniel Simonson (Norway; Seth Meyers), Colum Tyrrell (Ireland; Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Michael Harrison (Canada Comedy Network), Hannah Boone (Florida; Adult Swim), JF Harris (LA; Comedy Central), Charles McBee (Ohio; Comedy Central, MTV, host of Nerd is the New Black), and Sally Ann Hall (Alaska; Winner of Laughing Devil contest), all hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above, from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Rebekah Sebastian's Sunday 7/28: 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 (8:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Phoebe RobinsonMonday 7/29: This superb 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) welcome guests Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; feature films What Men Want and Ibiza; author of Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay and You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) and more TBA: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jaime Harrison and Lindsey GrahamMonday 7/29: Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s 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 albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Chris Rock’s film Top Five, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), and Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards) perform stand-up hosted by Sharron Paul (co-host of Cheap Date) for this show raising funds for Jaime Harrison, who is campaigning to unseat Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: #SendLindseyHome (7:30 pm, $16.09 in advance online or $18 at the door, Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Adrian Sexton's BeatlemaniaMonday 7/29: Adrian Sexton is one of the sharpest and most inventive improvisors in NYC, starring or co-starring in numerous shows including The Community Players, George/Martha, Ouiser & Clairee, Pet Prov, Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show, and Unauthorized: The Musical. Adrian normally expresses herself in the moment through characters, but tonight will let you see a more vulnerable side as, at times, she speaks directly from her heart about her lifelong love of the greatest band of all time. In this solo show, Adrian explores what John, Paul, George, and Ringo have meant to her, sometimes movingly, sometimes not (this initial Monday night run is effectively a workshop for the script), but always with the playful charisma that makes Sexton a rising star worth keeping an eye on: Adrian Sexton’s Beatlemania (8:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Dave Hill: Wednesday 7/31: For this new podcast, 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): Dave Hill: History Fluffer (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Naomi Ekperigin & Andy Beckerman: Thursday 8/1: This charming show puts comics who are duos behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together, hosted by lovers Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, Beginnings Podcast): Couples Therapy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mike Drucker's Thursday 8/1: In this monthly show from Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously a staff writer for NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Comedy Central’s The President Show, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), comics read obituaries they wrote for themselves, “honoring the lives they had and making fun of the lives they could have had.” Tonight’s dying-as-we-speak guests are TBD, but please stay tuned: My Obituary Show (7:30 pm, $10, 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 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 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

Littlefield
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/W 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.

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
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t

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 Stand
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

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

Contact Hy

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 eason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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