NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2019: Last Updated Monday 11/11

November 11, 2019

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 330,000 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.

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 November 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

John Mulaney and Pete HolmesMonday 11/11: New York Comedy Festival 2019 is over, but its fond memories will linger for years. Personally, I want to give special thanks to two of the greatest comics ever, Pete Holmes and John Mulaney, for bringing the fest to a spectacular close at Pete’s (almost instantly) sold out show Sunday night at Brooklyn’s Murmrr Theatre. John was an unannounced opener, and an enormously happy and much-beloved surprise. And Pete reminded NYC why he’s one of the finest and most joyful stand-ups of all time. Gratitude and blessings to both of these giants.

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve: 2 Year Anniverary ShowMonday 11/11: Celebrating their show’s Second Year Anniversary are stellar comics Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk), who tonight host Todd Barry, Joyelle Nicole Johnson, Rob Haze, Jes Tom, James Fritz, and more performing stand-up, plus music from DJ Donwill: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve: 2 Year Anniverary Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; 10:00 pm afterparty at Parklife at 636 Degraw Street)

Mark Normand & Joe List: "Tuesdays With Stories"Monday 11/11: Ace comics Mark Normand & Joe List take their popular weekly yarn-spinning podcast with guests to the Comedy Cellar stage (on a Monday, but suspend your disbelief and have fun): Tuesdays With Stories Live (8:00 pm, $15 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street off Sixth Avenue)

Big Jay Oakerson, Dave Smith, and Luis J. Gomez: "Legion of Skanks"Monday 11/11: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcast The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall; Netflix’s The Degenerates), Dave Smith (FOX; host of podcast Part of the Problem), Luis J. Gomez (special Luis J. Gomez Presents Luis J. Gomez), and tonight’s slated guests 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) and Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of Frantic Mondays) “discuss the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this free weekly podcast taping: Legion of Skanks (9:30 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Clare O'Kane, Courtney Maginnis, and Lorelei RamirezMonday 11/11: Deliciously long stand-up sets from each of two recently married comics: Clare O’Kane (Comedy Central Half Hour, Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants; stand-up album Let It Be) and Courtney Maginnis (Comedy Central, College Humor; host of podcast The Narcisistas and free weekly East Village stand-up show Let’s See, What Else?), plus an opening set from phenom Lorelei Ramirez (fresh, explosively brilliant stand-up; Adult Swim, VICE): Clare O’Kane, Courtney Maginnis, Lorelei Ramirez: The Newlywed Hour (10:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sherrod SmallMonday 11/11: Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, NBC’s Showtime at the Apollo, Comedy Central, VH1; co-host of podcast Race Wars) performs a deliciously long stand-up set in an intimate West Village club: Sherrod Small (10:30 pm, $20 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Jena FriedmanTuesday 11/12: 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 solo 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 (10:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 11/12: 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)

Josh Gondelman: Wednesday 11/13: Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Katie Boyle (co-host of podcast The Shift; host of Transplants Comedy), Zain Sharif, Jared Goldstein, and Ronnie Fleming 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)

Caitlin Peluffo and Mike DruckerWednesday 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)

Patrick McCartney: 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 (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Michelle Buteau 8Sunday 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) & 9:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for October 2019: Last Updated Monday 10/28

October 28, 2019

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 330,000 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.

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 October 2019 (with more to come soon) include:

The 12th Annual Schtick or TreatMonday 10/28: For the 12th year of this fabulous annual event, scores of NYC comics get a couple of minutes each to do a set as a famous comedian (e.g., Amy Schumer, George Carlin, Jimmy Fallon, Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers…the possibilities are endless) hosted by Mark Normand & Matt Ruby. For highlights of last year’s show, please click here, and then nab tickets to The 12th Annual Schtick or Treat (8:00 pm; $15 at the door or $20.52 online; Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue—take the G subway to Metropolitan Avenue or L subway to Lorimer Street)

First Impressions: The 90’s Dating Game ShowMonday 10/28: Seven comics—Desi Domo, Rachel Pegram, Tim Platt, Jes Tom, Thomas Whittington, Zach Teague, and Donald Chang—and one audience member compete to win the heart of comic Jay Jurden (Jimmy Fallon; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Vulture) for this 1990’s-style dating game show hosted by Taylor Ortega, John Everett Trowbridge, Jenny Gorelick, and Jonathan Yoni Lotan: First Impressions: The 90’s Dating Game Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Tales from the Crypt: The PUN-ch Up's Halloween EditionMonday 10/28: Skilled punsters Sam Corbin, Tim Donnelly, Jerzy Gwiazdowski, Ally Spier, and Nikolai Vanyo will show off their word expertise by punching up news headlines, tightening movie titles, merging words to create new terms, taking etymological deep-dives, and playing a variety of other word games, with this month’s focus scary puns a la EC Comics and HBO’s beloved Crypt Keeper (above): The PUN-ch Up: Halloween Edition (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Big Jay Oakerson, Dave Smith, and Luis J. Gomez: Monday 10/28: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcast The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall; Netflix’s The Degenerates), Dave Smith (FOX; host of podcast Part of the Problem), Luis J. Gomez (special Luis J. Gomez Presents Luis J. Gomez), and other NYC comics “discuss the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this free weekly podcast taping: Legion of Skanks (9:30 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Dan Soder and Ari ShaffirMonday 10/28: Dan Soder (left; stellar stand-up; Dudley Mafee on Showtime’s Billions; films Trainwreck, Drunk Parents; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The Standups, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1; hosts with Big Jay Oakerson Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Ari Shaffir (right; Conan O’Brien, former host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive, Netflix special Double Negative), Josh Adam Meyers (host of The Goddamn Comedy Jam and Spotify podcast The 500), Francis Ellis (co-host of Oops the Podcast), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Artie Lange, VH1), Xazmin Garza, Tom Cassidy, and Dhaya Lakshminarayana 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 at 116 East 16th Street)

