NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2020: Last Updated Sunday 1/12

January 12, 2020

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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 January 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Bacon Bits Brunch ShowSunday 1/12: Enjoy brunch with laughs at this comedy show hosted by Remy Kassimir (host of podcasts How Cum and We Really Love Island) that provides free bacon and $20 bottomless mimosas along with a small army of stand-ups: Subhah Agarwal (HBO, NBC, MTV, TruTv, Fusion; former writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show), Lev Fer (host of the Yung Daddy podcast), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic), Chrissie Mayr (NBC’s America’s Got Talent, FOX, The Chris Gethard ShowWendy Williams; host of Wet Spot podcast; co-host of long-running LGBT stage show Comedy at Stonewall), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV; album You Guys Are Dope), Luisa Lange (writes & produces segments for MTV News), Natalie McGill (correspondent for RT America’s Redacted Tonight; stand-up film American Comic streaming on Amazon Prime), and Maddy Smith (cast member of MTV’s Wild n Out; writer for Comedy Central’s Roast of Alec Baldwin): Bacon Bits Brunch Show (3:00 pm, $15The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Alex Kayhart & Amarie Castillo: "The Set Up"Sunday 1/12: Alex Kayhart & Amarie Castillo know NYC can be lonely, so they’ve created this new show that helps you make friends as you enjoy stand-up by Corinne Fisher (with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX), and @PhilanthropyGal (top pod “Guys We F*cked”), and Shaun Latham (Comedy Central; host of Barstool Sports’ 20 Dollar Chef and SiriusXM’s daily The Shaun Latham Show): The Set Up (7:00 pm, $10The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Karen Chee & Ariel Dumas: "Big Debates, Lil Issues"Sunday 1/12: Pairs of comics face off in “passionate, high-stakes debates about absolutely unimportant, low-stakes topics,” with Larry OwensZiwe FumudohX MayoJosh SharpMarcia BelskyNatalie WalkerEva VictorPeter Smith, and Bob Vulfov 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, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Sunday Night Stand-Up at The StandSunday 1/12: Stand-up from Joe List (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The StandUps, comedy albums So Far No Good and Are You Mad at Me?), Chaunte Wayans (Netflix special “They Ready” 1.6, MTV’s Wild N’ Out, @TruTV, @TLC, film 50 Shades of Black, 50 Cents’ 50 CentralJeff Leach (BBC; host of podcast Savage Snowflake and show Stand-Ups Anonymous), Subhah Agarwal (HBO, NBC, MTV, TruTv, Fusion; former writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show), Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays), Chrissie Mayr (NBC’s America’s Got Talent, FOX, The Chris Gethard ShowWendy Williams; host of Wet Spot podcast; co-host of long-running LGBT stage show Comedy at Stonewall), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), and Nina Daniels (The Last O.G., Showtime’s Shameless, Maron): Sunday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Comedy Fight ClubSunday 1/12: This weekly competitive 1-on-1 roast battle tonight features a main bout of Camille Theobald (“The smell of Camel cigarettes and Budweiser remind me of goodnight kisses from Mom”) vs. Brian Barganier judged by Mike Cannon, Remy KassimirBrandan Sagblow, and Patrick Schroeder,and hosted by Matt MaranComedy Fight Club (9:00 pm; $8.13 online using code CFC, otherwise $13.13; The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Doctors Without BoundariesSunday 1/12: Real-life ER doctors Andrés Mallipudi and Darien Sutton host “chronically over-sharing comics” Peter MuthSherm Jacobs, and Todd Montesi to tell stories of their