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That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for November 2019 (with more to come soon) include:
Wednesday 11/27: On Thanksgiving Eve, The PIT is offering a myriad of improv shows. A stand-out for being different is Kevin McNair taking an audience suggestion of “a universally shared experience” and then performing a one-man improv show of which he “doesn’t promise funny or tears, but tons of heart;” 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: Something to be grateful for—a free Brooklyn stand-up show, co-sponsored by Union Square comedy club The Stand, starring Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), 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), Lawrence DeLoach (CBS Sports Network; host of lifestyle podcast Sup?), Aminah Imani (host of podcast Wine Before Nine, co-host of Comedy at The Knit), and Corinne Fisher (with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed): Pop-Up Show (7:30 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Arrogant Swine at 173 Morgan Avenue; take the L subway to Morgan Avenue)
Wednesday 11/27: The wonderful Comedy Cellar is charging a $24 “holiday cover” at most of its venues tonight, but is asking for just a $15 cover at the intimate Fat Black Pussycat Lounge…and the 7:30 show features a terrific lineup of 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), Ryan Hamilton (above left; one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with consistently fresh ideas and great crafting of language; Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime; Netflix special Happy Face; opens for Jerry Seinfeld), Kevin Iso (above middle; Hulu’s High Fidelity, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar and Adam Devine’s House Party), Nick Griffin (above right; Stephen Colbert, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour), Nathan Macintosh (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien), and Eagle Witt (Amazon Prime, MTV) hosted by Eric Neumann (stand-up album Nervous Lover): Ryan Hamilton, Kevin Iso, Nick Griffin, Emmy Blotnick, and More (7:30 pm, $15 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)
Wednesday 11/27: 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), Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr), Emma Willmann (Stephen Colbert, Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, @midnight; regular on WB’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Kevin Brennan (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Carson Daly; star of HBO special One Night Stand; former writer for SNL; co-host of podcast Misery Loves Company), Ian Lara (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app) and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas)): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $20, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th 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 7:30 pm & 10:30 pm on Friday and Finals 10:30 pm on Saturday: 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)
Most NYC comedy venues are closed today, but you can find superb stand-up at Comedy Cellar and/or a genuine Thanksgiving dinner with fellow comedy lovers at The Creek:
Thanksgiving 11/28: “The Creek’s Motto: You don’t have to be alone for the holidays unless you want to be (and even then, just come party!) What you can do: Make a donation for groceries, $20 suggested (but only if you can swing it); bring dessert; bring wine; and/or help set up/break down/clean up.” On the menu are Sage Roasted Turkey, Truffle Rubbed Turkey, Deep Fried Turkey, Bacon Wrapped Turkey, Maple Glazed Ham, Giblet Gravy, Truffle Gravy, Rubbed Sage Stuffing, Seafood Cornbread Stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, Broccoli with Cheese Sauce, Garlic Roasted Asparagus, Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Candied Sweet Potatoes, Corn Pudding, Cranberries, and Parker House Rolls via comics/cooks Rebecca A. Trent, Gerrilea Adams, Cassidy Weeks, Joseph Roberts, Jamie Cook, and more: The Creek’s Orphan Thanksgiving (5:00 pm, $20 (suggested), The Creek and the Cave in Queens’ LIC at 10-93 Jackson Avenue; take 7 subway to Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue)
Thanksgiving 11/28: Superb comics—Dave Attell, Myq Kaplan, Joe Machi, Seaton Smith, Andrew Schulz, Shane Torres, Kevin Iso, and more—are slated to perform stand-up in the West Village at 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street), for a $24 cover charge plus 2-item food/drink min.: Comedy Cellar Thanksgiving
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 email@example.com.