The Science of MonstersTuesday 10/29: Meg Hafdahl & Kelly Florence, who host the podcast Horror Rewind, celebrate the release of their book The Science of Monsters by talking about the medical mysteries and scientific marvels that inspired the creation of such characters as Freddy Kruger, Hannibal Lecter, zombies, werewolves, and much more: The Science of Monsters Book Release Show (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Stevie PresentsTuesday 10/29: Fine lineup of Jo Firestone, Karen Chee, Clare O’Kane, Rachel Pegram, and Larry Owens performing stand-up for hosts Sam Taggart and Pat Regan: Stevie Presents (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Where Do You Get Off?: A Show for Petty PeopleTuesday Tuesday 10/29: Hosts Austin Bernhardt (writer for Comedy Central, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) & Megan Meadows (Reductress) “invite you and your worst impulses to a night of gripes, games, and non-scary audience participation,” featuring petty complaints from 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), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), Mary Cella (Comedy Central, The New Yorker, The New York Times), Nicole Boyce (Comedy Central, The New Yorker), and Brian Bahe (Vulture): Where Do You Get Off?: A Show for Petty People (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 10/29: 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)

Murder Mystery PartyWednesday 10/30: Enjoy a blend of stand-up, sketch, music, and murder with Caroline Portu & Marty Miller, Avra Friedman, Alex Boyce, John Everett Trowbridge, Michael Kayne, Maya Deshmukh, and Milly Tamarez hosted by Jenny Gorelick: Jenny’s Birthday: Murder Mystery Party! (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Roy Wood Jr.Wednesday 10/30: Roy Wood Jr. (above; correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Matt Goldich (staff writer for Seth Meyers; Comedy Central, VH1), Julia Johns (member of sketch group All Female Reboot; former writer for MTV’s Girl Code), Xasmin Garza, and David Sitrick 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)

The Witching Hour: Live in Union ScareThursday 10/31: An extra special treat for Halloween is this free comedy show performed in Union Square Park’s South Plaza featuring Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Carolina Hidalgo (co-host with MST3K’s Frank Conniff & Trace Beaulieu of Movie Sign with the Mads podcast), Andrea Allan (producer of Keith & The Girl; host of podcast The Hot Mess Comedy Hour; stand-up album Gonzo), Carmen Lagala (Stephen Colbert; member of sketch group All Female Reboot), and Kelsey Caine (The New York Times; Miss New York State finalist; for a video sample, please click here): The Witching Hour: Live in Union Scare (6:00 pm, Free!, Union Square Park South Plaza between East 14th & 15th Streets near Fourth Avenue; hopefully this is be an unnecessary note, but in case of rain the show will move underground to the MTA station near the mezzanine and N/R subways)

BackFat Variety Presents: Comedians with Ghost StoriesThursday 10/31: Stand-ups share true personal stories about supernatural experiences, with Adam Mamawala (Comedy Central, MTV, BET; stand-up album One of the Good Ones), Pranav Behari (co-host of Mango Bae podcast), Maria Wojciechowski (editor at Comedywire), Srilatha Rajamani, and Jericho Davidson hosted by Emily Winter (writer for NPR’s Ask Me Another; The New Yorker, The New York Times) and Larry Mancini (ESPN radio; band member of The Tracys): BackFat Variety Presents: Comedians with Ghost Stories (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Friday 11/1: David Cross (right; comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family), Josh Gondelman (left; one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), Kerry Coddett (writer for HBO’s Wyatt Cenac: Problem Areas; HBO’s Crashing, BET’s The Rundown, Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show, MTV’s Joking Off; host of Brooklyn, Stand Up!), and Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede) perform stand-up at this comedy show that’s also a voter registration drive for 2020 hosted by Selena Coppock, Alison Klemp, Matt Nedostop, and Jarret Bernstein: Standup 2020 (7:30 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

The Roast of HistoryFriday 11/1: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow; comedy album The Hits), Kevin Bauer (MTV), Julian Edward Williams (co-host of WALT), and Lucyana Randall roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention hosted by Matt Strickland (Comedy Central): The Roast of History (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Picture This!Saturday 11/2: In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups Rachel Pegram, Mary Houllihan, Martin Urbano, Tim Platt, Nick Naney, and Carmen Christopher to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Clare O’Kane (Amazon, Viceland, stand-up album Let It Be): Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Brian Parise and Dan St. GermainSaturday 11/2: Dan St. Germain (right; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Crashing, @midnight, This is Not Happening, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1; former staff writer for CBS’ Superior Donuts, Netflix’s The Break with Michelle Wolf, and TruTV’s Ten Things; album No Real Winners Here), Brian Parise (staff writer and Emmy Award winner for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; co-host and chef of The Pasta Show), Nimesh Patel (exceptionally sharp stand-up; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars; co-host of Broken Comedy), Molly Kornfeld, Fareeha Khan, Maddy Smith, and Kevin Sean perform stand-up for host Khalid A. Rahmaan (Conan O’Brien): Electric Laughs (7:30 pm; Free!, plus free punch!; Brooklyn’s Work Heights/Franklin Electric at 650 Franklin Avenue; take the S subway to Park Place or the A/C to Franklin Avenue)

Punderdome 3000: Halloween SpecialTuesday 11/5: 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. This special Halloween edition also features a spooky Pun-Costume competition: Punderdome 3000: Halloween Special (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)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 11/5: 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)

The National Lampoon Radio HourWednesday 11/6: The National Lampoon Radio Hour ran weekly from November 1973 through December 1974. A number of its comics then moved on to Saturday Night Live, including John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, and brilliant writer Michael O’Donoghue. Decades later, you can come see NLRH resurrected as a podcast and stage show with a brand new cast of writers and performers: Jo Firestone, Maeve Higgins, Aaron Jackson, Brett Davis, Alex English, Rachel Pegram, Lorelei Ramirez, Meg Stalter, Martin Urbano, and Cole Escola: The National Lampoon Radio Hour (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Aparna Nancherla, Michelle Collins, and Scott Rogowsky: Jon Friedman's "The Rejection Show"Wednesday 11/6: Comics share their rejected comedy material at this all-star show with Aparna Nancherla (left, abandoned by Elmo; one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 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), Michelle Collins (middle, holding axed jokes; host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise), and Scott Rogowsky (right, dumped by umbrella; NBC’s The Voice, WB’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us; host of wildly popular trivia game app HQ Trivia), plus music from superb duo Stuckey & Murray, fab band The Defibulators, and SNL Musical Director Eli Brueggemann, all hosted by Jon Friedman (Jimmy Fallon; former writer for MTV’s Guy Code and Girl Code, YouTube series Part Timers): The Rejection Show (7:30 pm, $11, Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street)

