NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2018: Last Updated Sunday 2/18/18

February 18, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my 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.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2018 include (with more to come soon):

Soft Focus with Jena FriedmanSunday 2/18 (technically, these two midnight TV specials are airing on Monday 2/19; but they’re happening Sunday night, which is what counts…): Jena Friedman has made a career of being angry. In her new Adult Swim special Soft Focus, Jena is still fueled by fury but expresses it with an almost zen-like air of ironic calmness. The tension between Jena’s placid external demeanor—as in the scene above, where she shoots the breeze with college frat boys about campus rape—and what we know she’s really feeling is often riveting. (This is epitomized in an exchange between a sex doll manufacturer who explains the difference between his products and Jena is “You fuck the doll but the doll doesn’t fuck you back,” to which Jena responds, “So it’s pretty much the same thing.” He adds, “There’s no emotional connection, really.” Jena shakes her head and repeats, “Same thing.”) The result is a darkly funny and oddly intense show that will leave you exhausted while wanting more…

Eric Andre Does Paris…In contrast to Jena, Eric Andre has made a career of being a wild man. In his new Adult Swim special, Eric lets his hyperactively surreal persona loose on France. I don’t know anything else about this show, but Eric is always worth watching. So enjoy Jena’s Soft Focus at midnight, rest and regenerate your energies during the commercial break, and then strap yourself in at 12:15ish am for Eric Andre Does Paris (Sunday night/Monday morning at midnight, with a replay at 4:30 am, on Adult Swim)

Chris Duffy: "You're the Expert"Sunday 2/18: Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, co-star of feature film The Wrestler, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour, Netflix special Spicy Honey), Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), and Negin Farsad (author of How to Make White People Laugh) demonstrate their quick with by hilariously answering questions about what a guest scientist’s job entails at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Aparna NancherlaSunday 2/18: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) headlines this weekly stand-up show hosted by Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%) & Jay Schmidt: The Last Laugh (8:00 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

The Unemployed ShowSunday 2/18: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show and the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots) tell jokes about not having a steady job (out of work, working freelance, working part-time, etc.) hosted by Anna Roisman (MTV, Funny or Die, Tribeca Film Festival): The Unemployed Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

John Mulaney: "Kid Gorgeous"Sunday 2/18-Monday 2/19: John Mulaney (former writer/performer for Saturday Night Live and star of FOX sitcom Mulaney; numerous guest TV appearances; stand-up specials The Top Part, New in Town, and The Comeback Kid) is one of the finest comics of our time, and he’ll be proving that with his latest stand-up show Kid Gorgeous (I was lucky enough to catch a rehearsal). John kicks off a national tour with an NYC run through Monday at Radio City Music Hall. All shows are sold out except for Monday…and those seats are going fast. I highly recommend John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous (tickets still available for 7:00 pm Monday 2/19; $44; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 2/19: Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), and more TBA perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Cartoon MonsoonMonday 2/19: A love letter to beloved shows such as Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, comedians Joe Rumrill and Mary Houlihan invite you to a cavalcade of original costumed characters, animations, and sketches from both real humans and puppet humans” with guests Tim Platt, Steven DeSiena, Joe Castle Baker, Angel Yao, Larry Owens, Annie Donnley, Bardia Salimi, Justin Linville, Caroline Yost, Maya Sharma, and Sebastian DiNatale: Cartoon Monsoon (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Myq KaplanMonday 2/19: Stellar stand-up Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts comics Baratunde Thurston, Nat Towsen, Jaqi Furback, and Eudora Peterson: The Myq Kaplan Show (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Every President Ever: Together AgainWednesday 2/21: In this character show, 45 comics—Christine Nangle, Anna Roisman, Desi Domo,Caroline Cotter, Allie Kokesh, Tim Dunn, David Bluvband, and manu more—play all 45 of our US Presidents and their true-life weird quirks, featuring lots of powdered wigs, in under an hour produced by Kate Villa & Alexandria Iona: Every President Ever: Together Again (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Leslie Goshko: "Sideshow Goshko"Thursday 2/22: Come celebrate the Ninth Year Anniversary of this free and gloriously oddball monthly storytelling show at the East Village’s KGB Bar, featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo). Tonight’s yarn-spinners are Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, host of The Liar Show), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy), and Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Jenny's Birthday Variety ShowThursday 2/22: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), singing duo Friends Who Folk (Rachel Wenitsky & Ned Riseley, above right; TheNewYorker.com), Alex Harris (mentalist), Matt DeCaro (singer/songwriter), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) perform perform for this show that’s a mix of stand-up, music, and magic hosted by Jenny Gorelick (Improv Anywhere; perpetual birthday gal) & Addie Weyrich (HBO’s Crashing, Hulu): Jenny’s Birthday Variety Show (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluThursday 2/22: PLEASE NOTE: This show has been CANCELED. If you purchased tickets online, you’ll be refunded automatically. Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Everything is Falling ApartThursday 2/22: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) is interviewed during a game of Jenga (as soon as the tower falls, the conversation ends), plus stand-up or storytelling by Chanel Ali, Melissa Diaz, and Savannah DesOrmeax hosted by Molly McGaughey: Everything is Falling Apart (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Kevin Geeks Out About Character ActorsThursday 2/22: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, this month focusing on punk rock and related pop culture (for a sneak peek video, please click here), with guests Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), Kevin Rice (writer/producer/director of Tv’s Ghoul A Go-Go), Heather Buckley (producer for Red Shirt Pictures), Marcus Pinn (creator of Pinnland Empire), Christopher Funderburg (editor/writer for ThePinkSmoke.com), and Kate Wilkinson (Wig Wurq website “judging pop culture’s wigs from lace fronts to split ends”): Kevin Geeks Out Goes Punk! (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas usually sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)

Demetri MartinThursday 2/22: Star Demetri Martin (Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Margin; Trendspotting commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; former writer/performer for Conan O’Brien; three hour-long comedy specials, including Netflix’s Demetri Martin Live (at the tIme); stand-up albums These Are Jokes and Standup Comedian; bestselling author of This is a Book, Point Your Face at This, and If It’s Not Funny, It’s Art) performs for one night only in Brooklyn: Demetri Martin (10:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Friday 2/23: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (7:30 pm; $12—which includes a second show, How to Write a Book: The Play; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 2/23: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Phoebe Robinson & Michelle Buteau: "Brown Titty Hour"Friday 2/23: Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) & Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up) perform stand-up and host other comics TBA: Brown TItty Hour (9:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Risk!Saturday 2/24: Comics and comedic storytellers (TBA) join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to tell well-crafted tales of comedic adventure: Risk! (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

It's a Guy ThingSaturday 2/24: Hosts Mitra Jouhar & Catherine Cohen “are gals who just don’t get ‘guy stuff.’ They’ve invited comics to give them lectures on guy stuff so that they can finally fit in,” with tonight’s bearers of wisdom Josh Sharp & Aaron Jackson (Comedy Central’s The Opposition), Kelsey Caine, Drew Anderson, Fareeha Khan, and Sandy Honig: It’s a Guy Thing (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Dancify That!Saturday 2/24: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically sharp comics TBA: Dancify That! (10:00 pm, $18, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Yardsale Comedy NightSaturday 2/24: Sixteen comics—including John Reynolds, Connor O’Malley, Ana Fabrega, and Matt Barats—perform characters, songs, and a variety of other comedic bits: Yardsale Comedy Night (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Dumb People TownSunday 2/25: The Sklar Brothers and Dan Van Kirk perform and host other comics TBA perform improv and stand-up for this recording of their podcast: Dumb People Town (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)

Gravid WaterMonday 2/26: Brilliant improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 2/26: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV; co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Kenice Mobley, and more perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star Wars: An Erotic Live ReadingTuesday 2/27: Star Wars erotic fan fiction—e.g., Fifty Shades of Rey, a sexually intense retelling of Star Wars: A Force Awakens—is read with feeling by comics Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), and Jessie Bangarang Atkinson (host of Family Liquid Dinner, cast member of A Drinking Game NYC), plus “Force Off,” a Star Wars-themed audience interactive game that awards prizes, all hosted by Rob Roan: Star Wars: An Erotic Live Reading (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Educated Guess Science FairWednesday 2/28: Sad scientists Jo Firestone & Steven DeSiena host a throwback to grade school science fairs…but run by NYC comics. Walk the open exhibits from 7:00 to 8:15ish pm, where each participant is being tasked to prove a half-baked hypothesis of his or her choosing using disciplinary methods that might be true. There’ll be poster boards, quirky dioramas, tri-fold cardboard, flasks, lab coats, and haphazard experiments. Then at 8:30 pm awards will be presented by scholars “who are maybe at the top of their respective fields. All this and much, much more, we bet:” The Educated Guess Science Fair (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd 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 East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Hell’s Kitchen 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.

