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That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for September 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:
Sunday 9/1: 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; podcast Broccoli and Ice Cream) and Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet) try out new jokes via deliciously long sets at this popular weekly safe space for the stand-up creation process hosted by Nat Towsen (Esquire, VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety): New Material Night (8:00 pm, $10 in advance online or $12 at the door, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)
Monday 9/2: Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy, comedy album Immigrant Made), Eric Cunningham (Senior Writer at Más Mejor, Broadway Video’s comedy studio for Latino voices; creator of Night Late, and host of both The Future is WOW podcast and UCB’s Late Night Packet Jam), Kambri Crews (author of Burn Down the Ground; The Moth; co-owner of Astoria’s Q.E.D.), Dr. Ali Mattu (cognitive behavioral therapist; host of YouTube’s The Psych Show), and Emma Young (creator of Science Distilled) tell tales on this month’s theme of role models hosted by Erin Barker & Gastor Almonte: The Story Collider: Role Models (8:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Tuesday 9/3 (also 9/4): 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)
Tuesday 9/3: Kendra Pierre-Louis (climate reporter for The New York Times), 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), Asher Perlman (writer for Stephen Colbert), Taylor Ortega (HBO’s Succession, Shego in Disney Channel’s live-action Kim Possible, TruTV), Sebastian Conelli (ace improvisor; member of The Magnet’s The Friday Night Sh*w and previously UCB’s The Law Firm), Maria Wojciechowski (Lead Editor of Comedywire; half of musical duo Abbaria), and Milly Tamarez discuss climate change with hosts Rollie Williams (who pretends to be Al Gore) and Mark Vigeant (who pretends to be his trusty sidekick Sandy the Crab): An Inconvenient Talk Show (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Tuesday 9/3: Marina Franklin (staff writer for HBO’s Divorce; Trainwreck, Crashing, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, @midnight, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Nightly Show, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, stand-up special Single Black Female) performs a long set at an intimate Comedy Cellar venue: Marina Franklin (8:30 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)
Tuesday 9/3: There are scores of open mics in NYC, but this is the only one I know of devoted to sex jokes. If you’re either looking to try out your raunchier material or simply want to experience something unusual, consider this monthly event hosted by Jennifer Dawn Harmon: Sugar & Spice: An Erotica Open Mic Nite (9:00 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Tuesday 9/3: Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; tours with Amy Schumer) hosts stand-ups TBA at an intimate Comedy Cellar venue: Hot Soup (10:30 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)
Wednesday 9/4: Fascinating stories about the NYC music scene from Amy Rigby (song “The President Can’t Read” was #1 in Rolling Stone’s Real Life Top 10 in March 2019; album The Old Guys was in top 100 of 2018 by Pazz & Jop US music critics poll; author of book Girl to City: A Memoir), Andy Schwartz (former Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of New York Rocker magazine; former Director of Editorial Services for Epic Records; consultant to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame), and sisters Tish & Snooky Bellomo (in original Blondie band line-up; creators of seminal alternative beauty brand Manic Panic), plus live music from band Storytown, hosted by the band’s leader Guy Story: Stories From Storytown (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 9/4: 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)
Wednesday 9/4: 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 &f Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Wednesday 9/4: Palestinian-American stand-up Mo Amer (Netflix special The Vagabond) performs a long set at an intimate Comedy Cellar venue: Mo Amer (8:30 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)
Wednesday 9/4: Host Gabe Gonzalez (MTV News, Scruff) and Tessa Skara (Pop Roulette) will choose two audience members with dating troubles, and then Steve Dean (dating industry consultant & relationship coach) will use data to transform their dating lives and help them find who they’re looking for. “Along the way we’ll hear some crazy stories, learn insane truths about the dating industry, and meet some new people: The Nerds & the Bees (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Thursday 9/5: 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 Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes, stand-up album Seen Better Days), Ian Fidance (host of Picture This!; regular on SiriusXM’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central Radio), Tom Thakkar (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour; co-host of podcast Stand by Your Band), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Ismael Loutfi (Jimmy Kimmel; staff writer for Netflix’s Patriot Act), and Lizzie Martinez: My Obituary Show (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Thursday 9/5: Jessica Kirson (Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar, The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1) performs a deliciously long set, and also hosts other talented comics, at an intimate Comedy Cellar venue: Jessica Kirson and Friends (10:30 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd 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 eason by emailing me at email@example.com.