NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2019: Last Updated Monday 12/16

December 16, 2019

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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 December 2019 (with more to come soon) include:

Canned LaughterMonday 12/16: This fundraiser for The Bowery Mission, which has served the homeless since the 1870s, has a great lineup of Dan Soder (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; HBO special Son of a Gary; Dudley Mafee on Showtime’s Billions; films Trainwreck, Drunk Parents; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The Standups, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, hosts with Big Jay Oakerson Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), 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), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; host of podcast Wine Before Nine), and TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo: Canned Laughter (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min.—or get free admission by bringing any can or nonperishable box of food to donate to The Bowery Mission; The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Butterboy 12Monday 11/18: Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk) host stand-ups Dave Hill (WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show and Dave Hill’s Podcasting Incident; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes, Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and Parking the Moose; comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Greta Titelman (HBO’s Los Espookys, Comedy Central, Vice; host of acclaimed podcast The Worst), Desiree Burch (Comedy Central, VH1, BBC’s American Autopsy, Welcome to Night Vale), Christian Finnegan (creator & co-host of A&E’s Black and White; co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; TBS, VH1, MSNBC, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show; stand-up album 60% Joking), and Ian Aber (host of podcast str8 ppl), plus music from DJ Donwill: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; 10:00 pm afterparty at Parklife at 636 Degraw Street)

Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It ComedyMonday 12/16: This show is about “the science of astrology, which is very real and definitely not fake. Each month, hosts Melissa Stokoski, Karolena Theresa, and Brian Bahe (famously all Virgos) along with resident Astrologist Lizzie Martinez (Taurus) welcome a lineup of comedians all born under the current zodiac.” This month’s group of Sagittarius stand-ups include Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), and Jes Tom (Reductress): Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street; PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT.)

Big Jay Oakerson, Dave Smith, and Luis J. Gomez: "Legion of Skanks"Monday 12/16: Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire) joins hosts 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), Luis J. Gomez (special Luis J. Gomez Presents Luis J. Gomez), and Dave Smith (FOX; host of podcast Part of the Problem) to “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)

Aaron Berg & Kerryn Feehan: "Frantic Mondays"Monday 12/16: 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), Dan Soder (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; HBO special Son of a Gary; Dudley Mafee on Showtime’s Billions; films Trainwreck, Drunk Parents; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The Standups, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, hosts with Big Jay Oakerson Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Michael Kosta (correspondent for The Daily Show), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Rosebud Baker (Comedy Central), Yedoye Travis (CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, Netflix; host of Dark Tank Podcast), Mike Suarez, and Chlose LaBranche 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! (10:00 pm, Free!, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Becky Chicoine and Amanda GiobbiTuesday 12/17: Comedic characters by hosts Becky Chicoine (above left; Comedy Central; half of sketch duo Girls With Brown Hair) and Amanda Giobbi (above right; webseries Puppet Soap Opera; co-host of Power Hour) and their guests Chrissy Shackelford, Jason Gore, Rachel Joravsky, Ariel Gitlin, and more. There’ll probably be fun surprises, because according to the hosts “The less you know, the better:” Huge Character Showcase (6:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

An Evening of Humorous Readings 3Tuesday 12/17: Readings of short humor pieces by the wonderful Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves, and That Was Awkward: The Art and Etiquette of the Awkward Hug), Colin Nissan (The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Onion, McSweeney’s), and Diana Chan (Flexx Magazine; PIT sketch comedy collective Boogiemanja), plus hosts Brian Angler, Luke 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)

Colin QuinnTuesday 12/17: A Broadway, TV, and film star who once said, “There’s no way to predict what is good or bad. You just do what you think is funny, and either it works or you’re finished” tries out new material tonight and tomorrow in an intimate club for his next mass media 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)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 12/17: 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)

Seth Herzog: "Sweet Christmas"Tuesday 12/17: Slated to perform at this Christmas-themed blowout show are John Hodgman (bestselling author of Medallion Status, Vacationland, The Areas of My Expertise, More Information Than You Require, and That Is All; Humor Editor of The New York Times Magazine; former star correspondent of The Daily Show; former iconic personification of a PC in Apple Mac ads; podcast Judge John Hodgman), Jerry O’Connell (iconic star of TV series Sliders, My Secret Identity, Crossing Jordan, and The Defenders; films include Stand By Me, Joe’s Apartment, Jerry Maguire, Scream 2, and the voice of Superman/Clark Kent in numerous DC animated movies), Alex Brightman (Tony nominee for currently starring in Broadway’s Beetlejuice and previously starring in Broadway’s School of Rock; Showtime’s SMILF), Kate Walsh (Dr. Addison Montgomery on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, NBC’s Bad Judge, Netflix’s Umbrella Academy and 13 Reasons Why), 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), Mike Dicenzo (former long-time writer and Executive Producer of Jimmy Fallon), Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive), Toby Hus (King of the Hill, Adventures of Pete & Pete; AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, HBO’s Carnivàle), Julian Velard (singer/songwriter; pianist for NPR’s Ask Me Another; albums include Fancy Words For Failure), Stro Elliot (member of top band The Roots), and more all hosted by Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1): Sweet Christmas (9:00 pm, $16.50 online [all tickets sold via DICE app], Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street)

