NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2019: Last Updated Saturday 2/2

February 2, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com, and 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. Alternatively, if you know someone who should have a book, please refer him or her to me; for a year, you’ll get 10% of all revenue I receive from the referral (e.g., if the client pays me $50,000, you’ll get $5,000). To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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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 (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

North CoastSaturday 2/2 (also 2/9, 2/16 & 2/23): A highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Improvised Lifetime MovieSaturday 2/2: Superb PIT “overactors” make up a ridiculous soap-operish TV movie on the spot based on a title supplied by the audience (plus two other improv groups, Captive Audience and Ugly People): Improvised Lifetime Movie (9:30 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 2/5 (also 2/12, 2/10 & 2/26): Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

33 Reasons Why You Couldn't Make It To This ShowWednesday 2/6: A comic explores all the reasons his friends have given for why they couldn’t attend his performance. So you can either see this or live this: 33 Reasons Why You Couldn’t Make It To This Show (7:00 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

The Heirs of HogwartsFriday 2/8 (also 2/15 & 2/22): Improvisors create new tales of Hogwarts on the spot based on an audience suggestion: The Heirs of Hogwarts (6:00 pm, $15, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

The NotebookSaturday 2/16: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate infamous 2004 tearjerker The Notebook, with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie just once. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in The Notebook but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:” The Notebook…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

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

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade 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/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.

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.

The Stand
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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.

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

From comedy & rock goddess Lane Moore (host of smash hit Tinder Live; author of How to be Alone; lead singer of Brooklyn band It Was Romance): Hy Bender lives and breathes comedy. He knows what he’s talking about. Listen.

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

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 9/1/17

September 1, 2017

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: 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 (former 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 Comedy Picks for Saturday 9/2/17

Adrian Sexton & Dana Shulman: Ouiser & ClaireeDelightful stellar improvisors Dana Shulman & Adrian Sexton play Clairee Belcher & Ouiser Boudreaux, the sassy supporting characters from 1989 film Steel Magnolias about charming but tough Southern women. In this show, they’re “fresh graduates from the improv workshop at The Chinquapin Parish Senior Center and are ready to show you everything they’ve learned. You’ll be enchanted by their improvisation skills, their witty banter, and their ability to make grown men cry. Why would you be anywhere else when you could come and sit by Ouiser and Clairee?” Why, indeed: Come and Sit By Me with Ouiser and Clairee (7:00 pm, $7, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)…

Tracy Mull: "Boxed"…and then consider racing to the West side PIT to see the always inventive Tracy Mull perform a solo sketch show…with cardboard boxes! Tracy was aided by director Geoff Grimwood, and hosts an opening sketch by Brad Stuart & Rich Templeton titled The Scientists. If you’ve been craving something different, this show is it: Boxed (7:00 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)…

Adrian Sexton and BJ Thorne: "The Darklings:…while back at the East side PIT, superb improvisors Adrian Sexton (Unauthorized: The Musical series; improv groups The Community Players, George/Martha, and Ouiser & Clairee (see above) & BJ Thorne (host of Gas Station Horror and Welcome to Hell with Vincent Welles; once chided a character in an improv scene by observing, a la Tom Hanks, “There’s no crying in Hell”) host an opening set by Parker Denton (sketch group National Scandal), and then perform duo improv as “Brother and Sister Darkling, who were raised by ghosts in a haunted house. They create fantastical worlds and spooky situations to pass the time. Come and play with them…forever:” The Darklings (10:30 pm, $7, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

Simon Taylor.…or head over to Brooklyn for a rare NYC opportunity to see Australian-based comic Simon Taylor (former staff writer for Jay Leno) perform stand-up, with bits of song, dance, and magic thrown in: Simon Taylor is a Super Funny Boy (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Saturday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, 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 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 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 Saturday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Gypsy Danger (which includes brilliant comics Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman, and which will make up a feature film on the spot) and The Baldwins (which includes brilliant comics Micah Sherman and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT Mainstage: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour at The PIT Underground: North Coast

10:00 pm ($5): A game-based comedy show in which “three comics choose three topics, and then you and the audience write questions on those subjects. If the comics can’t answer a question correctly, the author of it wins a free shot of whiskey. And at the end of the night the audience chooses one of the comics to perform a ‘Punishment Set’ of improvised stand-up” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Chris Milner: Specific Ignorance

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme each week at The Magnet theatre: The Cast

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($7): A fun freestyle rap contest at UCB East with NYC comics (not announced), plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by superstar human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central): Battlicious

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($7): In this acclaimed monthly show, six NYC stand-ups each perform an 8-minute set while they “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne & Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: See You in Hell

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Pot stand-up from “highly talented comics who have been highly recommended from people who are thought of highly in the business. Oh, and they’ll be high” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: High Five

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
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!

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.