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2018: Last Updated Saturday 2/17/18

February 17, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my 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.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2018 include (with more to come soon):

Janeane GarofaloSaturday 2/17: TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo is interviewed live on stage by Mark Malkoff (The Carson Podcast) followed by an audience Q&A session: A Conversation with Janeane Garofalo (4:00 pm, $20, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

Raise Your Hand: Computer ScienceSaturday 2/17: Comics Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Michael Kayne (HBO’s Crashing, The Chris Gethard Show; ace musical improv groups Baby Wants Candy and Diamond Lion, UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots; co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) learn about computers from Allison Bishop (Assistant Professor at Columbia University and Researcher for IEX) hosted by Matthew Starr & Monique Moses: Raise Your Hand: Computer Science (7:00 pm; $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Picture This!Saturday 2/17: 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 excellent stand-up lineup consists of Dave Hill, Griffin Newman, Calise Hawkins, Ruby Karp, Farah Brook, and Jake Flores, produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Uncle Function Falls in Love and Terrorbird: The HitsSaturday 2/17: Enjoy a double-bill of sketch, with a love-themed show by Uncle Function (an actor-centric group that includes award-winning playwright/performer Gianmarco Soresi) at 8:00 pm and a “best of” show by Terrorbird (a group focusing on the oddball and surreal) at 9:30 pm: Uncle Fuction Falls in Love and Terrorbird: The Hits (8:00 pm and 9:30 pm, $10 per show, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

Forever: Improv Inspired by NYT Wedding AnnouncementsSaturday 2/17: Improvisors make up scenes of a relationship springboarding off an audience-supplied wedding announcement from The New York Times: Forever: Improv Inspired by NYT Wedding Announcements (9:30 pm, $10, at The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Oh, Such a Good Show, OhSaturday 2/17: Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; member of sketch group Pop Roulette; co-host of podcast Las Culturistas), Michael Wolf (showrunner of MTV series After Hours with Josh Horowitz; sketch comedy groups O.S.F.U.G. and Nancy), Colin O’Brien (sketch comedy group O.S.F.U.G.), Rebecca O’Neal (Netflix’s Easy; Vanity Fair, Gawker, Vulture; former host of local Chicago TV show One Night Stand-Up), Tony Zaret, Josh Nasser, and Larry Owens perform stand-up in Brooklyn hosted by Ethan Beach (MTV): Oh, Such a Good Show, Oh (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

John Mulaney: "Kid Gorgeous"Saturday 2/17-Monday 2/19: John Mulaney (former writer/performer for Saturday Night Live and star of FOX sitcom Mulaney; numerous guest TV appearances; stand-up specials The Top Part, New in Town, and The Comeback Kid) is one of the finest comics of our time, and he’ll be proving that with his latest stand-up show Kid Gorgeous (I was lucky enough to catch a rehearsal). John kicks off a national tour with a run through Monday at Radio City Music Hall. All shows are sold out except for Monday…and those seats are going fast. I highly recommend John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous (tickets still available for 7:00 pm Monday 2/19; $44; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Soft Focus with Jena FriedmanSunday 2/18 (technically, these two midnight TV specials are airing on Monday 2/19; but they’re happening Sunday night, which is what counts…): Jena Friedman has made a career of being angry. In her new Adult Swim special Soft Focus, Jena is still fueled by fury but expresses it with an almost zen-like air of ironic calmness. The tension between Jena’s placid external demeanor—as in the scene above, where she shoots the breeze with college frat boys about campus rape—and what we know she’s really feeling is often riveting. (This is epitomized in an exchange between a sex doll manufacturer who explains the difference between his products and Jena is “You fuck the doll but the doll doesn’t fuck you back,” to which Jena responds, “So it’s pretty much the same thing.” He adds, “There’s no emotional connection, really.” Jena nods and replies, “Same thing.”) The result is a darkly funny and oddly intense show that will leave you exhausted while wanting more…

Eric Andre Does Paris…In contrast to Jena, Eric Andre has made a career of being a wild man. In her new Adult Swim special, Eric lets his hyperactively surreal persona loose on France. I don’t know anything else about this show, but Eric is always worth watching. So enjoy Jena’s Soft Focus at midnight, rest and regenerate your energies during the commercial break, and then strap yourself in at 12:15ish am for Eric Andre Does Paris.

Chris Duffy: "You're the Expert"Sunday 2/18: Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, co-star of feature film The Wrestler, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour, Netflix special Spicy Honey), Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), and Negin Farsad (author of How to Make White People Laugh) demonstrate their quick with by hilariously answering questions at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Aparna NancherlaSunday 2/18: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) headlines this weekly stand-up show hosted by Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%) & Jay Schmidt: The Last Laugh (8:00 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

The Unemployed ShowSunday 2/18: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show and the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots) tell jokes about not having a steady job (out of work, working freelance, working part-time, etc.) hosted by Anna Roisman (MTV, Funny or Die, Tribeca Film Festival): The Unemployed Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 2/19: Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), and more TBA perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Myq KaplanMonday 2/19: Stellar stand-up Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts comics Baratunde Thurston, Nat Towsen, Jaqi Furback, and Eudora Peterson: The Myq Kaplan Show (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Every President Ever: Together AgainWednesday 2/21: In this character show, 45 comics—Christine Nangle, Anna Roisman, Desi Domo,Caroline Cotter, Allie Kokesh, Tim Dunn, David Bluvband, and manu more—play all 45 of our US Presidents and their true-life weird quirks, featuring lots of powdered wigs, in under an hour produced by Kate Villa & Alexandria Iona: Every President Ever: Together Again (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Leslie Goshko: "Sideshow Goshko"Thursday 2/22: Come celebrate the Ninth Year Anniversary of this free and gloriously oddball monthly storytelling show at the East Village’s KGB Bar, featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo). Tonight’s yarn-spinners are Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, host of The Liar Show), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy), and Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluThursday 2/22: PLEASE NOTE: This show has been CANCELED. If you purchased tickets online, you’ll be refunded automatically. Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Everything is Falling ApartThursday 2/22: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) is interviewed during a game of Jenga (as soon as the tower falls, the conversation ends), plus stand-up or storytelling by Chanel Ali, Melissa Diaz, and Savannah DesOrmeax hosted by Molly McGaughey: Everything is Falling Apart (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Kevin Geeks Out About Character ActorsThursday 2/22: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, this month focusing on punk rock and related pop culture (for a sneak peek video, please click here), with guests Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), Kevin Rice (writer/producer/director of Tv’s Ghoul A Go-Go), Heather Buckley (producer for Red Shirt Pictures), Marcus Pinn (creator of Pinnland Empire), Christopher Funderburg (editor/writer for ThePinkSmoke.com), and Kate Wilkinson (Wig Wurq website “judging pop culture’s wigs from lace fronts to split ends”): Kevin Geeks Out Goes Punk! (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas usually sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)

Demetri MartinThursday 2/22: Star Demetri Martin (Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Margin; Trendspotting commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; former writer/performer for Conan O’Brien; three hour-long comedy specials, including Netflix’s Demetri Martin Live (at the tIme); stand-up albums These Are Jokes and Standup Comedian; bestselling author of This is a Book, Point Your Face at This, and If It’s Not Funny, It’s Art) performs for one night only in Brooklyn: Demetri Martin (10:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Friday 2/23: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (7:30 pm; $12—which includes a second show, How to Write a Book: The Play; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 2/23: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Risk!Saturday 2/24: Comics and comedic storytellers (TBA) join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to tell well-crafted tales of comedic adventure: Risk! (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dancify That!Saturday 2/24: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically sharp comics TBA: Dancify That! (10:00 pm, $18, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dumb People TownSunday 2/25: The Sklar Brothers and Dan Van Kirk perform and host other comics TBA perform improv and stand-up for this recording of their podcast: Dumb People Town (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)

Gravid WaterMonday 2/26: Brilliant improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 2/26: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV; co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Kenice Mobley, and more perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star Wars: An Erotic Live ReadingTuesday 2/27: Star Wars erotic fan fiction—e.g., Fifty Shades of Rey, a sexually intense retelling of Star Wars: A Force Awakens—is read with feeling by comics Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), and Jessie Bangarang Atkinson (host of Family Liquid Dinner, cast member of A Drinking Game NYC), plus “Force Off,” a Star Wars-themed audience interactive game that awards prizes, all hosted by Rob Roan: Star Wars: An Erotic Live Reading (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Educated Guess Science FairWednesday 2/28: Sad scientists Jo Firestone & Steven DeSiena host a throwback to grade school science fairs…but run by NYC comics. Walk the open exhibits from 7:00 to 8:15ish pm, where each participant is being tasked to prove a half-baked hypothesis of his or her choosing using disciplinary methods that might be true. There’ll be poster boards, quirky dioramas, tri-fold cardboard, flasks, lab coats, and haphazard experiments. Then at 8:30 pm awards will be presented by scholars “who are maybe at the top of their respective fields. All this and much, much more, we bet:” The Educated Guess Science Fair (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd 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 East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Hell’s Kitchen 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 February 2018: Last Updated Friday 2/16/18

February 16, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my 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.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2018 include (with more to come soon):