Science In The Headlines: 2019's Discoveries, Disappointments, And Downright WeirdnessWednesday 12/18: What a year it’s been. Remember when we saw the first recorded image of a black hole (above right)? What about the rise of new illnesses linked to vaping (above middle)? Or the clinical trials on the medical effectiveness gene editor CRISPR (above left)? Host Ira Flatow brings on three professional science reporters—Rachel Feltman, Umair Irfan, and Wendy Zukerman—to discuss 2019’s biggest science news stories. And he also has three other writers—Ariel Zych, Sarah Zhang, and Arielle Duhaime-Ross—share behind-the-scenes details of major science stories they worked on this year: Science In The Headlines: 2019’s Discoveries, Disappointments, And Downright Weirdness (6:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Colin QuinnWednesday 12/18: A Broadway, TV, and film star who once said, “Marie Antoinette, I’m sure she was just misinterpreted. You know the ‘Let them eat cake’ line? She seems kind of funny, like a Kathy Griffin type” tries out new material tonight and tomorrow in an intimate club for his next mass media 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)

The Storrs Objection: Wednesday 12/18: Comics each perform a stand-up set on this month’s topic of Miracles—while host/adjudicator Matt Storrs periodically interjects and cross-examines them about their facts! Meanwhile the bailiff—who is Santa Claus—keeps the proceedings from descending into chaos and maintains the requisite holiday cheer. Tonight’s comics slated to have their sets disrupted are Brittany Brave, Linnette Palladino, Tristan Miller, Ronnie Flemming, Jourdain Searles, Mark Volinski, and Ricardo Rocha: The Storrs Objection: Miracles (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Scientists Review Christmas MoviesWednesday 12/18: Scientists dissect the scientific soundness, and also legal and moral ramifications, of popular Christmas movies, addressing such questions as, “What are the psychological effects of being abandoned by your family?,” “What is the best legal defense for dressing like Santa and assaulting people?,” “Is fighting German terrorists really the perfect way to repair your fractured marriage?” To learn the answers to all this and more, come to Publish or Perish: Scientists Review Christmas Movies (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Molly Gaebe & Kylie Holloway: "Nevertheless She Existed-Female Spies"Thursday 12/19: 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 Female Spies tackled by guests the fabulous Tallie Medel (Cocoon Central Dance Team), Anna Cain Bianco, Junior Mint, and Solange Azor: Nevertheless She Existed: The Spy Who Inspired Me (5:30 pm for an all-gals networking discussion of how the podcast is made, 6:30 pm for a happy half-hour, and 7:00 pm for show; $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)

David Lawson: Thursday 12/19: Superb storyteller David Lawson (Comedy Central; solo shows include The Flyer Guy, No Oddjob, The Prequels; host of The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show) performs a one-man show “standing onstage judging people who are seeking The White House in 2020. The only qualification David has? He’s read their books:” David Lawson’s 2020 Book Report (7:30 pm, $15, The Kraine Theatre at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue; followed at 9:00 pm by a live screening of the Democratic Debate)

Johnathan Appel & Zach Lennon-Simon: Thursday 12/19: This show’s goal is to, for one hour, make you a little happier through niceness. It features “some very nice performers who all say very nice things” via stand-up, storytelling, satire, and/or music. Regular very nice segments between each very nice act include ‘Super Easy Trivia,’ ‘Unironic Dad Jokes,’ and ‘Happy Headlines.’ It’s all hosted by Johnathan Appel (writer for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and PIT sketch group Boogiemanja; Producer & Teaching Artist for Story Pirates; host of Some Fun Lines, the only open mic for satire & humor writing) & Zach Lennon-Simon (writer/director/editor of documentary Shakertown Road; cinematographer for documenatry The Dark Side of Disney). Isn’t that nice?: Very Nice People Saying Very Nice Things (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Democratic Presidential Debate 6: December 2019Thursday 12/19: Come join a comedy-loving group watch seven Democratic Presidential candidates debate for the sixth, and last, time this year, moderated in LA by the PBS Newshour and Politico, and enhanced in Queens NYC by the lightning-quick wit of host Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic) and other comics TBA: Democratic Debate Watch Party: PBS/Politico Edition (9:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

