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That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for November 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:
Sunday 11/17: This amazing smorgasbord of a show provides stand-up from Aparna Nancherla (Comedy Central’s Corporate, HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There) and Nick Maritato (This American Life, MTV, host of podcast Reality Blows), and interviews & games with Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; comedy album The Hits) and Gary Richardson (writer for Saturday Night Live; brilliant improvisor; Comedy Central), all revolving around the theme of self-discovery hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable rising star stand-up, sketch comic, and actress; stellar host of Fresh Out; former writer for NatGeo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely): Ashley Explains How To Be Yourself (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 11/17: Sketch group and stand-up trio Three Michelles—consisting of Belinda Boxer, Alli Brown, and Meghan Radespiel—perform and host NYC stand-ups TBA. To get a feel for the dark comedy of these gals, please click here and here: Three Michelles (7:00 pm, $5 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Sunday 11/17: Stand-up and/or music from Anna Drezen (superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters, movement, and sketch; Supervising Writer for Saturday Night Live; Editor-at-Large of Reductress; co-author of How May We Hate You and How to Win at Feminism), Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert), Sarah Dooley (author of book Are You My Uber? and music album Stupid Things), Lauren Servideo (character comic Instagram star), Emma Jayne (award-winning singer/songwriter; music album Jetlag), and Devon Walker (Comedy Central) hosted by Benito Skinner (YouTube star) & Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive): Cruel Intentions (7:30 pm, $18, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Sunday 11/17: Anya Volz (above; writer for Riot Fest, The Hard Times; host of Thirst Trap With Anya Volz), Aasif Mandvi (HBO’s The Brink, Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, numerous films; former correspondent for The Daily Show; author of No Man’s Land), and Steve Whalen (HBO, Comedy Central) 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, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)
Sunday 11/17: Comics competitively roast each other, with tonight’s main bout Mark Benjamin (“Looking forward to the Senate acquitting Trump on this sham so he can get to work for the American people and ask Saudi Arabia to murder Elizabeth Warren”) vs. Shawn Gardini, all hosted by Matt Maran: Comedy Fight Club (9:00 pm, $10, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Sunday 11/17: Stand-ups Joe Kwaczala, Jess Salomon, Rob Cantrell, Sarah Tollemache, Glenn Moore, Kenice Mobley, and Kendall Farrell perform for host Alison Leiby (writer for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, former writer for Comedy Central’s The Opposition and The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It (9:30 pm, $9, UCB at SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street—take #6 subway to Bleecker Street stop)
Sunday 11/17: Patrick McCartney (member of acclaimed theatrical improv group Centralia) performs a comedic solo show about addiction and recovery, directed by Shira Piven (HBO’s Divorce and Room 104, Amazon’s Transparent), that’s received raves from the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert (superstar author of Eat Pray Love), who wrote, “Patrick McCartney is a phenomenally gifted performer, whose work I have admired for years. But we almost lost this extraordinary artist to alcoholism and drug addiction—which would have been a tragedy on so many levels. Now McCartney has returned to the stage with a one-man show about his struggle with substance abuse. Miraculously, it manages to be simultaneously brilliant, devastating, hilarious, humble, searching, and triumphant. Go see it. It’s a beautiful piece of work:” Sinister Kid (10:30 pm, $10, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Monday 11/18: This brand new show is about “the science of astrology, which is very real and definitely not fake. Each month, hosts Melissa Stokoski, Karolena Theresa, and Brian Bahe (famously all Virgos) along with resident Astrologist Lizzie Martinez (Taurus) welcome a lineup of comedians all born under the current zodiac.” This month’s group of Scorpio stand-ups include Petey DeAbreu (host of Petey’s World and co-host of White Chocolate), Marcia Belsky (Reductress; Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; lead singer of band Free the Mind), and Pooja Reddy (host of Kutti Gang): Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Monday 11/18: Dina Hashem (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Stand-Up