John Mulaney: "Kid Gorgeous"Friday 2/16-Monday 2/19: John Mulaney (former writer/performer for Saturday Night Live and star of FOX sitcom Mulaney; numerous guest TV appearances; stand-up specials The Top Part, New in Town, and The Comeback Kid) is one of the finest comics of our time, and he’ll be proving that with his latest stand-up show Kid Gorgeous (I was lucky enough to catch a rehearsal). John kicks off a national tour tonight with a run through Monday at Radio City Music Hall. All shows are sold out except for Monday…and those seats are going fast. I highly recommend John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous (tickets still available for 7:00 pm Monday 2/19; $44; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Anna Suzuak, Jeena Bloom, and Natalie WallFriday 2/16: The lovely Natalie Wall (above right) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, which tonight features Anna Suzuki (above left; AzN Pop), Jeena Bloom (above middle; stand-up/actress), and Sam Morrison (one-man show Hello, Daddy!) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm; $16.62 if purchased in advance online (otherwise $20)—which includes free beer and wine; The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue between 60th & 61st Streets)

Tinder Tales LiveFriday 2/16: A live version of the popular podcast Tinder Tales that provides stories of Tinder dates, dating advice, and fun games, with guests Rachel Green, Hannah Harkness, and more hosted by David Piccolomini: Tinder Tales Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 2/16: Storytellers Samantha Ruddy, Andrew Casertano, Misha Han, and Nick Nicosia share cringe-worthy experiences from their pasts hosted by Brendan Busee & Ron Raganella: Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy Show (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Air Force OneFriday 2/16: To my eye, it’s a pretty decent movie; but regardless, tonight 1997’s Air Force One will be screened & mercilessly skewered by some of NYC’s finest comics: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Jess Salomon (Sirius XM), and Freddy G (NPR) hosted by Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Everythign Is Dumbn, and Bunk Bed and Murray Povich open mics): Movies R Dumb: Air Force One (11:00 pm, $8 online using discount code GETOFFMYPLANE [otherwise $10], Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Janeane GarofaloSaturday 2/17: TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo is interviewed live on stage by Mark Malkoff (The Carson Podcast) followed by an audience Q&A session: A Conversation with Janeane Garofalo (4:00 pm, $20, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

Picture This!Saturday 2/17: 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 excellent stand-up lineup consists of stars Dave Hill and Griffin Newman, plus Calise Hawkins, Ruby Karp, Farah Brook, and Jake Flores, produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Uncle Function Falls in Love and Terrorbird: The HitsSaturday 2/17: Enjoy a double-bill of sketch, with a love-themed show by Uncle Function (an actor-centric group that includes award-winning playwright/performer Gianmarco Soresi) at 8:00 pm and a “best of” show by Terrorbird (a group focusing on the oddball and surreal) at 9:30 pm: Uncle Fuction Falls in Love and Terrorbird: The Hits (8:00 pm and 9:30 pm, $10 per show, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

Forever: Improv Inspired by NYT Wedding AnnouncementsSaturday 2/17: Improvisors make up scenes of a relationship springboarding off an audience-supplied wedding announcement from The New York Times: Forever: Improv Inspired by NYT Wedding Announcements (9:30 pm, $10, at The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Soft Focus with Jena FriedmanSunday 2/18 (technically, these two midnight TV specials are airing on Monday 2/19; but they’re happening Sunday night, which is what counts…): Jena Friedman has made a career of being angry. In her new Adult Swim special Soft Focus, Jena is still fueled by fury but expresses it with an almost zen-like air of ironic calmness. The tension between Jena’s placid external demeanor—as in the scene above, where she shoots the breeze with college frat boys about campus rape—and what we know she’s really feeling is often riveting. (This is epitomized in an exchange between a sex doll manufacturer who explains the difference between his products and Jena is “You fuck the doll but the doll doesn’t fuck you back,” to which Jena responds, “So it’s pretty much the same thing.” He adds, “There’s no emotional connection, really.” Jena nods and replies, “Same thing.”) The result is a darkly funny and oddly intense show that will leave you exhausted while wanting more…

Eric Andre Does Paris…In contrast to Jena, Eric Andre has made a career of being a wild man. In her new Adult Swim special, Eric lets his hyperactively surreal persona loose on France. I don’t know anything else about this show, but Eric is always worth watching. So enjoy Jena’s Soft Focus at midnight, rest and regenerate your energies during the commercial break, and then strap yourself in at 12:15ish am for Eric Andre Does Paris.

Chris Duffy: "You're the Expert"Sunday 2/18: Comics TBA demonstrate their brilliance at thinking on their feet by hilariously answering questions at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Aparna NancherlaSunday 2/18: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) headlines this weekly stand-up show hosted by Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%) & Jay Schmidt: The Last Laugh (8:00 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

The Unemployed ShowSunday 2/18: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show and the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots) tell jokes about not having a steady job (out of work, working freelance, working part-time, etc.) hosted by Anna Roisman (MTV, Funny or Die, Tribeca Film Festival): The Unemployed Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 2/19: Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), and more TBA perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Myq KaplanMonday 2/19: Stellar stand-up Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts comics Baratunde Thurston, Nat Towsen, Jaqi Furback, and Eudora Peterson: The Myq Kaplan Show (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Every President Ever: Together AgainWednesday 2/21: In this character show, 45 comics—Christine Nangle, Anna Roisman, Desi Domo,Caroline Cotter, Allie Kokesh, Tim Dunn, David Bluvband, and manu more—play all 45 of our US Presidents and their true-life weird quirks, featuring lots of powdered wigs, in under an hour produced by Kate Villa & Alexandria Iona: Every President Ever: Together Again (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Leslie Goshko: "Sideshow Goshko"Thursday 2/22: Come celebrate the Ninth Year Anniversary of this free and gloriously oddball monthly storytelling show at the East Village’s KGB Bar, featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo). Tonight’s yarn-spinners are Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, host of The Liar Show), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy), and Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluThursday 2/22: PLEASE NOTE: This show has been CANCELED. If you purchased tickets online, you’ll be refunded automatically. Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Everything is Falling ApartThursday 2/22: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) is interviewed during a game of Jenga (as soon as the tower falls, the conversation ends), plus stand-up or storytelling by Chanel Ali, Melissa Diaz, and Savannah DesOrmeax hosted by Molly McGaughey: Everything is Falling Apart (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Kevin Geeks Out About Character ActorsThursday 2/22: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, this month focusing on punk rock and related pop culture (for a sneak peek video, please click here), with guests Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), Kevin Rice (writer/producer/director of Tv’s Ghoul A Go-Go), Heather Buckley (producer for Red Shirt Pictures), Marcus Pinn (creator of Pinnland Empire), Christopher Funderburg (editor/writer for ThePinkSmoke.com), and Kate Wilkinson (Wig Wurq website “judging pop culture’s wigs from lace fronts to split ends”): Kevin Geeks Out Goes Punk! (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas usually sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)

Demetri MartinThursday 2/22: Star Demetri Martin (Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Margin; Trendspotting commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; former writer/performer for Conan O’Brien; three hour-long comedy specials, including Netflix’s Demetri Martin Live (at the tIme); stand-up albums These Are Jokes and Standup Comedian; bestselling author of This is a Book, Point Your Face at This, and If It’s Not Funny, It’s Art) performs for one night only in Brooklyn: Demetri Martin (10:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Friday 2/23: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (7:30 pm; $12—which includes a second show, How to Write a Book: The Play; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 2/23: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Risk!Saturday 2/24: Comics and comedic storytellers (TBA) join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to tell well-crafted tales of comedic adventure: Risk! (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dancify That!Saturday 2/24: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically sharp comics TBA: Dancify That! (10:00 pm, $18, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dumb People TownSunday 2/25: The Sklar Brothers and Dan Van Kirk perform and host other comics TBA perform improv and stand-up for this recording of their podcast: Dumb People Town (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)

Gravid WaterMonday 2/26: Brilliant improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 2/26: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV; co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Kenice Mobley, and more perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star Wars: An Erotic Live ReadingTuesday 2/27: Star Wars erotic fan fiction—e.g., Fifty Shades of Rey, a sexually intense retelling of Star Wars: A Force Awakens—is read with feeling by comics Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), and Jessie Bangarang Atkinson (host of Family Liquid Dinner, cast member of A Drinking Game NYC), plus “Force Off,” a Star Wars-themed audience interactive game that awards prizes, all hosted by Rob Roan: Star Wars: An Erotic Live Reading (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Educated Guess Science FairWednesday 2/28: Sad scientists Jo Firestone & Steven DeSiena host a throwback to grade school science fairs…but run by NYC comics. Walk the open exhibits from 7:00 to 8:15ish pm, where each participant is being tasked to prove a half-baked hypothesis of his or her choosing using disciplinary methods that might be true. There’ll be poster boards, quirky dioramas, tri-fold cardboard, flasks, lab coats, and haphazard experiments. Then at 8:30 pm awards will be presented by scholars “who are maybe at the top of their respective fields. All this and much, much more, we bet:” The Educated Guess Science Fair (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd 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 East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Hell’s Kitchen 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 February 2018: Last Updated Thursday 2/15/18