The Scientists: Friday 12/20: Lectures and/or stand-up in some way related to this month’s theme Rats from Ariel Dumas (Head Writer for Late Show with Stephen Colbert), Usama Siddiquee (Showtime’s Desus and Mero), Jessica Henderson (co-creator of webseries Growing Down), and more TBA hosted by Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s; author of book How to Date Men When You Hate Men) & Madelyn Freed (ace improvisor & computer programmer): The Scientists (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Lynn Bixenspan & Morgan Pielli: Friday 12/20: Storytellers TBA share tales of relationships in front of a panel of comics and bona fide therapists who then provide their professional advice, hosted by Lynn Bixenspan (Comedy Central, MTV; former writer for Fuse TV) & Morgan Pielli (cartoonist): Relationshit (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in ConcertFriday 12/20: “When a mutant-hunting robot decimates the X-Men mansion on Christmas Eve, can our heroes overcome their differences to create the best X-Mas yet? Not if that grinch Magneto has anything to say about it!” This musical’s book & lyrics are by Sarah A. Mucek and its music by Christian Duhamel; for a sample from 2017, please click here. There are just two chances to experience the show this year at The PIT, tonight and Saturday: X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in Concert (8:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Blank! The MusicalFriday 12/20: Musical improvisors—typically including the stellar and multi-talented Desi Domo (Comedy Central’s Alternatino; film The Conjuring; UCB’s Characters Welcome; indie improv group Miles From Pete) make up the story, songs, and dances of a new musical on the spot based on “fill in the blank” audience suggestions: Blank! The Musical (9:30 pm; $22.60 in advance online or $25 at the door; The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Sloan Brettholtz & Julie Tran: Friday 12/20: Comedy duo Sloan Brettholtz & Julie Tran perform dark and silly sketches they’re written for the holidays: Dark With a Chance of Stupid (9:30 pm, $12, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 12/20: 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)

Sydnee WashingtonFriday 12/20: Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots; host with Marie Faustin of podcast The Unofficial Expert; host with Marie Faustin & Aminah Imani of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit) performs a solo show “about not being ashamed of being an open book of beautiful garbage:” Sydnee Washington: My Favorite Open Book Of Beautiful Garbage (10:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Star Wars Holiday SpecialFriday 12/20: In the wise words of media critic Cyndi Freeman: “The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, on November 17, 1978, preempting Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk. It has never been rebroadcast or officially released on home video. David Hofstede called it ‘the worst two hours of television ever.’ George Lucas has reportedly said ‘If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.‘” See it screened, dissected, and mercilessly savaged tonight by Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; webseries KCK; host of Let’s Say You’re Right), Rory Scholl (Chicago City Limits, The Moth, BTK Band; co-host of QED show Two-Prov), and Derek Humphrey (ABC, MTV, host of podcast Derek Mansplains It All) 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 Star Wars Holiday Special (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Johnathan Appel and Marina di Marzo 2Saturday 12/21: Indie character group Poughkeepsie—which consists of Johnathan Appel (above left; writer for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and PIT sketch group Boogiemanja; Producer & Teaching Artist for Story Pirates; host of Some Fun Lines, the only open mic for satire & humor writing), Marina di Marzo (above right; Producer for CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter; previously Associate Producer for MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber), Hugh Hobbs, Rafael Rautha, Kevin Necciai, Mary Nepi, Julia Ogilvie, and Kathleen Cameron—performs brand new characters every month to surprise and delight you: Poughkeepsie’s Character Showcase (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Chanukahstravaganza 2.jpgSaturday 12/21: The Christmas season can get a bit lonely for Jews. So Jewish hosts Lana Schwartz (The New Yorker, Vulture; author of Build Your Own Romantic Comedy) & Ilana Michelle Rubin (webseries deada$$ and Pluto Girl; host of music podcast The Bop Pad) have called on Jewish NYC comics to come gather for this show celebrating “the Miracle of Lights: Chanukah. Hannukah. Hanukah. However you choose to spell it. There will be songs, there will be laughter, there will be surprises, and you know there will be snacks,” with Emmy Blotnick, Josh Gondelman, Naomi Ekperigin, Alison Leiby, Matt Koff, Anna Roisman, Jess Salomon, Charles Gould, Charlie Bardey, and Yaari Nadav Tal: The Fourth Annual Chanukahstravaganza: Brighter Than Ever (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Beth StelllingSaturday 12/21: Beth Stelling (Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, @midnight, Corporate, and High Court; Netflix special The Standups 1.5; Amazon’s Red Oaks; written for HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Another Period, and Hulu’s I Love You America with Sara Silverman) performs a solo stand-up show in Brooklyn: Beth Stelling (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)

Rob Paravonian's Saturday 12/21: Music, comedy, and more from performers TBA hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 15 million people on YouTube, please click here): The Odd Rock Comedy Hour (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Josh Gondelman, Lane Moore, Hari Kondabolu, and Frank Conniff: Saturday 12/21: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guests Josh Gondelman (left; one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Hari Kondabolu (top right; fresh, sharp, rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives; co-host of Kondabolu Brothers podcast), and Frank Conniff (bottom right; TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic) : Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 12/21: 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)

