NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2020: Last Updated Friday 2/21

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 hy@hyreviews.com.

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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:

Bushwick Bears 4Friday 2/21: Wendy Starling (co-host of Glamourpuss Show), Kenny WarrenNorlex Belma, and Danny Cohen (Comedy Central’s Premium Blend; co-host of Spin Cycle Comedy) perform stand-up for hosts Derek Humphrey (ABC, MTV, host of podcast Derek Mansplains It All), Boris Khaykin (Comedy Central’s Broad City, The Opposition; Amazon’s Red Oaks, acclaimed improv hip-hop group North Coast; host of Impro(VS)tandup), and Jericho Davidson at an intimate club space: Bushwick Bears (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Pete LeeFriday 2/21-Saturday 2/22: Pete Lee (Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s Half Hour, Roast Battle, This Week at the Comedy Cellar; TruTV, VH1) performs a deliciously long stand-up set tonight and Saturday at an iconic comedy club: Pete Lee Headlines at Carolines (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm Friday and 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm Saturday$27.25 cover plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Get Reel 4Friday 2/21: Comics dub—i.e., provide a verbal soundtrack—by making up narration and dialogue on the spot for silly video and film clips, with this month’s theme Super Reel, starring Carmen Christopher (Seth Meyers, HBO’s High Maintenance, TruTV’s The Chris Gethard Show, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV’s Bugging Out), Devon Walker (Comedy Central), Solange Azor,and Andrés Govea hosted by Max Wittert & Joe Castle BakerGet Reel (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

North Coast's Hip-Hop RebootFriday 2/21: Highly talented singing improv group North Coast turns popular TV shows suggested by the audience into improvised hip-hop musicals on the spot: North Coast’s Hip-Hop Reboot (7:30 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Stars at The StandFriday 2/21: Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland), Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), and Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr) perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square club: Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Friday Night Stand-Up at The StandFriday 2/21: Stand-up from Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland), 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), Dante Nero (Comedy Central, HBO, ABC, FOX; co-host of podcast Man School 202), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), and Lev Fer (Showtime; host of the Yung Daddy podcast): Friday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (9:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Stars at The StandFriday 2/21: Stand-up from stars 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), Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland), Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), and Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr): Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Late Night Stand-Up at The StandFriday 2/21: 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), Francis Ellis (co-host of Oops the Podcast), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Andrew CasertanoTom CassidyKat BelinfanteSteve Furey, and Raphael Guitler perform late night stand-up hosted by Ben DeMarco, plus a post-show party with music by DJ WeegeeLate Night Gold at The Stand (11:00 pm, $20The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street; includes afterparty!)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 2/22: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Comedians You Should KnowSunday 2/23: 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), Nathan Macintosh (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien), 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), Carmen Lagala (Stephen Colert; member of sketch group All Female Reboot, co-host of Creek Bros), and Damon Sumner (co-host of podcast Forth and Ten) perform stand-up hosted by Mike Lebovitz (HBO’s The Deuce, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing): Comedians You Should Know (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Gay Gulman and Nat Towsen: Sunday 2/23: Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; superb recent HBO special The Great Depresh; notable role as stand-up in blockbuster movie Joker; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno; finalist on Last Comic Standing; other comedy specials include Boyish Man, In This Economy, and It’s About Time) and more TBA 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, $12The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Chemical X: The Powerpuff Girls Improv ShowTuesday 2/25: Improvisors who are fans of the Cartoon Network make up scenes on the spot about adorable super-powered trio PowerPuff GirlsChemical X: The Powerpuff Girls Improv Show (7:00 pm, $9The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 2/25: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Artie Brennan & Anthony Giordano: Thursday 2/27: Artie Brennan, Anthony Giordano and friends create comedy chaos with this acclaimed show that “places you into the audience at a live taping of a fictional TV show overflowing with weird characters, interactive games, mysteries, puppets, prizes, and so much more. You have never experienced anything like it:” Super Crazy Fun Time Variety Game Show Hour (7:00 pm, $11The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

How Not to Fall for a ScamThursday 2/27-Saturday 2/29: A solo play written & performed by Monte D. Monteleagre self-described as follows: “The Puppeteer and his two sock puppet friends, Calvin and Sir Flops-A-Lot, have teamed up to put on a family-friendly play to educate children on the dangers of falling for a check scam. Except Sir Flops-A-Lot doesn’t know his lines. And the puppets aren’t getting paid. And the puppeteer might have turned their box shelter into this stage:” How Not to Fall for a Scam (7:00 pm, $13The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Characters WelcomeThursday 2/27: Talented comedic writer/actors—who may include Desi DomoElena SkopetosChrissy ShackelfordAntonia Lassar, and/or many more—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael HartneyEric Feurer, and/or Sarah ParsonsCharacters Welcome (7:30 pm, $7UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Natalie Cuomo: Friday 2/28: Natalie Cuomo (Carolines, SirusXM) hosts superb stand-ups Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Leah Bonnema (Stephen Colbert, VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), and Chloe LaBranche (host of The Chlo Show pod, Weep at The Stand): That Time of The Month Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $13The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

ational Treasure RemasteredSaturday 2/29: A play based on this premise: “Before Disney announced it would be making National Treasure 3, a strapped-for-cash Nicolas Cage tried to digitally remaster National Treasure on his own. He had to rely on outside funding to make the project happen, and was crushed when Disney threatened to sue if Cage released the film to theaters. Luckily for you, we’ve obtained the final cut of the film:” National Treasure Remastered (9:00 pm, $13The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

North Coast 9Saturday 2/29: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 2/29: top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by ace improvisors TBA, plus stellar improv musicians who are typically Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/3: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th 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

The Magnet
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

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Bell House
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

Comedy Cellar
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground
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.

The Stand
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.

Contact Hy

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 hy@hyreviews.com.

You can also find me on Twitter at @hybender, Instagram at @hybenderny, and Facebook at https://Facebook.com/hybender.

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