February 15, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my 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.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2018 include (with more to come soon):

Bobby Tisdale: "The Wards of Merkin"Thursday 2/15: Bobby Tisdale (former staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; voice of Zeke on Bob’s Burgers; numerous other TV credits, and NYC downtown comedy pioneer) hosts this out-of-the-box comedy show that features typically superb alternative comics (TBA): The Wards of Merkin (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jean Grae & John HodgmanThursday 2/15: Jean Grae & John Hodgman have written topics on a carnival wheel. In this show they spin the wheel and then chat about whatever subject they land on, along with a surprise guest. What else do you need to know?: Jean and John (8:00 pm, $15, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jay Malsky and Richie MoriartyThursday 2/15: Comics Dan Chamberlain, Jon Bander, Jonathan Braylock, Becky Chicoine, Sam Reece, Lauren Ireland, Chris Burns, and Ken McGraw play dead celebrities who give TED Talk-style lectures, “sharing the knowledge of history’s most inspired thinkers willing to push aside death’s veil,” hosted by Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) playing Elaine Stritch and Richie Moriarty (The Tick, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Going in Style) playing Don Pardo: DED Talks: Celebrities Return From the Dead to Give One Last TED Talk (7:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Greg BarrisThursday 2/15: The unique Greg Barris (above; MTV’s All That Rocks; host of Heart of Darkness; comedy album Shame Wave) hosts Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper) and Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Chris Rock’s film Top Five, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show) performing stand-up in Brooklyn: Greg Barris: Mwah Mwah Mwah (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emily MathwichThursday 2/15: Emily Mathwich demonstrated she’s a sharp writer and highly compelling comedic actress at last year’s Solocom, for which she performed a mini-play about a post-apocalyptic world where her only hope for survival was to form a relationship with iPhone’s Siri. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch this Solocom highlight in November, take advantage of this brief revival (with a musical opening by Taylor Ortega and Max Ash): Hey, Siri, Am I Gonna Die? (8:30 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

John Mulaney: "Kid Gorgeous"Friday 2/16-Monday 2/19: John Mulaney (former writer/performer for Saturday Night Live and star of FOX sitcom Mulaney; numerous guest TV appearances; stand-up specials The Top Part, New in Town, and The Comeback Kid) is one of the finest comics of our time, and he’ll be proving that with his latest stand-up show Kid Gorgeous (I was lucky enough to catch a rehearsal). John kicks off a national tour tonight with a run through Monday at Radio City Music Hall. All shows are sold out except for Monday…and those seats are going fast. I highly recommend John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous (tickets still available for 7:00 pm Monday 2/19; $44; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Anna Suzuak, Jeena Bloom, and Natalie WallFriday 2/16: The lovely Natalie Wall (above right) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, which tonight features Anna Suzuaki (above left; AzN Pop), Jeena Bloom (above middle; stand-up/actress), and Sam Morrison (one-man show Hello, Daddy!) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm; $16.62 if purchased in advance online (otherwise $20)—which includes free beer and wine; The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue between 60th & 61st Streets)

Tinder Tales LiveFriday 2/16: A live version of the popular podcast Tinder Tales that provides stories of Tinder dates, dating advice, and fun games, with guests Rachel Green, Hannah Harkness, and more hosted by David Piccolomini: Tinder Tales Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 2/16: Storytellers Samantha Ruddy, Andrew Casertano, Misha Han, and Nick Nicosia share cringe-worthy experiences from their pasts hosted by Brendan Busee & Ron Raganella: Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy Show (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Air Force OneFriday 2/16: To my eye, it’s a pretty decent movie; but regardless, tonight 1997’s Air Force One will be screened & mercilessly skewered by some of NYC’s finest comics: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Jess Salomon (Sirius XM), and Freddy G (NPR) hosted by Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Everythign Is Dumbn, and Bunk Bed and Murray Povich open mics): Movies R Dumb: Air Force One (11:00 pm, $8 online using discount code GETOFFMYPLANE [otherwise $10], Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Soft Focus with Jena FriedmanSunday 2/18 (technically, these two midnight TV specials are airing on Monday 2/19; but they’re happening Sunday night, which is what counts…): Jena Friedman has made a career of being angry. In her new Adult Swim special Soft Focus, Jena is still fueled by fury but expresses it with an almost zen-like air of ironic calmness. The tension between Jena’s placid external demeanor—as in the scene above, where she shoots the breeze with college frat boys about campus rape—and what we know she’s really feeling is often riveting. (This is epitomized in an exchange between a sex doll manufacturer who explains the difference between his products and Jena is “You fuck the doll but the doll doesn’t fuck you back,” to which Jena responds, “So it’s pretty much the same thing.” He adds, “There’s no emotional connection, really.” Jena nods and replies, “Same thing.”) The result is a darkly funny and oddly intense show that will leave you exhausted while wanting more…

Eric Andre Does Paris…In contrast to Jena, Eric Andre has made a career of being a wild man. In her new Adult Swim special, Eric lets his hyperactively surreal persona loose on France. I don’t know anything else about this show, but Eric is always worth watching. So enjoy Jena’s Soft Focus at midnight, rest and regenerate your energies during the commercial break, and then strap yourself in at 12:15ish am for Eric Andre Does Paris.

Chris Duffy: "You're the Expert"Sunday 2/18: Comics TBA demonstrate their brilliance at thinking on their feet by hilariously answering questions at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Aparna NancherlaSunday 2/18: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) headlines this weekly stand-up show hosted by Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%) & Jay Schmidt: The Last Laugh (8:00 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

The Unemployed ShowSunday 2/18: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show and the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots) tell jokes about not having a steady job (out of work, working freelance, working part-time, etc.) hosted by Anna Roisman (MTV, Funny or Die, Tribeca Film Festival): The Unemployed Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 2/19: Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), and more TBA perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Myq KaplanMonday 2/19: Stellar stand-up Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts comics Baratunde Thurston, Nat Towsen, Jaqi Furback, and Eudora Peterson: The Myq Kaplan Show (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Every President Ever: Together AgainWednesday 2/21: In this character show, 45 comics—Christine Nangle, Anna Roisman, Desi Domo,Caroline Cotter, Allie Kokesh, Tim Dunn, David Bluvband, and manu more—play all 45 of our US Presidents and their true-life weird quirks, featuring lots of powdered wigs, in under an hour produced by Kate Villa & Alexandria Iona: Every President Ever: Together Again (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Leslie Goshko: "Sideshow Goshko"Thursday 2/22: Come celebrate the Ninth Year Anniversary of this free and gloriously oddball monthly storytelling show at the East Village’s KGB Bar, featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo). Tonight’s yarn-spinners are Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, host of The Liar Show), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy), and Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluThursday 2/22: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Everything is Falling ApartThursday 2/22: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) is interviewed during a game of Jenga (as soon as the tower falls, the conversation ends), plus stand-up or storytelling by Chanel Ali, Melissa Diaz, and Savannah DesOrmeax hosted by Molly McGaughey: Everything is Falling Apart (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Kevin Geeks Out About Character ActorsThursday 2/22: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, this month focusing on punk rock and related pop culture (for a sneak peek video, please click here), with guests Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), Kevin Rice (writer/producer/director of Tv’s Ghoul A Go-Go), Heather Buckley (producer for Red Shirt Pictures), Marcus Pinn (creator of Pinnland Empire), Christopher Funderburg (editor/writer for ThePinkSmoke.com), and Kate Wilkinson (Wig Wurq website “judging pop culture’s wigs from lace fronts to split ends”): Kevin Geeks Out Goes Punk! (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas usually sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)

Demetri MartinThursday 2/22: Star Demetri Martin (Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Margin; Trendspotting commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; former writer/performer for Conan O’Brien; three hour-long comedy specials, including Netflix’s Demetri Martin Live (at the tIme); stand-up albums These Are Jokes and Standup Comedian; bestselling author of This is a Book, Point Your Face at This, and If It’s Not Funny, It’s Art) performs for one night only in Brooklyn: Demetri Martin (10:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Friday 2/23: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (7:30 pm; $12—which includes a second show, How to Write a Book: The Play; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 2/23: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Risk!Saturday 2/24: Comics and comedic storytellers (TBA) join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to tell well-crafted tales of comedic adventure: Risk! (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dancify That!Saturday 2/24: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically sharp comics TBA: Dancify That! (10:00 pm, $18, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dumb People TownSunday 2/25: The Sklar Brothers and Dan Van Kirk perform and host other comics TBA perform improv and stand-up for this recording of their podcast: Dumb People Town (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)

