NYC Top Comedy Choices for October 2019: Last Updated Thursday 10/3

October 3, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 330,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please visit my podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for October 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

New York Comic Con 2019Thursday 10/3-Sunday 10/6: New York Comic Con is one of the largest annual cultural events in the country—according to NYCC, last year it attracted over 250,000 people! In addition to comic books and anime, this ultimate fan fest features many comedians and spotlights lots of TV comedy series or films, including “Rotten Movies We Love: The Stinkers That Stole Our Hearts” (Thursday at 12:30 pm, Room 1A10), “Netflix Presents Big Mouth” (Thursday at 5:30 pm, Main Stage 1D), “SpongeBob Squarepants Appreciation Day” (Friday at 10:30 am, Hammerstein Ballroom), “Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken” (Friday at 4:30 pm, Hammerstein Ballroom), “TruTV’s Impractical Jokers” (Friday at 6:15 pm, Main Stage 1D), “CollegeHumor’s Dropout” (Friday at 6:45 pm, Room 1A21), “The George Lucas Talk Show” (Friday at 9:15 pm, Room 1A21), “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee—Election 2020″ (Saturday at 4:30 pm, Room 1A10), and “Hulu’s The Orville” (Sunday at 3:15 pm, Main Stage 1D). And slated comedy guests include Paul Rudd, Seth Green & Matthew Senreich, Brian Posehn, Paul Reubens, Laraine Newman, Griffin Newman, Connor Ratliff, Jameela Jamil (The Good Place)…and, given the panels, probably Samantha Bee, Nick Kroll, and many more.

I’ll be attending all four days. If you spot me, please feel encouraged to come over, say hey, and share your personal highlights from the fest: New York Comic Con 2019 (Thursday-Saturday 10:00 am-10:00ish pm, Sunday 10:00 am-5:00 pm; Jacob K. Javits Convention Center at 11th Avenue between 34th and 40th Streets)

Chris Hardwick 19Thursday 10/3-Saturday 10/5: One of the smartest and nicest guys in show biz—who hosts NBC’s The Wall, AMC’s Talking shows, and popular podcast ID10T, and used to host the great @midnight—headlines for three nights at Carolines (while he’s here for New York Comic Con) to tell jokes and make you feel good: Chris Hardwick (Thursday at 7:00 pm, Friday-Saturday at 7:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $41 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

John Cameron MitchellThursday 10/3: John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, How to Talk to Girls at Parties, HBO’s Girls).is tonight’s guest of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn, with music from Jonathan Coulton, 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, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Phoebe Robinson 21Thursday 10/3: Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; feature films What Men Want and Netflix’s Ibiza; author of Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay and You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) continues her national stand-up comedy tour, which runs tonight at Union Hall, Thursday 10/10 at Bowery Ballroom, and then venues in California and Philadelphia: Phoebe Robinson: “Sorry, Harriet Tubman” Tour (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Judah Friedlander and Guardians of the GalaxyThursday 10/3: Comic book super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage provide a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates, and at this special Comic Con edition welcome guests 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) and Donny Cates (writer of Marvel Comics’ Guardians of the Galaxy, Absolute Carnage, and Silver Surfer: Black): Comic Book Club (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Chris HardwickFriday 10/4-Saturday 10/5: One of the smartest and nicest guys in show biz—who currently hosts NBC’s The Wall and AMC’s Talking shows, used to host the great @midnight, and is CEO of Nerdist Industries—headlines for two more nights at Carolines (while he’s here for New York Comic Con) to tell jokes and make you feel good: Chris Hardwick (7:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $41 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

