NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2018: Last Updated Monday 12/3

December 3, 2018

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

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

Josh Sharp and Michael Cruz KayneMonday 12/3: 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) and Michael Cruz Kayne (sketches on Stephen Colbert and The Chris Gethard Show; HBO’s Crashing; former writer for @midnight and Billy on the Street; member of ace musical improv group Baby Wants Candy and UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love; co-host of monthly comedy show The Exhibition) each perform a 30-minute comedy set: Michael Cruz Kayne and Josh Sharp Triumphantly Present Their Half Hours (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Laura Lane, Ellen Haun, and Amber Williams: Monday 12/3: KIcking off this double-bill is an all-gal sketch show in which “Sleeping Beauty’s prince realizes that it’s super creepy to kiss a woman who’s sleeping, the Little Mermaid discovers that legs come with vagina-a-bobs, and Cinderella learns how dumb it is to wear shoes made of glass” written & co-starring Laura Lane & Ellen Haun, and also co-starring Amber Williams, and directed by Chet Siegel: Femme Fairy Tales; and then superb improvisors Aaron Jackson (unique improv/sketch/musical talent; cast member of Comedy Central’s The Opposition; stellar improv groups Rumpleteaser, What I Did For Love, Fuck That Shit) and Asher Perlman (The Opposition, Improvised Shakespeare) perform duo improv: Aaron & Asher (8:00 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Adira Amram and Janeane GarofaloMonday 12/3: Adira Amram (spectacular comedic singer & dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens; co-host of Ophira & Adira), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, an interview with the The Bowery Boys, and NYC trivia games with prizes, all hosted by Nat Towsen (VICE, College Humor): Downtown Variety Hour (7:30 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Maeve Higgins, Aparna Nancherla, and Jo Firestone: Monday 12/3: An eclectic mix of stand-ups including Casey Balsham, Saurin Choksi, Jes Tom, and Chike Robinson perform for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) and/or 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)

Dear Diary: Comics Read Their Weird Childhood JournalsMonday 12/3: Comics share their observations, fears, dreams, and insanities growing up by reading from their childhood diaries, featuring Defne Gencler, Camille Theobald, Ellen Harold, Alex Grubard, Mackenzie Graves, Chloe McGovern, Emily Hupp, and Amelia Bienstock and host Maggie Lalley: Dear Diary: Comics Read Their Weird Childhood Journals (8:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Calise Hawkins, Jacqueline Novak, and Karen CheeMonday 12/3: Calise Hawkins (above left; Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, TruTV, Oxygen; writer for Comedy Central, Playboy.com), Jacqueline Novak (above middle; exceptionally smart, fresh stand-up; Jimmy Fallon, James Corden, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO; comedy album Quality Notions; book How to Weep in Public), Karen Chee (above right; Stephen Colbert, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s), Aaron Kominos-Smith (MTV, Inside Amy Schumer), and Brendan Gay (NBC, TruTV) are scheduled to perform stand-up for this free weekly show hosted by Jess Salomon (former UN war crimes lawyer turned comic; CBS, Sirius XM): Dirty Laundry (11:00 pm, Free! (make reservation here), UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

The Story Collider: Tuesday 12/4: Storytellers Adrien Behn (above left; host of podcast Strangers Abroad), Mimi Hayes (above right; author of memoir I’ll Be OK, It’s Just a Hole in My Head), Will Tran (creative director), Zoya Vallari (physicist), and Gregory Gedman (geneticist)i tell tales on this month’s science theme of “dreams, beliefs, and other mysteries of the mind” hosted by Tracy Rowland & Paula Croxson: The Story Collider: It’s All in Your Head (8:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Tariq TrotterTuesday 12/4: Tariq Trotter (a.k.a. Black Thought; co-founder & rapper/MC for legendary band The Roots; regular sketch performer on Jimmy Fallon, and exceptionally quick, witty guy),Cristela Alonzo (star of sitcom Cristela, Cars 3, Netflix’s Lower Classy), Janelle James (HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, Comedy Central’s @midnight, Fuse’s Uproarious), Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, America’s Got Talent), Petey Deabreu (host of Petey’s World and co-host of White Chocolate), and Yamaneika Saunders (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle) perform stand-up hosted by Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin as part of the Janelle James Comedy Festival: Comedians Who Live Nearby (8:00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Punderdome 3000Tuesday 12/4: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 audience members (a dozen sign-ups and six returning champions) fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd. In addition, tonight features a pun costume contest (e.g., if you wear an electrical socket made out of cardboard and then doodle, collage, and scrapbook all over it, you’re a creative outlet): Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early—doors open at 7:00—to nab a seat, or plan on standing)

Judah FriedlanderWednesday 12/5: Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly; Netflix stand-up special America is the Greatest Country in the United States; bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family), Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, This Is Not Happening, @midnight, Horace and Pete, Chelsea Lately), Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code, co-host of Battle of the Divas), Janelle James (HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, Comedy Central’s @midnight, Fuse’s Uproarious), and Mia Jackson (Last Comic Standing, Inside Amy Schumer, Viceland) perform stand-up as part of the Janelle James Comedy Festival: Comedians Who Said “Well, Who All Goin Be There?” (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Alex Song and Karen CheeWednesday 12/5: Karen Chee (above right; Stephen Colbert, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s) and Alex Song (above left; Jimmy Fallon, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, VH1) each perform a 30-minute stand-up set hosted by Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust): Karen & Alex Do Half-Hours (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Brian McGuinness & TJ Del Reno: Wednesday 12/5: Comics and/or audience members play old video games while hosts Brian McGuinness (Playable Characters Podcast) & TJ Del Reno (Unlimited Lives Radio) and guests provide live commentary: Retro Bits (7:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Eugene MirmanThursday 12/6: Eugene Mirman (FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Archer, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, Adult Swim’s Delocated, VH1, frequent co-host of StarTalk; pioneer of NYC downtown comedy), Kate Willett (Comedy Central’s The Jim Jeffries Show and This Is Not Happening; VICE’s Flophouse, Netflix’s Comedy Lineup; comedy album Glass Gutter), Janelle James (HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, Comedy Central’s @midnight, Fuse’s Uproarious), Catherine Cohen (Hulu’s Difficult People; The New Yorker; co-host of Cumming, co-host of It’s a Guy Thing), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV; album You Guys Are Dope), and Kenice Mobley (host of Person About Town podcast) perform stand-up on this final night of the Janelle James Comedy Festival: Comedians Who Said “Sure, I’ll Come By” (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jenny Gorelick's Thursday 12/6: Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe), Karen Chee (Stephen Colbert, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s), Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust), The Community Dance Corps, Dave Mizzoni, Matt DeCaro, Mary Beth Barone, Zach Zimmerman, Milly Tamarez, Andrew Barbato, Kuhoo Verma, and Gabe Gonzalez tell jokes and/or sing or dance for this party-like show that’s a mix of stand-up and music hosted by Jenny Gorelick (Improv Anywhere; perpetual birthday gal) & Addie Weyrich (HBO’s Crashing, Hulu): Jenny’s Birthday Variety Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mike Drucker's Thursday 12/6: Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously a staff writer for NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Comedy Central’s The President Show, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live) hosts comics reading obituaries they wrote for themselves, “honoring the lives they had and making fun of the lives they could have had,” with the dying-as-we-speak guests Ariel Dumas (staff writer for Stephen Colbert), 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; podcasts Broccoli and Ice Cream), Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Marcia Belsky (Reductress; Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; lead singer of band Free the Mind), Calvin Cato (Oxygen’s My Crazy Love, host of Ed Sullivan on Acid, co-host of podcast Playable Characters), Ashley Bez (TV Land), and Robert Dean (Comedy Central): My Obituary Show (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