Gravid WaterMonday 2/26: Brilliant improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 2/26: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV; co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Kenice Mobley, and more perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star Wars: An Erotic Live ReadingTuesday 2/27: Star Wars erotic fan fiction—e.g., Fifty Shades of Rey, a sexually intense retelling of Star Wars: A Force Awakens—is read with feeling by comics Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), and Jessie Bangarang Atkinson (host of Family Liquid Dinner, cast member of A Drinking Game NYC), plus “Force Off,” a Star Wars-themed audience interactive game that awards prizes, all hosted by Rob Roan: Star Wars: An Erotic Live Reading (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Educated Guess Science FairWednesday 2/28: Sad scientists Jo Firestone & Steven DeSiena host a throwback to grade school science fairs…but run by NYC comics. Walk the open exhibits from 7:00 to 8:15ish pm, where each participant is being tasked to prove a half-baked hypothesis of his or her choosing using disciplinary methods that might be true. There’ll be poster boards, quirky dioramas, tri-fold cardboard, flasks, lab coats, and haphazard experiments. Then at 8:30 pm awards will be presented by scholars “who are maybe at the top of their respective fields. All this and much, much more, we bet:” The Educated Guess Science Fair (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd 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 East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Hell’s Kitchen 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 February 2018: Last Updated Wednesday 2/14/18

February 14, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my 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.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2018 include (with more to come soon):

Lane Moore's Tinder Live: Valentine's Day SpecialWednesday 2/14: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above; 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. For this special Valentine’s Day edition, Lane is doing two back-to-back shows. Offering comments and suggestions during the 8:30 adventure are stellar guests Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Jon Friedman (MTV producer, Jimmy Fallon; host of former legendary annual anti-Valentine’s Day event The Rejection Show: VD Edition), and Sally Kohn (CNN pundit, Daily Beast columnist; author of upcoming book The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity). And guests for the 10:30 pm show include Dodai Stewart (Editor-in-Chief of Splinter News; previously Deputy Editor at Jezebel). This show usually sells out, so I highly recommend nabbing tickets online ASAP for Tinder Live: Special Valentine’s Day Early Show and Late Show (8:30 pm, $15; 10:30 pm, $15; Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"Wednesday 2/14: World-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). This is a phenomenal show year-round, but it’s extra special on Valentine’s Day—which is why Evan & Rebecca will be doing it twice tonight, at 7:00 and 9:30: Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm; $15, which is a good deal—this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Julio Torres: "My Favorite Shapes"Wednesday 2/14: PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT. Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete) performs a fresh, clever one-man show in which he puts different objects on the table in front of him and tells jokes evoked by how they look and feel: Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Bobby Tisdale: "The Wards of Merkin"Thursday 2/15: Bobby Tisdale (former staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; voice of Zeke on Bob’s Burgers; numerous other TV credits, and NYC downtown comedy pioneer) hosts this out-of-the-box comedy show that features typically superb alternative comics (TBA): The Wards of Merkin (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jean Grae & John HodgmanThursday 2/15: Jean Grae & John Hodgman have written topics on a carnival wheel. In this show they spin the wheel and then chat about whatever subject they land on, along with a surprise guest. What else do you need to know?: Jean and John (8:00 pm, $15, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Emily MathwichThursday 2/15: Emily Mathwich demonstrated she’s a sharp writer and highly compelling comedic actress at last year’s Solocom, for which she performed a mini-play about a post-apocalyptic world where her only hope for survival was to form a relationship with iPhone’s Siri. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch this Solocom highlight in November, take advantage of this brief revival (with a musical opening by Taylor Ortega and Max Ash): Hey Siri. Am I Gonna Die? (8:30 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Jay Malsky and Richie MoriartyThursday 2/15: Comics TBA play dead celebrities who give TED Talk-style lectures, “sharing the knowledge of history’s most inspired thinkers willing to push aside death’s veil,” hosted by Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) playing Elaine Stritch and Richie Moriarty (The Tick, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Going in Style) playing Don Pardo: DED Talks: Celebrities Return From the Dead to Give One Last TED Talk (7:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Greg BarrisThursday 2/15: The unique Greg Barris (MTV’s All That Rocks; host of Heart of Darkness; comedy album Shame Wave) hosts typically outside-the-mainstream comics (TBA) for one night only: Greg Barris: Mwah Mwah Mwah (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Anna Suzuak, Jeena Bloom, and Natalie WallFriday 2/16: The lovely Natalie Wall (above right) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, which tonight features Anna Suzuaki (above left; AzN Pop), Jeena Bloom (above middle; stand-up/actress), and Sam Morrison (one-man show Hello, Daddy!) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm; $16.62 if purchased in advance online (otherwise $20)—which includes free beer and wine; The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue between 60th & 61st Streets)

Tinder Tales LiveFriday 2/16: A live version of the popular podcast Tinder Tales that provides stories of Tinder dates, dating advice, and fun games, with guests Rachel Green, Hannah Harkness, and more hosted by David Piccolomini: Tinder Tales Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 2/16: Storytellers Samantha Ruddy, Andrew Casertano, Misha Han, and Nick Nicosia share cringe-worthy experiences from their pasts hosted by Brendan Busee & Ron Raganella: Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy Show (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Air Force OneFriday 2/16: To my eye, it’s a pretty decent movie; but regardless, tonight 1997’s Air Force One will be screened & mercilessly skewered by some of NYC’s finest comics: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Jess Salomon (Sirius XM), and Freddy G (NPR) hosted by Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Everythign Is Dumbn, and Bunk Bed and Murray Povich open mics): Movies R Dumb: Air Force One (11:00 pm, $8 online using discount code GETOFFMYPLANE [otherwise $10], Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Soft Focus with Jena FriedmanSunday 2/18 (technically, these two midnight TV specials are airing on Monday 2/19; but they’re happening Sunday night, which is what counts…): Jena Friedman has made a career of being angry. In her new Adult Swim special Soft Focus, Jena is still fueled by fury but expresses it with an almost zen-like air of ironic calmness. The tension between Jena’s placid external demeanor—as in the scene above, where she shoots the breeze with college frat boys about campus rape—and what we know she’s really feeling is often riveting. (This is epitomized in an exchange between a sex doll manufacturer who explains the difference between his products and Jena is “You fuck the doll but the doll doesn’t fuck you back,” to which Jena responds, “So it’s pretty much the same thing.” He adds, “There’s no emotional connection, really.” Jena nods and replies, “Same thing.”) The result is a darkly funny and oddly intense show that will leave you exhausted while wanting more…

Eric Andre Does Paris…In contrast to Jena, Eric Andre has made a career of being a wild man. In her new Adult Swim special, Eric lets his hyperactively surreal persona loose on France. I don’t know anything else about this show, but Eric is always worth watching. So enjoy Jena’s Soft Focus at midnight, rest and regenerate your energies during the commercial break, and then strap yourself in at 12:15ish am for Eric Andre Does Paris.

Chris Duffy: "You're the Expert"Sunday 2/18: Comics TBA demonstrate their brilliance at thinking on their feet by hilariously answering questions at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Unemployed ShowSunday 2/18: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show and the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots) tell jokes about not having a steady job (out of work, working freelance, working part-time, etc.) hosted by Anna Roisman (MTV, Funny or Die, Tribeca Film Festival): The Unemployed Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 2/19: Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), and more TBA perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Myq KaplanMonday 2/19: Stellar stand-up Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts comics Baratunde Thurston, Nat Towsen, Jaqi Furback, and Eudora Peterson: The Myq Kaplan Show (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Every President Ever: Together AgainWednesday 2/21: In this character show, 45 comics—Christine Nangle, Anna Roisman, Desi Domo,Caroline Cotter, Allie Kokesh, Tim Dunn, David Bluvband, and manu more—play all 45 of our US Presidents and their true-life weird quirks, featuring lots of powdered wigs, in under an hour produced by Kate Villa & Alexandria Iona: Every President Ever: Together Again (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Leslie Goshko: "Sideshow Goshko"Thursday 2/22: Come celebrate the Ninth Year Anniversary of this free and gloriously oddball monthly storytelling show at the East Village’s KGB Bar, featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo). Tonight’s yarn-spinners are Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, host of The Liar Show), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy), and Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluThursday 2/22: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Everything is Falling ApartThursday 2/22: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) is interviewed during a game of Jenga (as soon as the tower falls, the conversation ends), plus stand-up or storytelling by Chanel Ali, Melissa Diaz, and Savannah DesOrmeax hosted by Molly McGaughey: Everything is Falling Apart (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Kevin Geeks Out About Character ActorsThursday 2/22: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, this month focusing on punk rock and related pop culture (for a sneak peek video, please click here), with guests Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), Kevin Rice (writer/producer/director of Tv’s Ghoul A Go-Go), Heather Buckley (producer for Red Shirt Pictures), Marcus Pinn (creator of Pinnland Empire), Christopher Funderburg (editor/writer for ThePinkSmoke.com), and Kate Wilkinson (Wig Wurq website “judging pop culture’s wigs from lace fronts to split ends”): Kevin Geeks Out Goes Punk! (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas usually sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)