Eric Dittelman: Wednesday 11/6: Mind reader Eric Dittelman (America’s Got Talent, Ellen) hosts professional magicians testing out new acts—including comedic bits—for this long-running free monthly show: Amazeballs (10:00 pm, Free!, The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC at 10-93 Jackson Avenue; take 7 subway to Vernon Boulevard–Jackson Avenue)

David Lawson: Friday 11/8: Superb storyteller David Lawson (Comedy Central; solo shows include The Flyer Guy, No Oddjob, The Prequels; host of The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show) performs a one-man show “standing onstage judging people who are seeking The White House in 2020. The only qualification David has? He’s read their books:” David Lawson’s 2020 Book Report (7:00 pm, $15, The Kraine Theatre at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Sarah Squirm's HellTrap NightmareFriday 11/8: Sarah Squirm, who created the infamous Adult Swim video here, gifts us with a live show filled with her disturbingly gross dark comedy, plus musical guests Ana Fabrega & Lorelei Ramirez (as duo Beautiful Souls Al Fresco): Sarah Squirm’s HellTrap Nightmare (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Aparna Nancherla and Wyatt Cenac: "Let's Go, Atsuko!"Saturday 11/9: This “woke” Japanese-style game show will push to the max the problem-solving skills of stars Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 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), Wyatt Cenac (star of HBO’s Problem Areas and TBS’ Friends of Earth; former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person, Brooklyn, and Furry Dumb Fighter; host of Night Train, Shouting at the Screen), and one other comic TBA hosted by the charming Atsuko Okatsuka (HBO’s Room 104; writer for Adult Swim’s wonderfully surreal The Eric Andre Show and Soft Focus with Jena Friedman): Let’s Go, Atsuko! (8:30 pm, $11, Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street)

Jean Grae, Lane Moore, Connor Ratliff, and Chase Mitchell: "Tinder Live"

Jean Grae, Lane Moore, and Connor Ratliff: Saturday 11/9: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guests Jean Grae (left; renowned, seminal hip hop recording artist; also sharp pro comic and comedy host), Connor Ratliff (right; brilliant improvisor & character comic; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Orange is the New Black, Broad City, The Chris Gethard Show, The President Show; co-star of legendary improv group The Stepfathers; host of The George Lucas Talk Show), and Chase Mitchell (staff writer for FOX’s What Just Happened?; former long-time staff writer for Jimmy Fallon): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kevin Smith & Jason Mewes: Saturday 11/9: Director, writer, actor, and national treature Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Comic Book Men, Jay and Silent Bob) and Jason Mewes (co-star of the View Askewniverse; host of popular and long-running podcast Jay & Silent Bob Get Old) perform a storytelling and Q&A show—which I’ll be attending—promoting their just-released latest movie Jay and Silent Bob Reboot: The Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Roadshow (9:45 pm, BMCC Tribecca Performing Arts Center at 99 Chambers Street; take the 1/2/3 subway to Chambers Street. PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT.)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 11/12: 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)

Josh Gondelman: Wednesday 11/13: Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Katie Boyle (co-host of podcast The Shift; host of Transplants Comedy), Zain Sharif, Jared Goldstein, and Ronnie Fleming 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)

Norm MacdonaldThursday 11/7-Sunday 11/10: Hilarious, quick-witted Norm MacDonald both gets in trouble and is beloved for not being afraid to make waves. For example, way back in 1997 Norm got the biggest laugh ever out of Conan O’Brien when he began by declaring that if Carrot Top is the star of the new movie of another guest, a good title for the film would be “Box Office Poison.” Conan then asked the guest for the actual title, and she responded Chairman of the Board. Conan turned to Norm and said, “Do something with that, you freak.” Without missing a beat, Norm replied, “I bet Board is spelled B-O-R-E-D.” Conan, and the audience, went into hysterics. (Also famed is Norm’s moth story.) Norm was a popular cast member of Saturday Night Live for five seasons and the anchor of Weekend Update for three seasons. He was also a regular on several network sitcoms, and even starred in his own ABC sitcom The Norm Show, which ran for three seasons. More recently, Norm is the voice of Yaphit on The Orville and hosts the Netflix interview program Norm Macdonald Has a Show. Norm is also one of the most acclaimed stand-ups in the biz., and well worth catching. He’s headlining Thursday through Sunday as part of the New York Comedy Festival: Norm Macdonald (8:00 pm & 10:30 pm, $57.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Ophira Eisenberg: Sunday 11/10: Each of us endures a lot more, and is far tougher, than is apparent from surface appearances. And that refers to not only emotional and spiritual hardships, but permanent bodily mementos. In this show, Ophira Eisenberg (one of the very finest storytellers in the country; NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!; for a sampling of Ophira’s remarkably deep comedic tales, please click here) reveals “I have a lot of scars. And I don’t mean metaphorical ones, I’m talking actual physical scars. I’m actually covered in them. They stem from incidents throughout my life, from putting my finger into a meat grinder at age 4 to surviving a near-fatal car crash. This show is about my scars, filled with both comedic and tragic stories, and how to accept these patterns etched in my skin day after day after day.” Opening for Ophira during this 90-minute show are storytellers Michaela Murphy (recommended by The New Yorker) and Mike Albo (writer for The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York Magazine; author of novels Homito and The Underminer): Ophira Eisenberg: How to Get Rid of Scars (2:00 pm, $20, The Kraine Theatre at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Caitlin Peluffo and Mike DruckerWednesday 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)

Patrick McCartney: 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 (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Michelle Buteau 8Sunday 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 (9:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2017 (updated Wednesday 11/8)

November 8, 2017

For at least the rest of this year, I’m replacing the daily comedy listings on this site and HyReviews.com with monthly listings so I can more fully focus on several projects. These include my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts On Drugs (for details, please click here), a comedy screenplay that needs a lot of research, and some other challenging items that’ll require extra time and energy.

However, I’ll still provide last-minute info on shows that especially merit attention, so please feel encouraged to check in regularly for updates. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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.