New York City's Secrets and Lies

Thursday 12/6: Storytellers Sandi Marx, Jackie Peters, VIcki Eastus, Nate Charles, and Dustin Growick share the fascinating secret pasts of NYC locations you may walk by every day. Four of the stories are entirely true…and one is a pack of lies. Can you spot the fibber? Come have your internal lie detector challenged by host Christa Avampato (author of YA novel Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters): New York City’s Secrets and Lies (7:00 pm; $13.71 in advance online or $15 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Pulitzer SurprisesThursday 12/6: Comics each perform an argument for why he or she should receive a Pulitzer Prize—with tonight’s candidates Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe), Ayo Edebiri, and more—hosted by Caroline Schaper (writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, former writer for David Letterman) & Eliza Cossio (writer for HBO’s Problem Areas, former Senior Latina Correspondent for The Daily Show): Pulitzer Surprises (9:30 pm, $9.47 online or $12 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ziwe Fumudoh's Friday 12/7: Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe) invites comics to perform pop songs, preceded by comedic presentations, with tonight’s guests Friends Who Folk (delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com), Rebecca O’Neal (Netflix’s Easy; Vanity Fair, Gawker, Vulture; former host of local Chicago TV show One Night Stand-Up), Catherine Cohen (Hulu’s Difficult People; The New Yorker; co-host of Cumming, co-host of It’s a Guy Thing), Caitlin Bitzegaio & Tim Dunn, Ike Ufomadu, and Amanda Shechtman: Pop Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Literati.jpgFriday 12/7: “Do you ever leave a comedy show saying ‘Hmm, that was pretty funny but not enough reading’? Literati is a night of comics in character performing hilarious readings—sometimes while wearing wigs,” with comics TBA hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About Books and the Idiots Who Write Them (9:00 pm, $9.47 online or $10 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Soft Core 2Friday 12/7: Host Chris Gersbeck screens a “cheesy” porn movie and comics Emily Flake (writer/cartoonist; The New Yorker, The New York Times), Calvin Cato (Oxygen’s My Crazy Love, host of Ed Sullivan on Acid, co-host of podcast Playable Characters), Kristin Seltman, and Jenn Wehrung (this show’s producer; BBC) riff on it MST3K-style: Soft Core! (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Oh, Such A Good Show, Oh!Saturday 12/8: Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and stars in an upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Stephen Colbert; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1), Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX), Nimesh Patel (exceptionally sharp stand-up; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars; co-host of Broken Comedy), Kate Willett (Comedy Central’s The Jim Jeffries Show and This Is Not Happening; VICE’s Flophouse, Netflix’s Comedy Lineup; comedy album Glass Gutter), Pat Regan (The Eric Andre Show, Last Comic Standing), Daniel Moore (Lloyd Night), and Natalie Walker perform stand-up hosted by Ethan Beach (MTV) & Josh Nasser (The Story Pirates; co-host of Seth and Josh Need to Network): Oh, Such A Good Show, Oh! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Saturnalia: A Pagan Celebration with Jill SobuleSaturday 12/8: “When it comes to Christmas, most of us think Jesus is the reason for the season. But before there was Christmas, Saturnalia was the holiday of choice for Roman pagans. Filled with riotous parties and scurrilous winter solstice rituals, we’ll recount how early Christians culturally appropriated the holiday season for the ages” with performance artist/dancer Summer Minerva, singer/dancer Claudia Valentina & her band, and more hosted by singer/songwriter Jill Sobule: Saturnalia: A Pagan Celebration with Jill Sobule (4:00 pm, $22.32 in advance online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Rachel JoravskySaturday 12/8: Rachel Joravsky (Reductress, BET) teaches you how to become a white ally via sketch, characters, and videos, with stand-up from guests Karen Chee (Stephen Colbert, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s), Rachel Pegram (HBO, Comedy Central), and Dewayne Perkins (Netflix): Rachel Joravsky is a Thirsty White Ally (7:00 pm, $11.59 in advance online or $12 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Emily Winter's & Larry Mancini's Saturday 12/8: Shane Torres (fresh, hilarious stand-up; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Presents and Comedy Cellar, IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang, stand-up album Established 1981), Ariel Elias (co-host of podcast Well Behaved), Chris Calogero (Vice, Fusion; co-host of Not Quite Midnight), and Fem Appeal (SF/fantasy/horror burlesque) perform for hosts Emily Winter (writer for Fusion’s Come Here and Say That, TVLand, and Glamour; co-host of Side Ponytail) and Larry Mancini (band member of The Tracys): Backfat Variety (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Haunting Renditions 2Sunday 12/9: “Eliot Glazer, a classically trained vocalist-turned-comedian, takes some of pop music’s most infamous songs and turns them into highbrow, sweeping ballads. Like a twisted version of MTV Unplugged, Austin City Limits, or VH1 Storytellers, it’s an intimate night of bad music made good,” plus stand-ups Chris Red (cast member of Saturday Night LIve) and Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust): Haunting Renditions (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Naomi EkperiginMonday 12/10: Naomi Ekperigin (above; dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX), Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert), Meaghan Strickland (iO Theater, Annoyance Theater, hosts A Late Night Show That is Also Live), Will Martin (Improv Boston), and more perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of NatGeo’s StarTalk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Myq Kaplan & FriendsMonday 12/10: 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; podcasts Broccoli and Ice Cream) hosts stand-ups and musical comics TBA: Myq Kaplan & Friends (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Rebekah Sebastian's Wednesday 12/11: 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)

Marcela Onyango & Lauren Clark: Wednesday 12/12: Comics TBA explore this month’s topic Race in Politics hosted by Marcela Onyango (host of Feel the News) & Lauren Clark (The Story Pirates): Profiled (9:30 pm, $9.57 in advance online or $10 at the door—40% of proceeds go to Run For Something, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Quip It Good!Wednesday 12/12: A stage version of the online game Quiplash, in which contestants—including comics TBA—must come up with witty, silly, or otherwise entertaining responses to prompts provided by hosts Sarah Kennedy & Tristan Miller: Quip It Good! (9:00 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