Emmy Blotnick, Josh Gondelman, Usama Siddiquee, and Sydnee WashingtonSaturday 12/21: Great lineup of Emmy Blotnick (brilliant and Emmy-nominated rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and in a Comedy Central Half Hour; staff writer for Stephen Colbert; comedy album Party Nights), Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Usama Siddiquee (Showtime’s Desus and Mero), and Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots; host with Marie Faustin of podcast The Unofficial Expert; host with Marie Faustin & Aminah Imani of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit) performing stand-up by sandwiching new jokes in between time-tested opening and closing material for hosts Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy, comedy album Immigrant Made) & Jess Salomon (former UN war crimes attorney turned comic; Jimmy Fallon, CBS, Sirius XM): Sandwich (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in ConcertFriday 12/20: “When a mutant-hunting robot decimates the X-Men mansion on Christmas Eve, can our heroes overcome their differences to create the best X-Mas yet? Not if that grinch Magneto has anything to say about it!” This musical’s book & lyrics are by Sarah A. Mucek and its music by Christian Duhamel; for a sample from 2017, please click here. This is the final performance of its two-night PIT run: X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in Concert (10:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Jessy Morner-Ritt: Sunday 12/22: In the near future—2021—Joy (Jessy Morner-Ritt) is the only who still cares about upholding Bed and Breakfast culture. This immersive comedy show features air mattresses and pillow mints; stand-up from Rachel Kaly, Celeste Yim; and host Jessy Morner-Ritt, and performances from Ana McCasland and Rajat Suresh: Joy’s Bed and Breakfast (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

How to Meditate with Andrew SteinerSunday 12/22: An autobiographical show by Andrew Steiner (host of the podcast True K) about his studying meditation with Zen masters at a temple in Japan—and especially his experiences with Shodo Harada Roshi, sometimes called the Nuclear Reactor of Zen: How To Meditate: Jokes, Burlesque, and Guided Meditation (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Gary DeNoia: Friday 12/27: In this one-man show, comic & impressionist Gary DeNoia plays Nicolas Cage, Vin Diesel, and other celebrities teaching children—and you—lessons through books, games, and more (directed by Desmond Thorne): Celebrities Teach Kids Sh*t (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Sharron Paul, Chanel Ali, and Hari KondaboluFriday 12/27: Hari Kondabolu (above right; fresh, sharp, rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives; co-host of Kondabolu Brothers podcast), Chanel Ali (middle; MTV’s Girl Code, Starz, TruTV), and Chris Castelli (host of Shine Box Comedy) perform stand-up hosted by Sharron Paul (left) & Calvin Cole: Cheap Date Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

That Slapstick ShowSaturday 12/28: A somewhat scholarly look at early filmed comedy shorts and animation which was thought lost until recently discovered in New Zealand, curated & hosted by Nelson Hughes and Tommy Jose Stathes: That Slapstick Show (4:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Maryann Aita: Saturday 12/28-Monday 12/30: Maryann Aita describes her one-woman show as follows: “After several disappointing visits with a gynecologist, and many failed efforts to Sex and the City it up with friends, ‘Detective’ Maryann takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on with her body and how to fix it, relying mostly on whatever she could find on Amazon.com. This is a hilarious (and just a touch sentimental) show about a woman taking charge of her own body that’s perfect for fans of Law & Order, vibrators, and vagina: My Dysfunctional Vagina (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street; running tonight, Sunday, and Monday at 7:00 pm)

Aminah Imani 2Saturday 12/28: Aminah Imani (co-host of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; host of podcast Wine Before Nine) performs a deliciously long stand-up set, with openers her Comedy at The Knit co-hosts Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots; co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) and Marie Faustin (MTV’s Girl Code and Vidiots; co-host of 99.5 FM’s Tall Tales in the Big City; the other co-host of The Unofficial Expert): Aminah Imani with Sydnee & Marie (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Katie BoyleSaturday 12/28: Seven comics who weren’t born here perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to NYC, produced and/or 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)

Ben Tomassetti & Kevin C. Hill: Saturday 12/28: Ben Tomassetti & Kevin C. Hill play rock duo Tips Moncrief & Gary Van Patten, a band named Jeez “known for its pedestrian ‘hits’ in the 80’s such as ‘Teen Crocodile,’ ’96 Olympics in Cincinatti,’ and ‘Talk to Me (You Dirty Dirty Dirty Computer).’ The guys are hitting the road again in support of a Greatest Hits album—as bands do. Tonight they discuss their songs Storyteller’s style—or at least that’s what their tour manager told them they were doing. Come see your oddball uncle’s second favorite band:” Jeez! The “Greatest Hits of 1979-1992” Tour (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 12/28: 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)