Demetri MartinThursday 2/22: Star Demetri Martin (Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Margin; Trendspotting commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; former writer/performer for Conan O’Brien; three hour-long comedy specials, including Netflix’s Demetri Martin Live (at the tIme); stand-up albums These Are Jokes and Standup Comedian; bestselling author of This is a Book, Point Your Face at This, and If It’s Not Funny, It’s Art) performs for one night only in Brooklyn: Demetri Martin (10:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Friday 2/23: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (7:30 pm; $12—which includes a second show, How to Write a Book: The Play; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 2/23: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Risk!Saturday 2/24: Comics and comedic storytellers (TBA) join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to tell well-crafted tales of comedic adventure: Risk! (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dancify That!Saturday 2/24: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically sharp comics TBA: Dancify That! (10:00 pm, $18, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dumb People TownSunday 2/25: The Sklar Brothers and Dan Van Kirk perform and host other comics TBA perform improv and stand-up for this recording of their podcast: Dumb People Town (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)

Gravid WaterMonday 2/26: Brilliant improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 2/26: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV; co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Kenice Mobley, and more perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star Wars: An Erotic Live ReadingTuesday 2/27: Star Wars erotic fan fiction—e.g., Fifty Shades of Rey, a sexually intense retelling of Star Wars: A Force Awakens—is read with feeling by comics Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), and Jessie Bangarang Atkinson (host of Family Liquid Dinner, cast member of A Drinking Game NYC), plus “Force Off,” a Star Wars-themed audience interactive game that awards prizes, all hosted by Rob Roan: Star Wars: An Erotic Live Reading (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Educated Guess Science FairWednesday 2/28: Sad scientists Jo Firestone & Steven DeSiena host a throwback to grade school science fairs…but run by NYC comics. Walk the open exhibits from 7:00 to 8:15ish pm, where each participant is being tasked to prove a half-baked hypothesis of his or her choosing using disciplinary methods that might be true. There’ll be poster boards, quirky dioramas, tri-fold cardboard, flasks, lab coats, and haphazard experiments. Then at 8:30 pm awards will be presented by scholars “who are maybe at the top of their respective fields. All this and much, much more, we bet:” The Educated Guess Science Fair (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd 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 East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Hell’s Kitchen 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 February 2018: Last Updated Tuesday 2/13/18

February 13, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my 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.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2018 include (with more to come soon):

Julio Torres: "My Favorite Shapes"Tuesday 2/13 (see also 2/14): Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete) performs a fresh, clever one-man show in which he puts different objects on the table in front of him and tells jokes evoked by how they look and feel: Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Marina Franklin and Seaton SmithTuesday 2/13: Marina Franklin (staff writer for HBO’s Divorce; Trainwreck, Crashing, Louie, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, @midnight, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Nighly Show, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Chris Rock’s film Top Five, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Matt Ruby (MTV, Seeso; sharp co-host of Hot Soup, award-winning blog Sandpaper Suit, comedy album Hot Flashes), and more guest-hosted by Jordan Carlos (cast member of Netflix’s Friends From College; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim): Sweet (9:00 pm, $10, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)

HomeschooledTuesday 2/13: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Tushar Singh, Molly Cahen, and Shane O’Neill present funny lectures on silly topics—e.g., “Disneyland: How to Enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth Even Though It’s Super Racist” and “Big Time Sensual Personae: Bjork vs. Madonna as the Most Important Pop Star of the Late 20th Century”—produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City; producer of If You Build It) and hosted by Jim Tews (rising star; Louie, Last Comic Standing; co-host of Fresh Out; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York; comedy album I Was in Band): Homeschooled—A Comedic Lecture Series (9:00 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

James Dwyer and Caroline CotterTuesday 2/13: Caroline Cotter (above right; Seth Meyers, College Humor; UCB improv group Goat) & Mike Camerlengo (MTV’s Joking Off) host a Valentine’s Eve show “to teach you how to find love and hold onto love. From sending dick pics to when to ask about bra size, this educational seminar covers all the basics, including butt stuff (which Mike and Caroline consider 3rd base). Helping out are unlucky-in-love guests James Dwyer (above left; Master of None; co-star of UCB’s A Big Dumb Thing), Nayomi Reghay (dating columnist for The Daily Dot), and Julia Young (MTV’s Joking Off): Mike and Caroline Know Love (10:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Friends of Single PeopleTuesday 2/13: PLEASE NOTE: This show has been canceled for 2/13. Jo is planning to reschedule it. If you purchased a ticket online, you’ll be refunded automatically. The spectacular 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; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) hosts this show in which “comics represent you onstage in a live dating game! You may cringe and remain as anonymous as you want in the crowd…or arrive at 7:30 pm to be paired up with a comic and tell everything there is to know about you in 10 minutes or less, and then let them guide your love life in great and maybe horrible ways.” Tonight’s comics are Ana Fabrega, Conner O’Malley, Patrick Borelli, Maeve Higgins, Josh Rabinowitz, Kevin Iso, Gary Richardson, and Yamaneika Saunders. “Out of over 100 couples matched, four couples have managed to develop actual long-term relationships. One couple moved in together. It’s amazing and defies all odds:” Friends of Single People (8:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Lane Moore's Tinder Live: Valentine's Day SpecialWednesday 2/14: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above; 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. For this special Valentine’s Day edition Lane is doing two back-to-back shows. Offering comments and suggestions during the 8:30 adventure are stellar guests Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Jon Friedman (MTV producer, Jimmy Fallon; host of former legendary annual anti-Valentine’s Day event The Rejection Show: VD Edition), and Sally Kohn (CNN pundit, Daily Beast columnist; author of upcoming book The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity). And guests for the 10:30 pm show include Dodai Stewart (Editor-in-Chief of Splinter News; previously Deputy Editor at Jezebel), This show usually sells out, so I highly recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live: Special Valentine’s Day Early Show and Late Show (8:30 pm, $15; 10:30 pm, $15; Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"Wednesday 2/14: World-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). This is a phenomenal show year-round, but it’s extra special on Valentine’s Day—which is why Evan & Rebecca will be doing it twice tonight, at 7:00 and 9:30: Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm; $15, which is a good deal—this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Julio Torres: "My Favorite Shapes"Wednesday 2/14 (see also 2/13): Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete) performs a fresh, clever one-man show in which he puts different objects on the table in front of him and tells jokes evoked by how they look and feel: Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Bobby Tisdale: "The Wards of Merkin"Thursday 2/15: Bobby Tisdale (former staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; voice of Zeke on Bob’s Burgers; numerous other TV credits, and NYC downtown comedy pioneer) hosts this out-of-the-box comedy show that features typically superb alternative comics (TBA): The Wards of Merkin (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jean Grae & John HodgmanThursday 2/15: Jean Grae & John Hodgman have written topics on a carnival wheel. In this show they spin the wheel and then chat about whatever subject they land on, along with a surprise guest. What else do you need to know?: Jean and John (8:00 pm, $15, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Emily MathwichThursday 2/15: Emily Mathwich demonstrated she’s a sharp writer and highly compelling comedic actress at last year’s Solocom, for which she performed a mini-play about a post-apocalyptic world where her only hope for survival was to form a relationship with iPhone’s Siri. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch this Solocom highlight in November, take advantage of this brief revival (with a musical opening by Taylor Ortega and Max Ash): Hey Siri. Am I Gonna Die? (8:30 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Jay Malsky and Richie MoriartyThursday 2/15: Comics TBA play dead celebrities who give TED Talk-style lectures, “sharing the knowledge of history’s most inspired thinkers willing to push aside death’s veil,” hosted by Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) playing Elaine Stritch and Richie Moriarty (The Tick, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Going in Style) playing Don Pardo: DED Talks: Celebrities Return From the Dead to Give One Last TED Talk (7:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Greg BarrisThursday 2/15: The unique Greg Barris (MTV’s All That Rocks; host of Heart of Darkness; comedy album Shame Wave) hosts typically outside-the-mainstream comics (TBA) for one night only: Greg Barris: Mwah Mwah Mwah (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Anna Suzuak, Jeena Bloom, and Natalie WallFriday 2/16: The lovely Natalie Wall (above right) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, which tonight features Anna Suzuaki (above left; AzN Pop), Jeena Bloom (above middle; stand-up/actress), and Sam Morrison (one-man show Hello, Daddy!) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm; $16.62 if purchased in advance online (otherwise $20)—which includes free beer and wine; The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue between 60th & 61st Streets)