MortifiedThursday 12/13: 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, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: Friday 12/14: 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; $16.89 in advance online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

RelationshitFriday 12/14: Storytellers share tales of relationships in front of a panel of comics and therapy experts, who then give advice, with tonight’s guests including Lux Alptraum (author of new book Faking It: The Lies Women Tell about Sex–And the Truths They Reveal) and Wilson McDermut hosted by Lynn Bixenspan & Morgan Pielli: Relationshit (9:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

The Odd Rock Comedy Hour 3Saturday 12/15: Music, comedy, and more from duo Song Salad, who’ll write & perform a new song on the spot, storyteller & musician Harmon Leon, and more hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 13 million people on YouTube, please click here): The Odd Rock Comedy Hour (9:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Josh Gondelman and Kate WillettSunday 12/16: Long stand-up sets by Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up album Physical Whisper) and Kate Willett (Comedy Central’s The Jim Jeffries Show and This Is Not Happening; VICE’s Flophouse, Netflix’s Comedy Lineup; comedy album Glass Gutter), plus briefer holiday appearances from comics Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Half Hour), Emily Winter (NPR’s Ask Me Another), Carmen Lagala (Stephen Colbert), Max Wittert (The New Yorker), Ayo Edibiri (Comedy Central), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show), Sam Taggart (Live on Broadgay, Lake Homo High), John Payne, Sam Evans, Ethan Simmons Patterson, and Julia Shiplett hosted by Chris Calogero & Courtney Maginnis: Not Quite Midnight (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Susan LucciMonday 12/17: Susan Lucci (legendary soap actress playing Erica Kane on ABC’s All My Children from 1970 to 2011) is tonight’s guest of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and 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): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $20, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Jessica Ellen Creane: Tuesday 12/18-Thursday 12/20: This solo production, which debuted at October’s FringeNYC and is now enjoying a three-night revival at the Here Theatre, starts out pretending to be a scientific lecture about and demonstration of chaos theory.

But it’s really a highly interactive show that uses comedy and thoughtfully structured game-play for nudging audiences to explore their wishes and desires, push past boundaries, connect with everyone around them, and be open to anything.

It’s all courtesy of writer/performer Jessica Ellen Creane, who cycles between faux-shyly giving illustrated talks about such things as fractals, love, and velociraptors, making herself fearlessly vulnerable, and improvising quick-witted responses to audience choices. For example, when Creane asked me to name a goal, I replied, “writing and selling a movie.” She immediately gave me the best pep talk I’ve ever had, stating beyond doubt that I’d succeed. In gratitude, I added, “I’ll cast you in it.” Without missing a beat, and fully committing to her scientist character (wearing thick black-frame glasses with no lenses), Creane tossed off, “I’m not good at acting” before moving on to help someone else. That she even thought of that line demonstrates what a superb actress Creane is…and how completely she performs in the moment.

Because this show is so heavily dependent on interaction, each edition will be different based on the decisions made by you and your fellow audience members. Along the same lines, how much you enjoy it, and genuinely get out of it, will depend heavily on what you bring to it.

For me, it was a **** (out of 4) show. If you come experience this—and you should—I hope you have a wonderful time too; and that it moves you closer to your dreams.

Chaos Theory is playing 8:30 pm on Tuesday 12/18, Wednesday 12/19, and Thursday 12/20 for $20 at the Here Theatre at 145 Sixth Avenue; take C/E subway to Spring Street and enter on Dominick Street)

It's a Guy ThingTuesday 12/18: Hosts Catherine Cohen, Mitra Jouhari, and Patti Harrison “are three gals who just don’t get ‘guy stuff.’ They’ve invited comics to give them lectures on guy stuff so that they can finally fit in,” with tonight’s bearers of wisdom Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX), Friends Who Folk (delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com), Greta Titelman, Whitmer Thomas, Pat Regan, and Eudora Peterson: It’s a Guy Thing (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Laugh Through the PainWednesday 12/19: For this holiday season, Chloe Holmes hosts a comedy show built on sadness and despair, with comics TBA: Laugh Through the Pain (7:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling ShowWednesday 12/19: Stand-ups and/or storytellers Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show and nearly 400 episodes of NBC’s Jimmy Fallon, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), John Fugelsang (host of Sirius XM talk show Tell Me Everything; former host of America’s Funniest Home Videos), Venessa V. Lince, Rachel McCartney, and Amber Rollo tell tales about losing their virginity hosted by Angela Cobb (Sirius XM): My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling Show (9:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Lucie Pohl's Thursday 12/20: Comics who are immigrants perform stand-up, storytelling, or characters, and comics who aren’t perform immigrant-related material, for this show celebrating talents who weren’t born in the US hosted by German-American Lucie Pohl (above; voice of Mercy in Overwatch and Harmony in Red Dwarf XI): Immigrant Jam (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 12/21: Comics Ian Fidance (host of Picture This!; regular on SiriusXM’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central Radio), Danny Rathbun, Chloe McGovern, and Kelly McInerney 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)

Katie Boyle 4Saturday 12/22: Seven comics TBA perform stand-up that might include material about where they originally came from and the journey that led them to NYC, all hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above; from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Lyssa Mandel & Phil Casale: Sunday 12/23: Storyteller Lyssa Mandel and her boyfriend/co-host Phil Casale invite comics TBA to “expose their bleeding-heart adolescent artifacts (journal entries, poetry, original songs, and art), then laugh at and with their own flaws:” The Bitch Seat (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

All Is Forgiven: A Non-Religious Comedy Show About ReligionWednesday 12/26: Storytellers TBA share tales about how faith has affected their lives hosted by Ian Goldstein (above): All Is Forgiven: A Non-Religious Comedy Show About Religion (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Q.E.D&DWednesday 12/26: A guest comic, two audience members selected on the spot, and hosts Glen & Wade play a game of Dungeons & Dragons “as a multimedia epic, with music, visual guides, drinking games, and a stand-up comedy set that will be woven into the story:” Q.E.D&D (9:00 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Aaron Jackson & Josh Sharp: Friday 12/28: Hosts Aaron Jackson & Josh Sharp invite you to celebrate the holidays with them and their guests Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX), Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert), Pat Regan (The Eric Andre Show, Last Comic Standing), Jaboukie Young-White (film Rough Night), Nathan Lee Graham (Zoolander, LA to Vegas), Pat Regan, Amy Jo Jackson, Erin Markey, and Henry Koperski and His Straights: A Gay Show for All People: Holiday Spectacular (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union 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.

The Stand
239 Third Avenue—moving to Union Square this summer; 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
moving to Brooklyn in June 2018, please stay tuned; 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.

