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.

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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)

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)

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 (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)

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)

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; co-host of You Probably Think This Song Is About You): 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 (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)

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)

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)

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 (635 Sackett 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 Tuesday 8/29/17

August 29, 2017

Michael Moore and Judah FriedlanderPolitically conscious Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United) headlines an intimate stand-up show in the West Village: Judah Friedlander Live (8:30 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)…

Dear Owen Wilson…or join Blair Socci (MTV, Fuse), who “wrote a letter to Owen Wilson in 2007 after his suicide attempt telling him how much she loved him and appreciated him and that she hoped he would feel better soon. (A breakup with Jennifer Aniston could truly shatter anyone…)” Tonight Blair interviews comics Dan Soder, Will Miles, Janelle James, Christi Chiello, Lo Bosworth, and Mehran Khaghani, each first sharing a 1-2 minute letter to a celebrity who’s had an impact on his or her life: Dear Owen Wilson (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Dave Hill and Clare O'Kane…or come to Astoria for Dave Hill (above left; 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) hosting stand-ups Clare O’Kane (above right; Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants), Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Everythign Is Dumbn, and Bunk Bed and Murray Povich open mics), and Danny Felts (The Moth, Risk!): A Reasonably Hot August Night with Dave Hill and Friends (9:00 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Other notable shows this Tuesday include:

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups—all typically led by the best improv pianist in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Tuesday

[FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): If, like me, you miss the characters of Stars Hollow, come experience a lost episode of the classic series, made up on the spot at The PIT Mainstage: Improvised Gilmore Girls

9:00 pm ($7): A one-man show by Alejandro Kolleeny in which “Professor Insano is a fearsome supervillain and evil Professor of English lit and Soc 102 at Baruch College. He has called a meeting of the Council Of Evil to discuss his latest plans to infiltrate reality,” with an opening stand-up set by Griffin Newman (Arthur on Amazon’s The Tick, HBO, MTV) at The PIT Underground: Professor Insano Destroys Reality

[FREE] 10:30 pm (Free! using online code COMP; no min.): Stand-ups pair up to brutally insult each other and then be judged for the effectiveness of their viciousness by veteran comics such as Big Jay Oakerson and Rich Vos at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Luis J. Gomez: The RoastMasters

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 8/30/17

Michelle WolfA star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show, and was previously a staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers, headlines an intimate show in the West VIllage: Michelle Wolf Live (7:00 pm, $5 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)…

The Juice…or if you prefer Brooklyn, come see Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Joe Pera (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), Jaboukie Young-White (film Rough Night)—and Michelle Wolf, presumably rushing over from her West Village gig (see directly above)—performing stand-up, plus ace improvisors Sebastian Conelli, Natasha Vaynblat, and more, all hosted by Conner O’Malley (former staff writer/performer for Seth Meyers; Louie, Broad City) & Carmen Christopher: The Juice (7:30 pm ($5, at Brooklyn’s Union Pool (484 Union Avenue)…

Ilana Glazer…and Ilana Glazer (co-star of Comedy Central red-hot hit Broad City) delivered superb stand-up shows for the past two weeks, in which she did a great long set and also had two sharp comedy friends do great long sets; and since those went so well, Ilana’s doing it one more time tonight, with both an early and late show: Ilana Glazer and Friends (7:30 pm and 9:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street;—take R subway to Union Street; PLEASE NOTE: Both performances have SOLD OUT. However, you might be able to nab tickets via the Fan Exchange)

Other notable shows this Wednesday include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six hours of free improvisation—including dynamite comics Adrian Sexton and Jay Malsky in The Community Players at 7:00 pm, musical improv from group Vern (which includes superb singer & comic Julie A. Feltman) at 7:30 pm, such stellar improvisors as Pat Swearingen and Langston Belton in Hero Complex at 8:30 pm, and star instructors such as Dana Shulman, Adrian Sexton, Chris Booth, and sometimes even PIT owner Ali Reza Farahnakian at The Faculty at 10:30 pm, all at The PIT Mainstage: Super Free Wednesday

7:00 pm ($7): A dozen comics create an on-stage episode of Game of Thrones in which “women rise up and take back Westeros; it’s All Men Must Die (with jokes)” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Dames of Thrones

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Dynamite comics Aaron Jackson, Brandon Scott Jones, Jeff Hiller, Josh Sharp, and Brian Faas promise “You are going to turn Gay, and you are going to love it” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: We Will Turn You Gay

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15): Storytellers Blair Socci (MTV’s Girl Code and Ladylike), Guitler Raphael, and more TBA tell tales revolving around a monthly theme at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, owner of The Story Studio): Risk!