weirdest diagnoses, and then “break down the insane history of how the medical community has treated that condition, why that condition has been stigmatized, and the real facts you should know when dealing with the condition yourself;” plus you can ask the doctors “your own embarrassing medical questions:” Doctors Without Boundaries (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sports For Gays (and Curious Straights): FootballMonday 1/13: Cole Steffensen (Rainbow Brigade) hosts this show about sports for people who don’t “get” sports. This month the game of Football is explained in ways that finally make sense, including the gayest moments in football history, the queer athletes that made it happen…and tons of pictures of hot jocks! In between these edutainment segments, a member of the queer community—this month Gus Constantellis—faces off against a straight person—TaTa Sherise—in a series sport-themed challenges; plus stand-up from Moroccan-Japanese comic Sarah Harvard (CBS): Sports For Gays (and Curious Straights): Football (7:00 pm; $11.59 in advance online using discount code SPORTYVIBES, or $15 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Shalewa Sharpe: Monday 1/13: “A young woman applies for a job at an adult video store because she figures the dress code will be lax.” Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?) performs a solo show “about the people who need porn and the folks brave enough to sell it to them:” Shalewa Sharpe: Don’t Reach in the Bag (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Movies R Dumb: Tuesday 1/14: The 1989 TV movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk introduces David Banner to Matt Murdock, who tries to help David beat a robbery frameup in both his day job of attorney and his nighttime role as superhero Daredevil, battling kingpin Wilson Fisk. Spoiler alert: There never is an actual trial of The Hulk, so the title is a blatant lie. These and other cinematic crimes will likely be pointed out as this film is screened, dissected, and mercilessly savaged by Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Jenn Wehrung (BBC; co-producer of Soft Core!), Brian McGuinness (Inside Amy Schumer, co-host of Retro BitsPlayable Characters podcast), and Aaron Zarabi hosted by Chris Gersbeck (host of Casual Sets, Soft Core!, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic; producer of numerous comedy shows): Movies R Dumb: The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Molly Gaebe & Kylie Holloway: Wednesday 1/15: Hosts Molly Gaebe & Kylie Holloway invite female storytellers, comics, and historians to share the tales of “some of the greatest women the world has ever known, but history erased” for this live-on-stage podcast recording, with this week’s theme Heroines of Reproductive Rights (in partnership with Abortion Access Front) articulated by guests Lizz Winstead (Comedy Central Presents, The Daily Show, Air America), Sarah Hartshorne (HBO’s Vice, Netflix’s Explained, former contestant on America’s Next Top Model), Jaye McBride (writer for Abortion Access Front), Arti Gollapudi (host of Yourself, Your Body)Onika McLean (Bravo; co-host of podcast Violently Funny; host of Cosmic Comedy), and Brittany Brave (TBS, MTV; the other co-host of podcast Violently Funny): Nevertheless She Existed: Boss of Her Body (7:00 pm; $16.89 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ben Leary & Kendall Payne: Wednesday 1/15: Professional meme creators and @NetflixIsAJoke writers Ben Leary & Kendall Payne scour the Net every day for the latest viral trends and deep cut content. In this monthly talk show, they share their expert knowledge with you via visual round-ups, as well as provide you with stand-up comedy and interviews with guests TBA: Extremely Online (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

