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 email@example.com.
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 February 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:
Tuesday 2/4: Smart, fresh stand-up from Jessica Kirson (stellar hour-long special Talking to Myself currently streaming on Comedy Central; HBO’s Crashing, The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Chanel Ali (MTV’s Girl Code, STARZ, TruTV), and Pat Regan (The Eric Andre Show, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Seek Treatment podcast) for hosts Anya Volz (writer for Riot Fest, The Hard Times; host of Thirst Trap With Anya Volz) & Gabby Bryan (co-host with Katie Hannigan of podcast Apodcalypse): Our Time of the Week (7:00 pm, $15, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Tuesday 2/4: Members of the ace professional speechwriting West Wing Writers group—Brian Agler (New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Muizz Akhtar (Fellows for Peace, OCA Greater Houston), Sarah Gruen (McSweeney’s, The Institute), and Chai Karve (Sack of Troy, The Breakdown) will break down their favorite speeches, give behind-the-scenes looks at the speech drafting process, and even lead you in crafting your own keynote speech—with some extra fun added by comics Alise Morales (News & Politics Editor of Betches; Reductress, Above Average; voice of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Showtime’s Our Cartoon President) and Orli Matlow (Adult Swim, Someecards; co-host of Aliens of Extraordinary Ability), all hosted by Chandler Dean (above; McSweeney’s, Reductress): SpeakEasy (7:00 pm; $15; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Tuesday 2/4: Star Domenick Lombardozzi (numerous movies and TV series include The Irishman, Cold Pursuit, Bridge of Spies; HBO’s The Wire and The Deuce, Starz’s Power, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire) is interviewed on-stage by Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr) for Paul’s weekly podcast The Virzi Effect: The Virzi Effect Live: An Interview with Domenick Lombardozzi (7:30 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Tuesday 2/4: 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: The State of the Human (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 2/4: With brutal honesty, comics Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s crewed), 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), and Joe List (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, James Corden, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Netflix’s The StandUps, comedy albums So Far No Good and Are You Mad at Me?) each shares a story of one of the worst things he or she has ever experienced, with periodic questions and other fun interjections from stellar host 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): The Worst (9:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Tuesday 2/4: Corinne Fisher (“I brought my dog to a Super Bowl party and everyone’s mood is noticeably better than usual; dogs are magic;” 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) and 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) team up for this podcast that covers interesting items in the news every Tuesday and concludes with a town hall-style Q&A with the audience: Without A Country Podcast— Live! (9:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also find me on Twitter at @hybender, Instagram at @hybenderny, and Facebook at https://Facebook.com/hybender.