NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2020: Last Updated Wednesday 1/8

January 8, 2020

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

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

No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the SenateWednesday 1/8: Comedic storytellers, musicians, and/or political organizers “tell inspiring, funny, and absolutely true personal stories about turning points, and no turning back points. With special remarks from Swing Left about its 2020 strategy to flip the Senate, plus specific calls to action and ways for you to get involved in the fight for our lives. 100% ticket proceeds go directly to Swing Left’s Senate funds,” with performers Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Shaina Taub (Emmy-nominated singer/songwriter who’s written songs for TV shows ranging from The TONY Awards to Julie Andrews’ Julie’s Greenroom to Sesame Street; albums Visitors and Die Happy), Paola Mendoza (activist who co-founded @WeAreSoze, @ResistanceRev, and Women’s March OG; author of Together We Rise), Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Sandi Marx (PBS, 7-time Moth StorySlam winner), and more hosted by Nicole Ferraro (founder of Art, Humanity & Action) and Liat Olenick (Indivisible Nation BK): No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the Senate (7:30 pm, $35-$60The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

Colin QuinnWednesday 1/8: A beloved Broadway, TV, and film star tries out new material in an intimate club for his next mass media solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Lawrence DeLoach & Troy Alan: Wednesday 1/8: Fans of kombucha beverages Lawrence DeLoach (CBS Sports Network; host of lifestyle podcast Sup?) & Troy Alan host Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, animated webseries Damaged, comedy album Mind Over Melee), Corinne Fisher (with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), and Harrison Greenbaum (America’s Got Talent, Comedy Central, Mad Magazine) in an intimate club venue: Kombucha Komedy (7:30 pm, $10The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Stars at The StandWednesday 1/8: Radio star Ron Bennington (host of shows Bennington and Unmasked), Jessica Kirson (recent special Talking to Myself 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), Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week EverComedy 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), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; recent interview on Artie Lange’s Halfway House), and Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Carolina Hidalgo & Frank Conniff: "Open Riff Night"Wednesday 1/8: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic; author of How to Write Cheesy Movies) hosts an open mic for MST3K-style riffing on film clips of awful movies, tonight with guest co-host Carolina Hidalgo (co-host with Frank and Trace Beaulieu of Movie Sign with the Mads podcast; also co-host of podcast Professional Friends). Sign-up is open to all, and riffing happens in randomly assigned groups of three, with no advance knowledge of what’s going to be screened. Whoever Frank and Carolina decide is best will get to riff with them at the end of the night: Frank Conniff’s Open Riff Night (9:00 pm, $5 to riff or $ 8 to just watch, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Capitalism!Wednesday 1/8: In this unique show, you pay $5 to get in, but also commit to spending at least another $10 on the comics who’ll be performing. Specifically, during the show you’ll Venmo the stand-ups who make you laugh the most. Each stand-up’s Venmo feed will be displayed live on stage, so you can post whatever comment you like for all to see…as long as you pay to say it. Tonight’s competitors for your laughs & cash are Tyler Richardson (quick-witted rising star stand-up; The Splash Report, ReelzChannel; host of New Bedtime Stories and co-host of Black Guys), Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing; host of Homeschooled and co-host of Fresh OutNew York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York; comedy album I Was in Band), Lizzie Martinez (co-host of Star F*ckers), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentaries 25 Sets, A Universal Language, co-host of’s In Hot Water and The Stand’s Frantic!), and Derek Humphrey (ABC, MTV, host of podcast Derek Mansplains It All) hosted by Boris Khaykin (Comedy Central’s Broad City, The Opposition; Amazon’s Red Oaks, acclaimed improv hip-hop group North Coast; host of Impro(VS)tandup) & Brian TheriotCapitalism! (9:30 pm, $15—$5 for entry and at least $10 to comics during the show via Venmo; The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

The Stand 1-8-20 2Wednesday 1/8: Ace stand-up from Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week EverComedy 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), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; recent interview on Artie Lange’s Halfway House), Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays), and Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic): Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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

Shalewa Sharpe, Daniel Simonsen, Mohanad Elshieky, and AmelitaThursday 1/9: Stand-ups Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?), Daniel Simonsen (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar; cast member of BBC’s House of Fools; toured with Simon Amstell), Mohanad Elshieky (Conan O’Brien; Epix’s Unprotected Sets; digital producer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), and Amelita (“Future icon blazing through the intersection of diva pop music and comedy that some would argue does not actually exist”) perform for hosts Emily Winter (writer for NPR’s Ask Me AnotherThe New Yorker, The New York Times) & Larry Mancini (ESPN Radio; band member of The Tracys): BackFat Variety (7:00 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ask Me AnotherThursday 1/9: A guest or guests TBA (not available yet, but to be reported here pre-show) will be the focus of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan CoultonAsk Me Another (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