hoebe Robinson and Special GuestsThursday 1/16: Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White GuysSeth Meyers, Conan O’BrienBroad City, MTV’s Girl Code; feature films What Men Want and Netflix’s 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) performs and hosts “special guests” to raise funds for the reelection of her brother, Ohio State Representative Phil Robinson (above left): Phoebe Robinson and Special Guests (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Nick Thune & Damien Jurado: Friday 1/17: Famed musical comic Nick Thune (albums Thick NoonFolk Hero, and Good Guy) ]and lengenary musician Damian Jurado team up to create an odd blend of laughs and melancholy: Nick Thune & Damien Jurado: Sad Music, Sad Comedy (9:00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

The PUN-ch UpThursday 1/16: Skilled punsters Sam CorbinTim DonnellyJerzy GwiazdowskiAlly Spier, and Nikolai Vanyo will show off their word expertise by punching up news headlines, tightening movie titles, merging words to create new terms, taking etymological deep-dives, and playing a variety of other word games: The PUN-ch Up (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sarah Rose Siskind's Sunday 1/19: “Since the dawn of mankind, humans have tried to get high in one way or another. Why? Altered states of consciousness can be profoundly dangerous or dangerously profound. Knowledge makes the difference. We welcome a panel of experts and comedians to discuss how these drugs work.” More specifically, tonight’s focus is on drug economics: “When the black market turns rainbow, what are we gonna do? How do we keep the good parts of an underground community? How do we protect against the bad parts of a legal economy? How do we keep the deal in drug deal?” Plus a post-show hour of networking: Drug Test: Psychedelic Economics & Networking Hour (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jordan Klepper's Debate Club: Monday 1/20: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) hosts a comedic debate about whether we should break up big tech, with Kelly Bachman (CNN, The New York Times, Glamour), Adam Green (co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Progressive Change Institute), and Peter Suderman (Managing Editor of Reason.comThe New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Politico): Debate Club: Should We Break Up Big Tech? (7:00 pm, $22.20 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Serious MattersTuesday 1/21: Helping to solve some “serious problem” (TBA) via PowerPoint, essays, music, and/or videos are guests Todd Barry (Netflix special Spicy Honey, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour; 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), Mia Jackson (Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer), and Adam Mamawala (Comedy Central, MTV, BET; freelance contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; stand-up album One of the Good Ones) plus hosts Kevin McCaffrey (former warm-up comic for David Letterman; TruTV; co-host of podcast Sex and the Cidiots; stand-up album Nice & Drunk) and and Emmy-winning writer/producers Brock Mahan (Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj) and Josiah Madigan (Head Writer of HQ Trivia): Serious Matters (7:00 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sketchy HistoryTuesday 1/21: A highly popular show that reenacts bizarre events of the past, with all sketches researched, written, and directed by award-winning journalist Malorie Cunningham (ABC News, NBC News) and Heath Harckham (Food Network), and performed by comics including Malorie, Heath, Victoria HoffmanSophia ShefnerTalia HellerIan Mather, and/or Mike NewkirkSketchy History (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ben SinclairWednesday 1/22: Ben Sinclair (co-creator, co-director, and co-star of HBO’s High Maintenance) is the guest of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan CoultonAsk Me Another (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)

Why Your Train is F*cked: The G TrainThursday 1/23: This monthly comedic show about the MTA is usually full of compaints, but tonight sings the praises of…the G Train! “The New York Times said it best in 2016, with an article titled, ‘Once Mocked, the G Train Is Now Cool. Kind Of.’ Honestly, we think the G line kicks ass and is massively misunderstood. The trains may be short, but their hearts are large. So we’re going to spend an hour and a half telling you why The Little Light Green Line That Could really can,” hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked: The G Train (7:00 pm; $16.89 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Risk!Thursday 1/23: Comedic storytellers TBA join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State; owner of The Story Studio) at what’s typically one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk! (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sim Yan Ying: Friday 1/24-Sunday 1/26: This solo show is described as follows: “”In my four years of living in New York, I’ve only ever swiped right on white men.’ In this semi-autobiographical stand-up drama, Sim Yan Ying takes a bitingly honest look at white worship, postcolonial baggage, and politically correct culture. She tears apart her escapades with white men in New York and delves into her experiences growing up in Singapore, throwing into question how and why we are sometimes complicit in the very things we outwardly reject:” I Love White Men (7:00 pm, $22, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Internet Explorers-AmazonFriday 1/24: “Amazon is a crazy big corporation. So big, in fact, it’s hard to even wrap your head around it. Web hosting, groceries, streaming video, home surveillance, holiday gifts…you can get almost anything from Jeff Bezos’ mega-company…” The online store & Web services company that changed the world, Amazon.com, is explored by host Mark Vigeant (Funny Or Die, Prairie Home Companion) with Kashmir Hill (The New York Times), Dhruv Mehrotra (Gizmodo), Caroline Haskins (Buzzfeed News), Samantha Reece (Head Writer of Buzzfeed’s BTW) and Rollie Williams (host of An Inconvenient Talk Show), plus music by Darren WilliamsInternet Explorers: Amazon.com (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Great Moments in Weed History LiveFriday 1/24: This popular podcast by Abdullah Saeed & David Bienenstock (above right) “blazes joints, cracks jokes, and explores the people, places, and events that make up the complex and fascinating 10,000+ year past of weed and weed culture, from Barack Obama’s time in the Choom Gang, to an exclusive first-hand account of how the Hollywood sign briefly became the Hollyweed sign,” tonight with guest Ben Sinclair (above left; co-creator, co-director, and co-star of HBO’s High Maintenance): Great Moments in Weed History Live (10:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; part of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival)

Thank You For Coming OutSaturday 1/25: Candid conversations about coming out with a diverse array of LGBTQ+ persons (TBA) for a podcast sponsored by Gay City News, the largest LGBT newspaper in the country: Thank You For Coming Out (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jordan Klepper's Debate Club: Monday 1/27: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) hosts a comedic debate about whether the US should pay reparations, with Kenice Mobley (host of podcast Love About Town, co-host of The Pasta Show), Michael Cruz Kayne (sketches on Seth Meyers and The Chris Gethard Show; HBO’s High Maintenance; former writer for @midnight and Billy on the Street; member of ace musical improv group Baby Wants Candy and UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love; co-host of monthly comedy show The Exhibition)Nelini Stamp (National Organizing Director at the Working Families Party), and Coleman Hughes (undergrad at Columbia University who’s written for The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and The National Review): Debate Club: Should the US Pay Reparations? (9:30 pm, $22.20 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

An Evening of Humorous Readings 3Tuesday 1/28: Readings of short humor pieces by sharp writers & comics TBA, plus hosts Brian AnglerLuke Burns, and James Folta (all writers for The New Yorker and McSweeney’s)An Evening of Humorous Readings (7:00 pm—arrive at 6:30 to hang out a bit with the guests, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jordan Klepper's Debate Club: Tuesday 1/28: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) hosts a comedic debate about whether the US should pay forgive student loan debt, with Michael Cruz Kayne (sketches on Seth Meyers and The Chris Gethard Show; HBO’s High Maintenance; former writer for @midnight and Billy on the Street; member of ace musical improv group Baby Wants Candy and UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love; co-host of monthly comedy show The Exhibition)Lou Perez (former producer for Impractical Jokers; half of sketch duo Greg and Lou), and more: Debate Club: Should the US Forgive Student Loan Debt? (9:30 pm, $22.20 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

How I Learned In The Beginning: Origin StoriesThursday 1/30: Stellar storytellers 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; comedy album The Hits), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), David Heatley (The New Yorker; Qualification: A Graphic Memoir), Angel Yau (Asian American Film Thing), and Julian Fleisher (Joe’s Pub: The Naked American Songbook) tell tales about how they started out hosted by Blaise Allysen KearsleyHow I Learned In The Beginning: Origin Stories (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2020: Last Updated Saturday 1/4

January 4, 2020

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 340,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications.

Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter at @hybender, and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com. (I’m also on Instagram at @hybenderny and Facebook at hybender; but honestly, you’ll be doing me the most good if you follow and retweet me on Twitter.)

In addition, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for January 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

SinbadSaturday 1/4: Tonight’s the last chance to catch Sinbad—who in addition to being a movie and TV star was designated by Comedy Central as one of the top 100 stand-ups of all time—perform a deliciously long club set at Carolines, with an opener by Caleb Elliott (High School Musical 1–3 movie trilogy): Sinbad at Carolines (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm; $46.50 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Artie Lange
Saturday 1/4: 
A veteran comic—who is now hosting the podcast Halfway House—headlines in Chelsea for one last night, with opening sets by Russ Meneve (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing) and Alli Breen (Sirius XM): Artie Lange at Gotham Comedy (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm, $35 plus 2-drink min., Gotham Comedy Club at 208 West 23rd Street off Seventh Avenue)