How To.jpgFriday 10/4: Cartoonist & author Randall Munroe celebrates the release of his book How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems with this show in which he and host Zach Weinersmith try to solve your problems…with terrible ideas. The audience will break into groups for a hackathon, challenging each other to devise the worst fixes before pitching them in a lightning round competition for the entire room’s worst solution: How To: A Night of Absurd Problem-Solving (7:00 pm, $35 (includes a copy of Randall’s book), LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Chris HardwickSaturday 10/5: One of the smartest and nicest guys in show biz—who currently hosts NBC’s The Wall and AMC’s Talking shows, used to host the great @midnight, and is CEO of Nerdist Industries—headlines for one last night at Carolines (while he’s here for New York Comic Con) to tell jokes and make you feel good: Chris Hardwick (7:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $41 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Chaos TheorySunday 10/6: This solo production, which debuted at last year’s FringeNYC and is now enjoying a monthly revival at LES’ Caveat, 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 relies so deeply 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 (7:00, $27.63 in advance online or $30 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Story Collider: Enter at Your Own Risk 2Monday 10/7: Comedic storytellers and/or scientists TBA share tales on this month’s theme of opening doors and taking chances: The Story Collider: Enter at Your Own Risk (8:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Nerds and the BeesTuesday 10/8: Gabe Gonzalez (Scruff, MTV News) and Steve Dean (dating industry consultant & relationship coach) will choose audience members with dating woes and use data to transform their lives by helping them find who they’re looking for. “Along the way we’ll hear some crazy stories, learn insane truths about the dating industry, and meet some new people:” The Nerds & the Bees (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Rebecca VigilWednesday 10/9: Rebecca Vigil (above; powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell), Nore Davis (HBO, Showtime, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Netflix; album You Guys Are Dope), Rita Sengupta (Buzzfeed), and Brittany Carney perform music or stand-up for hosts Sean Crespo, Katina Corrao, and Matt Little: Lasers in the Jungle (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Phoebe RobinsonThursday 10/10: Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; feature films What Men Want and Netflix’s Ibiza; author of Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay and You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) is giving us New Yorkers one last chance to enjoy her national stand-up comedy tour, which runs tonight at Bowery Ballroom and then moves on to venues in California and Philadelphia: Phoebe Robinson: “Sorry, Harriet Tubman” Tour (6:00 pm doors, 7:00 pm show; $35; East Village’s The Bowery Ballroom at 6 Delancey Street)

Andrea Jones-RooyThursday 10/10: Andrea Jones-Rooy, who is a Professor and Director of Undergraduate Study at the NYU Center for Data Science—and also a fire-wielding circus performer—uses data-driven political research to answer such questions as “What does majority rule even mean and what are the consequences of it?”, “Are we actually getting more polarized?”, and “Why, despite the historical records in the midterm election, do so many candidates and leaders still look the same?”: Political Circus: Why Democracy is F*cked (And What to Do About It) (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

MortifiedThursday 10/10: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Modern WhitneyThursday 10/10: Comics Pat Regan, Lily Marotta, and Tawanda Gona try to figure out and articulate the meaning of a piece of art. Then an actual art expert tells them what the piece is generally considered to be about and its cultural impact. Plus select audience members—maybe including you—will draw their art on the spot and have it interpreted by the comics. According to hosts Matt Hartin & Akmal Tajihan, “This is the only show you’ll want to Van Gogh to:” Modern Whitney (9:30 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Brian Posehn 11Friday 10/11: The wonderful Brian Posehn (hilarious stand-up, comedic actor, and writer; recurring roles on The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, The Sarah Silverman Program, Just Shoot Me, Mr. Show, and more; star of indie film Uncle Nick; Netflix special The Fartist; writer of Marvel Comics’ wildly popular Deadpool; author of book Forever Nerdy) correspondents on The Opposition with Jordan Klepper) graces Brooklyn with his wild wit for one night only: Brian Posehn (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)