Repeater's Top 10 Countdown of 2019Sunday 12/29: Evan Forde Barden & Patrick Cartelli, who host music podcast Repeater, recap the year by inviting some of their favorite comics to make their case for the best song of 2019. “After the arguments have been made, Evan and Pat will mercilessly rank their selections.” Purchase tickets in advance online to be entered to win vinyl from Astoria’s HiFi Records & Cafe: Repeater’s Top 10 Countdown of 2019 (7:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Naomi Ekperigin & Andy Beckerman: Sunday 12/29: This charming show puts comics who are duos behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together,with tonight’s close friends and/or couples TBA hosted by lovers Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour; staff writer for NBC’s Great News; former writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, host of podcast Beginnings): Couples Therapy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Sam Taggart, Marcia Belsky, and Drew Anderson: Sunday 12/29: Comics Nick Naney (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central), Sandy Honig (one-third of sketch group Three Busy Debras; host of Pig and The Bongo Hour), and Annie Donley (Chris Gethard Presents; host of Poppin’ Off) perform for this monthly stand-up showcase named after Stevie Nicks and hosted by Marcia Belsky, Sam Taggart, and Drew Anderson: Stevie (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Chris GethardTuesday 12/31: Chris Gethard (star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; producer of fresh comedy webseries Chris Gethard Presents) and a bunch of his friends TBA perform comedy on New Year’s Eve. Come for just the show, running from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, or buy a “Party Package” that includes drinks, music and dancing post-show to celebrate 2020: Pregame with Gethard and Friends (7:00 pm; $15 for 2-hour show only, $35 for “Party Package” that also includes food/drinks at Parklife and a Littlefield afterparty; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Hot & Fun New Year's EveTuesday 12/31: Heating up your New Year’s Eve with comedy are Rachel Pegram (Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV, BET; movies Don’t Think Twice and The Week Of; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour and UCB star improv group ASSSSCAT 3000), Jared Goldstein (ABC’s Modern Family, SNL, Starz, TNT), Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive), and Junior Mint hosted by Jenny Gorelick (host of Jenny’s Birthday Party, co-host of First Impressions) and Zach Teague (TruTV): Hot & Fun New Year’s Eve (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Creatures of the NightTuesday 12/31: Ring in the New Year’s Eve with a night of drag, burlesque, comedy, singing, dance, and more hosted by Ellipsis Queen: Creatures Of The Night (11:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th 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 February 2018: Last Updated Saturday 2/10/18

February 10, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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

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

Chris Duffy's "You Get a Spoon"Saturday 2/10: Rebecca Vigil (rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), Anthony DeVito (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, This American Life, House of Cards), and Obehi Janice sing or tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Magical World of Musical ImprovSaturday 2/10: Comics who make up Disney-themed ditties on the spot invite you to “Come be our guest for this magical, musical show where we take your favorite childhood movie scenes and reimagine them with improvised songs! We play clips from classic children’s films and then jump on stage as the characters you know and love to finish each scene with a never-before-heard song! Come be a part of our world and experience the Magic Kingdom in a whole new way!”: The Magical World of Musical Improv (7:00 pm, $8, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

Jeff RossSaturday 2/10-Sunday 2/11: The king of roasts headlines tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Jeff Ross (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm tonight & Saturday, 7:30 pm Sunday; $49 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluSunday 2/11: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

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

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

Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2018: Last Updated Friday 2/9/18

February 9, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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

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

Dave Hill: "Witch Taint: The Black Metal Dialogues Live"Friday 2/9: Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @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; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On) and Phil Costello (Dave’s bandmate in groups Valley Lodge and—with Moby—Diamondsnake) perform Dave’s epic email exchange with a Norwegian black metal record label while pretending to be “Lance, a teenager living with his parents in Gary, Indiana who also just so happens to be the lead singer and sole member of the most extreme, brutal, and Satanic black metal band of all-time, WitchTaint, and hopes to get signed on the strength of one excruciatingly bad song called Necrodreamraper.” To get a feel, visit Dave’s website devoted to these emails, The Black Metal Dialogues, and then come enjoy the stage version: Witch Taint Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Jeff RossFriday 2/9-Sunday 2/11: The king of roasts headlines tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Jeff Ross (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm tonight & Saturday, 7:30 pm Sunday; $49 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Janelle James and Dulce SloanFriday 2/9: Janelle James (above left; @midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Dulcé Sloan (above right; powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Jordan Temple (writer for MTV’s Decoded), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), and token white comic Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper) perform stand-up hosted by Sharron Paul (ABC, MTV, A&E, IFC) & Calvin Cole (TBS’ Just For Laughs): Cheap Date: Seventh Annual Black History Month/V-Day Show (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Chris Duffy's "You Get a Spoon"Saturday 2/10: Four sharp comics TBA tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluSunday 2/11: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

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

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

Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2018: Last Updated Thursday 2/8/18

February 8, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2018 include (with much more to come soon):Just For LaughsThursday 2/8: Enjoy some of NYC’s best new comedic character comics audition for Montreal’s prestigious Just for Laughs Festival—as well as for various show biz industry execs seeking fresh talent— at this free show running about an hour: Just for Laughs Character Auditions (5:00 pm, Free!, The Magnet at 254 West 29th Street)