Oh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence ProjectFriday 1/10: Great lineup of Eva Victor (Twitter comedic characters video superstar; The New Yorker), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Ego Nwodim (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust), Conner O’Malley (former staff writer/performer for Seth MeyersLouie, Broad City), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), and Dan Licata (writer for Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks To YouThe Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Ethan Beach & Josh NasserOh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence Project (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

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

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: Saturday 1/11: World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $22.32 for a seat, or $17 for standing room, online; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street. Please note this show consistently sells out, so buying in advance online is highly recommended.)

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

Shalewa Sharpe: Sunday 1/12: “A young woman applies for a job at an adult video store because she figures the dress code will be lax.” Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?) performs a solo show “about the people who need porn and the folks brave enough to sell it to them:” Shalewa Sharpe: Don’t Reach in the Bag (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Taylor Ortega & Jay Malsky: Sunday 1/12: Highly talented & hilarious duo Taylor Ortega (HBO’s Succession, Shego in Disney Channel’s live-action Kim Possible, TruTV) & Jay Malsky (acclaimed solo shows Elaine Stritch: Still Here and Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) play “Leaeah and Jacobs, the founders and resident pastors of a church for the Instagram generation that is known for its celebrity parishioners and hot, relatable take on Christianity. Bear witness to this clearly closeted married couple’s latest fame-hungry venture: Jesus. Sing with them in praise. Become the rock upon which they build their religious empire for Christ-horny millennials:” Turnt Valley Church Club (7:00 pm, $12Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and 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 or, or for any other reason by emailing me at

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wed. 1/11/12

January 11, 2012

For more, please visit

Harrison Greenbaum and Kurt Braunohler

Harrison Greenbaum performs a unique mix of stand-up and magic at the debut of "What Just Happened?", while Kurt Braunohler tapes an episode of what might become a fun comedy game show on IFC: "Pointless"

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT’s Super Free Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing four minutes per comic, with “15 people chosen randomly through e-mail, and five walk-ins; and a guaranteed spot to anyone who performs in character as a famous explorer” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Comedic Exploration Club of Long Island City, West

7:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): A fun mix of storytelling and stand-up from Robin Gelfenbien (charming comedic storyteller & singer; VH1, Sirius Satellite Radio, FringeNYC), John Knefel (co-host of John and Molly Get Along), Jason Burke, Neil Thornton, and Meghan O’Keefe performing atLuca Lounge (222 Avenue B off 14th Street) with host Selena Coppock: Connotation

7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes Leviathan, Grappler, The Surge, Horses, Brick, Featherweight, The Wrath, and Chet Watkins performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with Grappler at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): For this double-bill at UCB East, genius improvisors Gavin Speiller ofDeath By Roo Roo, Ben Rodgers of The Curfew, and Jonathan Gabrus of The Law Firm) perform asOutlook of the Poet; and then Nicole Byer, Sasheer Zamata, and Keisha Zollar are the fiercely energetic & entertaining all-gal improv troupe Doppelganger

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): This debut at UCB Chelsea is a unique treat: a show by stand-up veteran Harrison Greenbaum that mixes comedy and bona fide stage magic. While Harrison makes his living from comedy, magic is his other passion, and it’s always nice to see someone sharp combine his two loves for an audience’s enjoyment. Harrison’s told me he’s had top magicians critique his magic for this show, so hope for something quite special at Harrison Greenbaum: What Just Happened?

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($25 at the box office or $28 online): UK-based Daniel Kitson is one of the sharpest and most respected writer/performers alive. This is a rare opportunity to spend an intimate 90 minutes with a true genius of both stand-up and storytelling. This show is the latter—a carefully constructed, detail-packed theatrical tale of two people and the small, quiet moments that make up their lives. Daniel says it’s “about everything and nothing,” and that’s precisely right. After you see it, you may find it hard to not consider all the small moments lived by any person you pass by…and what the moments of your own life add up to. This one-man show played to packed houses at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is now running every day except Mondays through January 29th at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (38 Water Street): It’s Always Right Now, Until It’s Later

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC treasure Kurt Braunohler is the producer and host of this comedic “anti-game-show” game show aimed at becoming a TV series. It  involves three comedic contestants being asked ridiculous questions so they can provide even more ridiculous answers. The winner, judged by Kurt, is then awarded points—which are meaningless, because no one ultimately wins and there are no prizes. Being taped at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre, it’sPointless Live