Emma Vernon: Friday 10/11: Multitalented rising star Emma Vernon (hip-hop musical improvisor, stand-up, actor, writer, and romance expert) uses her exceptional matchmaking skills to bring together love applicants and have them experience their first dates live on stage…while using improvisors to instantly create the settings for those dates (e.g., a music festival, a bowling alley, under the sea). To get a feel for this long-running monthly extravaganza, please click here, and then nab tickets for In A World: The Dating Show (8:00 pm, $12 online or $15 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Cat Cohen, Lane Moore, Liz Plank, and Scott Rogowsky: Friday 10/11: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guest comics Scott Rogowsky (bottom row; NBC’s The Voice, WB’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us; host of wildly popular trivia game app HQ Trivia), Liz Plank (right; Senior Producer and Political Correspondent at Vox Media; author of book For the Love of Men), and Cat Cohen (left; Seth Meyers; host of podcast Seek Treatment): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Terrorbird sketch comedyFriday 10/11: Surreal sketch group Terrorbird performs a new oddball series of scenes designed to unsettle and delight you: Terrorbird (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Found Footage FestivalSaturday 10/12: Hilariously oddball amateur VHS videos discovered & curated by Joe Pickett (The Onion) & Nick Prueher (The Colbert Report), with this year’s finds including the 1987 Miss Junior America Wisconsin pageant, a mysterious tape labeled “bonion sergery,” home movies taken at a Canadian hose factory, and a fitness video called Jugglercise: The Found Footage Festival Volume 9 (8:00 pm; $17, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Carly Ann FilbinSaturday 10/12: Carly Ann Filbin (luminous & delightful sketch comic/comedic actress/writer; on-camera correspondent for Cosmopolitan.com; host of Let Me Break You Up: An Anti-Dating Game Show) explains this comedic game show as follows: “Romance today isn’t what it used to be—swiping, clicking, dick-picing. It’s time we went retro with an old fashioned IRL dating show! Millennials choose their hottie based on how well they answer questions like ‘If you wanted morning sex, how would you initiate it?’, all while I make fun of them because, well, why not? Let’s make some love connections or, at the very least, a one-night stand to talk about at brunch:” Young Hot Sluts: A Matchmaking Show (8:00 pm; $15 at the door or $14.30 online; Brooklyn’s C’mon Everybody at 325 Franklin Avenue—take the G subway to Classon Avenue)

Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher: Sunday 10/13: Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson (authors of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed) record their wildly popular Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast live on stage: Guys We F*cked (7:00 pm; $22.32 in advance online or $24 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

West Wing Writers: Tuesday 10/15: Members of the West Wing Writers group (which includes former Presidential speechwriters) break down their favorite speeches, give behind-the-scenes looks at the speech drafting process, and even lead you in crafting your own keynote speech, all hosted by Chandler Dean (McSweeney’s): SpeakEasy (7:00 pm; $12; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Molly Gaebe: Thursday 10/17: Host Molly Gaebe invites female storytellers, comics, and historians to share the tales of “some of the greatest women the world has ever known, but history erased” for this live-on-stage podcast recording, with this month’s theme Women in the Horror Genre tackled by guests TBA: Nevertheless She Existed: Horror Queens (7:00 pm, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Picture This!Saturday 10/19: In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups Rosebud Baker, Dee Nasty, Rebecca O’Neal, Chanel Ali, and Doug Smith 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. Produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Samantha Ruddy: Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, 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 at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and 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 eason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for September 2019: Last Updated Sunday 9/15

September 15, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 320,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please visit my podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for September 2019 (with more to come soon) include:

Aparna Nancherla and Josh Gondelman 2Sunday 9/15: Two of the sharpest, funniest, and nicest comics in the world join on stage tonight to celebrate the release of Josh’s first book Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results: new author Josh Gondelman (writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper) and interviewer Aparna Nancherla (co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There). Join in the joy, and maybe get your book signed to boot: Josh Gondelman in Conversation with Aparna Nancherla (7:00 pm, $35 at the door or $40 online, 92nd Street Y‘s Warburg Lounge at 1395 Lexington Avenue, between 91st and 92nd Streets)

Stand Up For Migrants.jpgSunday 9/15: This fundraiser for Team Brownsville, which provides food and supplies to migrants and asylum seekers stuck in tents on the Mexican side of the border, features stand-ups and storytellers Dulcé Sloan, Gastor Almonte, Livia Scott, Daniel Simonsen, Suni Reyes, LeClerc Andre, Katy Berry, Ana Breton, Carolyn Castiglia, Sarah Hartshorne, Darlene Rae Heller, and Cassidy Routh: Stand Up For Migrants (7:00 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Todd BarrySunday 9/15: Todd Barry (Netflix special Spicy Honey, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour; 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), who crafts tight, highly polished jokes, develops material for an hour or two guided by your laughs: Todd Barry (7:00 pm, $10, The Creek and the Cave upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC at 10-93 Jackson Avenue)

