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 330,000 print 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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 at @hybender, and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com. (I’m also on Instagram at @hybenderny and Facebook at hybender; but honestly, you’ll be doing me the most good if you follow and retweet me on Twitter.)
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 November 2019 (with more to come soon) include:
Tuesday 11/26:: Readings of short humor pieces by guest comics Jen Spyra (staff writer for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast; former Senior Writer/director/producer for The Onion), Kate Villa (writer for MTV, TruTV, NPR, McSweeney’s, Mad Magazine; voice of Amy Klobuchar on Showtime’s Our Cartoon President), and Delmonte Bent (Editor of Flexx), and by hosts Brian Angler, Luke Burns, and James Folta (all writers for The New Yorker and McSweeney’s): :An Evening of Humorous Readings (7:00 pm—arrive at 6:30 to hang out a bit with the guests, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Tuesday 11/26: 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), 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), and Ian Fidance (regular on SiriusXM’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central Radio; former host of Picture This!) perform stand-up for host Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC, co-host of podcast Cum Town): Fat Tuesdays (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Tuesday 11/26: Comics Joe Castle Baker, Joe Rumrill, Kenice Mobley, Annie Donley, Edy Modica, and Karolena Theresa perform for this monthly stand-up showcase named after Stevie Nicks and hosted by Marcia Belsky, Sam Taggart, and Drew Anderson: Stevie (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 11/26: The wonderful Shonali Bhowmik (second row; singer/songwriter/guitar player of indie band Tigers and Monkeys) & Christian Felix host exceptional people for their live show & podcast recording. This month’s guests are Hope Hall (above left; documentary filmmaker who was previously Principal Videographer for President Barack Obama and is currently Senior Advisor for Video for Elizabeth Warren), McQueen Adams (above middle; Comedy Central, Funny or Die; popular experimental album Black Cat), and Kenice Mobley (co-host of podcast Love About Town and The Pasta Show): We Don’t Even Know—Live (8:00 pm; no cover charge but 2-drink min., with cheapest options $8 each, so figure on spending at least $16 plus tip; KGB Bar’s upstairs Red Room at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)
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)
Tuesday 11/26: 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) host this free biweekly comedy show, tonight featuring Myka Fox (above right; fearless, boundary-busting stand-up; SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), Melissa Stokoski (above middle; TruTV; regular on John Fuselsang’s Tell Me Everythling; co-writer & co-star of Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; host of Star Fuckers), Emma Jayne (above left; award-winning singer/songwriter; music album Jetlag), Julian Edward Williams (WALT), and Ilana Rubin (The Bop Pod): Critical Darlings (8:30 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)
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)
Tuesday 11/26: Dan Perlman (right; cast member of MTV’s Vidiots; co-writer, co-director, and co-star of series Flatbush Misdemeanors; written for Lewis Black and Roy Wood Jr.), Dina Hashem (left; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Stand-Up and Roast Battle),and Molly Austin (middle; TruTV’s Late Night Snack; stand-up album Zero to New Jersey) each performs a deliciously long 30-minute stand-up set: Dan Perlman, Dina Hashem, and Molly Austin: Triple Half Hours (9:30 pm, $10, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Wednesday 11/27: On Thanksgiving Eve, The PIT is offering a myriad of improv shows. A stand-out for being different is Kevin McNair performing one-man improv based on an audience suggestion of a universally shared experience.plus guests Kathryn Whisler (storyteller) and improv duo Kermit’s Flailing Arms (Michelle Drozdick & Benjamin Jones): A Significant Moment (7:00 pm, $10, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Wednesday 11/27: Stand-ups and/or storytellers Michelle Drozdick, Meghan O’Malley, Carole Montgomery, Esther Chen, Ron Prendimano, and Jared Schwartz 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)
Wednesday 11/27: A long-running November tradition at UCBT-NY is this competition of three-person improv groups, which in the past has produced some epic battles. Tonight you can catch the quarter-finals at 9:00 pm and 10:30 pm, which will then be capped by the Semi-Finals and Finals on Friday and Saturday nights: 3-On-3 Improv Tournament (9:00 pm and 10:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street off Eleventh Avenue)
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 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
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
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
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
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.
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.
116 East 16th Street; Club closest to competing with Comedy Cellar, featuring top stand-ups on a main stage and upstairs stage; no drink min.—support this policy!
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
You can also find me on Twitter at @hybender, Instagram at @hybenderny, and Facebook at https://Facebook.com/hybender.