Tinder Tales LiveFriday 2/16: A live version of the popular podcast Tinder Tales that provides stories of Tinder dates, dating advice, and fun games, with guests Rachel Green, Hannah Harkness, and more hosted by David Piccolomini: Tinder Tales Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 2/16: Storytellers Samantha Ruddy, Andrew Casertano, Misha Han, and Nick Nicosia share cringe-worthy experiences from their pasts hosted by Brendan Busee & Ron Raganella: Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy Show (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Air Force OneFriday 2/16: To my eye, it’s a pretty decent movie; but regardless, tonight 1997’s Air Force One will be screened & mercilessly skewered by some of NYC’s finest comics: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Jess Salomon (Sirius XM), and Freddy G (NPR) hosted by Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Everythign Is Dumbn, and Bunk Bed and Murray Povich open mics): Movies R Dumb: Air Force One (11:00 pm, $8 online using discount code GETOFFMYPLANE [otherwise $10], Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Soft Focus with Jena FriedmanSunday 2/18 (technically, these two midnight TV specials are airing on Monday 2/19; but they’re happening Sunday night, which is what counts…): Jena Friedman has made a career of being angry. In her new Adult Swim special Soft Focus, Jena is still fueled by fury but expresses it with an almost zen-like air of ironic calmness. The tension between Jena’s placid external demeanor—as in the scene above, where she shoots the breeze with college frat boys about campus rape—and what we know she’s really feeling is often riveting. (This is epitomized in an exchange between a sex doll manufacturer who explains the difference between his products and Jena is “You fuck the doll but the doll doesn’t fuck you back,” to which Jena responds, “So it’s pretty much the same thing.” He adds, “There’s no emotional connection, really.” Jena nods and replies, “Same thing.”) The result is a darkly funny and oddly intense show that will leave you exhausted while wanting more…

Eric Andre Does Paris…In contrast to Jena, Eric Andre has made a career of being a wild man. In her new Adult Swim special, Eric lets his hyperactively surreal persona loose on France. I don’t know anything else about this show, but Eric is always worth watching. So enjoy Jena’s Soft Focus at midnight, rest and regenerate your energies during the commercial break, and then strap yourself in at 12:15ish am for Eric Andre Does Paris.

Chris Duffy: "You're the Expert"Sunday 2/18: Comics TBA demonstrate their brilliance at thinking on their feet by hilariously answering questions at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Unemployed ShowSunday 2/18: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show and the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots) tell jokes about not having a steady job (out of work, working freelance, working part-time, etc.) hosted by Anna Roisman (MTV, Funny or Die, Tribeca Film Festival): The Unemployed Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 2/19: Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), and more TBA perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Myq KaplanMonday 2/19: Stellar stand-up Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts comics Baratunde Thurston, Nat Towsen, Jaqi Furback, and Eudora Peterson: The Myq Kaplan Show (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Every President Ever: Together AgainWednesday 2/21: In this character show, 45 comics—Christine Nangle, Anna Roisman, Desi Domo,Caroline Cotter, Allie Kokesh, Tim Dunn, David Bluvband, and manu more—play all 45 of our US Presidents and their true-life weird quirks, featuring lots of powdered wigs, in under an hour produced by Kate Villa & Alexandria Iona: Every President Ever: Together Again (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Leslie Goshko: "Sideshow Goshko"Thursday 2/22: Come celebrate the Ninth Year Anniversary of this free and gloriously oddball monthly storytelling show at the East Village’s KGB Bar, featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo). Tonight’s yarn-spinners are Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, host of The Liar Show), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy), and Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluThursday 2/22: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Everything is Falling ApartThursday 2/22: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) is interviewed during a game of Jenga (as soon as the tower falls, the conversation ends), plus stand-up or storytelling by Chanel Ali, Melissa Diaz, and Savannah DesOrmeax hosted by Molly McGaughey: Everything is Falling Apart (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Kevin Geeks Out About Character ActorsThursday 2/22: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, this month focusing on punk rock and related pop culture (for a sneak peek video, please click here), with guests Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), Kevin Rice (writer/producer/director of Tv’s Ghoul A Go-Go), Heather Buckley (producer for Red Shirt Pictures), Marcus Pinn (creator of Pinnland Empire), Christopher Funderburg (editor/writer for ThePinkSmoke.com), and Kate Wilkinson (Wig Wurq website “judging pop culture’s wigs from lace fronts to split ends”): Kevin Geeks Out Goes Punk! (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas usually sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)

Demetri MartinThursday 2/22: Star Demetri Martin (Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Margin; Trendspotting commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; former writer/performer for Conan O’Brien; three hour-long comedy specials, including Netflix’s Demetri Martin Live (at the tIme); stand-up albums These Are Jokes and Standup Comedian; bestselling author of This is a Book, Point Your Face at This, and If It’s Not Funny, It’s Art) performs for one night only in Brooklyn: Demetri Martin (10:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Friday 2/23: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (7:30 pm; $12—which includes a second show, How to Write a Book: The Play; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 2/23: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Risk!Saturday 2/24: Comics and comedic storytellers (TBA) join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to tell well-crafted tales of comedic adventure: Risk! (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dancify That!Saturday 2/24: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically sharp comics TBA: Dancify That! (10:00 pm, $18, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dumb People TownSunday 2/25: The Sklar Brothers and Dan Van Kirk perform and host other comics TBA perform improv and stand-up for this recording of their podcast: Dumb People Town (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)

Gravid WaterMonday 2/26: Brilliant improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 2/26: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV; co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Kenice Mobley, and more perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star Wars: An Erotic Live ReadingTuesday 2/27: Star Wars erotic fan fiction—e.g., Fifty Shades of Rey, a sexually intense retelling of Star Wars: A Force Awakens—is read with feeling by comics Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), and Jessie Bangarang Atkinson (host of Family Liquid Dinner, cast member of A Drinking Game NYC), plus “Force Off,” a Star Wars-themed audience interactive game that awards prizes, all hosted by Rob Roan: Star Wars: An Erotic Live Reading (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Educated Guess Science FairWednesday 2/28: Sad scientists Jo Firestone & Steven DeSiena host a throwback to grade school science fairs…but run by NYC comics. Walk the open exhibits from 7:00 to 8:15ish pm, where each participant is being tasked to prove a half-baked hypothesis of his or her choosing using disciplinary methods that might be true. There’ll be poster boards, quirky dioramas, tri-fold cardboard, flasks, lab coats, and haphazard experiments. Then at 8:30 pm awards will be presented by scholars “who are maybe at the top of their respective fields. All this and much, much more, we bet:” The Educated Guess Science Fair (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd 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 East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Hell’s Kitchen 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 February 2018: Last Updated Monday 2/12/18

February 12, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my 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.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2018 include (with much more to come soon):

Aparna Nancherla, Jo Firestone, and Maeve Higgins: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 2/12: Emily Flake (writer/cartoonist; The New Yorker, The New York Times), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times, comedy album Pure Uncut Joy), Jennie Sutton (former writer for David Letterman; writer for TruTV’s Paid Off), Alzo Slade, and Chloe Radcliffe perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Broken Box MimeMonday 2/12: For one last night, the Broken Box Mime troupe performs wordless sketches & stories about love in celebration of Valentine’s Day: Be Mime? BKBX (8:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Julio Torres: "My Favorite Shapes"Tuesday 2/13 (see also 2/14): Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete) performs a fresh, clever one-man show involving putting different objects on the table in front of him and sharing thoughts evoked by how they look and feel: Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

HomeschooledTuesday 2/13: Typically sharp comics (TBA) present funny lectures on silly topics—e.g., “Octopuses: Squishy Satans of the Sea”—produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City; producer of If You Build It) and hosted by Jim Tews (rising star; Louie, Last Comic Standing; co-host of Fresh Out; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York; comedy album I Was in Band): Homeschooled—A Comedic Lecture Series (9:00 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