Ophira Eisenberg & Adira Amram: "Ophira & Adira"Thursday 2/8: Two exceptionally appealing comics, Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!) and Adira Amram (spectacular comedic singer & dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens), perform and host Emily Flake (writer/cartoonist; The New Yorker, The New York Times), Matthew Holtzclaw (ace magician), Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), and Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of Ambush Comedy and The Secret Loft Show): Ophira & Adira (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

MortifiedThursday 2/8: 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: Mortified (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emily Wells and Melena RyzikThursday 2/8: Melena Ryzik (above right; roving culture reporter for The New York TImes), Danielle C. Gray (former Cabinet Secretary and Senior Advisor to President Obama; described by Newsweek as “the most powerful staffer you’ve never heard of”), and Emily Wells (above left; singer/songwriter/musician acclaimed for her use of classical and modern instrumentation and deft sampling) are the impressive guests at this eclectic live podcast recording hosted by Shonali Bhowmik (Variety SHAC; leader of musical group Tigers & Monkeys) & Christian Felix: We Don’t Even Know (9:30 pm, $8, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dave Hill: "Witch Taint: The Black Metal Dialogues Live"Friday 2/9: Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @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; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On) and Phil Costello (Dave’s bandmate in groups Valley Lodge and—with Moby—Diamondsnake) perform Dave’s epic email exchange with a Norwegian black metal record label while pretending to be “Lance, a teenager living with his parents in Gary, Indiana who also just so happens to be the lead singer and sole member of the most extreme, brutal, and Satanic black metal band of all-time, WitchTaint, and hopes to get signed on the strength of one excruciatingly bad song called Necrodreamraper.” To get a feel, visit Dave’s website devoted to these emails, The Black Metal Dialogues, and then come enjoy the stage version: Witch Taint Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Janelle James and Dulce SloanFriday 2/9: Janelle James (above left; @midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Dulcé Sloan (above right; powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Jordan Temple (writer for MTV’s Decoded), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), and token white comic Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper) perform stand-up hosted by Sharron Paul (ABC, MTV, A&E, IFC) & Calvin Cole (TBS’ Just For Laughs): Cheap Date: Seventh Annual Black History Month/V-Day Show (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Chris Duffy's "You Get a Spoon"Saturday 2/10: Four sharp comics TBA tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluSunday 2/11: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

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

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

Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2018: Last Updated Wednesday 2/7/18

February 7, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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

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

The BackFatloretteWednesday 2/7: In this comedy dating game, Alissa (a Brooklyn-based reporter and podcaster who lives with her best friend Peta the cat) will choose among four stand-ups—Rojo Perez, Daniel Simonsen, Raghav Mehta, and Albert Kirchner—based in part on how well they handle various amusing challenges, hosted by Emily Winter (writer for Fusion’s Come Here and Say That, TVLand, and Glamour; co-host of Backfat Variety and Side Ponytail) and Larry Mancini (band member of The Tracys): The BackFatlorette: Last Comic Standing Meets The Bachelorette (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Happier HourWednesday 2/7: A show about philosophy, love, and happiness, with guests Skye C. Cleary (Australian philosopher teaching at Columbia University and Barnard; author of Existentialism and Romantic Love), Terri Cole (psychotherapist, relationship expert, and founder of Real Love Revolution and Boundary Bootcamp), and Dr. Home H.C. Nguyen (founder of the MindKind Institute, which provides leadership coaching) hosted by Monica McCarthy (actress, and host of numerous events focused on purpose and interdisciplinary connections): The Happier Hour: Philosophy to Make Your Life Suck Less (7:00 pm, $25, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Rebekah Sebastian's "Yellow Tape: A True Crime Trivia Show"Wednesday 2/7: 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 (9:00 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Wednesday 2/7: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (9:30 pm; $9—which includes a second show, I’m Your Mommy; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)Just For LaughsThursday 2/8: Enjoy some of NYC’s best new comedic character comics audition for Montreal’s prestigious Just for Laughs Festival—as well as for various show biz industry execs seeking fresh talent— at this free show running about an hour: Just for Laughs Character Auditions (5:00 pm, Free!, The Magnet at 254 West 29th Street)

Ophira Eisenberg & Adira Amram: "Ophira & Adira"Thursday 2/8: Two exceptionally appealing comics, Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!) and Adira Amram (spectacular comedic singer & dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens), perform and host Emily Flake (writer/cartoonist; The New Yorker, The New York Times), Matthew Holtzclaw (ace magician), and Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac): Ophira & Adira (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

