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:
Sunday 2/9: Jena Friedman (wry dark political stand-up; star of Adult Swim’s Soft Focus; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, @midnight, The New Yorker, Netflix mockumentary Undecided; former staff writer for David Letterman and Roseanne; former producer for The Daily Show) performs a witty and insightful solo stand-up show described as follows: “As America slips into fascism, Jena celebrates free speech while she still has it in this unapologetic political hour of comedy. Fresh off a critically acclaimed 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival run, Jena brings her unique insight and acerbic wit at a time when politics in America and worldwide has become more contentious and divisive than ever.” This show was part of the New York Comedy Festival, and quickly sold out. Another performance was added…and it quickly sold out too. Don’t miss this additional chance to experience Jena Friedman: Miscarriage of Justice (5:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 2/9: Enjoy brunch with laughs at this comedy show that provides free bacon and $20 bottomless mimosas along with jokes from NYC stand-ups Hannah Berner (cast of Bravo’s Summer House; host of podcast Berning In Hell), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Tyler Fischer (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Stephen Colbert, NBC’s America’s Got Talent, HQ Trivia), and Andrew Casertano hosted by Remy Kassimir (Netflix; host of podcasts How Cum and We Really Love Island): Bacon Bits Brunch Show (3:00 pm, $15, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Sunday 2/9: Stand-up from 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), Francis Ellis (co-host of Oops the Podcast), Corinne Fisher (NBC, FOX; with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, 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 Screwed), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), Sarah Cooper (author of 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings and How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings), Michael Harrison, Preston Gitlin, and Alex Gardes performing in an intimate club space: Privileged Pain (7:00 pm, $10, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Sunday 2/9: Derek Gaines , Aaron Berg, Tara Cannistraci, Nikki Carr, and host Davian Velez shoot a stand-up show: Comedy Bites (8:00 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Sunday 2/9: Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly; Netflix stand-up special America is the Greatest Country in the United States; bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), Brett Davis (writer/performer for National Lampoon Radio Hour; HBO’s Animals; TruTv’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; creator/host of weekly Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; co-host of The Macaulay Culkin Show; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award), and Bronwyn Isaac (co-host of podcast Bad Romance) try out new jokes via deliciously long sets at this popular weekly safe space for the stand-up creation process hosted by Nat Towsen (Esquire, VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety): New Material Night (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)
Sunday 2/9: This weekly competitive roast battle tonight features a main bout of Andrew Casertano vs. Chloe Labranche (“Don’t you hate when you do cocaine and accidentally tell someone where you hid the bodies?”) judged by Kerryn Feehan, Eli Sars, Matt Broussard, and Chris From Brooklyn, and hosted by Matt Maran: Comedy Fight Club (9:00 pm; $8.13 online using code CFC, otherwise $13.13; The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Sunday 2/9: If you missed his sold out shows this weekend at Gotham Comedy Club, come catch 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) perform a shorter set in the East Village along with eight other stand-ups: If You Build It (9:30 pm, $9, UCB at SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street—take #6 subway to Bleecker Street stop)
Sunday 2/9: Great lineup of Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Kevin Iso (Hulu’s High Fidelity, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar and Adam Devine’s House Party), Greer Barnes (HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents, David Letterman, Louie, Chappelle’s Show, For the Love of the Game; comedy album See What I’m Saying), and Nathan Macintosh (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien) respectfully suggesting you go out and laugh with them: F*ck The Oscars (10:00 pm, $20 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.