All that said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for November (updated Wednesday 11/8) include:

New York Comedy Festival 2017The annual New York Comedy Festival is happening November 7-12 in venues all over NYC. Some of my top picks from the fest appear below. For the complete list of shows and to buy tickets, please click New York Comedy Festival 2017

Chris HardwickOne of the smartest and nicest guys in show biz—who currently hosts NBC’s The Wall and AMC’s Talking shows, used to host the great @midnight, and is CEO of Nerdist Industries—headlines at Carolines for three nights to tell jokes and make you feel good: Chris Hardwick (Wednesday 11/8 at 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm, Thursday 11/9-Friday 11/10 at 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm, $41 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Boast RattleA reverse roast battle, in which comics compete to deliver the best compliments to their opponents “in this showdown of sweetness, this clash of consideration, this barrage of benevolence. The stellar lineup consists of Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon), Josh Gondelman (staff writer for John Oliver), Adam Conover (star of TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything), and Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World), with music from DJ Will Winner and hosted by Kyle Ayers (Fuse’s Uproarious; written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times): Boast Rattle: Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Adam Conover, and Mike Drucker (Thursday 11/9, 10:00 pm; $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Big Jay OakersonBig Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall) performs unscripted to show off his skills at playing an audience: Big Jay Oakerson: The Crowdwork Sessions Volume 2 Album Taping (Thursday 11/9 at Midnight, $15 plus 2-drink min., Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street)

Sean PattonSean Patton is one of the very finest stand-ups in the country and among my all-time favorites. Among his credits are killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, a Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, the feature film Wifed Out; and co-hosting Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America. Simply the best, don’t miss this rising superstar: Sean Patton (Sunday 11/12, 8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Picture This!In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Tonight’s superb comedy lineup consists of Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None), Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon), Adam Conover (star of TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything), Rae Sanni (New York Magazine), and Sam Jay (Comedy Central), produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (Sunday 11/12, 10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Brooklyn Podcast Festival 2017The Brooklyn Podcast Festival hosts live-on-stage shows by 17 popular podcasts, including Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show, Reductress’ Mouth Time, political comedy show Chapo Trap House, Bowen Yang’s & Matt Rogers’ Las Culturistas, Blythe Roberson’s & Madelyn Freed’s The Scientists, Kevin McCaffrey’s Serious Matters, We Hate Movies, Pulitzer Surprises, and lots more—plus a free panel about podcasting—running November 14-19. Some of the shows are described in detail below (in chronological order). For the complete schedule, please click Brooklyn Podcast Festival 2017 (Tuesday 11/14-Sunday 11/19, $10-$25 depending on the show, with each show taking place at The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue), Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street), or the BRIC (647 Fulton Street; take 2/3/4/5 subway to Nevins Street or B/Q/R subway to Dekalb Street)

Solocom 2017It’s the fifth year of this annual 4-day PIT festival (co-created by Peter Michael Marino) devoted to over 100 new comedic solo shows. The only requirements for any production are that 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. Notable shows this year include, at The PIT Underground, Filip Jeremic (extraordinary character actor and rising star; UCB’s Characters Welcome) on Friday 11/17 at 7:30 pm and Evan Kaufman (genius musical improvisor of Your Love Our Musical and North Coast; VH1) Friday 11/17 at 10:30 pm. You can catch any show for $10; but the sensible thing to do is buy an all-you-can-see pass for $30, which gives you access to all shows throughout the fest: Solocom 2017 (Thursday 11/16-Sunday 11/19; $10 per show or $30 for an all-you-can-watch 4-day festival pass; The PIT Upstairs, Downstairs, and Attic Theatres at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Louis C.K.: Superstar Louis C.K. co-wrote (with Vernon Chatman), directed, edited, and stars in a feature film shot in 35mm black & white. The stellar cast includes Chloe Grace Moretz, John Malkovich, Edie Falco, Rose Byrne, Charlie Day, Pamela Adlon, Helen Hunt, and Ebonee Noel.

In a recent email to fans, Louis wrote: “This is the first movie I have made since Pootie Tang (16 years ago). I promise that this movie is better than Pootie Tang. Although some of you who loved Pootie Tang will disagree with me and those people will be wrong. I know that art is subjective, but Pootie Tang is not. And I say that with deep love for Pootie Tang, the character, not the movie. Enough about Pootie Tang.

“How this movie got made: A lot of you might remember that about two years ago, I created a series called Horace and Pete (still available at louisck.net). I paid for that show myself. When I did it, I told myself that I was parting with the money forever. It wasn’t an investment. It was a $4.5 million grant to the “Make whatever the fuck I want” Foundation. By that approach, I was able to make and roll out the show exactly the way I saw it, the way I wanted the audience (you) to see it, without any concern for commerce or profit. In the end, the show made all the money back and more (with zero advertising) through website sales, and through licensing it to HULU, I was able to actually make a sizable profit for me and the actors and some of the crew, who own a piece of the show. That was a pretty good result.

“So this year, I decided, I got the money back, I can throw it away again. This time to the “Make a Black and White Movie about a Shitty Father foundation.” All that to say, that I want to really thank all of you who bought Horace and Pete because you gave me the freedom to make this movie.”

The movie is being screened theatrically in NYC, LA, and Chicago starting Friday November 17th, and will then enjoy a wider release around the country. In NYC, advance tickets are available online at Regal Cinemas Union Square (850 Broadway at 13th Street), AMC Empire 25 (243 West 42nd Street off Eighth Avenue), and The Landmark (657 West 57th Street at Twelfth Avenue).

You can get a feel for the movie by watching this trailer…or, like me, you can trust in Louis and be totally surprised (I’ve already nabbed my ticket…) by I Love You, Daddy

Blythe Roberson & Madelyn Freed: "The Scientists: Dinosaurs"Comics give funny pseudo-scientific lectures on a topic soon TBA, featuring Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Paul Gale (MTV, Huffington Post), Allie Goertz (musician and Mad Magazine editor), and more TBD. It’s all brought to you by brilliant & delightful hosts Blythe Roberson (The Onion, McSweeney’s, TheNewYorker.com) & Madelyn Freed (improvisor & computer programmer): The Scientists (Friday 11/17, 8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Janeane Garofalo and Lane Moore: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above right; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions during the adventure are tonight’s guest Janeane Garofalo (above left; movie & TV star with too many amazing credits to list). This show usually sells out, so I recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (Saturday 11/18, 8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union 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 Chelsea
307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12

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/Q 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.

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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.

The Standing Room
4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!

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.

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…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, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2017 (updated Tuesday 11/7)

November 7, 2017

For at least the rest of this year, I’m replacing the daily comedy listings on this site and HyReviews.com with monthly listings so I can more fully focus on several projects. These include my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts On Drugs (for details, please click here), a comedy screenplay that needs a lot of research, and some other challenging items that’ll require extra time and energy.