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 February 2018: Last Updated Saturday 2/17/18

February 17, 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 more to come soon):

Janeane GarofaloSaturday 2/17: TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo is interviewed live on stage by Mark Malkoff (The Carson Podcast) followed by an audience Q&A session: A Conversation with Janeane Garofalo (4:00 pm, $20, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

Raise Your Hand: Computer ScienceSaturday 2/17: Comics 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 The Standups, 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), Michael Kayne (HBO’s Crashing, The Chris Gethard Show; ace musical improv groups Baby Wants Candy and Diamond Lion, UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots; co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) learn about computers from Allison Bishop (Assistant Professor at Columbia University and Researcher for IEX) hosted by Matthew Starr & Monique Moses: Raise Your Hand: Computer Science (7:00 pm; $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Picture This!Saturday 2/17: In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Tonight’s excellent stand-up lineup consists of Dave Hill, Griffin Newman, Calise Hawkins, Ruby Karp, Farah Brook, and Jake Flores, produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Uncle Function Falls in Love and Terrorbird: The HitsSaturday 2/17: Enjoy a double-bill of sketch, with a love-themed show by Uncle Function (an actor-centric group that includes award-winning playwright/performer Gianmarco Soresi) at 8:00 pm and a “best of” show by Terrorbird (a group focusing on the oddball and surreal) at 9:30 pm: Uncle Fuction Falls in Love and Terrorbird: The Hits (8:00 pm and 9:30 pm, $10 per show, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

Forever: Improv Inspired by NYT Wedding AnnouncementsSaturday 2/17: Improvisors make up scenes of a relationship springboarding off an audience-supplied wedding announcement from The New York Times: Forever: Improv Inspired by NYT Wedding Announcements (9:30 pm, $10, at The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Oh, Such a Good Show, OhSaturday 2/17: Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; member of sketch group Pop Roulette; co-host of podcast Las Culturistas), Michael Wolf (showrunner of MTV series After Hours with Josh Horowitz; sketch comedy groups O.S.F.U.G. and Nancy), Colin O’Brien (sketch comedy group O.S.F.U.G.), Rebecca O’Neal (Netflix’s Easy; Vanity Fair, Gawker, Vulture; former host of local Chicago TV show One Night Stand-Up), Tony Zaret, Josh Nasser, and Larry Owens perform stand-up in Brooklyn hosted by Ethan Beach (MTV): Oh, Such a Good Show, Oh (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

John Mulaney: "Kid Gorgeous"Saturday 2/17-Monday 2/19: John Mulaney (former writer/performer for Saturday Night Live and star of FOX sitcom Mulaney; numerous guest TV appearances; stand-up specials The Top Part, New in Town, and The Comeback Kid) is one of the finest comics of our time, and he’ll be proving that with his latest stand-up show Kid Gorgeous (I was lucky enough to catch a rehearsal). John kicks off a national tour with a run through Monday at Radio City Music Hall. All shows are sold out except for Monday…and those seats are going fast. I highly recommend John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous (tickets still available for 7:00 pm Monday 2/19; $44; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

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: Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, co-star of feature film The Wrestler, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour, Netflix special Spicy Honey), Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), and Negin Farsad (author of How to Make White People Laugh) demonstrate their quick with 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)

Aparna NancherlaSunday 2/18: 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 The Standups, 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) headlines 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)

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: PLEASE NOTE: This show has been CANCELED. If you purchased tickets online, you’ll be refunded automatically. 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 ActorsThursday 2/22: A 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 Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), 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)

Demetri MartinThursday 2/22: Star Demetri Martin (Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Margin; Trendspotting commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; former writer/performer for Conan O’Brien; three hour-long comedy specials, including Netflix’s Demetri Martin Live (at the tIme); stand-up albums These Are Jokes and Standup Comedian; bestselling author of This is a Book, Point Your Face at This, and If It’s Not Funny, It’s Art) performs for one night only in Brooklyn: Demetri Martin (10:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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)

Dumb People TownSunday 2/25: The Sklar Brothers and Dan Van Kirk perform and host other comics TBA perform improv and stand-up for this recording of their podcast: Dumb People Town (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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2018: Last Updated Friday 2/16/18

February 16, 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 more to come soon):

John Mulaney: "Kid Gorgeous"Friday 2/16-Monday 2/19: John Mulaney (former writer/performer for Saturday Night Live and star of FOX sitcom Mulaney; numerous guest TV appearances; stand-up specials The Top Part, New in Town, and The Comeback Kid) is one of the finest comics of our time, and he’ll be proving that with his latest stand-up show Kid Gorgeous (I was lucky enough to catch a rehearsal). John kicks off a national tour tonight with a run through Monday at Radio City Music Hall. All shows are sold out except for Monday…and those seats are going fast. I highly recommend John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous (tickets still available for 7:00 pm Monday 2/19; $44; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th 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 Suzuki (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 (Sirius XM), 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, $8 online using discount code GETOFFMYPLANE [otherwise $10], Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Janeane GarofaloSaturday 2/17: TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo is interviewed live on stage by Mark Malkoff (The Carson Podcast) followed by an audience Q&A session: A Conversation with Janeane Garofalo (4:00 pm, $20, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

Picture This!Saturday 2/17: In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Tonight’s excellent stand-up lineup consists of stars Dave Hill and Griffin Newman, plus Calise Hawkins, Ruby Karp, Farah Brook, and Jake Flores, produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Uncle Function Falls in Love and Terrorbird: The HitsSaturday 2/17: Enjoy a double-bill of sketch, with a love-themed show by Uncle Function (an actor-centric group that includes award-winning playwright/performer Gianmarco Soresi) at 8:00 pm and a “best of” show by Terrorbird (a group focusing on the oddball and surreal) at 9:30 pm: Uncle Fuction Falls in Love and Terrorbird: The Hits (8:00 pm and 9:30 pm, $10 per show, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

Forever: Improv Inspired by NYT Wedding AnnouncementsSaturday 2/17: Improvisors make up scenes of a relationship springboarding off an audience-supplied wedding announcement from The New York Times: Forever: Improv Inspired by NYT Wedding Announcements (9:30 pm, $10, at The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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)

Aparna NancherlaSunday 2/18: 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 The Standups, 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) headlines 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)

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: PLEASE NOTE: This show has been CANCELED. If you purchased tickets online, you’ll be refunded automatically. 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 ActorsThursday 2/22: A 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 Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), 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)

Demetri MartinThursday 2/22: Star Demetri Martin (Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Margin; Trendspotting commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; former writer/performer for Conan O’Brien; three hour-long comedy specials, including Netflix’s Demetri Martin Live (at the tIme); stand-up albums These Are Jokes and Standup Comedian; bestselling author of This is a Book, Point Your Face at This, and If It’s Not Funny, It’s Art) performs for one night only in Brooklyn: Demetri Martin (10:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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)