Ronny ChiengSunday 9/15: Ronny Chieng (above; correspondent for The Daily Show), Ismael Loutfi (Jimmy Kimmel; staff writer for Netflix’s Patriot Act), and Jess Salomon (former UN war crimes lawyer turned comic; Jimmy Fallon, CBS, Sirius XM, co-host of Sandwich; stand-up album All the Best Choices) try out new jokes at this popular weekly safe space for the stand-up creation process hosted by Nat Towsen (Esquire, VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety): New Material Night (8:00 pm, $10 online or $12 at the door, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Judah Friedlander, Seaton Smith, and Jo FirestoneSunday 9/15: Great lineup of 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), 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; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Chris Rock’s film Top Five, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Saurin Choksi (host of Fuse’s White Guy Talk Show), Alyssa Wolf, and Allison O’Connor performing for host Alison Leiby (writer for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, former writer for Comedy Central’s The Opposition and The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It (9:30 pm, $9, SubCulture at 45 Bleecker Street, right next to the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop)

The GistMonday 9/16: A discussion of the state of comedy with Hari Kondabolu (fresh, sharp, rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives; co-host of Kondabolu Brothers podcast), Marina Franklin (staff writer for HBO’s Divorce; HBO’s Crashing, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, @midnight, Chappelle’s Show; film Trainwreck; stand-up special Single Black Female), Khalid Rahmaan (Conan O’Brien; host of Electric Laughs), and host Mike Pesca (host of Slate’s daily podcast The Gist): Slate Presents: The Gist Comedy Special Live (7:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

The PUN-ch UpMonday 9/16: Five skilled punsters will show off their wordplay expertise by “punching up your evening with word games, anagrams, etymological deep-dives, and more:” The PUN-ch Up (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Roy Wood Jr and Ronny ChiengMonday 9/16: This superb weekly stand-up show’s hosts Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), 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) welcome guests Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Ronny Chieng (correspondent for The Daily Show), Dave Ross (CBS’ James Corden; Comedy Central’s Drunk History, This is Not Happening, Corporate; stand-up album The Only Man Who Has Ever Had Sex), and more, plus music from DJ Donwill: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Legion of SkanksMonday 9/16: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcast The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall; Netflix’s The Degenerates), Dave Smith (FOX; host of podcast Part of the Problem), Luis J. Gomez (special Luis J. Gomez Presents Luis J. Gomez), and other NYC comics “discuss the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this free weekly podcast taping: Legion of Skanks (9:30 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Kerryn Feehan and Aaron Berg: Monday 9/16: Stand-ups TBA try out material at this free weekly show hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) and/or Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV): Frantic Mondays (10:00 pm, Free!, The Stand at 116 East 16th Street)

Josh Gondelman 21Tuesday 9/17: Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper) celebrates the release of his first book, Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results, along with stellar stand-ups Gary Gulman, Emmy Blotnick, Karen Chee, and The Lucas Brothers: Josh Gondelman: Nice Try Book Release Show (7:30 pm, $23, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 9/17: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