Chrissie Mayr: Saturday 1/4: Chrissie Mayr (NBC’s America’s Got Talent, FOX, The Chris Gethard ShowWendy Williams; host of Comedy at Stonewall) hosts this live-on-stage recording of her advice podcast about sex, love, and relationships, with tonight’s guests Kevin Brennan (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Carson Daly; star of HBO special One Night Stand; former writer for SNL; co-host of podcast Misery Loves Company), Mehran Khaghani (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, MTV, IFC, TruTV; co-hosts Sirius XM’s Paid or Pain), and Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic), plus the show’s announcer Mike Figs (host of Arthur Avenue’s Bronx Beerhall show Figs in the Hall): Chrissie Mayr: Wet Spot Live (7:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Karleigh Chase: Saturday 1/4-Sunday 1/5: Seven art portrait masterpieces come to life and reveal the stories behind their creation—explaining why Mona Lisa was smiling, what Frida was staring at, the cause of the desperately sad eyes of the girl with a pearl earring, and more—written & directed by Karleigh Chase, and performed by Alexa Harris (Narrator), Marlee Dater (Mona Lisa), Karleigh Chase (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Rory Lipede (Dora Maar), Rory Kelsch (American Gothic), Duvall O’Steen (Gala Dali), Juanita Castro-Ochoa (Frida Kahlo), and Maureen Toomey (Marilyn Monroe): Memoirs of a Painted Woman (8:00 pm, $12The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

The Stand 1-4-20Saturday 1/4: Terrific lineup of Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin QuinnComedy Central PresentsOpie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; new album When I Saw Hamilton), Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX), Mike Vecchione (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Half Hour and Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern; stand-up album Muscle Confusion), and TV & movie star Janeane GarofaloStars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 1/4: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Ladies Who RanchSaturday 1/4: Sketches, characters, riffs, bits, and vids from five-gal comedy group Ladies Who Ranch, consisting of Kelly CooperCaitlin Dullea,Maya SharmaCaroline Yost, and Sophie Zucker; plus an opening stand-up set from Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive): Ladies Who Ranch (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stars at The StandSaturday 1/4: Great lineup of Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin QuinnComedy Central PresentsOpie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; new album When I Saw Hamilton), Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction), Mike Vecchione (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Half Hour and Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern; stand-up album Muscle Confusion), and Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX): Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Golden Globes Watch PartySunday 1/5: Live screening of The Golden Globes Awards, plus a blend of sketch and improv comedy during commercials, described as follows: “The Golden Globes mark the official start to award season. Join us as we celebrate Hollywood’s favorite dinner party with a live stream of the award ceremony featuring appearances from your favorite stars of screens big and small, live performances during commercial breaks, a play-along drinking game, and your chance to win the Caveat Golden Globes ballot:” I don’t know what’s going on with that woman on the right, by the way, but will just note there’s no guarantee of a comparable experience: Golden Globes Watch Party (7:00 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

John Reynolds and Matt BaratsSunday 1/5: John Reynolds (co-star of Search Party, cast member of Stranger Things; previously writer for The President ShowCraig Ferguson, and Celebrity Deathmatch) & Matt Barats (HBO’s High MaintenanceSeth MeyersThe New Yorker) perform duo comedy: John Reynolds & Matt Barats (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Karleigh Chase: Sunday 1/5: Seven art portrait masterpieces come to life and reveal the stories behind their creation—explaining why Mona Lisa was smiling, what Frida was staring at, the cause of the desperately sad eyes of the girl with a pearl earring, and more—written & directed by Karleigh Chase, and performed by Alexa Harris (Narrator), Marlee Dater (Mona Lisa), Karleigh Chase (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Rory Lipede (Dora Maar), Rory Kelsch (American Gothic), Duvall O’Steen (Gala Dali), Juanita Castro-Ochoa (Frida Kahlo), and Maureen Toomey (Marilyn Monroe): Memoirs of a Painted Woman (8:00 pm, $12The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

If You Build ItSunday 1/5: Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Kevin Iso (Hulu’s High Fidelity, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar and Adam Devine’s House Party), Marcia Belsky (Reductress; Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; lead singer of band Free the Mind), Mike Lebovitz (HBO’s The Deuce, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing), and Noah Savage (ESPN) perform stand-up hosted by Robert Dean (Comedy Central): If You Build It (9:30 pm, $9UCB at SubCulture45 Bleecker Street—take #6 subway to Bleecker Street stop)

Fred Firestone: Tuesday 1/7: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 audience members (a dozen sign-ups and six returning champions) fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd. Be prepared to boo 2020 puns anything less than stellar: Punderdome 3000: New Year! (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early—doors open at 7:00—to nab a seat, or plan on standing)