Dumb People TownSunday 2/25: The Sklar Brothers and Dan Van Kirk perform and host other comics TBA perform improv and stand-up for this recording of their podcast: Dumb People Town (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)

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 January 2018: Last Updated Wednesday 1/17/18

January 17, 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 January 2018 include (with more to come soon):

David Cross and Janeane GarofaloWednesday 1/17: David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Jo Firestone, Joe Pera, Dan Licata, and more perform stand-up for this fundraiser to enable third graders at the Brooklyn New School to spend the year studying Africa and learn there’s much more to it than our President thinks there is: Benefit for Brooklyn New School 3rd Grade Africa Curriculum Program (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sal Vulcano and Liza TreygerWednesday 1/17: Sal Vulcano (co-star of TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Horace and Pete, Chelsea Lately), Shane Torres (above; fresh, hilarious stand-up; Conan O’Brien, IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang, stand-up album Established 1981), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Chanel Ali, and Maria Wojciechowski perform stand-up for this free weekly LES show produced by Luisa Díez, and hosted by Samantha Ruddy, Luke Touma, JP McDade, Jordan Temple, and/or Dina Hashem: Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!, Lucky Jack’s Pub at 129 Orchard Street between Rivington & Delancey Streets)

Dulce Sloan and Friends Who FolkWednesday 1/17: Dulcé Sloan (above left; powerhouse comic who’s a correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), singing duo Friends Who Folk (Rachel Wenitsky & Ned Riseley, above right; TheNewYorker.com), and Yedoye Travis (Stephen Colbert, Search Party; co-host of Rent Party) perform and/or are interviewed by host Dale Seever (a.k.a. James Bewley) for this podcast live recording: Deep Night with Dale (8:00 pm, $12, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)

Double Plus Good ComedyWednesday 1/17: Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!; for a sampling of Ophira’s remarkably deep comedic tales, please click here), Cyrus McQueen (Last Comic Standing), Liz Barrett, Ray Gootz, and Camille Theobald perform extra-long stand-up sets hosted by Ben Asher: Double Plus Good Comedy (8:00 pm, $5 suggested contribution or $1 for students, but paying is optional; Brooklyn’s Pacific Standard at 82 Fourth Avenue)

Tinder Tales LiveFriday 1/19: A live version of the popular podcast Tinder Tales that provides stories of Tinder dates, dating advice, and fun games, with guests Chris Calogero (Vice; host of Mourning Coffee podcast),Julie Kottakis (Comedians at Law), and Amy Shanker hosted by David Piccolomini: Tinder Tales Live (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Christi Chiello: "It's Christi, B*tch!"Saturday 1/20: Christi Chiello is a delightful stand-up, writer, and actress with infectiousness enthusiasm and a unique voice who’s appeared on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, and TruTV, and is co-host of Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate. Tonight Christi performs a (mostly) solo production that demonstrates she’s one of the funniest and most talented comics in NYC. Kudos also go to director Giulia Rozzi for helping Christi show off what a powerhouse she is at her confident best. If you like fun, I happily recommend you come enjoy Christi Chiello: It’s Christi, B*tch! (8:00 pm; $13.18 online using code CUPCAKE (a $5 discount); Ars Nova at 511 West 54th Street between Tenth & Eleventh Avenues)

Shane TorresSaturday 1/20: Comics perform their darkest, saddest, and most traumatically funny bits for this monthly catharsis machine hosted by Shane Torres (above; fresh, hilarious stand-up; Conan O’Brien, IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang, stand-up album Established 1981), Nate Fridson, and Alison Zeidman, with tonight’s guests Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell), Noah Gardenswartz (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Petey Deabreu (host of Petey’s World), Marcia Belsky (Reductress; lead singer of band Free the Mind), Sarah Tollemache (Adam Devine’s House Party), and Wanjiko Eke: Dark Spots (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Rob Cantrell: "Pure Uncut Joy"Sunday 1/21: Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times) celebrates the debut of his comedy album Pure Uncut Joy with stand-ups Aparna Nancherla, Casey James Salengo, Joyelle Nicole, Marc Theobald, and Courtney Maginnis: Rob Cantrell Album Release Party (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Josh GondelmanSunday 1/21: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper) headlines 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)

Mary WisemanMonday 1/22: Mary Wiseman (Sylvia Tilly, a.k.a. Silly, on CBS’ Star Trek Discovery; Meg Joyce on A&E’s Longmire; FX’s Baskets) is the guest of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 1/22: Jared Logan (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City; TruTV, Spike, Nickelodeon; producer of If You Build It and Homeschooled), Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing; for hilarious cartoon about LA pet owners, please click here), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), 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 and Netflix’s Master of None), 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)

Michelle Buteau & Jordan Carlos: "Adulting"Wednesday 1/24: Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code) is the guest for this podcast taping hosted by Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up) & Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code, Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim): Adulting (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Yardsale Comedy NightWednesday 1/24: Sixteen comics—including John Reynolds, Connor O’Malley, and Ana Fabrega—perform characters, songs, and a variety of other comedic bits: Yardsdale Comedy Night (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kelsey Caine & Carmen Lagala: "Puppets Present"Thursday 1/25: Kelsey Caine & Carmen Lagala host stand-ups and then interact with them after their sets…via puppets! Tonight’s stellar comics are 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), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), and Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac): Puppets Present: A Stand-Up Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jean Grae & John HodgmanThursday 1/25: 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, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Ronny Chieng and Chris ReddFriday 1/26: Ronny Chieng (above left; correspondent for The Daily Show), Chris Redd (above right; cast member of Saturday Night Live), Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Joe Pera (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, Adult Swim), Chris Laker (Jimmy Kimmel), Lorelei Ramirez (Adult Swim), and Eudora Peterson perform stand-up hosted by Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central’s South Beach, host of The Secret Loft Show): Camouflage: A Comedy Show (9:00 pm; Free, $5, or $10, depending on how far in advance you nab tickets (buying online is also a good idea because this show often sells out)—price includes Free Pizza!; Brooklyn’s Big Irv’s at 381 Hooper Street)

Phoebe Robinson and Sandy HonigFriday 1/26: Comics give funny lectures on a science-related topic—which this month is the experiments & inventions of hairy genius Leonardo da Vinci, starring Phoebe Robinson (author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain; co-host of live & Net hit show 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Glamour Magazine) and Sandy Honig (sketch group Three Busy Debras), and hosted by the brilliant & delightful Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s) & Madelyn Freed (ace improvisor & computer programmer): The Scientists: Leonardo (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Friday 1/26 (see also 1/31): 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: The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Adrian Sexton and Jay Malsky: The Community PlayersFriday 1/26: Superb improvisors Adrian Sexton (above left; co-host of Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show, Ouiser & Clairee, George/Martha, and The Darklings; host of Pet Prov), Jay Malsky (above left; highly talented, super-charged character comic; host of This Live Show; UCB sketch group Pretty Boys; PIT improv group Peaches Galore; FringeNYC solo show Elaine Stritch: Still Here; Solocom & UCB solo show Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend), and more TBA form improv group The Community Players, which makes up a play on the spot based on an audience suggestion to artfully create Theatre! Theater! Theatah! (8:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