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($20 plus 2-item food/drink min.): A stand-up with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Louie who’s also an Emmy-nominated comedy writer and talk show host headlines at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Nick DiPaolo

9:00 pm ($5): Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Presents special; co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast), Kevin Barnett (NBC’s The Carmichael Show, MTV’s Guy Code, #FAIL Comedy Central, TruTV’s Friends of the People, Sleepwalk With Me, College Humor), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Josh Johnson (writer for Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central Half Hour, Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City), Martin Urbano, and Mike Lebovitz perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Gutter Bar: Bowling and Fine Brews (200 North 14th Street) hosted by Jeff Steinbrunner: Comedians You Should Know

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($7): Shannon O’Neill (lighting-quick, fearless improvisor/sketch comic; co-star of TruTV’s The Chris Gethard Show; landmark improv group The Stepfathers) performs a show based on nothing but interviews with the audience and sheer guts at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Strangers Wanted with Shannon O’Neill

11:00 pm ($7): Stand-ups tell jokes “about their personal mental health” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Let’s Talk About Dying

NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 8/31/17

Kat Radley and Matthew Broussard Kat Radley (staff writer for The Daily Show; stand-up album The Important Thing is that I’m Pretty), Matthew Broussard (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Becky Yamamoto (Web series Uninspired), Wanjiko Eke, and Khalid Rahmaan perform stand-up in the East Village produced by Carol Hartsell and hosted by Sean Crespo & Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle (7:30 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)…

Jena Friedman and Andy Blitz…and while at you’re UCB East, stick around for Andy Blitz (above right; 7-time Emmy-nominated and long-time writer/performer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien; has also written for Comedy Central’s Review and Important Things with Demetri Martin, Netflix’s Master of None—which Andy also co-exec produced, Adult Swim’s Eagleheart, MTV’s Human Giant, etc.; a thoroughly unique stand-up whose sets—ranging from talking peanut butter to jet-flying cats—tend to be unforgettable), Jena Friedman (above left; wry dark political stand-up; Stephen Colbert, @midnight, The New Yorker, Adult Swim, Netflix mockumentary Undecided; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Charlie Pickering (Australian comedy star; host of ABC’s The Weekly), Chris Lamberth (AXS TV), and Ester Steinberg perform stand-up hosted by rising stars Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing, host of Homeschooled, New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York) and/or Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable rising stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code blog): Fresh Out (9:00 pm, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)…

Miles From Pete improv: Josh Tobin, Waylen Roche, Scott Vicari, and rising star Desi Domo…or go cross-town to UCB Chelsea for NYC’s premium improv competition. Last week indie group Miles From Pete (above; Josh Tobin, Waylen Roche, Scott Vicari, and rising star Desi Domo) proved their first underdog victory against What I Did For Love was no fluke by once again crushing a UCB house team—this time Lloyd Night’s Zaddy, by 92 votes to 50. Zaddy actually performed a cliever and impressive improv set revolving around zoo animals, and on most other nights would’ve been hard to beat. But MFP rose to the challenge, creating a 25-minute monoscene set on a boat that started out with mild disquiet, and then progressively built into a fantasy-horror tale involving aggressively sensual mermaids and ritual human sacrifice. Tonight MFP aims for a third notch on its crown against indie improv duo 2 Puerto Ricans (Taylor Gonzalez & Will Martinez) competing for your laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match (11:00 pm, $5, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

Other notable shows this Thursday include:

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

[TOP PICK] 9:30 ($7): Gary DeNoia plays movie icon Nic Cage delivering a lecture about physical intimacy at The PIT Underground: Nic Cage Teaches Sex to Adults

9:30 pm ($10): A raunchy musical about high school seniors and aliens from outer space plotting to harvest our genitals begins a 10-show run tonight through September 18th at The PIT Mainstage from writer Joe Kelly, musical director Jonathan Evans, and director Griffin Osborne: Aliens Coming: The Musical

NYC Comedy Picks for Friday 9/1/17

SommoreA stand-up star who was the host of BET’s Comic View; co-starred in Showtime’s Queens of Comedy, and starred in specials including The Queen Stands Alone and Chandelier Status; co-starred in films including Friday After Next, Soul Plane, and Dirty Laundry, and has appeared on Oprah, Jay Leno, The View, and many other TV shows headlines tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Sommore (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm tonight and Saturday, and 7:30 pm Sunday; $53-$57.25 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)…

Improvised Lifetime Movie…or see superb “overactor” Pat Swearingen and many more make up a ridiculous soap-operish TV movie on the spot based on a title supplied by the audience at The PIT Underground: Improvised Lifetime Movie (7:00 pm, $7, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

The George Lucas Talk Show…and Emily Althaus (cast member of Orange is the New Black) and Chase Mitchell (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon) are the guests of brilliant improvisor & character comic Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers), who transforms into “filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host!” He’s joined by talk show sidekick Griffin Newman (co-star of Amazon’s The Tick) “as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema:” The George Lucas Talk Show (Midnight, $7, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Other notable shows this Friday include:

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

7:30 pm ($10): Casey James Salengo (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents), Harris Mayersohn (recurring character Stoney Von Dankington on Stephen Colbert; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Bang Bang), and five other New York comics tell stories of where they came from (one from Alabama, another from Minnesota) and the journey that led them to NYC performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Katie Boyle (who’s from Ireland): Transplants

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, Alexandra Dickson, Michael Delaney, and/or Silvija Ozols forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which typically features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): Superb improvisors James Dwyer, Craig Rowin, Connor O’Malley, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and Shaun Diston make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Comics perform stand-up sets and then go on dates with each other—on stage, as part of the show—at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Rob Harper & Rachel Coleman: We’re Getting Laid

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.

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

Carolines Comedy Club