and Roast Battle) and Kevin Iso (Hulu’s High Fidelity, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar and Adam Devine’s House Party) each performs a 30-minute stand-up set: Dina Hashem and Kevin Iso Do Long Sets (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Monday 11/18: Anna Drezen (superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters, movement, and sketch; Supervising Writer for Saturday Night Live; Editor-at-Large of Reductress; co-author of How May We Hate You and How to Win at Feminism) headlines, with opening stand-up from Anna’s Saturday Night Live colleagues Bowen Yang, Alex Moffat, and Sam Jay: Anna Drezen and SNL Friends (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Murmrr Ballroom at 17 Eastern Parkway—take 2/3 subway to Grand Army Plaza)
Monday 11/18: 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), 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), Olivia Grace (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle; writer for Roast of Bruce Willis; co-host of The Doug Stanhope Podcast), Shalewa Sharpe (Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast; very nearly a cast member of SNL), Francis Ellis (co-host of Oops the Podcast), Annette Mullaney (San Francisco-based comic; host of “Shame Cave”), and Chloe McGovern try out material at this free weekly show hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) and/or Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV): Frantic Mondays (10:00 pm, Free!, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Tuesday 11/19: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Tuesday 11/19: The innovative and award-winning Broken Box Mime troupe performs their finest wordless sketches & stories, mixed with fresh bits, all set to a “rip-roarin’ soundtrack:” BKBX: Quiet Riot (9:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)
Tuesday 11/19: Stand-up from the great 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; feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Andrew Schulz (Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, Hulu’s There’s…Johnny!, HBO’s Crashing, Netflix, MTV), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast; very nearly a cast member of SNL), Paul Virzi (FOX, Spike TV) , and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas): $5 Funnies (10:00 pm, $5 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Thursday 11/20: Participants (maybe you, if you apply) pitch their single friends via fun PowerPoint presentations and then conduct a Q&A session with the audience, after which everyone mingles: YouShouldDate.ppt (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 11/20: Mike Drucker (left; hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show and nearly 400 episodes of NBC’s Jimmy Fallon, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), Caitlin Peluffo (right; Stephen Colbert), Richie Owens, and more TBA perform stand-up hosted by Emily Winter, Julia Shiplett, Carolyn Busa, and/or Ben Wasserman: Side Ponytail Comedy (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Friends and Lovers at 641 Classon Avenue)
Thursday 11/21-Sunday 11/24: It’s the 7th year of this annual 4-day PIT festival devoted to over 100 new comedic solo shows. (The fest was originally created by Peter Michael Marino & Toby Knops and co-produced by Ronny Pascale, all giants in PIT history, but they’ve moved on to let others curate & run the extravaganza.) The only requirements for any production are it’s a one-person show that’s funny and has never been performed in public before. The types of entertainment are therefore wide-ranging, encompassing sketch, characters, storytelling, stand-up, cabaret, music, dance, puppetry, magic, clowning, multimedia, and more. Based on nothing other than a quick skim of the performers involved, shows that appear especially promising include Carolyn Bergier and Cole Steffensen (Thursday 7:00 at UG), Micaela Blei (Thursday 11 at UG), Regan Sims and Matt Zambrano (Friday 7:00 at Striker), Jack Blankenship and Rachael Burke (Friday 9:30 at Loft), Adrien Pellerin and Adrian Sexton (Saturday 7:30 at UG), Lagina Hill and Anoush Froundjian (Saturday 8:00 at Striker), Sarah Morgan Ashey and Dillon Geyselaers (Saturday 8:30 at UG), Angela Cobb (Saturday 10:30 at Striker), Abby Feldman (Sunday 4:30 at Striker), and Andi Lee Carter (Sunday 8:00 at Loft): Solocom 2019 ($12 per show, or $30 for an all-you-can-see festival pass (a fantastic deal for a vibrant, fun festival with scores of shows): The PIT Mainstage (Striker) and PIT Underground (UG) at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Friday 11/22: Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) and Rachel Pegram (Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV, BET; movies Don’t Think Twice and The Week Of; member of UCB star improv group ASSSSCAT 3000) each performs a deliciously long 