"Nancy Drew: The Clue in the Diary" by Mildred Wirt Benson (a.k.a. Carolyn Keene)Saturday 1/27: Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s) & Colin Stokes (Associate Cartoon Editor at The New Yorker; The Onion, GQ) read a book every month so you don’t have to and then discuss it for your edutainment, with tonight’s classic Nancy Drew: The Clue in the Diary (a prequel to Bobby Mueller: The Clues in the Dossier) by Mildred Wirt Benson under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Soak in culture while being amused by comics Jen Spyra (staff writer for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast; former Senior Writer/director/producer for The Onion), Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), and Rebecca O’Neal (Netflix’s Easy; Vanity Fair, Gawker, Vulture; former host of local Chicago TV show One Night Stand-Up): Book Club—A Comedy Show: Nancy Drew: The Clue in the Diary (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Josh GondelmanSaturday 1/27: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for phenom HBO news satire series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper) performs an hour of stand-up in Brooklyn for one night only as part of a national tour: Josh Gondelman: The Team Wolf Tour (7:30 pm, $13, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Generous LaughsSunday 1/28: A small army of comics—the Cocoon Central Dance Team, Julio Torres, Matt Rogers & Bowen Yang, Dylan Marron, Josh Sharp, and about a dozen more—perform stand-up, dance, or sketch to help raise money for the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, hosted by Marybess Pritchett & Patti Harrison: Generous Laughs (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluWednesday 1/31 (see also 1/26): 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: The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Josie LongThursday 2/1: Josie Long is a witty, honest, irresistible UK star who The New York Times has called “a gem” and Time Out NY has lauded for “her blend of sunny enthusiasm and intellect”—I once saw Josie advise “If you’re ever short on funds and have to choose between food and a book, always buy the book.” Josie is briefly visiting NYC, and tonight both performs a deliciously long stand-up set and hosts fellow UK comic Jonny Donahoe (star of musical comedy group Jonny & The Baptists): Josie Long : It Is Difficult to Be Alive (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth 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 January 2018: Last Updated Saturday 1/13/18

January 13, 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 January 2018 include (with much more to come soon):

A Conversation with Phil RosenthalSaturday 1/13: Phil Rosenthal created and was the executive producer of one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, Everybody Loves Raymond (for which he also wrote or co-write 21 episodes). Rosenthal’s other numerous credits include writing and producing episodes of the network sitcoms Coach and Baby Talk; performing on such shows as Curb Your Enthusiasm and 30 Rock and such films as Spanglish: The Simpsons Movie and The TV Set; and writing the 2006 book You’re Lucky You’re Funny: How Life Becomes a Sitcom.

Most recently, Rosenthal created, produced, and stars in the new Netflix six-part documentary series Somebody Feed Phil, which follows him on “a goodwill eating tour of the world (Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Saigon, Mexico City, New Orleans, and Bangkok) with Phil’s friends, family, and his trademark sense of humor.” Rosenthal describes the series as “I’m exactly like Anthony Bourdain if he was afraid of everything.” He’ll discuss this and more in a live-on-stage interview with Mark Malkoff (The Carson Podcast) and an audience Q&A session: A Conversation with Phil Rosenthal (2:00 pm; $20, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

Pia Glenn and Lane MooreSaturday 1/13: A search for romance in New York via the app that redefined online dating is led by the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above right; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), who goes 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 guests Pia Glenn (above left; cast member of Comedy Central’s The Opposition), Darcie Wilder (bestselling author of Literally Show Me a Healthy Person), and Patrick Tobin (co-host of We’re All Gonna Die). This show usually sells out, so I highly recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Dana ShulmanSunday 1/14: Unique, spectacular rising star Dana Shulman (half of wonderful improv duo Ouiser and Clairee, improv groups Poor Melissa and Student Driver; winner of the 2017 PIT Teacher of the Year Award) celebrates the Seventh Year Anniversary of her indie improv group weekly show, which she describes as follows: “It’s supportive and welcoming, with a great community vibe, where you can really learn, laugh, and try new things. It’s a show that celebrates teams built out of nothing but love and the joy of improvising. We’ll be running 6:00 pm every Sunday in The PIT Underground starting 1/21, but for today only we’ll be at The Striker from 7:00 to 9:00 pm for our 336th show!” Among the groups will be duo Adrian Sexton & Steve Tardio making up scenes as Paul McCartney & John Lennon. Come share in the playfulness, fearlessness, fun discoveries, and laughter: Student Driver—Indie Road: 7th Year Anniversary Celebration (7:00 pm-9:00 pm; $8, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

Blythe Roberson and Lorelai RamirezMonday 1/15: Comics each perform an argument for why he or she should receive a Pulitzer Prize—with tonight’s candidates Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s; co-host of The Scientists and Book Club), Lorelei Ramirez (VICE; host of Not Dead Yet), and Joe Pera (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, Adult Swim)—hosted by Caroline Schaper (writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, former writer for David Letterman) & Eliza Cossio (Senior Latina Correspondent for The Daily Show): Pulitzer Surprises (8:00 pm, $8,:Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 1/15: Jena Friedman (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), Brooke Van Poppelen (co-host of TruTV’s Hack My Life; The View, @midnight, HBO, CBS, VH1), Brett Davis (HBO’s Animals; TruTv’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; creator/host of weekly Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; co-host of The Macaulay Culkin Show; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award), Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), Tanael Joachim, and Mike Abrusi 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 and Netflix’s Master of None), 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)

Feelings: A Talk Show with Giulia RozziTuesday 1/16: Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TruTV, Playgirl Magazine, host of First Set, comedy album True Love) and her sister Elena Pellegrino (a.k.a. DJ Therap-E) select a different feeling each month for comics to joke about via interviews, stand-up, sketch, and/or music, with tonight featuring Griffith Newman, Janelle James, Leah Bonnema, Josh Rabinowitz, Katina Corrao, Chrissi Poland, Phi Phi O’Hara, and Alex English: Feelings: A Talk Show with Giulia Rozzi (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

David Cross and Janeane GarofaloWednesday 1/17: David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Jo Firestone, Joe Pera, Dan Licata, and more perform stand-up for this fundraiser to enable third graders at the Brooklyn New School to spend the year studying Africa and learn there’s much more to it than our President thinks there is: Benefit for Brooklyn New School 3rd Grade Africa Curriculum Program (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Christi Chiello: "It's Christi, B*tch!"Saturday 1/20: Christi Chiello is a delightful stand-up, writer, and actress with infectiousness enthusiasm and a unique voice who’s appeared on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, and TruTV, and is co-host of Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate. Tonight Christi performs a (mostly) solo production that demonstrates she’s one of the funniest and most talented comics in NYC. Kudos also go to director Giulia Rozzi for helping Christi show off what a powerhouse she is at her confident best. If you like fun, I happily recommend you come enjoy Christi Chiello: It’s Christi, B*tch! (8:00 pm; $13.18 online using code CUPCAKE (a $5 discount); Ars Nova at 511 West 54th Street between Tenth & Eleventh Avenues)