However, I’ll still provide last-minute info on shows that especially merit attention, so please feel encouraged to check in regularly for updates. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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.

All that said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for November (updated Tuesday 11/7) include:

New York Comedy Festival 2017The annual New York Comedy Festival is happening November 7-12 in venues all over NYC. Some of my top picks from the fest appear below (or will soon; I’m adding more each day). For the complete list of shows and to buy tickets, please click New York Comedy Festival 2017

Kevin SmithFilmmaker, actor, writer, pop culture nerd royalty, and ace talker Kevin Smith performs two different shows at Carolines. At 7:00 he’s doing a Q&A called An Evening with Kevin Smith, and at 9:30 he’s sharing his observations about show biz in Hollywood Babble-On (Tuesday 11/7, 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm, $32.75 per show plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Punderdome 3000This wildly popular monthly pun competition is hosted by father-daughter duo Fred Firestone and Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, co-host of Monday stand-up show Butterboy; co-author with Fred of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers). Enjoy the spectacle as 18 audience members—maybe including you—compete in Punderdome 3000 (Tuesday 11/7, 8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street. Note: If you can’t make it to the live stage, don’t despair; you can alteratively watch the live stream on YouTube)

Battle of the Divas: Katy Perry vs. Taylor SwittWhen it comes to one of the most dire battles of our time, whose side are you on: Taylor Swift (“Bad Blood“) or Katy Perry (“Swish Swish“)? Comic Evan Williams argues for Katy and Marie Faustin makes the case for Taylor, with illustrative diva drag performances by Elizabeth James and Shuga Cain, plus music from DJ Molly Austin, with fabulous hosts Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, stellar Ars Nova show It’s Christi, B*tch!) & Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code): Battle of the Divas: Katy Perry vs. Taylor Switt (Tuesday 11/7, 8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Chris HardwickOne of the smartest and nicest guys in show biz—who currently hosts NBC’s The Wall and AMC’s Talking shows, used to host the great @midnight, and is CEO of Nerdist Industries—headlines at Carolines for three nights to tell jokes and make you feel good: Chris Hardwick (Wednesday 11/8 at 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm, Thursday 11/9-Friday 11/10 at 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm, $41 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Boast RattleA reverse roast battle, in which comics compete to deliver the best compliments to their opponents “in this showdown of sweetness, this clash of consideration, this barrage of benevolence. The stellar lineup consists of Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon), Josh Gondelman (staff writer for John Oliver), Adam Conover (star of TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything), and Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World), with music from DJ Will Winner and hosted by Kyle Ayers (Fuse’s Uproarious; written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times): Boast Rattle: Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Adam Conover, and Mike Drucker (Thursday 11/9, 10:00 pm; $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Big Jay OakersonBig Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall) performs unscripted to show off his skills at playing an audience: Big Jay Oakerson: The Crowdwork Sessions Volume 2 Album Taping (Thursday 11/9 at Midnight, $15 plus 2-drink min., Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street)

Sean PattonSean Patton is one of the very finest stand-ups in the country and among my all-time favorites. Among his credits are killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, a Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, the feature film Wifed Out; and co-hosting Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America. Simply the best, don’t miss this rising superstar: Sean Patton (Sunday 11/12, 8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Picture This!In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Tonight’s superb comedy lineup consists of Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None), Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon), Adam Conover (star of TruTV’s Adam Ruins Everything), Rae Sanni (New York Magazine), and Sam Jay (Comedy Central), produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (Sunday 11/12, 10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Brooklyn Podcast Festival 2017The Brooklyn Podcast Festival hosts live-on-stage shows by 17 popular podcasts, including Kevin McDonald’s Kevin McDonald Show, Reductress’ Mouth Time, political comedy show Chapo Trap House, Bowen Yang’s & Matt Rogers’ Las Culturistas, Blythe Roberson’s & Madelyn Freed’s The Scientists, Kevin McCaffrey’s Serious Matters, We Hate Movies, Pulitzer Surprises, and lots more—plus a free panel about podcasting—running November 14-19. Some of the shows are described in detail below (in chronological order). For the complete schedule, please click Brooklyn Podcast Festival 2017 (Tuesday 11/14-Sunday 11/19, $10-$25 depending on the show, with each show taking place at The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue), Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street), or the BRIC (647 Fulton Street; take 2/3/4/5 subway to Nevins Street or B/Q/R subway to Dekalb Street)

Solocom 2017It’s the fifth year of this annual 4-day PIT festival (co-created by Peter Michael Marino) devoted to over 100 new comedic solo shows. The only requirements for any production are that 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. You can catch any show for $10; but the sensible thing to do is buy an all-you-can-see pass for $30, which gives you access to all shows throughout the fest: Solocom 2017 (Thursday 11/16-Sunday 11/19; $10 per show or $30 for an all-you-can-watch 4-day festival pass; The PIT Upstairs, Downstairs, and Attic Theatres at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Louis C.K.: Superstar Louis C.K. co-wrote (with Vernon Chatman), directed, edited, and stars in a feature film shot in 35mm black & white. The stellar cast includes Chloe Grace Moretz, John Malkovich, Edie Falco, Rose Byrne, Charlie Day, Pamela Adlon, Helen Hunt, and Ebonee Noel.

In a recent email to fans, Louis wrote: “This is the first movie I have made since Pootie Tang (16 years ago). I promise that this movie is better than Pootie Tang. Although some of you who loved Pootie Tang will disagree with me and those people will be wrong. I know that art is subjective, but Pootie Tang is not. And I say that with deep love for Pootie Tang, the character, not the movie. Enough about Pootie Tang.

“How this movie got made: A lot of you might remember that about two years ago, I created a series called Horace and Pete (still available at louisck.net). I paid for that show myself. When I did it, I told myself that I was parting with the money forever. It wasn’t an investment. It was a $4.5 million grant to the “Make whatever the fuck I want” Foundation. By that approach, I was able to make and roll out the show exactly the way I saw it, the way I wanted the audience (you) to see it, without any concern for commerce or profit. In the end, the show made all the money back and more (with zero advertising) through website sales, and through licensing it to HULU, I was able to actually make a sizable profit for me and the actors and some of the crew, who own a piece of the show. That was a pretty good result.

“So this year, I decided, I got the money back, I can throw it away again. This time to the “Make a Black and White Movie about a Shitty Father foundation.” All that to say, that I want to really thank all of you who bought Horace and Pete because you gave me the freedom to make this movie.”