[FREE—plus FREE PIZZA for first 30 people, from Artichoke Pizza!] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Kendra Cunningham, Gabe Pacheco, Neil Constantine, and Brendan Fitzgibbons performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar for Negin Farsad’s & Amy Albert’s free weekly show Comedy School Dropout

[FREE] 8:30 pm: NYC stand-ups James Oakes, Tom Steffen, Troy Alan, Kate Wolff, Adam Chisnall, Justin Murray, and Jeff Maurer performing at the only notable weekly comedy show I know of taking place in Astoria Queens—specifically, the Astoria Brewhouse (2850 31st Street) produced by Jesse Jones: Brewhouse Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): At UCB East, Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik, both genius members ofDeath by Roo Roo, perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film as The Two-Man Movie

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, first up is a sketch play about the opening of a trendy restaurant that serves nothing but pig (including “bacon-infused martinis”), written with wit and bite by Leila Cohan-Miccio (Stone Cold Fox), directed with style by Caitlin Bitzegaio (MTV, PBS, ESPN), and performed superbly by comedic actress Lauren Conlin Adams (keep an eye out for her playing Aurora, a hot and hilariously bubble-headed waitress): Pig: A Restaurant 

…and in the other half of this UCB Chelsea double-bill, enormously likable ace improvisor & sketch performer Doug Moe (Conan O’Brien, 30 Rock, Rescue Me, renowned improv troupe Mother) takes a stab at doing a solo show. The writing doesn’t achieve the potential of the subject, but it’s always a pleasure to see Doug on stage, as well as enjoy video clips of his little angel of a 5-year-old daughter: Doug Moe is a Bad Dad

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: As many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. Tonight’s scheduled lineup includes Jena Friedman (staff writer for David Letterman), Brandon Gulya (Stone Cold Fox, Sandino, This is Not a Sketch Show), and David Cope (co-host of Hot Soup); for the complete list, please click here. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house troupe Grandma’s Ashes: The Improv Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

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New Year, Healthier You: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.

NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 6/5/11

June 5, 2011

For full details, please visit

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.

Charlie Murphy

Charlie Murphy headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club...

Harrison Greenbaum

...and Harrison Greenbaum also headlines tonight at Carolines

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 5:00 pm ($18.50 online using discount code ADVANCE ): One of the very best shows at FringeNYC 2010 was an award-winning comedy from NYC’s own Faye Lane, a luminous storyteller and singer who will charm your socks off—and possibly give you a moon pie to boot—at the Soho Playhouse’s downstairs Huron Club. This marvelous event recently received a 2011 Bistro Award for Musical Comedy and 2011 MAC Award for Special Production. Please read my review by clicking here, watch Faye make a pecan pie by clicking here, and then take advantage of this revival running Sundays through June to experience the hilarious and unforgettable Faye Lane’s Beauty Shop Stories

7:00 pm ($5): Musical/rap improv from troupe The Boombox Kids

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCBT’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes stars in the improv world, and sometimes even TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSCAT 3000

[$] 8:00 pm ($49 & 2-drink min.) A TV and movie star who first earned fame on Chappelle’s Show headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Charlie Murphy

8:00 pm ($5): Young comics create a comedic news show…because isn’t it about time someone tried mixing news and comedy?: Local News

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Craig Baldo (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno), Scott Moran, Amber Nelson, and Dan Hirshon performing at RG Daniels’ free weekly show at the Three of Cups East Village lounge: Sunday Night Stand-Up

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The PIT’s downstairs lounge for a free weekly show typically hosted by Chris Grace: Cold Soda Comedy

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not yet announced) performing in the East Village’s Beauty Bar at Vince Averill’s & Jesse Popp’s free weekly show Beauty Bar Comedy

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($10 using code COMEDY over the phone or at the box office, plus 2-drink min.) The quick-witted, rapid-talking winner of the 2010 Andy Kaufman Award, and a writer for Mad Magazine, headlining for one night only at Carolines: Harrison Greenbaum

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Allison Castillo, Adam Lehman (Here TV’s Hot Gay Comics), and Neil Thornton (host of Standup @ Rock Bar)performing at this free weekly gay-themed show at Therapy hosted by Brad Loekle: Electro Shock Therapy Comedy Hour

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 4 minutes per comic, at The PIT’s downstairs lounge hosted by Rob Stern: Vicious Cycle

For full details, please visit

If you know anyone who might have a thyroid problem, please tell them about my new book: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease.