NYC Top Comedy Choices for September 2019: Last Updated Thursday 9/19

September 19, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 320,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please visit my podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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 September 2019 (with more to come soon) include:

Molly Gaebe: Thursday 9/19: Host Molly Gaebe invites female storytellers, comics, and historians to share the stories of “some of the greatest women the world has ever known, but history erased” for this live-on-stage podcast recording, with this month’s theme Wild West tackled by guests TBA: Nevertheless She Existed: Women of the Wild West (7:00 pm, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Characters Welcome: Thursday 9/19: One of the best innovations of UCBT-NY Artistic Director Michael Hartney was creating a new category of house teams (beyond those for improv and sketch) devoted to talented comedic character actors. Tonight one of those two groups, Leather FatherJason Gore, Cameron McCall, Alex Otis, Xavier Padin, Nathan Pearson, Elena Skopetos, Graham Techler, and Nichole Yannetty—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Leather Father (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Uncle Function sketch comedyThursday 9/19: Six comedic actors, including Gianmarco Soresi (ABC’s Deception; FringeNYC play <50%), perform sketch in this acclaimed group: Uncle Function (8:00 pm, $12 online or $15 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Clueless...Entirely From MemoryThursday 9/19: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate Amy Heckerling’s 1995 movie Clueless, with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the film just once the previous week. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in Clueless but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:” Clueless…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Cambridge Footlights: LagoonThursday 9/19: The UK’s renowned Cambridge University is notable for its great scholarly achievements…but also for a comedy troupe named The Footlights that helped launch the careers of John Cleese (Monty Python), Hugh Laurie (House), Emma Thompson (Love Actually), Sacha Baron Cohen (Da Ali G Show), and more. The 2019 edition of this group performs tonight in NYC as part of a world tour: The Cambridge Footlights: Look Alive (9:00 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame;: Thursday 9/19: The Reformed Whores (raunchy folk-pop comedic singing duo Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame; CBS, IFC; have opened for Weird Al Yankovic, Alice Cooper, and Lynyrd Skynyrd; albums Ladies Don’t Spit and Don’t Beat Around the Bush; podcast Difficult Women) perform for an entire hour in LES. Come enjoy these witty musicians blow the roof off at this one-night-only event: The Reformed Whores (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jo & Aparna Present: 41 Days Till Halloween!Friday 9/20: “Are you scared most of the time? Do you list fear as an emergency contact on general paperwork and the occasional PDF? Then maybe you need a little bit more prep time for what most Americans think of as ‘fun,’ ‘a hoot,’ and ‘enjoy.’ That’s why this show explores the spooky, the chilling, the horrific, the terrifying, for those of us who need more of a buffer around frights and some softening around the edges for even the suggestion of the macabre. The night (eee!) will include probably ghosts, definitely creeps (unavoidable on Earth), ghouls (who isn’t these days), unexplainable lighting occurrences (blame the tech booth), and your hosts:” Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There) and Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers): Jo & Aparna Present: 41 Days Till Halloween! (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Yedoye Travis: Friday 9/20: Yedoye Travis (above; Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central, Netflix’s Russian Doll, TBS’ Search Party) and friends record his podcast Dark Tank, during which white guests TBA pitch solutions for pressing minority issues to a panel of people of color also TBA: Dark Tank Live (7:00 pm; $11.70 in advance online or $15 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Skip Intro Emmy AwardsFriday 9/20: Improv group Skip Intro, which normally makes up TV shows on the spot, tonight makes up Sunday’s Emmy Awards with a pre-show discussion of the nominees, a red carpet, ceremony parodies, and more: Skip Intro’s Faux Emmy Awards Show (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

First Draft Fairy TalesFriday 9/20: Sketch comics Reuben Wolf, Theresa Basile, and Rich Inman reveal Mother Goose’s first drafts of her now-classic children’s stories: First Draft Fairy Tales (7:30 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Dani Faith Leonard: Friday 9/20: Storytelling, sketches, and more about sex, including “practical takeaways for the audience,” from comics TBA: Adult Sex Ed (9:30 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Terrorbird sketch comedySaturday 9/20: Surreal sketch group Terrorbird—Sam Fox-Hartin, Zachary Gibson, Kevin Palermo, Spencer Sapienza, Emi Upsome Schaufeld, and Leanne Troutman—performs oddball scenes designed to unsettle and delight you: Terrorbird (9:30 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 9/20: Storytellers TBA 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)

The PunisherFriday 9/20: The Punisher is arguably the best of Marvel’s various compelling superhero TV series on Netflix; but it took a number of tries to achieve the current excellent mass media version of the character. The very first attempt was a 1989 movie titled The Punisher starring Dolph Lungren. It failed to be faithful to Marvel’s comic book and ended up earning a paltry 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. Tonight it’ll be screened and mercilessly skewered by comics Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Jacob Willams (Stephen Colbert, Adam Devine’s House Party, America’s Got Talent), Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; webseries KCK; host of Let’s Say Your Right), and Will Watkins (Zeros on Heroes podcast). Their cruelty will be contrasted by exceptionally kind host Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Soft Core!—essentially a porn version of this show—and producer of many other shows): Movies R Dumb: 1989’s The Punisher (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: Saturday 9/21: World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman 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). I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $22.32 for a seat, or $17 for standing room, in advance online for this show that usually sells out; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ziwe Fumudoh 13Saturday 9/21: Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero, and previously for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe) invites comics TBA to perform pop songs, preceded by comedic presentations: Pop Show (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Carly Ann FilbinSaturday 9/21: Carly Ann Filbin (luminous & delightful sketch comic/comedic actress/writer; on-camera correspondent for Cosmopolitan.com; host of Let Me Break You Up: An Anti-Dating Game Show) explains this comedic game show as follows: “Romance today isn’t what it used to be—swiping, clicking, dick-picing. It’s time we went retro with an old fashioned IRL dating show! Millennials choose their hottie based on how well they answer questions like “If you wanted morning sex, how would you initiate it?”, all while I make fun of them because, well, why not? Let’s make some love connections or, at the very least, a one-night stand to talk about at brunch:” Young Hot Sluts: A Matchmaking Show (8:00 pm; $12 [please be aware that if you buy online, a charge for “EB YOUNG HOT SLUTS” will appear on your bank statement]; Brooklyn’s C’mon Everybody at 325 Franklin Avenue—take the G subway to Classon Avenue)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 9/21: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

2019 Emmy AwardsSunday 9/22: Enjoy the Emmy Awards with a like-minded comedy audience, featuring comedic performances during the commercials, drinking games, and prizes: Emmy Watch Party (7:00 pm; $17 in advance online or $18 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Marissa Stuart & Laura Merli: Monday 9/23: The adorable Laura Merli (above right; Reductress, McSweeney’s, YouTube, host of How to be Less Awkward) and Marissa Stuart (above left; trend forecaster; member of all-gal hip-hop improv troupe DMXX) perform duo sketch comedy designed to provide you with “feel-good dread” (for a video sample, please click here): Soul Crush Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Legion of SkanksMonday 9/23: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcast The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall; Netflix’s The Degenerates), Dave Smith (FOX; host of podcast Part of the Problem), Luis J. Gomez (special Luis J. Gomez Presents Luis J. Gomez), and other NYC comics “discuss the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this free weekly podcast taping: Legion of Skanks (9:30 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Frantic-MondaysMonday 9/23: Stand-ups TBA try out material at this free weekly show hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) and/or Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV): Frantic Mondays (10:00 pm, Free!, The Stand at 116 East 16th Street)

An Evening of Humorous ReadingsTuesday 9/24: Brian Agler, Luke Burns, and James Folta—each of whom has written for both The New Yorker and McSweeney’s—perform readings of their short humor pieces, and also host additional short readings from River Clegg (writer for Stephen Colbert, The Onion, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Claire Friedman (writer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero, Saturday Night Live, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), and Sarah Pappalardo (co-founder of Reductress). Arrive at 6:30 pm to hang out with these writers pre-show: An Evening of Humorous Readings (7:00 pm; $10; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 9/24: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling ShowWednesday 9/25: Stand-ups and/or storytellers TBA tell tales about losing their virginity hosted by Angela Cobb (Sirius XM): My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling Show (9:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Why Your Train is F*ckedThursday 9/26: Learn the history of the MTA via fun lectures, sketches, and more at this ongoing comedic history series about NYC transit, with this month’s topic TBA, hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked (7:00 pm; $17 online or $2f0 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Characters Welcome: Thursday 9/26: One of the best innovations of UCBT-NY Artistic Director Michael Hartney was creating a new category of house teams (beyond those for improv and sketch) devoted to talented comedic character actors. Tonight one of those two groups, Velvet MommyJon Bander, Kami Dimitrova, Desi Domo, Johnny Drago, Woody Fu, Chrissie Gruebel, Adrienne Ianniciello, and Corin Wells—performs original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Velvet Mommy (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

The Roast of HistoryFriday 9/27: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics TBA roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention: The Roast of History (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dancify That!Friday 9/27: 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 cool comics TBA: Dancify That! (8:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

Eliot Glazer's Friday 9/27: “Eliot Glazer, a classically trained vocalist-turned-comedian, takes some of pop music’s most infamous songs and turns them into highbrow, sweeping ballads. Like a twisted version of MTV Unplugged, Austin City Limits, or VH1 Storytellers, it’s an intimate night of bad music made good,” plus guests TBA: Haunting Renditions (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Gathering the Coven: A Talk Show for WitchesSaturday 9/28: Lauren Maul (host of Bitchcraft) hosts this live-on-stage version of her podcast show for Wiccans, featuring “light-hearted talk, magical comedians, musicians, and practicing witches of NYC:” Gathering the Coven: A Talk Show for Witches (7:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Carmen Lynch and Mike DruckerSaturday 9/28: Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show and nearly 400 episodes of NBC’s Jimmy Fallon, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), Carmen Lynch (America’s Got Talent, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Inside Amy Schumer, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, @midnight, Last Comic Standing finalist; Sirius XM 2017 comedy album of the year Dance Like You Don’t Need the Money), and more perform stand-up at the only comedy club in Brooklyn: Mike Drucker, Carmen Lynch, and More at Eastville (8:00 pm; normally $21 with no min., but free following these instructions [support this special by optionally buying food or drinks]; Brooklyn’s Eastville Comedy Club at 487 Atlantic Avenue—take 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R subway to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 9/28: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 9/28: A top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by such ace talents as Becky Drysdale, Zack Willis, Katy Barry, Caroline Martin, Amber Ruffin, Tim Sniffen, and Jeff Hiller, plus stellar improv musicians Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Forever Friends: Comedy Fundraiser for Migrants at the Southern BorderSunday 9/29: Stellar comics Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Julio Torres (marvelously nuanced, outside-the-box stand-up; creator and star of HBO’s Los Espookys; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete), Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Maeve Higgins (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, co-host of NatGeo’s StarTalk, host of Maeve in America, co-host of Butterboy), and Cole Escola (At Home with Amy Sedaris, Difficult People) perform at this benefit for Minority Humanitarian Foundation, which provides on-the-ground relief efforts in San Diego and Tijuana: Forever Friends: Comedy Fundraiser for Migrants at the Southern Border (8:00 pm; $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Stephen Ruddy's Monday 9/30: Some of the most brilliant improvisors alive (TBA) stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars (also TBA) 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 (7:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Chris GethardMonday 9/30: Chris Gethard is one of the most beloved and mutl-talented comics of our time. His credits include the HBO 90-minute solo special Career Suicide; starring in of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; co-staring in Mike Birbiglia’s movie Don’t Think Twice, hosting the Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People, and performing on The Office, Comedy Central, IFC, etc. Geth is also the author of the books A Bad Idea I’m About to Do, Weird New York, and Lose Well, and the CD/vinyl/audio Gethard: My Comedy Album. If you’re bummed that Geth’s shows this month in Brooklyn are sold out, this is a chance to catch him in his native land of New Jersey: Chris Gethard in Asbury Park (8:30 pm, $10, New Jersey’s Asbury Park Brewery at 810 Sewall Avenue); take North Jersey Coast Line train to Asbury Park Station)

Tracy Soren: Monday 9/30: Stand-ups and/or storytellers TBA “share what scares the sh*t out of them” hosted by Tracy Soren: My Nightmare (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

Frantic-Mondays 2Monday 9/30: Stand-ups TBA try out material at this free weekly show hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) and/or Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV): Frantic Mondays (10:00 pm, Free!, The Stand at 116 East 16th Street)

You can find the vast majority of notable NYC live comedy shows by using the links below to explore the schedules of the following top NYC comedy venues:

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10

The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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

The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

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

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

Bell House
149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/W to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

Village Underground
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

Fat Black Pussycat Lounge
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s smaller, intimate, and lower-priced sister venue (next door to Village Underground), which serves as its primary home for solo shows and experimental shows—which means it’s sometimes the most exciting choice; 2-item min.

The Stand
116 East 16th Street; Club closest to competing with Comedy Cellar, featuring top stand-ups on a main stage and upstairs stage; no drink min.—support this policy!

Carolines Comedy Club
1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club
208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live
1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.

In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.

All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.

There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

Contact Hy

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

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Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other eason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for August 2019: Last Updated Thursday 8/22

August 22, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 310,000 copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please visit my podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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 August 2019 (with more to come soon) include:

ScreamThursday 8/22: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate writer Kevin Williamson’s and director Wes Craven’s 1996 seminal slasher flick Scream, with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie just once the previous week. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in Scream but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:” Scream…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Why Your Train is F*cked: Hot Train SummerThursday 8/22: Learn the history of the MTA via fun lectures, sketches, and more at this ongoing comedic history series about NYC transit, this month focusing on “all things summer that make your subway trips miserable. We’ll tell you all about how trains stayed cooled before A/C (hint: they really didn’t), what’s up with construction in the subway during 100° weather, and how New Yorkers have been using the trains to get out of the city for ages. Do we really need to suffer Albuquerque-level heat just to wait for an F train? And does the MTA even really care about our pain? Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam) host this sweaty-to-get-there (but the show itself is delightfully air conditioned) edition of Why Your Train is F*cked: Hot Train Summer (7:00 pm; $17 online or $2f0 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Characters Welcome: Thursday 8/22: The talented comics of UCBT group Velvet MommyJason Gore, Cameron McCall, Alex Otis, Xavier Padin, Nathan Pearson, Elena Skopetos, Graham Techler, and Nichole Yannetty—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Leather Father (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Tampons, Tears, and TriumphsThursday 8/22: An all-gal improv group invites you to “one big girly sleepover, where you share weird secrets about your body and let out all your feelings. Except, it’s an hour, and guys can come. And we think the invitation is long overdue. There are so many things that women go through with cheesy grins on our faces like nothing’s happening! That’s what we’re expected to do, isn’t it? Because if we complain about it, or cry about it, or really say anything about it, we’re just being “girls.” Welp, fuck that noise. This storytelling & improv show is an open conversation about the things we usually hide, ’cause the painfully real stuff is the funny stuff:” Tampons, Tears and Triumphs (8:00 pm, $12 online or $15 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Thursday 8/22: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Michelle Buteau 8Thursday 8/22: Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and High Maintenance, Netflix’s Russian Doll, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Amazon’s The Tick, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight; films Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great; comedy album Shut Up) performs a deliciously long stand-up set: Michelle Buteau (7:30 pm and 10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street. Please Note: Both the 7:30 and 10:00 editions of this show have SOLD OUT.)

Modern WhitneyFriday 8/23: Comics TBA try to figure out and articulate the meaning of a piece of art. Then an actual art expert tells them what the piece is generally considered to be about and its cultural impact. Plus select audience members—maybe including you—will draw their art on the spot and have it interpreted by the comics. “This is the only show you’ll want to Van Gogh to:” Modern Whitney (7:00 pm; $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Friends Who Folk & FriendsFriday 8/23: Friends Who Folk—i.e., delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky (freelance writer for SNL; Deputy Editor of Reductress; co-host of Mouth Time! podcast; Head Writer of The Story Pirates podcast) & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com—host this show, with guests TBA: Friends Who Folk & Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Friday 8/23: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni: Saturday 8/24: A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Two straight men TBD enter the arena, but only one leaves with the title of Queen of the Straights. Lifelines include a Woman Who Gets It and a Wise Queer” hosted by Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni, who invite you to “come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck:” GAYme Show (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Terrorbird sketch comedySaturday 8/24: Surreal sketch group Terrorbird performs a new oddball series of scenes designed to unsettle and delight you: Terrorbird (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Katie BoyleSaturday 8/24: Seven comics TBA who were born outside NYC perform stand-up hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above, from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

North CoastSaturday 8/24: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Friday 8/23: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

The Roast of HistorySaturday 8/24: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics Emily Winter (The New Yorker, Ask Me Another), Spike Einbinder (Los Espookys, High Maintenance), Maggie Crane, and Julien Edward Williams roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention: The Roast of History (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 8/24: A top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by such ace talents as Becky Drysdale, Zack Willis, Katy Barry, Caroline Martin, Amber Ruffin, Tim Sniffen, and Jeff Hiller, plus stellar improv musicians Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Scientific Facts About Fictional RobotsSunday 8/25: Comics TBA discuss robots in novels, movies, and TV shows, and consider “Could that really happen?”: Scientific Facts About Fictional Robots (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Monday 8/26: Comics Ryan Stanisz, Joe Pardavila, and Brian Danger wrote and co-star in a mini-play described as follows: “Death can make you do funny things, and when Lars loses his wife to a freak chicken bone accident he purchases a funeral home,” with original direction by David Carl and subsequent direction by Lauren Brickman. Also on this double-bill of Spanks auditioning for a regular run is a sketch show about weddings written by Nick Ramirez & Chrissy Shackelford, and directed by Alexis Pereira: We Bought a Funeral Home! and The Big Day: A Sketch Show about Weddings (6:00 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Reggie Watts 15Monday 8/26 (also Tuesday & Wednesday): Reggie Watts is the bandleader of CBS’ Late Late Show with James Corden, has a Netflix special titled Spatial…and is unlike anyone else. Years ago, Natasha Leggero told the story of how she came to a Reggie show where he sang a song about eating breakfast. Natasha turned to a mutual friend and said, “Wow, that’s really good. I haven’t heard it before, is it new?” The friend, who’d spent the day with Reggie, replied, “No, you don’t get it. That’s literally what he had for breakfast this morning.” Natasha spent a few moments taking in that Reggie had made the song up on the spot, and then declared, “Reggie Watts has more talent in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.” One of the all-time greats in the biz makes a now-rare NYC stage appearance, with singing twins Max & Nicky Weinbach as openers. Reggie Watts (8:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; buy in advance, because this show will almost certainly sell out)

Marissa Stuart & Laura Merli: Monday 8/26: The adorable Laura Merli (above right; Reductress, McSweeney’s, YouTube, host of How to be Less Awkward) and Marissa Stuart (above left; trend forecaster; member of all-gal hip-hop improv troupe DMXX) perform duo sketch comedy designed to provide you with “feel-good dread” (for a video sample, please click here): Soul Crush Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Reggie WattsTuesday 8/27 (also Wednesday): Reggie Watts is the bandleader of CBS’ Late Late Show with James Corden, has a Netflix special titled Spatial…and is unlike anyone else. Years ago, Natasha Leggero told the story of how she came to a Reggie show where he sang a song about eating breakfast. Natasha turned to a mutual friend and said, “Wow, that’s really good. I haven’t heard it before, is it new?” The friend, who’d spent the day with Reggie, replied, “No, you don’t get it. That’s literally what he had for breakfast this morning.” Natasha spent a few moments taking in that Reggie had made the song up on the spot, and then declared, “Reggie Watts has more talent in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.” One of the all-time greats in the biz makes a now-rare NYC stage appearance, with comic Hannah Einbinder as opener. Reggie Watts (8:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; buy in advance, because this show will almost certainly sell out)

Ira Glass 2Tuesday 8/27: Great lineup of Ira Glass (host of This American Life), Lucy Wainwright Roche (stellar singer/songwriter), Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; Comedy Central and Netflix specials; films Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty), and more hosted by Elna Baker (NPR’s This American Life, bestselling author of The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance) & Kevin Townley (Men in Black III, The Sitter, My Super Ex-Girlfriend): The Talent Show: Control Freak (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Julian VelardTuesday 8/27: Singer/songwriter/musician Julian Velard (pianist for NPR’s Ask Me Another; albums include Fancy Words For Failure) plays a bunch of his wonderful songs in a show he describes as follows: “To mark 19 years of treading water in the music business, Julian will play his originals that have received minor radio airplay outside the United States, left-of-center covers of obscure tracks by 1970s singer/songwriters, and slow acoustic interpretations of modern pop hits.The songs will be punctuated by self-conscious quips and the occasional berating of an audience member. This is a rare intimate performance by Velard, something he only does once a month or so:” Julian Velard Plays Another Show (7:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

First ImpressionsTuesday 8/27: Eight comics and one audience member compete to win the heart of a celebrity single through rounds of Q&A and challenge questions, with the help of expert advice from a relationship expert, hosted by Taylor Ortega (HBO’s Succession, Shego in Disney Channel’s live-action Kim Possible, TruTV), Yoni Lotan (Netflix’s Russian Doll, HBO’s High Maintenance, Above Average), and John Trowbridge (Huffington Post): First Impressions: A Live 90s Dating Show (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Marvel ComicsTuesday 8/27: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Reggie WattsWednesday 8/28: Reggie Watts is the bandleader of CBS’ Late Late Show with James Corden, has a Netflix special titled Spatial…and is unlike anyone else. Years ago, Natasha Leggero told the story of how she came to a Reggie show where he sang a song about eating breakfast. Natasha turned to a mutual friend and said, “Wow, that’s really good. I haven’t heard it before, is it new?” The friend, who’d spent the day with Reggie, replied, “No, you don’t get it. That’s literally what he had for breakfast this morning.” Natasha spent a few moments taking in that Reggie had made the song up on the spot, and then declared, “Reggie Watts has more talent in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.” One of the all-time greats in the biz makes a now-rare NYC stage appearance, with comic Sarah Squirm as opener. Reggie Watts (8:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; buy in advance, because this show will almost certainly sell out)

ScrappedWednesday 8/28: Mary Twinings & John Celestial interview TV writers and others about the big ideas they had that never made it past the writers’ room: Scrapped (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Characters Welcome: Thursday 8/29: The talented comics of UCBT group Velvet MommyJon Bander, Kami Dimitrova, Desi Domo, Johnny Drago, Woody Fu, Chrissie Gruebel, Adrienne Ianniciello, and Corin Wells—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Velvet Mommy (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling ShowWednesday 8/28: Stand-up and/or storytellers Andrea Coleman, Ann Van Epps, Karen Marder, Freddy Sheffield, and more tell tales about losing their virginity hosted by Angela Cobb (Sirius XM): My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling Show (9:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Thursday 8/29: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Krystyna Hutchinson & Corinne Fisher: Friday 8/30: Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson (authors of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed) record their wildly popular Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast live on stage: Guys We F*cked (7:00 pm; $22.32 in advance online or $24 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Friday 8/30: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

North CoastSaturday 8/31: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Saturday 8/31: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins.) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry “Rooster” Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas! Featuring toe-tapping riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 8/31: A top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by such ace talents as Becky Drysdale, Zack Willis, Katy Barry, Caroline Martin, Amber Ruffin, Tim Sniffen, and Jeff Hiller, plus stellar improv musicians Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Mike Drucker's Thursday 9/5: In this monthly show from Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously a staff writer for NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Comedy Central’s The President Show, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), comics read obituaries they wrote for themselves, “honoring the lives they had and making fun of the lives they could have had.” Tonight’s dying-as-we-speak guests are Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes, stand-up album Seen Better Days), Ian Fidance (host of Picture This!; regular on SiriusXM’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central Radio), Tom Thakkar (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour; co-host of podcast Stand by Your Band), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Ismael Loutfi (Jimmy Kimmel; staff writer for Netflix’s Patriot Act): My Obituary Show (7:30 pm, $10, 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 at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10

The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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

The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

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

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

Bell House
149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/W to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

Village Underground
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

Carolines Comedy Club
1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club
208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live
1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

The Stand
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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.

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

Contact Hy

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

From comedy & rock goddess Lane Moore (host of smash hit Tinder Live; author of How to be Alone; lead singer of Brooklyn band It Was Romance): Hy Bender lives and breathes comedy. He knows what he’s talking about. Listen.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other eason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for July 2019: Last Updated Thursday 7/18

July 18, 2019

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Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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 July 2019 (with more to come) include:

Punderdome 3000: New York Post EditionThursday 7/18: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 contestants (six audience members, six returning champs, and six newspaper headline writers) fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd. This is the Fifth Annual New York Post Special Edition, featuring NY Post headline writers who specialize in delivering memorable wordplay under deadline (“Headless Body in Topless Bar,” “Cloak And Shag Her—CIA Boss Petraeus Quits Over Affair,” “Ignorance is Chris, Christie Denies Role in GWB Jam Scam,” “Weiner Exposed”): Punderdome 3000: Fifth Annual New York Post Show (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early to nab a seat—doors open at 7:00—or plan on standing)

Jay Malsky & Taylor Ortega: Thursday 7/18: Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; host of This Live Show, co-host of DED Talks; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; FringeNYC solo show Elaine Stritch: Still Here; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) & Taylor Ortega (HBO’s Succession, Shego in Disney Channel’s live-action Kim Possible, TruTV) host Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Ashton Womack (JFL), Mila Myles (The Peculiar Kind), Jessica Henderson (Growing Down), and Adele Computer (Drag): Who, Me?: Jay Malsky & Taylor Ortega Hosts Josh Gondelman and More (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Hypatia and the HeathensThursday 7/18: This work-in-progress musical is effectively a staged reading—except it’s mostly singing. The latter is part of the problem, as there’s so much singing and so little story that it’s closer to operetta than musical; plus the songs vary in quality. That said, the foundation is compelling: This is based on the true story of Hypatia, the last caretaker of the Library of Alexandria during the apocalyptic end times of the Roman Empire that in some ways eerily echoes what’s happening right now under the Trump administration. Also, the singers are terrific, especially Lia Tamborra who stars as Hypatia (and also co-wrote the book and songs, and is pictured above left). There are times when Tamborra achieves magic, such as when she schools the audience on what’s most important in life, and them combines those lessons into a song that’s memorable and surprisingly moving. There are also periodic moments when you’ll be lifted up by especially lovely harmonies. And the ending packs a wallop that, despite the various issues, made me grateful to have experienced this show: Hypatia and the Heathens: A Musical Bacchanalia (7:00 pm, $22.32 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Characters Welcome: Thursday 7/18: The talented comics of UCBT group Leather FatherJason Gore, Cameron McCall, Alex Otis, Xavier Padin, Nathan Pearson, Elena Skopetos, Graham Techler, and Nichole Yannetty—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Leather Father (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Lucie Pohl's Thursday 7/18: Comics TBA who are immigrants perform stand-up, storytelling, or characters, and comics who aren’t perform immigrant-related material, for this show celebrating talents who weren’t born in the US hosted by German-American Lucie Pohl (above; voice of Mercy in Overwatch and Harmony in Red Dwarf XI): Immigrant Jam (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Karen Chee & Ariel Dumas: Friday 7/19: Pairs of comics face off in “passionate, high-stakes debates about absolutely unimportant, low-stakes topics,” with Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and stars in a Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Stephen Colbert; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1), Alison Leiby (writer for The Opposition with Jordan Klepper, previously writer for The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust), and Rachel Pegram hosted by Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) & Ariel Dumas (staff writer for Stephen Colbert): Big Debates, Lil Issues (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mike Drucker's Friday 7/19: Comics & game nerds Nicole Silverberg, Danielle Riendeau, Brandon Reese, Jim Tews, Mehran Khaghani, and Maria Heinegg play and make merciless fun of video games based on fat cat Garfield hosted by Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up, staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and writer for Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man; previously staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show and nearly 400 episodes of NBC’s Jimmy Fallon, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live): Shit Arcade (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 7/19: Storytellers TBA 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)

Masters of the UniverseFriday 7/19: 1987’s Masters of the Universe starred Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella as Mattel action figures He-Man and Skeletor…and was a miserable failure both critically and financially, scoring 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, and grossing a pathetic $17 million worldwide from a budget of $22 million. However, it was bad enough to eventually achieve a certain status as a cult film. Tonight it’ll be screened and mercilessly skewered by comics TBA. Their cruelty will be contrasted by exceptionally kind host Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Soft Core!, which is essentially a porn version of this show, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic): Movies R Dumb: Masters of the Universe (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Anna Drezen: Saturday 7/20: Anna Drezen (superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters, movement, and sketch; writer for Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central’s Reductress pilot; co-author of How May We Hate You and How to Win at Feminism) performs a solo show: Anna Drezen: Okay Get Home Safe!! (5:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: Saturday 7/20: World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman 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). I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $22.32 for a seat, or $17 for standing room, in advance online for this show that usually sells out; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

SuperegoSaturday 7/20: A popular podcast in which Paul F. Tompkins, Matt Gourley, Jeremy Carter, Mark McConville, and James Bladon make up self-absorbed oddballs and analyze them is performed for one night only live on a Brooklyn stage: Superego (7 :00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue. PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT.)

Superego: Forgotten ClassicsSaturday 7/20: “A bold interpretation of the great works of literature. So bold, in fact, nobody even bothered to read them. Paul F. Tompkins, Matt Gourley, Jeremy Carter, Mark McConville, and James Bladon improvise famous works of fiction, works with which they’re not at all familiar. They’ll be given only the book’s title, its first and last lines, and the names of its characters. The rest is up to them:” Superego: Forgotten Classics (10:00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Baby Wants CandySaturday 7/20: A top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by such ace talents as Becky Drysdale, Zack Willis, Katy Barry, Caroline Martin, Amber Ruffin, Tim Sniffen, and Jeff Hiller, plus stellar improv musicians Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Rockefeller ParkSunday 7/21: This free outdoor NYLaugh.org stand-up show takes place at Battery Park City’s Rockefeller Park (above), featuring comics Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Carmen Lynch (America’s Got Talent, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing finalist; SiriusXM 2017 comedy album of the year Dance Like You Don’t Need the Money), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), and more: Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, Battery Park City’s Rockefeller Park at River Terrace & Warren Street)

SPONTOURCOSunday 7/21: Superb, hilarious improvisors Paul F. Tompkins, Eugene Cordero, Tawny Newsome, and Janet Varney interview a special guest (TBD) and then make up comedy on the spot, accompanied by improv pianist Eban Schletter: Spontourco (7:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $30, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Hypatia and the HeathensMonday 7/22: This work-in-progress musical is effectively a staged reading—except it’s mostly singing. The latter is part of the problem, as there’s so much singing and so little story that it’s closer to operetta than musical; plus the songs vary in quality. That said, the foundation is compelling: This is based on the true story of Hypatia, the last caretaker of the Library of Alexandria during the apocalyptic end times of the Roman Empire that in some ways eerily echoes what’s happening right now under the Trump administration. Also, the singers are terrific, especially Lia Tamborra who stars as Hypatia (and also co-wrote the book and songs, and is pictured above left). There are times when Tamborra achieves magic, such as when she schools the audience on what’s most important in life, and them combines those lessons into a song that’s memorable and surprisingly moving. There are also periodic moments when you’ll be lifted up by especially lovely harmonies. And the ending packs a wallop that, despite the various issues, made me grateful to have experienced this show: Hypatia and the Heathens: A Musical Bacchanalia (7:00 pm, $22.32 in advance or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Adrian Sexton's BeatlemaniaMonday 7/22: Adrian Sexton is one of the sharpest and most inventive improvisors in NYC, starring or co-starring in numerous shows including The Community Players, George/Martha, Ouiser & Clairee, Pet Prov, Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show, and Unauthorized: The Musical. Adrian normally expresses herself in the moment through characters, but tonight will let you see a more vulnerable side as, at times, she speaks directly from her heart about her lifelong love of the greatest band of all time. In this solo show, Adrian explores what John, Paul, George, and Ringo have meant to her, sometimes movingly, sometimes not (this initial Monday night run is effectively a workshop for the script), but always with the playful charisma that makes Sexton a rising star worth keeping an eye on: Adrian Sexton’s Beatlemania (8:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Colin QuinnTuesday 7/23 (also 7/24): Broadway, TV, and film star, and one of the most beloved stand-ups in the biz, Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, national comedy treasure) tries out new material for his next solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Gary Gulman and Emmy Blotnick: Tuesday 7/23: Stellar lineup of Gary Gulman (above left; razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country, currently touring with show Must Be Nice; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno; finalist on Last Comic Standing; comedy specials include Boyish Man, In This Economy, and It’s About Time), Emmy Blotnick (above right; brilliant rising star stand-up who writes for and performs on Stephen Colbert; Comedy Central Half Hour; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, The President Show, Roast of Rob Lowe, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1; comedy album Party Nights), Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Gordan Grant (Boost mobile spokesman), and more perform stand-up for host Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1): Sweet (9:00 pm, $14.30 in advance or $13 at the door, Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street)

Emma Vernon & Pooja Reddy: Tuesday 7/23: The fab Emma Vernon (North Coast Hip-Hop Improv, Anybody: The Improv Musical, Off Top; host of In a World) & Pooja Reddy (host of Kutti Gang) debut this free biweekly comedy show, tonight featuring Marcia Belsky (Reductress; Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; lead singer of band Free the Mind), Dekunle Somade (host of Cry Baby Comedy), Eric Neumann (stand-up album Nervous Lover), and Solange Azor (member of Lady Parts Justice League): Critical Darlings (9:00 pm, Free!, LES’ Under the Oven Gallery Serafina Ludlow at 98 Rivington Street—take the F/M/J/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Colin QuinnWednesday 7/24: Broadway, TV, and film star, and one of the most beloved stand-ups in the biz, Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, national comedy treasure) tries out new material for his next solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Dave Hill: Wednesday 7/24 (also 7/31): For this new podcast, Dave Hill (@midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On) gives his first person account of different periods throughout history, while calling bullshit on most of what Dave’s saying are Jim Biederman (previous Executive Producer for numerous comedy shows, including The Kids In The Hall, The Howard Stern Radio Show, The Tom Green Show, I’m With Busey, The Whitest Kids U Know, and The Onion News) and Jodi Lennon (renowned improvisor who’s performed at Chicago’s Second City, The Annoyance Theatre, and iO; writer for Billy On The Street, Hulu’s Difficult People, TruTV’s Impractical Jokers and At Home with Amy Sedaris): Dave Hill: History Fluffer (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Robert KellyWednesday 7/24: Robert Kelly (Louie, Trainwreck, HBO, CBS, two Comedy Central specials, frequent guest on The Opie and Anthony Show) performs a long stand-up set in an intimate venue, with several other talented stand-ups as openers: Robert Kelly (8:30 pm, $15 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Jaws.jpgWednesday 7/24: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate the Steven Spielberg 1975 masterpiece Jaws, with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie just once the previous week. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in Jaws but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:” Jaws…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Democratic Debates—Featuring Mimi!Wednesday 7/24: “There’s plenty of great candidates at the 2020 democratic debates, but there’s only one Mimi! Mimi is an uninformed hyper-liberal millennial whose heart is in the right place, but her policy is a bit misguided. She wants universal healthcare, but only for women and cats. She supports a ban on fracking, but also a ban on knowing what fracking is. Bottom line, she cares less about making sense and more about feeling right. Watch Mimi debate Biden, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris, and all the rest. There will be incredible political impressions, parodies, video sketches and a live improvised debate” with Becky Chicoine (Comedy Central; half of sketch duo Girls With Brown Hair) as Mimi and Jared Eimicke as writer & host: The Democratic Debates—Featuring Mimi! (10:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Here to Make FriendsThursday 7/25: Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco and other special guests help dissect an episode of ABC’s The Bachelor along with hosts Emma Gray & Claire Fallon for this live taping of their podcast: Here To Make Friends Live (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue. PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT.))