The movie is being screened theatrically in NYC, LA, and Chicago starting Friday November 17th, and will then enjoy a wider release around the country. In NYC, advance tickets are available online at Regal Cinemas Union Square (850 Broadway at 13th Street), AMC Empire 25 (243 West 42nd Street off Eighth Avenue), and The Landmark (657 West 57th Street at Twelfth Avenue).

You can get a feel for the movie by watching this trailer…or, like me, you can trust in Louis and be totally surprised (I’ve already nabbed my ticket…) by I Love You, Daddy

Blythe Roberson & Madelyn Freed: "The Scientists: Dinosaurs"Comics give funny pseudo-scientific lectures on a topic soon TBA, featuring Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Paul Gale (MTV, Huffington Post), Allie Goertz (musician and Mad Magazine editor), and more TBD. It’s all brought to you by brilliant & delightful hosts Blythe Roberson (The Onion, McSweeney’s, TheNewYorker.com) & Madelyn Freed (improvisor & computer programmer): The Scientists (Friday 11/17, 8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Janeane Garofalo and Lane Moore: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above right; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions during the adventure are tonight’s guest Janeane Garofalo (above left; movie & TV star with too many amazing credits to list). This show usually sells out, so I recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (Saturday 11/18, 8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union 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 Chelsea
307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12

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/Q 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.

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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.

The Standing Room
4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!

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.

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…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, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 5/27/17

May 27, 2017

Sean Patton, Big Jay Oakerson, and and Kurt MetzgerA dynamite storytelling lineup of Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy album Live at Webster Hall), Kurt Metzger (Emmy Award-winning staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central special White Precious, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Yamaneika Saunders (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle), and Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages) tell comedic tales for Ari Shaffir‘s terrific Comedy Central series This Is Not Happening (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 2:30 pm: A rare daytime stand-up show, providing comics with different challenges each month at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lindsay Boling: Late Late Breakfast

5:00 pm ($7): Improv and more (not announced) at The PIT Underground: The Toolbox

6:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 301 Views

6:00 pm ($5): Four Indie improv troupes performing at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

6:00 pm ($7): Solo improv by Dion Flynn (frequent sketch comic on Jimmy Fallon) at The PIT Mainstage: Works Well With Others

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($12): Improv group Women and Men interview audience members about a weird and/or wild birthday, wedding, bar mitzvah, or other social gathering and then make up scenes based on those anecdotes at the UCB East theatre: Women and Men: Party Jumpin’

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

7:00 pm ($7): Springboarding off the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, this show pits three improv groups against each other by making them meet multiple challenges while encouraging them to try to sabotage each other at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Harry Marker: Cutthroat Improv

7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2 makes up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2

7:00 pm ($7): Southern-born comics Malorie Cunningham & Kristen Ballard perform duo improv set in the South at The PIT Underground: The Dolly Partners

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who tonight is Robert Weinstein—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

7:30 pm ($10): Casey James Salengo, Patrick Goldsmith, Jordan Jensen, and Sergio Chicon share with you things they feel you really ought to know at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Colum Tyrrell & Lev Fer: Sh*t You Should Know: An Educational Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): “Do you ever leave a comedy show saying ‘Hmm, that was pretty funny but not enough reading’? Literati is a night of comics in character performing hilarious readings—sometimes while wearing wigs,” with comics Tim Platt, Steven Markow, Monique Moses, Jerah Milligan, and Hallie Haas at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About the Greatest American Novels Never Written

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Gypsy Danger (which includes brilliant comics Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman, and which will make up a feature film on the spot) and The Baldwins (which includes brilliant comics Micah Sherman and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT Mainstage: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($5): Comics 5’7″ and shorter perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Daniel J. Perafan: Instatacular: Short Sets

8:00 pm ($10): Anthony DeVito (Comedy Central Half Hour, This American Life), Fumi Abe (MTV’s Decoded), Drew Morgan, and Katharyn Henson other NYC stand-ups perform at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Will Abeles & Craig Friedman: Hey Guys!

8:00 pm ($10): In this double-bill, first “Professor Insano, a fearsome supervillain and professor of Soc 102 and English Lit at Baruch College, has convened an emergency meeting of the council of evil to discuss his new plans to infiltrate reality;” and then a one-man show by Alejandro Kolleeny,all at The PIT Underground: Professor Insano Destroys Reality and Woe Is Me: Another White Male Odyssey

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A highly talented freestyle rapping long-form improv group makes up scenes with fierce musical energy at The PIT Underground: North Coast

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): An improvised apocalypse from sharp comics John Murray, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Caroline Cotter, Joanna Bradley, David Bluvband, and Zach Cherry at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Rick Andrews—plus, for tonight only, original Trike member Leslie Korein—make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy trio Trike

9:00 pm ($5; or Free if you arrive an hour early at 8:00 pm): Neel Nanda (Adam Devine’s House Party), Sharron Paul (Someecards), Fumi Abe (MTV’s Decoded), Ayanna Dookie (co-host of King Hippo Comedy), and Brendan Kelley perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Art Cafe & Bar (884-886 Pacific Street) hosted by Ben Totushek & Koshin Egal: The Human Citizen Comedy Show

9:30 pm ($7): “A former college liberal is the only one who can stop the evil Hillary Clinton from committing the world’s most heinous crime” in this play at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Flouridians

9:30 pm ($10): Jeffrey Gurian, Lucas Connolly, Mike Denny, Karolena Theresa, Norlex Belma, Nick Leidl, and Andrea Allan dissect current events at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Tracey Carnazzo: Hashtag Comedy

9:30 pm ($10): Indie improv group Classic Brady performs and hosts other improv groups at The PIT Mainstage: Classic Brady and the Chamber of Friends

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Casey Jost (former writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Lui Vega—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

10:00 pm ($7): Stand-up Dave Smith performs at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Dave Smith

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme—which this week is Shakespeare—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: Shakespeare Edition

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

10:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy from comics who’d like to be on SNL but aren’t, plus musical guests Pretty Sad White Girls, at The PIT Underground hosted by Giancarlo Mariutto & Sean Reidy: Denied From New York, It’s Saturday Night

10:30 pm ($7): The first half of this show is traditional improv, and is then followed by stand-ups performing sets based on suggestions from the audience, all at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Caroline Mazzei & Gregory Hall: Comedy Mayhem