Dan St. GermainTuesday 1/7: Dan St. Germain (above; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Crashing, @midnight, This is Not Happening, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1; former staff writer for CBS’ Superior Donuts, Netflix’s The Break with Michelle Wolf, and TruTV’s Ten Things; album No Real Winners Here), Olga Namer (“Unorthodox Jewish comedian”), Justin SmithAlex Babbitt, and Stephon Bishop perform stand-up hosted by Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV; album You Guys Are Dope) representing both well-known and less-known comics considered worthy of your attention by comedy blog Stellar Underground (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the SenateWednesday 1/8: Comedic storytellers, musicians, and/or political organizers “tell inspiring, funny, and absolutely true personal stories about turning points, and no turning back points. With special remarks from Swing Left about its 2020 strategy to flip the Senate, plus specific calls to action and ways for you to get involved in the fight for our lives. 100% ticket proceeds go directly to Swing Left’s Senate funds,” with performers 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), Shaina Taub (Emmy-nominated singer/songwriter who’s written songs for TV shows ranging from The TONY Awards to Julie Andrews’ Julie’s Greenroom to Sesame Street; albums Visitors and Die Happy), Paola Mendoza (activist who co-founded @WeAreSoze, @ResistanceRev, and Women’s March OG; author of Together We Rise), Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Sandi Marx (PBS, 7-time Moth StorySlam winner), and more hosted by Nicole Ferraro (founder of Art, Humanity & Action) and Liat Olenick (Indivisible Nation BK): No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the Senate (7:30 pm, $35-$60The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Emily Flake & Ophira Eisenberg:Wednesday 1/8: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children (and guest comics who aren’t revel in their freedom), with tonight’s cruel jokesters Jenny Hagel (staff writer for Seth Meyers; iO, Second City), Iris Bahr (actress in numerous TV shows including Friends, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The King of Queens, and such films as Larry the Cable Guy and The Last Exorcism), Doogie Horner (NBC’s America’s Got Talent; author of A Die Hard ChristmasThis Might Hurt a Bit, and Home Alone Hard; stand-up album A Delicate Man), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), and Katie Goodman (member of Broad Comedy; YouTube hits I Didn’t F*ck It Up and Sorry Babe, You’re a Feminist) hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) and Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves): Shitshow (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Michelle Collins 5Thursday 1/9: Michelle Collins (host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise) performs a deliciously long stand-up club set for one night only: Michelle Collins Headlines Carolines (7:00 pm, $32.75 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Ask Me AnotherThursday 1/9: A guest or guests TBA (not available yet, but to be reported here pre-show) will be the focus of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan CoultonAsk Me Another (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)

MortifiedThursday 1/9: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show—which is now also a six-part series titled The Mortified Guide on Netflix: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Oh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence ProjectFriday 1/10: Great lineup of Eva Victor (Twitter comedic characters video superstar; The New Yorker), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Ego Nwodim (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust), Conner O’Malley (former staff writer/performer for Seth MeyersLouie, Broad City), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), and Dan Licata (writer for Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks To YouThe Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Ethan Beach & Josh NasserOh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence Project (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)

Tiff Stevenson: Friday 1/10: A solo show by Tiff Stevenson (UK-based comic/actress; numerous UK/US TV show appearances include The Office, Drunk History, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week) about which one reviewer said, “It’s jaw-droppingly remarkable how much ground she covers, how funny she is, how intelligent her attacks are:” Tiff Stevenson: Mother (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jennifer Wright, Lane Moore, Laura Benanti, and Daniel Kibblesmith: Saturday 1/10: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are Laura Benanti (Tony Award winner for Broadway musical She Loves Me; cast member of TBS’ The Detour; NBC’s The Sound of Music Live, CW’s Supergirl, CBS’ The Good Wife, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie; album Songs From My Fair Lady), and married couple Jennifer Wright (right; political Editor-at-Large for Harper’s Bazaar; The New York Times; author of numerous books including It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in HistoryWe Came First: Relationship Advice from Women Who Have Been There, and Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History) & Daniel Kibblesmith (left; staff writer since 2015 for Stephen ColbertThe New Yorker, McSweeney’s; writer of such Marvel comic books as Loki and Black Panther vs. Deadpool; author of books How to Win at Everything and Santa’s Husband; former Humor Editor for Buzzfeed): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2019: Last Updated Monday 11/25

November 25, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 330,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications.

Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter at @hybender, and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com. (I’m also on Instagram at @hybenderny and Facebook at hybender; but honestly, you’ll be doing me the most good if you follow and retweet me on Twitter.)

In addition, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for November 2019 (with more to come soon) include:

Carolyn Riley, Carolyn Busa, and Carolyn CastigliaMonday 11/25: Three comics whose names are Carolyn— Carolyn Riley (left), Carolyn Busa (middle), and Carolyn Castiglia (right)—perform stand-up for host 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; podcast Broccoli and Ice Cream): Myq Kaplan and Friends (9:00 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Legion of Skanks 6.jpgMonday 11/25: The guys from High Society Radio are this week’s guests of 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), and Luis J. Gomez (special Luis J. Gomez Presents Luis J. Gomez) “discussing the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this free weekly podcast recording and GaS Digital Network live stream: Legion of Skanks (9:30 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

First Impressions: The 90’s Dating Game ShowMonday 11/25: Seven comics (see above left) and one audience member compete to win the heart of comic Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive) for this 1990’s-style dating game show hosted by Taylor Ortega, John Everett Trowbridge, Jenny Gorelick, and Yoni Lotan: First Impressions: The 90’s Dating Game Show (9:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aaron Berg & Kerryn Feehan: Monday 11/25: Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, former host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive, Netflix special Double Negative), Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive), Chrissie Mayr (co-host of Comedy at Stonewall), Emma Willmann (Stephen Colbert, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, @midnight), Lauren Vino (MTV News), Luz Pazos (Kroll Show). Saunt Yübear (musical comedy duo, and sisters, Gracie Walsh and Maddy Hubert), and more try out material at this free weekly show hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) and/or Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV): Frantic Mondays (10:00 pm, Free!, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 11/26: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Emma Jayne, Melissa Stokoski, and Myka FoxTuesday 11/26: 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) host this free biweekly comedy show, tonight featuring Myka Fox (above right; fearless, boundary-busting stand-up; SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), Melissa Stokoski (above middle; TruTV; regular on John Fuselsang’s Tell Me Everythling; co-writer & co-star of Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; host of Star Fuckers), Emma Jayne (above left; award-winning singer/songwriter; music album Jetlag), Julian Edwards (WALT), and Ilana Rubin (The Bop Pod): Critical Darlings (8:30 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)

BKBX: Broken Box MimeTuesday 11/26: The innovative and award-winning Broken Box Mime troupe performs their finest wordless sketches & stories, mixed with fresh bits, all set to a “rip-roarin’ soundtrack:” BKBX: Quiet Riot (9:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

My Hometown 2.jpgFriday 11/29: Native New Yorkers Ilana Michelle Rubin & Lana Schwartz invite comics who came here from somewhere else to talk about their home towns, with tonight’s guests the great Aparna Nancherla (above), Arti Gollapudi, Chrissy Shackelford, Sam Saulsbury, and Corie Johnson: My Hometown (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Guy MontgomeryFriday 11/29: New Zealand comic Guy Montgomery (co-host of the popular podcast The Worst Ideo of All Time) performs a solo stand-up show about friendship (see above) for one night only in Brooklyn: Guy Montgomery: I’m Friends With These People (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Michelle ButeauSunday 12/1: Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and High Maintenance, Netflix’s Russian Doll, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Amazon’s The Tick, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight; films Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great; comedy album Shut Up) performs a deliciously long stand-up set: Michelle Buteau (7:30 pm (sold out) & 10:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Punderdome 3000 Tuesday 12/3: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 audience members (a dozen sign-ups and six returning champions) fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd: Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early—doors open at 7:00—to nab a seat, or plan on standing)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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