Shane TorresSaturday 1/20: Comics perform their darkest, saddest, and most traumatically funny bits for this monthly catharsis machine hosted by Shane Torres (above; fresh, hilarious stand-up; Conan O’Brien, IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang, stand-up album Established 1981), Nate Fridson, and Alison Zeidman, with tonight’s guests Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell), Noah Gardenswartz (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Petey Deabreu (host of Petey’s World), Marcia Belsky (Reductress; lead singer of band Free the Mind), Sarah Tollemache (Adam Devine’s House Party), and Wanjiko Eke: Dark Spots (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Rob Cantrell: "Pure Uncut Joy"Sunday 1/21: Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times) celebrates the debut of his comedy album Pure Uncut Joy with stand-ups Aparna Nancherla, Casey James Salengo, Joyelle Nicole, Marc Theobald, and Courtney Maginnis: Rob Cantrell Album Release Party (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Josh GondelmanSunday 1/21: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper) headlines 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)

Mary WisemanMonday 1/22: Mary Wiseman (Sylvia Tilly, a.k.a. Silly, on CBS’ Star Trek Discovery; Meg Joyce on A&E’s Longmire; FX’s Baskets) is the guest of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 1/22: Jared Logan (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City; TruTV, Spike, Nickelodeon; producer of If You Build It and Homeschooled), Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing; for hilarious cartoon about LA pet owners, please click here), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), 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 and Netflix’s Master of None), 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)

Michelle Buteau & Jordan Carlos: "Adulting"Wednesday 1/24: Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code) is the guest for this podcast taping hosted by Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up) & Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code, Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim): Adulting (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Yardsale Comedy NightWednesday 1/24: Sixteen comics—including John Reynolds, Connor O’Malley, and Ana Fabrega—perform characters, songs, and a variety of other comedic bits: Yardsdale Comedy Night (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kelsey Caine & Carmen Lagala: "Puppets Present"Thursday 1/25: Kelsey Caine & Carmen Lagala host stand-ups and then interact with them after their sets…via puppets! Tonight’s stellar comics are 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), Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), and Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac): Puppets Present: A Stand-Up Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jean Grae & John HodgmanThursday 1/25: 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, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Phoebe Robinson and Sandy HonigFriday 1/26: Comics give funny lectures on a science-related topic—which this month is the experiments & inventions of hairy genius Leonardo da Vinci, starring Phoebe Robinson (author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain; co-host of live & Net hit show 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Glamour Magazine) and Sandy Honig (sketch group Three Busy Debras), and hosted by the brilliant & delightful Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s) & Madelyn Freed (ace improvisor & computer programmer): The Scientists: Leonardo (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Wednesday 1/26 (see also 1/31): 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: The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

"Nancy Drew: The Clue in the Diary" by Mildred Wirt Benson (a.k.a. Carolyn Keene)Saturday 1/27: Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s) & Colin Stokes (Associate Cartoon Editor at The New Yorker; The Onion, GQ) read a book every month so you don’t have to and then discuss it for your edutainment, with tonight’s classic Nancy Drew: The Clue in the Diary (a prequel to Bobby Mueller: The Clues in the Dossier) by Mildred Wirt Benson under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. Soak in culture while being amused by comics Jen Spyra (staff writer for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast; former Senior Writer/director/producer for The Onion), Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), and Rebecca O’Neal (Netflix’s Easy; Vanity Fair, Gawker, Vulture; former host of local Chicago TV show One Night Stand-Up): Book Club—A Comedy Show: Nancy Drew: The Clue in the Diary (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Josh GondelmanSaturday 1/27: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for phenom HBO news satire series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper) performs an hour of stand-up in Brooklyn for one night only as part of a national tour: Josh Gondelman: The Team Wolf Tour (7:30 pm, $13, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Generous LaughsSunday 1/28: A small army of comics—the Cocoon Central Dance Team, Julio Torres, Matt Rogers & Bowen Yang, Dylan Marron, Josh Sharp, and about a dozen more—perform stand-up, dance, or sketch to help raise money for the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, hosted by Marybess Pritchett & Patti Harrison: Generous Laughs (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Hari Kondabolu and Ashok KondaboluWednesday 1/31 (see also 1/26): 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: The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Josie LongThursday 2/1: Josie Long is a witty, honest, irresistible UK star who The New York Times has called “a gem” and Time Out NY has lauded for “her blend of sunny enthusiasm and intellect”—I once saw Josie advise “If you’re ever short on funds and have to choose between food and a book, always buy the book.” Josie is briefly visiting NYC, and tonight both performs a deliciously long stand-up set and hosts fellow UK comic Jonny Donahoe (star of musical comedy group Jonny & The Baptists): Josie Long : It Is Difficult to Be Alive (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth 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 Monday 7/24/17

July 24, 2017

Janeane Garofalo and Lili TaylorStars Janeane Garofalo and Lili Taylor—who play sisters in the Broadway revival of Marvin’s Room, running through August 27th at the American Airlines Theatre—are the guests of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"…or marvel at world-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interviewing an audience couple about their love life and then turning it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). Plus tonight offers the extra treat of music from a hot dog DJ. I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (8:00 pm; $10, which is super cheap—;this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues; Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Chris Lamberth…or check out Chris Lamberth (HBO’s High Maintenance; film Can You Ever Forgive Me? with Melissa McCarthy; host of The Mundane Festival podcast) tonight, or any night this week through Friday, at a free show that’s letting him hone a long stand-set set: Week at the Creek: Chris Lamberth (7:00 pm, Free!, Queens LIC’s The Creek at 10-93 Jackson Avenue)

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 7/25/17

Chelsea White, Jessie Jolles, and EA HanksChelsea White (above left; writer/producer for MTV’s Girl Code) and Erin Leafe (writer) bring their podcast about ghosting and other scary dating stories to the stage, with tonight’s guests Jessie Jolles (above middle; MTV; half of sketch duo Soren & Jolles) and EA Hanks (above right; Huffington Post): Ghosted Stories Live (7:00 pm, $7, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)…

…and every Tuesday, eight singing & dancing improv groups—who tonight are Captains, Warm Blooded, Kittyhawk, Pyros, Squash, Public Pool, Honeymoon, and Wonderland, all typically led by the best improv pianist in the biz, Frank Spitznagel (above)—make up musicals on the spot based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt (6:00 pm for free musical jam that gives you the chance to get on stage with veteran performers; 7:00 pm-11:00 pm for paid shows—which are a mere $10 for the entire evening; The Magnet at 254 West 29th Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 7/26/17