11:00 pm ($7): Five improv groups who are independent (not affiliated with a particular theatre or school)—Destiny’s Chili, Gregory Hall, Cameo, Fun Friends, and Burt Reynolds Imaginary Friends—make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: Super Indie Takeover

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($7): Nore Davis, Lucas Connelly, Dan Wilbur, Jessa Reed, and Alyssa Limperis share true-life longish funny tales at this UCB East mashup of stand-up and storytelling hosted by Alison Leiby: It’s a Long Story

[FREE] Midnight: “Mother Oslo (a.k.a. Oslo The Gay Black Metal Southerner) will host and read scriptures from the most unholy book of all eternity. The Black Metal Bible. Come for the damnation, stay for the sacrifice” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Black Metal Chvrch

Midnight ($7): Sketch groups Austin Rye and Moshpick compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea hosted by Alden Ford & Justin Tyler: Backyard Brawl

Saturday Open Mics & Jams

4:00 pm ($5; your ticket provides $3 off a drink at nearby Pioneers Bar): Walk-in lottery style open mic (sign-up starting at 2:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 5:00 pm-7:00 pm: Walk-in comedy open mic (lottery system, with sign-up starting at 4:30 pm) providing each selected comic 4 minutes on stage at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Murray Povich Mic

6:00 pm ($7): A walk-in poetry open mic (arrive early to sign up) that also features booked comics Chris Booth, Anna Grace Carter, Michelle Drozdick, and Doug Voight Jr. at The PIT Underground: Express Yourself: A Poetry Jam

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Walk-in open mic, with names drawn from a bucket (sign-up starts at 6:50 pm), and a designated beer drinker on stage who might chime in at any moment to riff with you during your set, at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Amy Shanker, Brett Hiker, and Cameron Ford: Power Hour Open Mic

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for character bits, stand-up, etc. at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

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; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

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 shows free)

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

Littlefield
(622 Degraw 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/Q 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.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

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.)

The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!)

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…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, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 4/2/17

April 2, 2017

Big Jay OakersonTonight concludes the headlining run at Carolines of a stand-up who’s performed on Jimmy Fallon, Louie, Comedy Central Presents, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, and IFC, co-hosts the podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR, and stars in the stellar Comedy Central special and album Live at Webster Hall: Big Jay Oakerson (7:30 pm, $27.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] Noon-2:00 pm: The NYC comedy and other performing arts communities gather to discuss surviving, thriving, and taking action over the next four years of a clown residing in the White House. Plus there’s usually free coffee and/or donuts. Join in at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by comedic storytellers Brad Lawrence & Cyndi Freeman: The Underground Service

[TOP PICK] 5:00 pm: All-gal musical Improv group Redshirts (Catherine Wing, Jennette Cronk, Julia Lunetta, Sloane Miller, and Susan O’Doherty) creates new episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on the spot, and also hosts musical improv group Loyalty Program, at The PIT Mainstage: Redshirts: Star Trek: TNG Musical Improv

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:00 pm: Magnet instructors and other top improvisors—including Ed Herbstman, Louis Kornfield, and Sebastian Conelli—perform “the most grounded, organic, and simplified scenes ever” at The Magnet theatre: Whizbang

6:00 pm ($7): A one-man show by Ross Baron in which he “squares off with a gay inner demon, a corn maze of confusion, and The demogorgon of his mind” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) directed by Amelia Bienstock: Way Too Precious: Not Based on a Novel by Sapphire

6:30 pm ($5): Three NYC improv groups that are independent (i.e., not a house team of any particular improv school/theatre) compete for audience member laughs and votes at UCB East hosted by Lou Gonzalez, Chrissie Gruebel, and Brian Urreta of improv group The Mannequin Room: Indie Cage Match

7:00 pm ($7): Two guests bring and talk about their personal treasures, and then improv group Trophy Wives springboards off those memories to make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: Show & Tell Show

7:00 pm ($5): Anthony Devito, Sharron Paul, Kat Burdick, and Danny Vega perform stand-up accompanied by musical guest Chris Nicolosi at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kaity Neagle: The Dream Team Variety Hour

7:00 pm ($7): Improv, sketch, and/or stand-up from relatively new comics at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Hodge Podge

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among seven shows, with three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

7:30 pm ($7): Eight comics have an improvised dinner—with all the conflict and drama that implies—at The Magnet theatre: The Dinner Party

7:30 pm ($5): Dana Shulman and friends are improv group Student Driver, which hosts two indie improv troupes making up scenes and then performs itself, all at The PIT Underground: Student Driver: Indie Road

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Sasheer Zamata (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Jim Tews (rising star; Louie, Last Comic Standing, host of Homeschooled and co-host of Fresh Out, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York, upcoming comedy album I Was in Band), Michael Palascak, Eman El-Husseini, Daniel Audritt, and Dan Perlman performing stand-up UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Blair Socci (MTV’s Ladylike): If You Build It

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Comedic storytellers share their personal tales of abortion (for a sample tale by Lucy Samuel, please click here) at The PIT Mainstage: Speakout Laughout

8:00 pm ($7): Long form improv based on one-word audience suggestions—and recorded for a podcast—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Truth & Exaggeration: The Podcast

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($7): Improvisors make up a brand new play in the style of William Shakespeare at The PIT Underground: As You Will: Shakespearean Improv

9:00 pm ($10): Duo improv from Louis Kornfeld & guest Paul Ton at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld &Ton

9:00 pm ($5): Indie improv groups make up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Ian Herrin: The Ian Herrin Improv Hour

[ALMOST FREE] 10:00 pm ($1): This improv show is based on a Mullaney Chain (pioneered by Kevin Mullaney) in which the host invites a guest to improvise with him or her, then the guest independently invites a third person, who then invites a fourth person, and so on, creating a one-time-only lineup that will be a surprise to everyone involved at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Kurt Guenther: The Telephone Show

Sunday Open Mics, Open Stages, and Jams

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up lottery style open mic that provides 4 minutes per comic at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro & Chris Gersbeck: Bunk Bed Time Open Mic

5:30 pm ($3): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT Underground hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($5): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT Underground, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night at the Gemini

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea (307 West 26th Street): 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10

Upright Citizens Brigade East (153 East 3rd Street): 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10

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; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

The Magnet (254 West 29th Street): 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer): 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10

The Creek and the Cave (Queens’ Long Island City): 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free

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

Littlefield (622 Degraw 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/Q 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.

