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 2/13-Sunday 2/16: Natalie Palamides—whose roles have spanned from Buttercup on Power Puff Girls to Ophelia on The Real Housewives of Shakespeare—further demonstrates her range in this highly acclaimed show about toxic masculinity that blends clowning and extreme laughs with nuanced questions about consent, playing in Chelsea through Sunday: NATE (7:30 pm Wednesday-Thursday, 8:00 pm Friday, 11:00 pm Saturday, 7:30 pm Sunday; $25; Improv Asylum at 307 West 26th Street)
Thursday 2/13: 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), Francis Ellis (co-host of Oops the Podcast), Chloe LaBranche (host of The Chlo Show pod, Weep at The Stand), Ryan Schutt, and Raul Sanchez 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 2/13: Sharp stand-up from 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), Shane Gillis (Comedy Central, co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Jeff Leach (BBC; host of podcast Savage Snowflake and show Stand-Ups Anonymous), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, CW), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), and TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Thursday Stand-Up at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Thursday 2/13: 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: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 2/13: This free stand-up show with rotating hosts—tonight it’s Luke Touma—features a great lineup of Sara Schaefer (Comedy Central special streaming here; former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; twice Emmy-winning head blogger for Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central’s @Inside Amy Schumer and @midngiht, VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There), Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV), Casey James Salengo (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents; album Wild Country Phoenix), Neel Nanda (Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Devine’s House Party, VICE, IFC, Oxygen), Rosebud Baker (Comedy Central; co-host with Corinne Fisher podcast Two Less Lonely Girls), Ashton Womack (The Daily Show, Alternatino, Vice), and Drew Dunn (winner of the Boston Comedy Festival 2017 and Seattle International Comedy Competition 2018): Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Thursday 2/13: Sharp stand-up from 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), Shane Gillis (Comedy Central, co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Jeff Leach (BBC; host of podcast Savage Snowflake and show Stand-Ups Anonymous), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Aaron Berg (Comedy Central’s This is Not Happening, documentary 25 Sets; TV series 24 Hour Rental; co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water and The Stand’s Frantic!), and Ryan Long (Netflix) at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Thursday Stand-Up at The Stand (10:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Saturday 2/15: Multitalented rising star Emma Vernon (hip-hop musical improvisor, stand-up, actor, writer, and romance expert) aims to use her exceptional matchmaking skills to bring together two strangers and have them fall in love on their first date—which will take place in front of you on-stage: In A World: The Dating Show (8:00 pm, $13.44 online, Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street; followed by singles dancing afterparty)
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.