Dave Hill: "Witch Taint: The Black Metal Dialogues Live"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), Phil Costello (Dave’s bandmate in groups Valley Lodge and—with Moby—Diamondsnake), and Greg Barris (MTV’s All That Rocks, host of Heart of Darkness) 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 (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Confession: Coming Clean…storytellers Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable stand-up; writer for Nat Geo and MTV’s Guy Code, co-host of Fresh Out), Mike Kelton (MTV), and Sean O’Brien (stand-up) tell comedic tales on this month’s theme Coming Clean at David Martin’s The Nights of Our Lives (8:00 pm, $7, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)…

The Red Flag…or see Sophie Julia, Kat Timpf, Chris Manzo, Francis Ellis, and Carolyn Gitomer tell stories and jokes about dating at Carolines: The Red Flag: A Comedy Dating Show (7:30 pm, $11 cover using discount code REDFLAG online (otherwise $22) plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 7/27/17

Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; 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 CDs No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TruTV, Playgirl Magazine, host of First Set, comedy album True Love), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, animated webseries Damaged, comedy album Mind Over Melee), Wanjiko Eke (co-host of LA show Witch Hunt), and Sue Smith (VH1’s Best Week Ever) perform stand-up 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)

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-$10

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-$10

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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 11/12/14

November 12, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Tom Papa

Tom Papa hosts a fundraiser with Jim Gaffigan and more at the City Green 10th Anniversary Show

Janeane Garofalo

…and Janeane Garofalo, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, and more are interviewed at Running Late With Scott Rogowsky

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-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

7:00 pm to 11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB Eastwhich tonight features house groups Big Revival, Buchanan, and Astronomy Club: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($45, plus 2-item food/drink min.): A City Green fundraiser with a great lineup: host Tom Papa, Jim Gaffigan, Kurt Metzger, Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, and more performing stand-up at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): City Green 10th Anniversary Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Judah Friedlander and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 8:00 show, Greer Barnes, Dov Davidoff, Carmen Lynch, Kyle Dunnigan, and Mike Yard (hosting) at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Mark Normand, Big Jay Oakerson, Keith Alberstadt, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 11:30 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, Christine Bullen performs a one-woman show about her adventures answering Craigslist ads that I’m hoping is way fun (am planning to catch it tonight): My Melonbasket

…and in the second half of this double-bill, “When Trevor and Craig, two business adversaries, suddenly realize they’re identical twin brothers, they decide to switch places, reunite their divorced parents, and become a family again. But there’s a few problems: Dad is too busy fucking sewer boys, and Mom’s vagina fell off her body and crawled away! Will Trevor and Craig be able to reunite the family they never knew they wanted? Also, it’s a musical. Basically The Parent Trap for horrible, disgusting people:” Fucking Identical Twins: A Musical

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Brooks Wheelan (former cast member of Saturday Night Live), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), and Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) performing stand-up at The StandComedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Sam Haft: Nick DiPaolo, Jessica Kirson, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: A hodgepodge of art & comedy hosted by the wonderful and quick-witted Amanda Duarte (young), with Whitney Joiner (Senior Editor of Marie Claire), Isaac Oliver (supermodel), Todd Oldham (publisher/designer), Justin Vivian Bond (singer/writer/performance artist), stand-up Julio Torres (Julio Julio Julio), and celebrity guest bartender Paul Erik Davis (Eden Butz) performing at Judson Memorial Church (239 Thompson Street): Dead Darlings

8:00 pm ($5): Phoebe Robinson, Natasha Rogers, Chris Aiola, and many more performing stand-up or sketch at “a variety show inspired by a poignant evening on NBC’s The Voice in which a contestant found himself going through ‘dark times’ after dropping out of NYU’s graduate program for music business to pursue his true calling: slightly faltering karaoke singing. His parents seemed very disappointed” at The PIT downstairs lounge produced by Melissa Somosky and hosted by Megan Lohne: Dark Times: A Comedic Variety Hour

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Leah Bonnema (VH1, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony), Sue Smith (VH1), Gina Brillon (Comedy Central, Chelsea Lately), Erin Jackson (Last Comic Standing), Joanna Briley, Brie Clark, and Carolina Hidalgo performing stand-up at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Jasmine Pierce: Train Wreck Stand-Up

[FREE; plus FREE BACON] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at this show that provides you with both free comedy and free bacon at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kevin Berrey and/or Farah Brook: Free Bacon

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist onLast Comic Standing; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome. Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Michelle Wolf (rising star; staff writer for and performer onSeth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Greg Barris (MTV, host of Heart of Darkness), TJ Del Reno (many national TV commercials), and Tom Cowell (Comedy Central) performing at this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:15 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

9:30 pm ($8): Sketch comedy from groups Pizza Dance Party, Pin-Up Squirrels, Positive FeedBack, Cool Kid Comedy, and UniSex, plus comics John Murdock and Jarret Berenstein, all performing at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by Julia Lundy: November Sketch Block

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Breathtakingly subtle genius improvisor John Lutz (cast member of 30 Rock; six years as staff writer for Saturday Night Live; John and Scott) and extreme improvisor Peter Grosz (writer for The Colbert Report, star of over 100 Sonic fast-food commercials, stellar one-man show Recipe for Success) perform duo improv as 2 Square

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10; no min.): Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Jessica Delfino (CDs Dirty Folk Rock and I Wanna Be Famous; popular animated short film I Wanna Be Famous; to get a feel for Jessica’s range and talent, please click here), Nate Bargatze (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), and more performing stand-up and/up music at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Sam Haft: The Lemonade Stand: Nick DiPaolo, Jessica Kirson, Jessica Delfino, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): The UCB Touring Company consists of some of UCB’s finest improvisors who show audiences beyond those visiting UCB’s theatres in NYC and LA what improv is all about. For this monthly show, however, the traveling troupe will be strutting its stuff on the UCB East stage: UCB TourCo

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, and Abbi Crutchfield are interviewed and/or perform at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Running Late With Scott Rogowsky

[TOP PICK] 11:15 pm ($5): The second round of a beloved annual November tradition at UCB East hosted by Pat Baer: 3-on-3 Improv Tournament

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at theStand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up for 15 comics performing for 5 minutes each at Queens LIC’s Laughing DevilComedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.)—with drinks at half price: Happy Hour Open Mic

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors:Magnet Improv Mixer

[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

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with its 90 minutes split evenly among the comics who throw their names into a bucket, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Eagle Witt: Amateur Night At The Mercury

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore & Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; shows free-$10; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seat main theatre, bar area for open mics; shows free-$10)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$20)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 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.)

Laughing Devil
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club, with MST3K-style movie night on Thursdays; 2-drink min.)

 From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.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, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.