MortifiedThursday 2/8: 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: Mortified (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emily Wells and Melena RyzikThursday 2/8: Melena Ryzik (above right; roving culture reporter for The New York TImes), Danielle C. Gray (former Cabinet Secretary and Senior Advisor to President Obama; described by Newsweek as “the most powerful staffer you’ve never heard of”), and Emily Wells (above left; singer/songwriter/musician acclaimed for her use of classical and modern instrumentation and deft sampling) are the impressive guests at this eclectic live podcast recording hosted by Shonali Bhowmik (Variety SHAC; leader of musical group Tigers & Monkeys) & Christian Felix: We Don’t Even Know (9:30 pm, $8, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dave Hill: "Witch Taint: The Black Metal Dialogues Live"Friday 2/9: Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @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; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On) and Phil Costello (Dave’s bandmate in groups Valley Lodge and—with Moby—Diamondsnake) perform Dave’s epic email exchange with a Norwegian black metal record label while pretending to be “Lance, a teenager living with his parents in Gary, Indiana who also just so happens to be the lead singer and sole member of the most extreme, brutal, and Satanic black metal band of all-time, WitchTaint, and hopes to get signed on the strength of one excruciatingly bad song called Necrodreamraper.” To get a feel, visit Dave’s website devoted to these emails, The Black Metal Dialogues, and then come enjoy the stage version: Witch Taint Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Janelle James and Dulce SloanFriday 2/9: Janelle James (above left; @midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Dulcé Sloan (above right; powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Jordan Temple (writer for MTV’s Decoded), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), and token white comic Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper) perform stand-up hosted by Sharron Paul (ABC, MTV, A&E, IFC) & Calvin Cole (TBS’ Just For Laughs): Cheap Date: Seventh Annual Black History Month/V-Day Show (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Chris Duffy's "You Get a Spoon"Saturday 2/10: Four sharp comics TBA tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluSunday 2/11: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

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

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

Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2018: Last Updated Tuesday 2/6/18

February 6, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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

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

 

Just For LaughsTuesday 2/6: Enjoy some of NYC’s best new comedic character comics audition for Montreal’s prestigious Just for Laughs Festival—as well as for various show biz industry execs seeking fresh talent— at this show running about an hour: Just for Laughs Character Auditions (5:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Adrian Sexton & Jason Specland: George/Martha-An Improvised "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"Tuesday 2/6: Brilliant improvisors Adrian Sexton (co-star of superb Unauthorized: The Musical series; host of Pet Prov and co-host of Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show; co-star of improv groups Ouiser & Clairee and The Community Players) & Jason Specland (public access TV show The Enchanted Wardrobe, improv group Regina) make up a guilt & stress-filled evening as Edward Albee’s characters George & Martha (famously played by Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor)—and If you’re not careful, you might find yourself participating in their “fun and games:” George/Martha: An Improvised Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (7:00 pm; $10, The Tank at 312 West 36th Street between Eighth & Ninth Avenues)

DestinyTuesday 2/6: Scientists, geeks, and comics—including Hossein Aleysian (neuroscientist), Aletha Maybank (physician), Peter Brannen (science journalist), and Anita Flores (comic)—tell tales related to science, with this month’s theme Destiny, hosted by Erin Barker & Paula Croxson: The Story Collider: Destiny (8:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)Montreal Just for Laughs FestivalTuesday 2/6: Rising stand-ups will do their very best to make you laugh at these free auditions for the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, with an 8:00 pm show hosted by Pete Lee (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), and a 10:00 pm show hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays) at one of NYC’s best comedy clubs: Just For Laughs Stand-Up Auditions (8:00 pm & 10:00 pm, Free!, no min., The Stand at 239 Third Avenue off 20th Street)

Nikki GlaserTuesday 2/6: On this special pre-Valentine’s Day Date-a-Comic edition, Nikki Glaser (above; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe, co-star of former MTV interview series The Nikki and Sara Show; Trainwreck, Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour and hour-long special Perfect, @midnight, NBC’s America Ninja Warrior: Celebrity Edition; podcast You Had to Be There), Pete Lee (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code, Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim), Julian Velard (singer/songwriter; pianist for NPR’s Ask Me Another), and Steven Castillo (writer for Saturday Night Live; Steezus) are available for audience members to date, hosted by Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1): Sweet: Date-a-Comic Edition (9:00 pm, $10, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)

The Happier HourWednesday 2/7: A show about philosophy, love, and happiness, with guests Skye C. Cleary (Australian philosopher teaching at Columbia University and Barnard; author of Existentialism and Romantic Love), Terri Cole (psychotherapist, relationship expert, and founder of Real Love Revolution and Boundary Bootcamp), and Dr. Home H.C. Nguyen (founder of the MindKind Institute, which provides leadership coaching) hosted by Monica McCarthy (actress, and host of numerous events focused on purpose and interdisciplinary connections): The Happier Hour: Philosophy to Make Your Life Suck Less (7:00 pm, $25, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Wednesday 2/7: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (9:30 pm; $9—which includes a second show, I’m Your Mommy; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

