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:
Thursday 2/6: The wonderful Emily Flake (brilliant writer/cartoonist; The New Yorker, The New York Times; author of book That Was Awkward: The Art and Etiquette of the Awkward Hug) & Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; webseries KCK; host of Let’s Say You’re Right) host this monthly show that features funny people sharing their nightmares while Emily or a guest draws them, with tonight’s dreamers 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), Will Butler (Oscar-nominated musician; indie rock bank Arcade Fire; albums Policy and Friday Night), Mira Jacob (author of book Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations), and Sandi Marx (PBS; 7-time Moth StorySlam winner): Nightmares: The Best People Tell Their Worst Dreams (6:30 pm doors, 7:00 pm show; no cover 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)
Thursday 2/6: Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Calise Hawkins (Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, TruTV, Oxygen; writer for Comedy Central, Playboy.com), Chrissie Mayr (NBC’s America’s Got Talent, FOX, The Chris Gethard Show, Wendy Williams; host of Wet Spot podcast; co-host of long-running LGBT stage show Comedy at Stonewall), Scott Chaplain (Comedy Central Roast Battle), and Andrew Casertano perform stand-up for hosts Shane Gillis (Comedy Central, co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire) & Abby Rosenquist (Fuse TV): Citywide (7:00 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Thursday 2/6: Open mic walk-in storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner whose name is picked from a basket receiving 5 minutes on stage to tell a true personal tale, hosted by David Lawson (Comedy Central; solo shows include The Flyer Guy, No Oddjob, The Prequels, and The 2020 Book Report): The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show (7:00 pm, Free!, Queens’ Astoria Bookshop at 31-29 31st Street)
Thursday 2/6: Orli Matlow (Someecards; co-host of Aliens of Extraordinary Ability) hosts comics telling their favorite jokes about long-obsolete topics (old movies, old scandals, etc.), with guests Alise Morales (News & Politics Editor of Betches; Reductress, Above Average; voice of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Showtime’s Our Cartoon President), Graham Ross Techler (The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, UCB’s Characters Welcome, Less Than Rent theatre co.), Anne VIctoria Clark (Funny or Die), Nonye Brown-West (PBS, NPR), Amanda Hunt (UCB, The PIT), and Jason Piro: Comedy Time Machine (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Thursday 2/6: This free stand-up show with rotating hosts—tonight it’s Samantha Ruddy (Stephen Colbert; warm-up comic for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; written for College Humor, Reductress, Someecards)—features Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?), 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), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing; host of Homeschooled and co-host of Fresh Out; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York; comedy album I Was in Band), Sarah Tollemache (NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Adam Devine’s House Party; co-host of Vadge podcast), David Sitrick (Hard Drive magazine), and JP McDade (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle II, TruTV; writer for webseries Sports Balls): Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Thursday 2/6: Ace stand-up from Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), radio star Ron Bennington (host of shows Bennington and Unmasked), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Shane Gillis (Comedy Central; co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; recent interview on Artie Lange’s Halfway House), Will Noonan (MTV, NPR), and Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX): Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage 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.