James Dwyer and Caroline CotterTuesday 2/13: Caroline Cotter (above right; Seth Meyers, College Humor; UCB improv group Goat) & Mike Camerlengo (MTV’s Joking Off) host a Valentine’s Eve show “to teach you how to find love and hold onto love. From sending dick pics to when to ask about bra size, this educational seminar covers all the basics, including butt stuff (which Mike and Caroline consider 3rd base). Helping out are unlucky-in-love guests James Dwyer (above left; Master of None; co-star of UCB’s A Big Dumb Thing), Nayomi Reghay (dating columnist for The Daily Dot), and Julia Young (MTV’s Joking Off): Mike and Caroline Know Love (10:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Friends of Single PeopleTuesday 2/13: PLEASE NOTE: This show has been canceled for 2/13. Jo is planning to reschedule it. If you purchased a ticket online, you’ll be refunded automatically. The spectacular 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; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) hosts this show in which “comics represent you onstage in a live dating game! You may cringe and remain as anonymous as you want in the crowd…or arrive at 7:30 pm to be paired up with a comic and tell everything there is to know about you in 10 minutes or less, and then let them guide your love life in great and maybe horrible ways.” Tonight’s comics are Ana Fabrega, Conner O’Malley, Patrick Borelli, Maeve Higgins, Josh Rabinowitz, Kevin Iso, Gary Richardson, and Yamaneika Saunders. “Out of over 100 couples matched, four couples have managed to develop actual long-term relationships. One couple moved in together. It’s amazing and defies all odds:” Friends of Single People (8:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Lane Moore's Tinder Live: Valentine's Day SpecialWednesday 2/14: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above; 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 stellar guests Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Jon Friedman (MTV producer, Jimmy Fallon; host of former legendary annual anti-Valentine’s Day event The Rejection Show: VD Edition), and Sally Kohn (CNN pundit, Daily Beast columnist; author of upcoming book The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity). This show usually sells out, so I highly recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live: Valentine’s Day Special (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"Wednesday 2/14: World-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). This is a phenomenal show year-round, but it’s extra special on Valentine’s Day—which is why Evan & Rebecca will be doing it twice tonight, at 7:00 and 9:30: Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm; $15, which is a good deal—this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Julio Torres: "My Favorite Shapes"Wednesday 2/14 (see also 2/13): Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete) performs a fresh, clever one-man show involving putting different objects on the table in front of him and sharing thoughts evoked by how they look and feel: Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Bobby Tisdale: "The Wards of Merkin"Thursday 2/15: Bobby Tisdale (former staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; voice of Zeke on Bob’s Burgers; numerous other TV credits, and NYC downtown comedy pioneer) hosts this out-of-the-box comedy show that features typically superb alternative comics (TBA): The Wards of Merkin (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jean Grae & John HodgmanThursday 2/15: Jean Grae & John Hodgman have written topics on a carnival wheel. In this show they spin the wheel and then chat about whatever subject they land on, along with a surprise guest. What else do you need to know?: Jean and John (8:00 pm, $15, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Emily MathwichThursday 2/15: Emily Mathwich demonstrated she’s a sharp writer and highly compelling comedic actress at last year’s Solocom, for which she performed a mini-play about a post-apocalyptic world where her only hope for survival was to form a relationship with iPhone’s Siri. If you weren’t lucky enough to catch this Solocom highlight in November, take advantage of this brief revival (with a musical opening by Taylor Ortega and Max Ash): Hey Siri. Am I Gonna Die? (8:30 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Jay Malsky and Richie MoriartyThursday 2/15: Comics TBA play dead celebrities who give TED Talk-style lectures, “sharing the knowledge of history’s most inspired thinkers willing to push aside death’s veil,” hosted by Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) playing Elaine Stritch and Richie Moriarty (The Tick, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Going in Style) playing Don Pardo: DED Talks: Celebrities Return From the Dead to Give One Last TED Talk (7:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Greg BarrisThursday 2/15: The unique Greg Barris (MTV’s All That Rocks; host of Heart of Darkness; comedy album Shame Wave) hosts typically outside-the-mainstream comics (TBA) for one night only: Greg Barris: Mwah Mwah Mwah (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Anna Suzuak, Jeena Bloom, and Natalie WallFriday 2/16: The lovely Natalie Wall (above right) hosts the best sexy storytelling show in NYC, which tonight features Anna Suzuaki (above left; AzN Pop), Jeena Bloom (above middle; stand-up/actress), and Sam Morrison (one-man show Hello, Daddy!) telling tales of erotic encounters gone awry: Awkward Sex…and the City (8:00 pm; $16.62 if purchased in advance online (otherwise $20)—which includes free beer and wine; The Pleasure Chest at 1150 Second Avenue between 60th & 61st Streets)

Tinder Tales LiveFriday 2/16: A live version of the popular podcast Tinder Tales that provides stories of Tinder dates, dating advice, and fun games, with guests Rachel Green, Hannah Harkness, and more hosted by David Piccolomini: Tinder Tales Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 2/16: Storytellers Samantha Ruddy, Andrew Casertano, Misha Han, and Nick Nicosia share cringe-worthy experiences from their pasts hosted by Brendan Busee & Ron Raganella: Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy Show (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Air Force OneFriday 2/16: To my eye, it’s a pretty decent movie; but regardless, tonight 1997’s Air Force One will be screened & mercilessly skewered by some of NYC’s finest comics: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Jess Salomon (Sirius XM), and Freddy G (NPR) hosted by Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Everythign Is Dumbn, and Bunk Bed and Murray Povich open mics): Movies R Dumb: Air Force One (11:00 pm, $8 online using discount code GETOFFMYPLANE [otherwise $10], Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Soft Focus with Jena FriedmanSunday 2/18 (technically, these two midnight TV specials are airing on Monday 2/19; but they’re happening Sunday night, which is what counts…): Jena Friedman has made a career of being angry. In her new Adult Swim special Soft Focus, Jena is still fueled by fury but expresses it with an almost zen-like air of ironic calmness. The tension between Jena’s placid external demeanor—as in the scene above, where she shoots the breeze with college frat boys about campus rape—and what we know she’s really feeling is often riveting. (This is epitomized in an exchange between a sex doll manufacturer who explains the difference between his products and Jena is “You fuck the doll but the doll doesn’t fuck you back,” to which Jena responds, “So it’s pretty much the same thing.” He adds, “There’s no emotional connection, really.” Jena nods and replies, “Same thing.”) The result is a darkly funny and oddly intense show that will leave you exhausted while wanting more…

Eric Andre Does Paris…In contrast to Jena, Eric Andre has made a career of being a wild man. In her new Adult Swim special, Eric lets his hyperactively surreal persona loose on France. I don’t know anything else about this show, but Eric is always worth watching. So enjoy Jena’s Soft Focus at midnight, rest and regenerate your energies during the commercial break, and then strap yourself in at 12:15ish am for Eric Andre Does Paris.

Chris Duffy: "You're the Expert"Sunday 2/18: Comics TBA demonstrate their brilliance at thinking on their feet by hilariously answering questions at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Unemployed ShowSunday 2/18: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show and the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots) tell jokes about not having a steady job (out of work, working freelance, working part-time, etc.) hosted by Anna Roisman (MTV, Funny or Die, Tribeca Film Festival): The Unemployed Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 2/19: Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), and more TBA perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Myq KaplanMonday 2/19: Stellar stand-up Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts comics Baratunde Thurston, Nat Towsen, Jaqi Furback, and Eudora Peterson: The Myq Kaplan Show (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Every President Ever: Together AgainWednesday 2/21: In this character show, 45 comics—Christine Nangle, Anna Roisman, Desi Domo,Caroline Cotter, Allie Kokesh, Tim Dunn, David Bluvband, and manu more—play all 45 of our US Presidents and their true-life weird quirks, featuring lots of powdered wigs, in under an hour produced by Kate Villa & Alexandria Iona: Every President Ever: Together Again (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Leslie Goshko: "Sideshow Goshko"Thursday 2/22: Come celebrate the Ninth Year Anniversary of this free and gloriously oddball monthly storytelling show at the East Village’s KGB Bar, featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo). Tonight’s yarn-spinners are Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, host of The Liar Show), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy), and Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluThursday 2/22: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Everything is Falling ApartThursday 2/22: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) is interviewed during a game of Jenga (as soon as the tower falls, the conversation ends), plus stand-up or storytelling by Chanel Ali, Melissa Diaz, and Savannah DesOrmeax hosted by Molly McGaughey: Everything is Falling Apart (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Kevin Geeks Out About Character ActorsThursday 2/22: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, this month focusing on punk rock and related pop culture (for a sneak peek video, please click here), with guests Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), Kevin Rice (writer/producer/director of Tv’s Ghoul A Go-Go), Heather Buckley (producer for Red Shirt Pictures), Marcus Pinn (creator of Pinnland Empire), Christopher Funderburg (editor/writer for ThePinkSmoke.com), and Kate Wilkinson (Wig Wurq website “judging pop culture’s wigs from lace fronts to split ends”): Kevin Geeks Out Goes Punk! (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas usually sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Friday 2/23: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (7:30 pm; $12—which includes a second show, How to Write a Book: The Play; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 2/23: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Risk!Saturday 2/24: Comics and comedic storytellers (TBA) join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to tell well-crafted tales of comedic adventure: Risk! (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dancify That!Saturday 2/24: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically sharp comics TBA: Dancify That! (10:00 pm, $18, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Gravid WaterMonday 2/26: Brilliant improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 2/26: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV; co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Kenice Mobley, and more perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star Wars: An Erotic Live ReadingTuesday 2/27: Star Wars erotic fan fiction—e.g., Fifty Shades of Rey, a sexually intense retelling of Star Wars: A Force Awakens—is read with feeling by comics Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), and Jessie Bangarang Atkinson (host of Family Liquid Dinner, cast member of A Drinking Game NYC), plus “Force Off,” a Star Wars-themed audience interactive game that awards prizes, all hosted by Rob Roan: Star Wars: An Erotic Live Reading (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Educated Guess Science FairWednesday 2/28: Sad scientists Jo Firestone & Steven DeSiena host a throwback to grade school science fairs…but run by NYC comics. Walk the open exhibits from 7:00 to 8:15ish pm, where each participant is being tasked to prove a half-baked hypothesis of his or her choosing using disciplinary methods that might be true. There’ll be poster boards, quirky dioramas, tri-fold cardboard, flasks, lab coats, and haphazard experiments. Then at 8:30 pm awards will be presented by scholars “who are maybe at the top of their respective fields. All this and much, much more, we bet:” The Educated Guess Science Fair (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd 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 East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Hell’s Kitchen 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.