The Stand (239 Third Avenue): Recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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 (85 East 4th Street): Strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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.

The Standing Room (4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club): No drink min.—support this policy!

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 3/30/17

March 30, 2017

Big Jay OakersonA veteran stand-up who’s performed on Jimmy Fallon, Louie, Comedy Central Presents, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, and IFC, co-hosts the podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR, and stars in the stellar Comedy Central special and album Live at Webster Hall headlines tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Big Jay Oakerson (8:00 pm tonight, 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm Sunday; $27.25 tonight & Sunday, $31.25 Friday & Saturday, plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Travis Irvine (Viceland, The Guardian, PBS, Troma) tries out new stand-up material one last night at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Travis Irvine

7:00 pm pm ($7): A one-man show by Eli James that provides “a decade-by-decade journey through the sordid history of rock ‘n’ roll” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Imagine All the People: A Survey of Music Business Creeps

7:00 pm ($5): Professional clowns perform a silly show in hopes of changing your life at The PIT Underground: An Unapologetic Mess: A Clown Show

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A staged reading written & directed by Elizabeth Appleby of a 20-minute mock informercial for a product that helps deal with political correctness at The Magnet Theater Training Center (22 West 32nd Street, 10th Floor) followed by a talkback with the writer/director and cast: Offend Me Not

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

7:30 pm ($7): Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), and more performing at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Anna Drezen (writer for Saturday Night Live; superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters, movement, and sketch; author of How May We Hate You), Kate Willett (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, VICE’s Flophouse), Marcia Belsky, and Suni Reyes performing stand-up at this show sponsored by satirical women’s magazine Reductress at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by Taryn Englehart & Jasmine Pierce: Haha, Wow! by Reductress

[TOP PICK]  [$] 8:00 pm ($15): An all-gal lineup raising funds for the Reproductive Health Access Project, featuring sketch group Buzz Off Lucille, and stand-ups Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Keisha Zollar (HBO’s Divorce, Orange Is the New Black, MTV, Comedy Central, ace improv trio Doppelganger, sketch group Astronomy Club), Maya Deshmukh, Alise Morales, Sriya Sarkar, and Meg Griffiths Anderson—plus “special guest Ruth Bader Ginsburg”—performing at Brooklyn’s Dean Street (755 Dean Street): Herstory in the Making

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Storytellers share their true “coming out” tales, and then improvisors make up either a play or a musical based on each story at The PIT Mainstage: Thank You For Coming Out: An LGBTQ Event

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, at 10:00 indie improv troupe The Mannequin Room, at 10:15 themed improv show Silence, Please (exploring the nuances of wordless conversation and connection, with music suggested by the audience playing in the background), and at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “Comics compete with on-the-spot tweets…and you decide the winner in real time using your smart phone” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shelby Taylor: Like Me

8:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy from group Teen Radio at The PIT Underground: Teen Radio: Plz Say Hi to Daddy

8:00 pm pm ($5): Sharon Jamilkoswki performs a one-woman show as Diana Ross, the daughter of PBS painting guru Bob Ross, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Joy of Arting with Diana Ross

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($8 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1, comedy album He Has Friends) hosts Joe List, Sam Morril, Brian Scott McFadden, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Matt Goldich (staff writer for Seth Meyers; Comedy Central, VH1), Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV), Emmy Blotnick (writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), Kyle Ayers (written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times), and Dina Hashem performing at UCB East hosted by rising stars Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York) & Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code): Fresh Out

9:30 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a play about the minutiae of small town politics directed by the wonderful Leslie Meisel and featuring a seven-person cast: All in Favor

…and in the second other of this double bill, a one-man play by Geoff Garlock about memories of a classic music festival: Rock and Roll Will Never Die

9:30 pm ($7): Storytellers share tales “so horrible they are hilarious, all for your entertainment” at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Francisco Breton & Corey Easley (We’re a Genius): Good, Bad Stories

9:30 pm ($7): Lani Harms hosts interviews, sketch, characters, improv, and/or more at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Late Night with Lani

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Trace Beaulieu (puppet Crow on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic; author of Silly Rhymes For Belligerent Children), and Carolina Hidalgo (Sirius XM Radio) tape their Movie Sign podcast at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Movie Sign with the Mads Live

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Powerhouse musical improv group Rumpleteaser slaughtered, roasted, and consumed UCB Saturday night group Goat last week, winning 139-28. Tonight the champion (8 victories in a row) competes with improv group Mermaids for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Comics perform their auditions for gigs they never booked at the UCB East theatre hosted by Lauren Brickman & Caitlin Bitzegaio: The Roles That Got Away

11:00 pm ($5): Improv with feedback at The PIT Mainstage hosted by Matthew Woods & Dan Miller: Improv MD

Thursday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

5:45 pm-8:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 4-5 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic Thursday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal stand-up open mic at UCB East hosted by Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

6:00 pm ($5 for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up with 4 minutes per comic (sign-up starts at 5:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jake Vevera & Amy Liszka: The QED Thursday Mic

6:00 pm ($3): A weekly improv jam open to the audience in which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

6:30 pm ($5): If you’re a gal who’d like to try stand-up but are wary of being vulnerable in a tough male-dominated room, this show may be the perfect opportunity for you—an all-female open mic, with the first 15 comics to sign up (starting at 5:50 pm) getting 3 minutes each on stage at The PIT Underground: Ladies Night Open Mic

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with a veteran improv group to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer Thursday

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A recorded-for-podcast walk-in open mic providing 5 minutes on stage for whatever you want to perform—stand-up, sketch, song—with names drawn from a bucket at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Mercadal & Will Watkins: Unsung Heroes

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Walk-in stand-up open mic (signup at 10:00 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chelsea Condren, Kate Moran, and Kristin Seltman: Late Night Snack Open Mic

10:30 pm ($3): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursday After Class Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: Barf Up the Jokes

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea (307 West 26th Street): 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10

Upright Citizens Brigade East (153 East 3rd Street): 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10

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; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

The Magnet (254 West 29th Street): 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer): 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10

The Creek and the Cave (Queens’ Long Island City): 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free

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

Littlefield (622 Degraw 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/Q 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.

The Stand (239 Third Avenue): Recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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 (85 East 4th Street): Strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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.

The Standing Room (4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club): No drink min.—support this policy!

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.