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That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for December 2019 (with more to come soon) include:
Wednesday 12/25: Most venues are closed today…but Broadway plays on. Comedies on Christmas include The Play That Goes Wrong at 7:00 pm, Waitress at 7:00 pm, and Wicked at 8:00 pm. For multiple ways of scoring major discounts on tickets to these and hundreds of other Broadway, off-Broadway, and off-off-Broadway shows, please click here.
Thursday 12/26-Sunday 12/29: Dave Attell (one of the most respected stand-ups in the biz; Netflix’s Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell; webseries ComedyUndergroundLive.com; star of Comedy Central’s Comedy Underground, Showtime’s Dave’s Old Porn, Comedy Central’s Insomniac, and two Comedy Central specials; HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, The Daily Show) headlines through Sunday at Carolines: Dave Attell (8:00 pm Thursday, 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 8:00 pm Sunday; $43.75 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)
Friday 12/27: In this one-man show, comic & impressionist Gary DeNoia plays Nicolas Cage, Vin Diesel, and other celebrities teaching children—and you—lessons through books, games, and more (directed by Desmond Thorne): Celebrities Teach Kids Sh*t (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)
Friday 12/27: Hari Kondabolu (above right; fresh, sharp, rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives; co-host of Kondabolu Brothers podcast), Chanel Ali (middle; MTV’s Girl Code, Starz, TruTV), and Chris Castelli (host of Shine Box Comedy) perform stand-up hosted by Sharron Paul (left) & Calvin Cole: Cheap Date Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 12/28: A somewhat scholarly look at early filmed comedy shorts and animation which was thought lost until recently discovered in New Zealand, curated & hosted by Nelson Hughes and Tommy Jose Stathes: That Slapstick Show (4:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Saturday 12/28-Monday 12/30: Maryann Aita describes her one-woman show as follows: “After several disappointing visits with a gynecologist, and many failed efforts to Sex and the City it up with friends, ‘Detective’ Maryann takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on with her body and how to fix it, relying mostly on whatever she could find on Amazon.com. This is a hilarious (and just a touch sentimental) show about a woman taking charge of her own body that’s perfect for fans of Law & Order, vibrators, and vagina: My Dysfunctional Vagina (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street; running tonight, Sunday, and Monday at 7:00 pm)
Saturday 12/28: Aminah Imani (co-host of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; host of podcast Wine Before Nine) performs a deliciously long stand-up set, with openers her Comedy at The Knit co-hosts Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots; co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) and Marie Faustin (MTV’s Girl Code and Vidiots; co-host of 99.5 FM’s Tall Tales in the Big City; the other co-host of The Unofficial Expert): Aminah Imani with Sydnee & Marie (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 12/28: Seven comics who weren’t born here perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to NYC, produced and/or 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)
Saturday 12/28: Ben Tomassetti & Kevin C. Hill play rock duo Tips Moncrief & Gary Van Patten, a band named Jeez “known for its pedestrian ‘hits’ in the 80’s such as ‘Teen Crocodile,’ ’96 Olympics in Cincinatti,’ and ‘Talk to Me (You Dirty Dirty Dirty Computer).’ The guys are hitting the road again in support of a Greatest Hits album—as bands do. Tonight they discuss their songs Storyteller’s style—or at least that’s what their tour manager told them they were doing. Come see your oddball uncle’s second favorite band:” Jeez! The “Greatest Hits of 1979-1992” Tour (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Sunday 12/29: Evan Forde Barden & Patrick Cartelli, who host music podcast Repeater, recap the year by inviting some of their favorite comics to make their case for the best song of 2019. “After the arguments have been made, Evan and Pat will mercilessly rank their selections.” Purchase tickets in advance online to be entered to win vinyl from Astoria’s HiFi Records & Cafe: Repeater’s Top 10 Countdown of 2019 (7:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Sunday 12/29: This charming show puts comics who are duos behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together,with tonight’s close friends and/or couples TBA hosted by lovers Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour; staff writer for NBC’s Great News; former writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, host of podcast Beginnings): Couples Therapy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Sunday 12/29: Comics Nick Naney (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central), Sandy Honig (one-third of sketch group Three Busy Debras; host of Pig and The Bongo Hour), and Annie Donley (Chris Gethard Presents; host of Poppin’ Off) 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 12/31: Chris Gethard (star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; producer of fresh comedy webseries Chris Gethard Presents) and a bunch of his friends—so far including Martin Urbano (Jimmy Kimmel) and Meg Stalter (National Lampoon Comedy Hour, The Chris Gethard Show)—perform comedy on New Year’s Eve. Come for just the show, running from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, or buy a “Party Package” that includes drinks, music and dancing post-show to celebrate 2020: Pregame with Gethard and Friends (7:00 pm; $15 for 2-hour show only, $35 for “Party Package” that also includes food/drinks at Parklife and a Littlefield afterparty; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 12/31: Heating up your New Year’s Eve with comedy are Rachel Pegram (Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV, BET; movies Don’t Think Twice and The Week Of; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour and UCB star improv group ASSSSCAT 3000), Jared Goldstein (ABC’s Modern Family, SNL, Starz, TNT), Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive), and Junior Mint hosted by Jenny Gorelick (host of Jenny’s Birthday Party, co-host of First Impressions) and Zach Teague (TruTV): Hot & Fun New Year’s Eve (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 12/31: Ring in the New Year’s Eve with a night of drag, burlesque, comedy, singing, dance, and more hosted by Ellipsis Queen: Creatures Of The Night (11:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)
Thursday 1/2-Saturday 1/4: Comedy legend Sinbad—who in addition to his acting and music is an acclaimed stand-up—performs a deliciously long club set Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: Sinbad Headlines Carolines (8:00 pm Thursday, 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 8:00 pm Sunday; $46.50 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)
Thursday 1/9: Michelle Collins (host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise) performs a deliciously long stand-up club set for one night only: Michelle Collins Headlines Carolines (7:00 pm, $32.75 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)
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.