Characters Welcome: Thursday 7/25: The talented comics of UCBT group Velvet MommyJon Bander, Kami Dimitrova, Desi Domo, Johnny Drago, Woody Fu, Chrissie Gruebel, Adrienne Ianniciello, and Corin Wells—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Velvet Mommy (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

The Roast of HistoryFriday 7/26: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics Alison Leiby, Khalid A. Rahmaan, Dave Bluvband, Taylor Garron, Mary Kate Doherty, and host Matt Strickland roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention: The Roast of History (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Katie BoyleSaturday 7/27: Seven comics who were born outside NYC, with homes ranging from Norway to Ireland to Canada, perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to NYC, featuring Daniel Simonson (Norway; Seth Meyers), Colum Tyrrell (Ireland; Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Michael Harrison (Canada Comedy Network), Hannah Boone (Florida; Adult Swim), JF Harris (LA; Comedy Central), Charles McBee (Ohio; Comedy Central, MTV, host of Nerd is the New Black), and Sally Ann Hall (Alaska; Winner of Laughing Devil contest), all hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above, from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Rebekah Sebastian's Sunday 7/28: Rebekah Sebastian hosts this crime trivia show that challenges your knowledge of serial killers, unsolved mysteries, the legal system, OJ, and much more: Yellow Tape (8:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Phoebe RobinsonMonday 7/29: This superb weekly stand-up show’s hosts 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/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk) welcome guests 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; feature films What Men Want and Ibiza; author of Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay and You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) and more TBA: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jaime Harrison and Lindsey GrahamMonday 7/29: Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), 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), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), and Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards) perform stand-up hosted by Sharron Paul (co-host of Cheap Date) for this show raising funds for Jaime Harrison, who is campaigning to unseat Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: #SendLindseyHome (7:30 pm, $16.09 in advance online or $18 at the door, Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Adrian Sexton's BeatlemaniaMonday 7/29: Adrian Sexton is one of the sharpest and most inventive improvisors in NYC, starring or co-starring in numerous shows including The Community Players, George/Martha, Ouiser & Clairee, Pet Prov, Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show, and Unauthorized: The Musical. Adrian normally expresses herself in the moment through characters, but tonight will let you see a more vulnerable side as, at times, she speaks directly from her heart about her lifelong love of the greatest band of all time. In this solo show, Adrian explores what John, Paul, George, and Ringo have meant to her, sometimes movingly, sometimes not (this initial Monday night run is effectively a workshop for the script), but always with the playful charisma that makes Sexton a rising star worth keeping an eye on: Adrian Sexton’s Beatlemania (8:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Dave Hill: Wednesday 7/31: For this new podcast, Dave Hill (@midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On) gives his first person account of different periods throughout history, while calling bullshit on most of what Dave’s saying are Jim Biederman (previous Executive Producer for numerous comedy shows, including The Kids In The Hall, The Howard Stern Radio Show, The Tom Green Show, I’m With Busey, The Whitest Kids U Know, and The Onion News) and Jodi Lennon (renowned improvisor who’s performed at Chicago’s Second City, The Annoyance Theatre, and iO; writer for Billy On The Street, Hulu’s Difficult People, TruTV’s Impractical Jokers and At Home with Amy Sedaris): Dave Hill: History Fluffer (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Naomi Ekperigin & Andy Beckerman: Thursday 8/1: This charming show puts comics who are duos behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together, hosted by lovers Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, Beginnings Podcast): Couples Therapy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mike Drucker's Thursday 8/1: In this monthly show from Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously a staff writer for NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Comedy Central’s The President Show, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), comics read obituaries they wrote for themselves, “honoring the lives they had and making fun of the lives they could have had.” Tonight’s dying-as-we-speak guests are TBD, but please stay tuned: My Obituary Show (7:30 pm, $10, 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 at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10

The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

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

The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

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

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

Bell House
149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/W to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

Village Underground
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

Carolines Comedy Club
1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club
208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live
1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

The Stand
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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.

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

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From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

From comedy & rock goddess Lane Moore (host of smash hit Tinder Live; author of How to be Alone; lead singer of Brooklyn band It Was Romance): Hy Bender lives and breathes comedy. He knows what he’s talking about. Listen.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other eason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.