John Lutz and Scott Adsit: Wednesday 9/18: Genius comics John Lutz (staff writer for Seth Meyers; cast member of 30 Rock, six years as staff writer for Saturday Night Live) teams with fellow 30 Rock cast member Scott Adsit (HBO’s Veep; voice of robot Baymax in Disney’s Big Hero 6; co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel) to form a super-smart and hilarious star duo crafting in the moment one of the very finest improv shows you’ll ever see: John & Scott (9:00 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Adventures from Shimmering Grove: A Live D&D ShowWednesday 9/18: Comics play a game of Dungeons & Dragons live on stage, and “bring it to life through stagecraft and performance,” with Dave Murray, Glo Tavarez, Jason Sweeten, and a guest comic TBA: Adventures from Shimmering Grove: A Live D&D Show (9:00 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Molly Gaebe: Thursday 9/19: Host Molly Gaebe invites female storytellers, comics, and historians to share the stories of “some of the greatest women the world has ever known, but history erased” for this live-on-stage podcast recording, with this month’s theme Wild West tackled by guests TBA: Nevertheless She Existed: Women of the Wild West (7:00 pm, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Characters Welcome: Thursday 9/19: One of the best innovations of UCBT-NY Artistic Director Michael Hartney was creating a new category of house teams (beyond those for improv and sketch) devoted to talented comedic character actors. Tonight one of those two groups, Leather FatherJason Gore, Cameron McCall, Alex Otis, Xavier Padin, Nathan Pearson, Elena Skopetos, Graham Techler, and Nichole Yannetty—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Leather Father (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Uncle Function sketch comedyThursday 9/19: Six comedic actors, including Gianmarco Soresi (ABC’s Deception; FringeNYC play <50%), perform sketch in this acclaimed group: Uncle Function (8:00 pm, $12 online or $15 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Clueless...Entirely From MemoryThursday 9/19: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate Amy Heckerling’s 1995 movie Clueless, with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the film just once the previous week. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in Clueless but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:” Clueless…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Cambridge Footlights: LagoonThursday 9/19: The UK’s renowned Cambridge University is known for great scholarly achievement…but also a comedy troupe named The Footlights that helped launch the careers of John Cleese (Monty Python), Hugh Laurie (House), Emma Thompson (Love Actually), Sacha Baron Cohen (Da Ali G Show), and more. The 2019 edition of this group performs tonight in NYC as part of a world tour: The Cambridge Footlights: Look Alive (9:00 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame;: Thursday 9/19: The Reformed Whores (raunchy folk-pop comedic singing duo Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame; CBS, IFC; have opened for Weird Al Yankovic, Alice Cooper, and Lynyrd Skynyrd; albums Ladies Don’t Spit and Don’t Beat Around the Bush) performs for an entire hour in LES. Come enjoy this one night only event!: The Reformed Whores (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jo & Aparna Present: 41 Days Till Halloween!Friday 9/20: “Are you scared most of the time? Do you list fear as an emergency contact on general paperwork and the occasional PDF? Then maybe you need a little bit more prep time for what most Americans think of as ‘fun,’ ‘a hoot,’ and ‘enjoy.’ That’s why this show explores the spooky, the chilling, the horrific, the terrifying, for those of us who need more of a buffer around frights and some softening around the edges for even the suggestion of the macabre. The night (eee!) will include probably ghosts, definitely creeps (unavoidable on Earth), ghouls (who isn’t these days), unexplainable lighting occurrences (blame the tech booth), and your hosts:” Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There) and 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; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers): Jo & Aparna Present: 41 Days Till Halloween! (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)

Yedoye Travis: Friday 9/20: Yedoye Travis (above; Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central, Netflix’s Russian Doll, TBS’ Search Party) and friends record his podcast Dark Tank, during which white guests TBA pitch solutions for pressing minority issues to a panel of people of color also TBA: Dark Tank Live (7:00 pm; $11.70 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)

Skip Intro Emmy AwardsFriday 9/20: Improv group Skip Intro, which normally makes up TV shows on the spot, tonight makes up Sunday’s Emmy Awards with a pre-show discussion of the nominees, a red carpet, ceremony parodies, and more: Skip Intro’s Faux Emmy Awards Show (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

First Draft Fairy TalesFriday 9/20: Sketch comics Reuben Wolf, Theresa Basile, and Rich Inman reveal Mother Goose’s first drafts of her now-classic children’s stories: First Draft Fairy Tales (7:30 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Dani Faith Leonard: Friday 9/20: Storytelling, sketches, and more about sex, including “practical takeaways for the audience,” from comics TBA: Adult Sex Ed (9:30 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Terrorbird sketch comedySaturday 9/20: Surreal sketch group Terrorbird—Sam Fox-Hartin, Zachary Gibson, Kevin Palermo, Spencer Sapienza, Emi Upsome Schaufeld, and Leanne Troutman—performs oddball scenes designed to unsettle and delight you: Terrorbird (9:30 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 9/20: Storytellers TBA 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)