The BackFatloretteWednesday 2/7: In this comedy dating game, Alissa (a Brooklyn-based reporter and podcaster who lives with her best friend Peta the cat) will choose among four stand-ups—Rojo Perez, Daniel Simonsen, Raghav Mehta, and Albert Kirchner—based in part on how well they handle various amusing challenges, hosted by Emily Winter (writer for Fusion’s Come Here and Say That, TVLand, and Glamour; co-host of Backfat Variety and Side Ponytail) and Larry Mancini (band member of The Tracys): The BackFatlorette: Last Comic Standing Meets The Bachelorette (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Rebekah Sebastian's "Yellow Tape: A True Crime Trivia Show"Wednesday 2/7: 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 (9:00 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Just For LaughsThursday 2/8: Enjoy some of NYC’s best new comedic character comics audition for Montreal’s prestigious Just for Laughs Festival—as well as for various show biz industry execs seeking fresh talent— at this free show running about an hour: Just for Laughs Character Auditions (5:00 pm, Free!, The Magnet at 254 West 29th Street)

Ophira Eisenberg & Adira Amram: "Ophira & Adira"Thursday 2/8: Two exceptionally appealing comics, Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!) and Adira Amram (spectacular comedic singer & dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens), perform and host Emily Flake (writer/cartoonist; The New Yorker, The New York Times), Matthew Holtzclaw (ace magician), and Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac): Ophira & Adira (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

MortifiedThursday 2/8: 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: Mortified (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emily Wells and Melena RyzikThursday 2/8: Melena Ryzik (above right; roving culture reporter for The New York TImes), Danielle C. Gray (former Cabinet Secretary and Senior Advisor to President Obama; described by Newsweek as “the most powerful staffer you’ve never heard of”), and Emily Wells (above left; singer/songwriter/musician acclaimed for her use of classical and modern instrumentation and deft sampling) are the impressive guests at this eclectic live podcast recording hosted by Shonali Bhowmik (Variety SHAC; leader of musical group Tigers & Monkeys) & Christian Felix: We Don’t Even Know (9:30 pm, $8, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dave Hill: "Witch Taint: The Black Metal Dialogues Live"Friday 2/9: Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @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; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On) and Phil Costello (Dave’s bandmate in groups Valley Lodge and—with Moby—Diamondsnake) perform Dave’s epic email exchange with a Norwegian black metal record label while pretending to be “Lance, a teenager living with his parents in Gary, Indiana who also just so happens to be the lead singer and sole member of the most extreme, brutal, and Satanic black metal band of all-time, WitchTaint, and hopes to get signed on the strength of one excruciatingly bad song called Necrodreamraper.” To get a feel, visit Dave’s website devoted to these emails, The Black Metal Dialogues, and then come enjoy the stage version: Witch Taint Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Chris Duffy's "You Get a Spoon"Saturday 2/10: Four sharp comics TBA tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluSunday 2/11: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Stephen King and I: "The Shining"Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

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

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

Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2018: Last Updated Sunday 2/4/18

February 4, 2018

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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

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

Puppy Bowl 2018Sunday 2/4: It’s that special day for which you’ve waited all year: Dog Bowl (noon on Animal Planet), Kitten Bowl (noon on Hallmark Channel), and Puppy Bowl (3:00 pm on Animal Planet). Snack and enjoy.

Mark Normand and Dave HillSunday 2/4: Mark Normand (above left; one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself; Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Dave Hill (above right; one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @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), Mookie Thompson (MTV’s Bugging Out, TruTV; host of Everything’s For Sale), and more perform for this weekly stand-up show hosted by Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%) & Jay Schmidt: The Last Laugh (8:00 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Aparna Nancherla and Jo Firestone: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 2/5: Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer; stellar host of You’re the Expert and You Get a Spoon), Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Eman El Husseini (opens for Patton Oswalt), and Mara Wiles perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

DestinyTuesday 2/6: Scientists, geeks, and comics—including Hossein Aleysian (neuroscientist), Aletha Maybank (physician), Peter Brannen (science journalist), and Anita Flores (comic)—tell tales related to science, with this month’s theme Destiny, hosted by Erin Barker & Paula Croxson: The Story Collider: Destiny (8:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Just For LaughsTuesday 2/6: Enjoy some of NYC’s best new comedic character comics audition for Montreal’s prestigious Just for Laughs Festival—as well as for various show biz industry execs seeking fresh talent— at this show running about an hour: Just for Laughs Character Auditions (5:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

The Happier HourWednesday 2/7: A show about philosophy, love, and happiness, with guests Skye C. Cleary (Australian philosopher teaching at Columbia University and Barnard; author of Existentialism and Romantic Love), Terri Cole (psychotherapist, relationship expert, and founder of Real Love Revolution and Boundary Bootcamp), and Dr. Home H.C. Nguyen (founder of the MindKind Institute, which provides leadership coaching) hosted by Monica McCarthy (actress, and host of numerous events focused on purpose and interdisciplinary connections): The Happier Hour: Philosophy to Make Your Life Suck Less (7:00 pm, $25, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend!Wednesday 2/7: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (9:30 pm; $9—which includes a second show, I’m Your Mommy; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Rebekah Sebastian's "Yellow Tape: A True Crime Trivia Show"Wednesday 2/7: 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 (9:00 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)