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That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for November 2019 (with more to come soon) include:
Friday 11/22-Sunday 11/24: It’s Day #2 of the 7th Annual Solocom, a 4-day PIT festival devoted to over 130 new comedic solo shows. Events that sound promising include Matt Zambrano and Regan Sims (above left and middle; Friday 7:00 at Striker), Jack Blankenship and Rachael Burke (above right; Friday 9:30 at Loft), Adrien Pellerin and Adrian Sexton (Saturday 7:30 at UG), Lagina Hill and Anoush Froundjian (Saturday 8:00 at Striker), Sarah Morgan Ashey and Dillon Geyselaers (Saturday 8:30 at UG), Angela Cobb (Saturday 10:30 at Striker), Abby Feldman (Sunday 4:30 at Striker), and Andi Lee Carter (Sunday 8:00 at Loft): Solocom 2019 ($12 per show, or $30 for an all-you-can-see festival pass (a fantastic deal for a vibrant, fun festival with scores of shows): The PIT Mainstage (Striker) and PIT Underground (UG) at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Friday 11/22: Mammoth social media platform Twitter is explored by host Mark Vigeant (Funny Or Die, Prairie Home Companion), his comedic helpers Sam Reece & Rollie Williams, and his guests Eve Peyser (The New York Times, Vice), Ryan Broderick (Buzzfeed), Nathan Allebach (@steak_umm), and Shoshana Wodinsky (Adweek): Internet Explorers: Twitter (7:00 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Friday 11/22: Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) and Rachel Pegram (Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV, BET; movies Don’t Think Twice and The Week Of; member of UCB star improv group ASSSSCAT 3000) each performs a deliciously long 30-minute stand-up set hosted by Jeff Hiller (30 Rock, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, musical improv group Rumpleteaser): Karen Chee and Rachel Pegram Do One Collective Hour of Comedy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Friday 11/22: Stand-up from 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), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, former host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive, Netflix special Double Negative), Marina Franklin (staff writer for HBO’s Divorce; HBO’s Crashing, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, @midnight, Chappelle’s Show; film Trainwreck; stand-up special Single Black Female, Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast; very nearly a cast member of SNL), Yamaneika Saunders (HBO’s Crashing, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle; stand-up album Damsel in Distress), and Lev Fer (host of Yung Daddy Podcast): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Friday 11/22: Native Americans Brian Bahe (Tohono O’odham/Hopi/Navajo), Tai Leclaire (Mohawk/Mi’kmaq), Dash Turner (Yurok), and more offer their own take on the holidays via stand-up, characters, and games: Thanks But No Thanksgiving (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 11/23: Charlyne Yi (FOX’s House; voiceover for Steven Universe, We Bare Bears, Summer Camp Island; winner of the prestigious Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award) performs comedy, music, and/or magic, and hosts guests including Casey Trela (singer/songwriter): Charlyne Yi Variety Show (5:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 11/23: Stand-ups sandwich new jokes they’re trying out in between reliably time-tested opening and closing material, with tonight’s guests Emmy Blotnick (brilliant and Emmy-nominated rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and in a Comedy Central Half Hour; staff writer for Stephen Colbert; comedy album Party Nights), Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, Netflix’s Master of None; host of podcast No Need for Apologies), Marie Faustin (co-host of 99.5 FM’s Tall Tales in the Big City and podcast The Unofficial Expert; former host of Oxygen’s Very Real Talk; MTV’s Girl Code and Vidiots), and Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life, Moth GrandSlam Champion, comedy album & show And I Am Not Lying) performing for hosts Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy, comedy album Immigrant Made) & Jess Salomon (former UN war crimes lawyer turned comic; Jimmy Fallon, CBS, Sirius XM): Sandwich (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 11/24: Langston Kerman (Comedy Central Half Hour; cast member of ABC’s Bless This Mess, HBO’s Insecure, and Comedy Central’s South Side; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars) performs a solo stand-up show: Langston Kerman for the Hour (5:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 11/26: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, 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)
Friday 11/29: Patrick McCartney (member of acclaimed theatrical improv group Centralia) performs a comedic solo show about addiction and recovery, directed by Shira Piven (HBO’s Divorce and Room 104, Amazon’s Transparent), that’s received raves from the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert (superstar author of Eat Pray Love), who wrote, “Patrick McCartney is a phenomenally gifted performer, whose work I have admired for years. But we almost lost this extraordinary artist to alcoholism and drug addiction—which would have been a tragedy on so many levels. Now McCartney has returned to the stage with a one-man show about his struggle with substance abuse. Miraculously, it manages to be simultaneously brilliant, devastating, hilarious, humble, searching, and triumphant. Go see it. It’s a beautiful piece of work:” Sinister Kid (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Tuesday 11/26: The innovative and award-winning Broken Box Mime troupe performs their finest wordless sketches & stories, mixed with fresh bits, all set to a “rip-roarin’ soundtrack:” BKBX: Quiet Riot (9:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)
Friday 11/29: Native New Yorkers Ilana Michelle Rubin & Lana Schwartz invite comics who came here from somewhere else to talk about their home towns, with tonight’s guests the great Aparna Nancherla (above), Arti Gollapudi, Chrissy Shackelford, Sam Saulsbury, and Corie Johnson: My Hometown (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Friday 11/29: New Zealand comic Guy Montgomery (co-host of the popular podcast The Worst Ideo of All Time) performs a solo stand-up show about friendship (see above) for one night only in Brooklyn: Guy Montgomery: I’m Friends With These People (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 12/1: Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and High Maintenance, Netflix’s Russian Doll, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Amazon’s The Tick, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight; films Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great; comedy album Shut Up) performs a deliciously long stand-up set: Michelle Buteau (7:30 pm (sold out) & 10:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Tuesday 12/3: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 audience members (a dozen sign-ups and six returning champions) fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd: Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early—doors open at 7:00—to nab a seat, or plan on standing)
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
Fat Black Pussycat Lounge
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s smaller, intimate, and lower-priced sister venue (next door to Village Underground), which serves as its primary home for solo shows and experimental shows—which means it’s sometimes the most exciting choice; 2-item min.
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.
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.