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 340,000 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.
Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please visit my podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.
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 January 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:
Saturday 1/4: Tonight’s the last chance to catch Sinbad—who in addition to being a movie and TV star was designated by Comedy Central as one of the top 100 stand-ups of all time—perform a deliciously long club set at Carolines, with an opener by Caleb Elliott (High School Musical 1–3 movie trilogy): Sinbad at Carolines (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm; $46.50 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)
Saturday 1/4: A veteran comic—who is now hosting the podcast Halfway House—headlines in Chelsea for one last night, with opening sets by Russ Meneve (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing) and Alli Breen (Sirius XM): Artie Lange at Gotham Comedy (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm, $35 plus 2-drink min., Gotham Comedy Club at 208 West 23rd Street off Seventh Avenue)
Saturday 1/4: Chrissie Mayr (NBC’s America’s Got Talent, FOX, The Chris Gethard Show, Wendy Williams; host of Comedy at Stonewall) hosts this live-on-stage recording of her advice podcast about sex, love, and relationships, with tonight’s guests 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), Mehran Khaghani (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, MTV, IFC, TruTV; co-hosts Sirius XM’s Paid or Pain), and Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic), plus the show’s announcer Mike Figs (host of Arthur Avenue’s Bronx Beerhall show Figs in the Hall): Chrissie Mayr: Wet Spot Live (7:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Saturday 1/4-Sunday 1/5: Seven art portrait masterpieces come to life and reveal the stories behind their creation—explaining why Mona Lisa was smiling, what Frida was staring at, the cause of the desperately sad eyes of the girl with a pearl earring, and more—written & directed by Karleigh Chase, and performed by Alexa Harris (Narrator), Marlee Dater (Mona Lisa), Karleigh Chase (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Rory Lipede (Dora Maar), Rory Kelsch (American Gothic), Duvall O’Steen (Gala Dali), Juanita Castro-Ochoa (Frida Kahlo), and Maureen Toomey (Marilyn Monroe): Memoirs of a Painted Woman (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)
Saturday 1/4: Terrific lineup of Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; Comedy Central Presents; Opie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; new album When I Saw Hamilton), Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX), Mike Vecchione (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Half Hour and Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern; stand-up album Muscle Confusion), and TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo: Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Saturday 1/4: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)
Saturday 1/4: Sketches, characters, riffs, bits, and vids from five-gal comedy group Ladies Who Ranch, consisting of Kelly Cooper, Caitlin Dullea,Maya Sharma, Caroline Yost, and Sophie Zucker; plus an opening stand-up set from Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive): Ladies Who Ranch (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 1/4: Great lineup of Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; Comedy Central Presents; Opie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; new album When I Saw Hamilton), Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction), Mike Vecchione (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Half Hour and Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern; stand-up album Muscle Confusion), and Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX): Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Sunday 1/5: Live screening of The Golden Globes Awards, plus a blend of sketch and improv comedy during commercials, described as follows: “The Golden Globes mark the official start to award season. Join us as we celebrate Hollywood’s favorite dinner party with a live stream of the award ceremony featuring appearances from your favorite stars of screens big and small, live performances during commercial breaks, a play-along drinking game, and your chance to win the Caveat Golden Globes ballot:” I don’t know what’s going on with that woman on the right, by the way, but will just note there’s no guarantee of a comparable experience: Golden Globes Watch Party (7:00 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Sunday 1/5: John Reynolds (co-star of Search Party, cast member of Stranger Things; previously writer for The President Show, Craig Ferguson, and Celebrity Deathmatch) & Matt Barats (HBO’s High Maintenance, Seth Meyers, The New Yorker) perform duo comedy: John Reynolds & Matt Barats (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 1/5: Seven art portrait masterpieces come to life and reveal the stories behind their creation—explaining why Mona Lisa was smiling, what Frida was staring at, the cause of the desperately sad eyes of the girl with a pearl earring, and more—written & directed by Karleigh Chase, and performed by Alexa Harris (Narrator), Marlee Dater (Mona Lisa), Karleigh Chase (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Rory Lipede (Dora Maar), Rory Kelsch (American Gothic), Duvall O’Steen (Gala Dali), Juanita Castro-Ochoa (Frida Kahlo), and Maureen Toomey (Marilyn Monroe): Memoirs of a Painted Woman (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)