30-minute stand-up set hosted by Jeff Hiller (30 Rock, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, musical improv group Rumpleteaser): Karen Chee and Rachel Pegram Do One Collective Hour of Comedy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Friday 11/22: Native Americans Brian Bahe (Tohono O’odham/Hopi/Navajo), Tai Leclaire (Mohawk/Mi’kmaq), Dash Turner (Yurok), and other American Indians offer their own take on the holidays via stand-up, characters, and games: Thanks But No Thanksgiving (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 11/23: Charlyne Yi (FOX’s House; voiceover for Steven Universe, We Bare Bears, Summer Camp Island; winner of the prestigious Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award) performs comedy, music, and/or magic, and hosts guests including Casey Trela (singer/songwriter): Charlyne Yi Variety Show (5:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 11/23: Stand-ups sandwich new jokes they’re trying out in between reliably time-tested opening and closing material, with tonight’s guests Emmy Blotnick (brilliant and Emmy-nominated rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and in a Comedy Central Half Hour; staff writer for Stephen Colbert; comedy album Party Nights), 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), Marie Faustin (co-host of 99.5 FM’s Tall Tales in the Big City and podcast The Unofficial Expert; former host of Oxygen’s Very Real Talk; MTV’s Girl Code and Vidiots), and Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life, Moth GrandSlam Champion, comedy album & show And I Am Not Lying) performing for hosts Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy, comedy album Immigrant Made) & Jess Salomon (former UN war crimes lawyer turned comic; Jimmy Fallon, CBS, Sirius XM): Sandwich (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 11/24: Langston Kerman (Comedy Central Half Hour; cast member of ABC’s Bless This Mess, HBO’s Insecure, and Comedy Central’s South Side; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars) performs a solo stand-up show: Langston Kerman for the Hour (5:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 11/26: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Friday 11/29: Patrick McCartney (member of acclaimed theatrical improv group Centralia) performs a comedic solo show about addiction and recovery, directed by Shira Piven (HBO’s Divorce and Room 104, Amazon’s Transparent), that’s received raves from the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert (superstar author of Eat Pray Love), who wrote, “Patrick McCartney is a phenomenally gifted performer, whose work I have admired for years. But we almost lost this extraordinary artist to alcoholism and drug addiction—which would have been a tragedy on so many levels. Now McCartney has returned to the stage with a one-man show about his struggle with substance abuse. Miraculously, it manages to be simultaneously brilliant, devastating, hilarious, humble, searching, and triumphant. Go see it. It’s a beautiful piece of work:” Sinister Kid (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Tuesday 11/26: The innovative and award-winning Broken Box Mime troupe performs their finest wordless sketches & stories, mixed with fresh bits, all set to a “rip-roarin’ soundtrack:” BKBX: Quiet Riot (9:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)
Friday 11/29: Native New Yorkers Ilana Michelle Rubin & Lana Schwartz invite comics who came here from somewhere else to talk about their home towns, with tonight’s guests the great Aparna Nancherla (above), Arti Gollapudi, Chrissy Shackelford, Sam Saulsbury, and Corie Johnson: My Hometown (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Friday 11/29: New Zealand comic Guy Montgomery (co-host of the popular podcast The Worst Ideo of All Time) performs a solo stand-up show about friendship (see above) for one night only in Brooklyn: Guy Montgomery: I’m Friends With These People (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 12/1: Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and High Maintenance, Netflix’s Russian Doll, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Amazon’s The Tick, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight; films Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great; comedy album Shut Up) performs a deliciously long stand-up set: Michelle Buteau (7:30 pm (sold out) & 10:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Tuesday 12/3: 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 (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)
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 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
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
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.
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
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.