The PunisherFriday 9/20: The Punisher is arguably the best of Marvel’s various compelling superhero TV series on Netflix; but it took a number of tries to achieve the current excellent mass media version of the character. The very first attempt was a 1989 movie titled The Punisher starring Dolph Lungren. It failed to be faithful to Marvel’s comic book and ended up earning a paltry 28% on Rotten Tomatoes. Tonight it’ll be screened and mercilessly skewered by comics Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Jacob Willams (Stephen Colbert, Adam Devine’s House Party, America’s Got Talent), Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; webseries KCK; host of Let’s Say Your Right), and Will Watkins (Zeros on Heroes podcast). Their cruelty will be contrasted by exceptionally kind host Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Soft Core!—essentially a porn version of this show—and producer of many other shows): Movies R Dumb: 1989’s The Punisher (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: Saturday 9/21: World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $22.32 for a seat, or $17 for standing room, in advance online for this show that usually sells out; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ziwe Fumudoh 13Saturday 9/21: Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero, and previously for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe) invites comics TBA to perform pop songs, preceded by comedic presentations: Pop Show (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Carly Ann FilbinSaturday 9/21: Carly Ann Filbin (luminous & delightful sketch comic/comedic actress/writer; on-camera correspondent for Cosmopolitan.com; host of Let Me Break You Up: An Anti-Dating Game Show) explains this comedic game show as follows: “Romance today isn’t what it used to be—swiping, clicking, dick-picing. It’s time we went retro with an old fashioned IRL dating show! Millennials choose their hottie based on how well they answer questions like “If you wanted morning sex, how would you initiate it?”, all while I make fun of them because, well, why not? Let’s make some love connections or, at the very least, a one-night stand to talk about at brunch:” Young Hot Sluts: A Matchmaking Show (8:00 pm; $12 [please be aware that if you buy online, a charge for “EB YOUNG HOT SLUTS” will appear on your bank statement]; Brooklyn’s C’mon Everybody at 325 Franklin Avenue—take the G subway to Classon Avenue)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 9/21: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

2019 Emmy AwardsSunday 9/22: Enjoy the Emmy Awards with a like-minded comedy audience, featuring comedic performances during the commercials, drinking games, and prizes: Emmy Watch Party (7:00 pm; $17 in advance online or $18 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Marissa Stuart & Laura Merli: Monday 9/23: The adorable Laura Merli (above right; Reductress, McSweeney’s, YouTube, host of How to be Less Awkward) and Marissa Stuart (above left; trend forecaster; member of all-gal hip-hop improv troupe DMXX) perform duo sketch comedy designed to provide you with “feel-good dread” (for a video sample, please click here): Soul Crush Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Legion of SkanksMonday 9/23: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcast The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall; Netflix’s The Degenerates), Dave Smith (FOX; host of podcast Part of the Problem), Luis J. Gomez (special Luis J. Gomez Presents Luis J. Gomez), and other NYC comics “discuss the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this free weekly podcast taping: Legion of Skanks (9:30 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Frantic-MondaysMonday 9/23: Stand-ups TBA try out material at this free weekly show hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) and/or Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV): Frantic Mondays (10:00 pm, Free!, The Stand at 116 East 16th Street)

An Evening of Humorous ReadingsTuesday 9/24: Brian Agler, Luke Burns, and James Folta—each of whom has written for both The New Yorker and McSweeney’s—perform readings of their short humor pieces, and also host additional short readings from River Clegg (writer for Stephen Colbert, The Onion, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Claire Friedman (writer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero, Saturday Night Live, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), and Sarah Pappalardo (co-founder of Reductress). Arrive at 6:30 pm to hang out with these writers pre-show: An Evening of Humorous Readings (7:00 pm; $10; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 9/24: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling ShowWednesday 9/25: Stand-ups and/or storytellers TBA 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)

Why Your Train is F*ckedThursday 9/26: Learn the history of the MTA via fun lectures, sketches, and more at this ongoing comedic history series about NYC transit, with this month’s topic TBA, hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked (7:00 pm; $17 online or $2f0 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Characters Welcome: Thursday 9/26: One of the best innovations of UCBT-NY Artistic Director Michael Hartney was creating a new category of house teams (beyond those for improv and sketch) devoted to talented comedic character actors. Tonight one of those two groups, Velvet MommyJon Bander, Kami Dimitrova, Desi Domo, Johnny Drago, Woody Fu, Chrissie Gruebel, Adrienne Ianniciello, and Corin Wells—performs original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Velvet Mommy (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

The Roast of HistoryFriday 9/27: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics TBA roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention: The Roast of History (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Dancify That!Friday 9/27: 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 cool comics TBA: Dancify That! (8:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