Sunday 1/5: Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Kevin Iso (Hulu’s High Fidelity, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar and Adam Devine’s House Party), Marcia Belsky (Reductress; Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; lead singer of band Free the Mind), Mike Lebovitz (HBO’s The Deuce, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing), and Noah Savage (ESPN) perform stand-up hosted by Robert Dean (Comedy Central): If You Build It (9:30 pm, $9, UCB at SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street—take #6 subway to Bleecker Street stop)
Tuesday 1/7: 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. Be prepared to boo 2020 puns anything less than stellar: Punderdome 3000: New Year! (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)
Tuesday 1/7: Dan St. Germain (above; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Crashing, @midnight, This is Not Happening, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1; former staff writer for CBS’ Superior Donuts, Netflix’s The Break with Michelle Wolf, and TruTV’s Ten Things; album No Real Winners Here), Olga Namer (“Unorthodox Jewish comedian”), Justin Smith, Alex Babbitt, and Stephon Bishop perform stand-up hosted by Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV; album You Guys Are Dope) representing both well-known and less-known comics considered worthy of your attention by comedy blog Stellar Underground (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 1/8: Comedic storytellers, musicians, and/or political organizers “tell inspiring, funny, and absolutely true personal stories about turning points, and no turning back points. With special remarks from Swing Left about its 2020 strategy to flip the Senate, plus specific calls to action and ways for you to get involved in the fight for our lives. 100% ticket proceeds go directly to Swing Left’s Senate funds,” with performers 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), Shaina Taub (Emmy-nominated singer/songwriter who’s written songs for TV shows ranging from The TONY Awards to Julie Andrews’ Julie’s Greenroom to Sesame Street; albums Visitors and Die Happy), Paola Mendoza (activist who co-founded @WeAreSoze, @ResistanceRev, and Women’s March OG; author of Together We Rise), Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Sandi Marx (PBS, 7-time Moth StorySlam winner), and more hosted by Nicole Ferraro (founder of Art, Humanity & Action) and Liat Olenick (Indivisible Nation BK): No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the Senate (7:30 pm, $35-$60, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Wednesday 1/8: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children (and guest comics who aren’t revel in their freedom), with tonight’s cruel jokesters Jenny Hagel (staff writer for Seth Meyers; iO, Second City), Iris Bahr (actress in numerous TV shows including Friends, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The King of Queens, and such films as Larry the Cable Guy and The Last Exorcism), Doogie Horner (NBC’s America’s Got Talent; author of A Die Hard Christmas, This Might Hurt a Bit, and Home Alone Hard; stand-up album A Delicate Man), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), and Katie Goodman (member of Broad Comedy; YouTube hits I Didn’t F*ck It Up and Sorry Babe, You’re a Feminist) hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) and Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves): Shitshow (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
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)
Thursday 1/9: A guest or guests TBA (not available yet, but to be reported here pre-show) will be the focus of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan Coulton: Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Thursday 1/9: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show—which is now also a six-part series titled The Mortified Guide on Netflix: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Friday 1/10: Great lineup of Eva Victor (Twitter comedic characters video superstar; The New Yorker), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Ego Nwodim (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust), Conner O’Malley (former staff writer/performer for Seth Meyers; Louie, Broad City), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), and Dan Licata (writer for Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks To You; The Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Ethan Beach & Josh Nasser. Oh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence Project (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Friday 1/10: A solo show by Tiff Stevenson (UK-based comic/actress; numerous UK/US TV show appearances include The Office, Drunk History, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week) about which one reviewer said, “It’s jaw-droppingly remarkable how much ground she covers, how funny she is, how intelligent her attacks are:” Tiff Stevenson: Mother (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 1/10: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are Laura Benanti (Tony Award winner for Broadway musical She Loves Me; cast member of TBS’ The Detour; NBC’s The Sound of Music Live, CW’s Supergirl, CBS’ The Good Wife, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie; album Songs From My Fair Lady), and married couple Jennifer Wright (right; political Editor-at-Large for Harper’s Bazaar; The New York Times; author of numerous books including It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History, We Came First: Relationship Advice from Women Who Have Been There, and Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History) & Daniel Kibblesmith (left; staff writer since 2015 for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s; writer of such Marvel comic books as Loki and Black Panther vs. Deadpool; author of books How to Win at Everything and Santa’s Husband; former Humor Editor for Buzzfeed): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett 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 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.