I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 340,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please visit my podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.
Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications.
Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter at @hybender, and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com. (I’m also on Instagram at @hybenderny and Facebook at hybender; but honestly, you’ll be doing me the most good if you follow and retweet me on Twitter.)
In addition, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.
That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:
Tuesday 2/25: Readings of short humor pieces by sharp writers & comics Patti Keaton (The New Yorker , The Onion , Marvel), Maeve Dunigan (McSweeneys , Reductress), and Kendra Eash (The New Yorker, McSweeneys), plus hosts Brian Angler, Luke Burns, and James Folta (all writers for The New Yorker and McSweeney’s): An Evening of Humorous Readings (7:00 pm—arrive at 6:30 to hang out a bit with the guests, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Tuesday 2/25: Improvisors Genny Yosco, Jenny O’Connell, and Saturday Marie Lawson make up scenes on the spot about Cartoon Network’s adorable super-powered trio PowerPuff Girls: Chemical X: The Powerpuff Girls Improv Show (7:00 pm, $9, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)
Tuesday 2/25: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Tuesday 2/25: Shane Gillis (Comedy Central, co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Paris Sashay (Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar, BET’s 50 Central, EPIX’s Unprotected Sets), Adam Friedland (co-host with Stavros Halkias of podcast Cum Town), Paris Sashay (Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar, BET’s 50 Central, EPIX’s Unprotected Sets), and Ian Fidance (regular on SiriusXM’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central Radio; host of Picture This!) perform stand-up for host Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC, co-host with Nick of podcast Cum Town): Fat Tuesdays (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Tuesday 2/25: Ben Sinclair (co-creator/co-director/star of HBO’s High Maintenance), Jessica Kirson (stellar hour-long special Talking to Myself currently streaming on Comedy Central; HBO’s Crashing, The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Chris Distefano (star of Comedy Central’s hour-long special Size 38 Waist and weekly interstitial series Stupid Questions; David Letterman, Seth Meyers, MTV2’s Guy Code), Dave Hill (WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show and Dave Hill’s Podcasting Incident; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes, Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, and Parking the Moose; comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; albums The Human Comedy and Live at the Magnet Theater; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), and more perform stand-up and/or music hosted by Seth Herzog (above; long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1): Sweet (9:00 pm, $16.80 online [all tickets sold via DICE app], Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street)
Tuesday 2/25: Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Joe DeVito (Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Dave Landau (co-host of radio show The Anthony Cumia Show with Dave Landau; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Comedy Central), and Preston Gitlin (Comedywire) perform stand-up for hosts Ray DeVito (The Jim Gaffigan Show, MTV; co-host of podcast The Ghole) & Josh Carter (Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Jim Gaffigan Show): Northern Discomfort (9:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Tuesday 2/25: This inexpensive show features world-class comics Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Ron Bennington (host of radio shows Bennington and Unmasked; Kreeps With Kids tour), April Macie (Showtime, Comedy Central, Netflix, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, The Howard Stern Show, A&E, E!), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Shane Gillis (Comedy Central, co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), and Ryan Long (Netflix, CBC) performing at an elegant Union Square club: $5 Funnies (10:00 pm, $5 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Thursday 2/27: Artie Brennan, Anthony Giordano and friends create comedy chaos with this acclaimed show that “places you into the audience at a live taping of a fictional TV show overflowing with weird characters, interactive games, mysteries, puppets, prizes, and so much more. You have never experienced anything like it:” Super Crazy Fun Time Variety Game Show Hour (7:00 pm, $11, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)
Thursday 2/27-Saturday 2/29: A solo play written & performed by Monte D. Monteleagre self-described as follows: “The Puppeteer and his two sock puppet friends, Calvin and Sir Flops-A-Lot, have teamed up to put on a family-friendly play to educate children on the dangers of falling for a check scam. Except Sir Flops-A-Lot doesn’t know his lines. And the puppets aren’t getting paid. And the puppeteer might have turned their box shelter into this stage:” How Not to Fall for a Scam (7:00 pm, $13, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Thursday 2/27: Talented comedic writer/actors—who may include Desi Domo, Elena Skopetos, Chrissy Shackelford, Antonia Lassar, and/or many more—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Friday 2/28: Natalie Cuomo (Carolines, SirusXM) hosts superb stand-ups Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Leah Bonnema (Stephen Colbert, VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), and Chloe LaBranche (host of The Chlo Show pod, Weep at The Stand): That Time of The Month Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $13, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)
Saturday 2/29: A play based on this premise: “Before Disney announced it would be making National Treasure 3, a strapped-for-cash Nicolas Cage tried to digitally remaster National Treasure on his own. He had to rely on outside funding to make the project happen, and was crushed when Disney threatened to sue if Cage released the film to theaters. Luckily for you, we’ve obtained the final cut of the film:” National Treasure Remastered (9:00 pm, $13, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Saturday 2/29: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)
Saturday 2/29: A top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by ace improvisors TBA, plus stellar improv musicians who are typically Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Tuesday 3/3: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
You can find the vast majority of notable NYC live comedy shows by using the links below to explore the schedules of the following top NYC comedy venues:
Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling
Upright Citizens Brigade Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12
Upright Citizens Brigade at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14
The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20
The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10
The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20
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
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25
QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/W to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.
Fat Black Pussycat Lounge
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s smaller, intimate, and lower-priced sister venue (next door to Village Underground), which serves as its primary home for solo shows and experimental shows—which means it’s sometimes the most exciting choice; 2-item min.
116 East 16th Street; Club closest to competing with Comedy Cellar, featuring top stand-ups on a main stage and upstairs stage; no drink min.—support this policy!
Carolines Comedy Club
1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.
Gotham Comedy Club
208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.
Eastville Comedy Club
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t
Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.
Comic Strip Live
1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.
Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.
NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams
If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.
In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.
All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.
There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.
Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya
Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.
From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.
Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at email@example.com.
You can also find me on Twitter at @hybender, Instagram at @hybenderny, and Facebook at https://Facebook.com/hybender.