Eliot Glazer's Friday 9/27: “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 guests TBA: Haunting Renditions (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Gathering the Coven: A Talk Show for WitchesSaturday 9/28: Lauren Maul (host of Bitchcraft) hosts this live-on-stage version of her podcast show for Wiccans, featuring “light-hearted talk, magical comedians, musicians, and practicing witches of NYC:” Gathering the Coven: A Talk Show for Witches (7:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Carmen Lynch and Mike DruckerSaturday 9/28: 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), Carmen Lynch (America’s Got Talent, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Inside Amy Schumer, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, @midnight, Last Comic Standing finalist; Sirius XM 2017 comedy album of the year Dance Like You Don’t Need the Money), and more perform stand-up at the only comedy club in Brooklyn: Mike Drucker, Carmen Lynch, and More at Eastville (8:00 pm; normally $21 with no min., but free following these instructions [support this special by optionally buying food or drinks]; Brooklyn’s Eastville Comedy Club at 487 Atlantic Avenue—take 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R subway to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 9/28: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 9/28: A top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by such ace talents as Becky Drysdale, Zack Willis, Katy Barry, Caroline Martin, Amber Ruffin, Tim Sniffen, and Jeff Hiller, plus stellar improv musicians Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Forever Friends: Comedy Fundraiser for Migrants at the Southern BorderSunday 9/29: Stellar comics Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Julio Torres (marvelously nuanced, outside-the-box stand-up; creator and star of HBO’s Los Espookys; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete), Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Maeve Higgins (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, co-host of NatGeo’s StarTalk, host of Maeve in America, co-host of Butterboy), and Cole Escola (At Home with Amy Sedaris, Difficult People) perform at this benefit for Minority Humanitarian Foundation, which provides on-the-ground relief efforts in San Diego and Tijuana: Forever Friends: Comedy Fundraiser for Migrants at the Southern Border (8:00 pm; $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Stephen Ruddy's Monday 9/30: Some of the most brilliant improvisors alive (TBA) stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars (also TBA) 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 (7:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Chris GethardMonday 9/30: Chris Gethard is one of the most beloved and mutl-talented comics of our time. His credits include the HBO 90-minute solo special Career Suicide; starring in of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; co-staring in Mike Birbiglia’s movie Don’t Think Twice, hosting the Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People, and performing on The Office, Comedy Central, IFC, etc. Geth is also the author of the books A Bad Idea I’m About to Do, Weird New York, and Lose Well, and the CD/vinyl/audio Gethard: My Comedy Album. If you’re bummed that Geth’s shows this month in Brooklyn are sold out, this is a chance to catch him in his native land of New Jersey: Chris Gethard in Asbury Park (8:30 pm, $10, New Jersey’s Asbury Park Brewery at 810 Sewall Avenue); take North Jersey Coast Line train to Asbury Park Station)

Tracy Soren: Monday 9/30: Stand-ups and/or storytellers TBA “share what scares the sh*t out of them” hosted by Tracy Soren: My Nightmare (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Legion of SkanksMonday 9/30: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcast The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall; Netflix’s The Degenerates), Dave Smith (FOX; host of podcast Part of the Problem), Luis J. Gomez (special Luis J. Gomez Presents Luis J. Gomez), and other NYC comics “discuss the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this free weekly podcast taping: Legion of Skanks (9:30 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Frantic-Mondays 2Monday 9/30: Stand-ups TBA try out material at this free weekly show hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) and/or Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV): Frantic Mondays (10:00 pm, Free!, The Stand at 116 East 16th Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and 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 eason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for August 2019: Last Updated Saturday 8/24

August 24, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 310,000 copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please visit my podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for August 2019 (with more to come soon) include:

Judah FriedlanderSaturday 8/24: 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), 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), Christian Finnegan (creator & co-host of A&E’s Black and White; co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; TBS, VH1, MSNBC, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), and more perform stand-up at the only comedy club in Brooklyn: Judah Friedlander, Myq Kaplan, and Christian Finnegan at Eastville (8:00 pm; normally $21 with no min., but free following these instructions; Brooklyn’s Eastville Comedy Club at 487 Atlantic Avenue—take 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R subway to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center)

Matt Rogers &amp; Dave Mizzoni: "GAYme Show"Saturday 8/24: A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Two straight men (who tonight are comic Matt Gehring and musician Julian Velard) enter the arena, but only one leaves with the title of Queen of the Straights. Lifelines include a Woman Who Gets It (Jo Firestone) and a Wise Queer (Dylan Marron)” hosted by Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni, who invite you to “come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck:” GAYme Show (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Terrorbird sketch comedySaturday 8/24: Surreal sketch group Terrorbird performs a new oddball series of scenes designed to unsettle and delight you: Terrorbird (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Katie BoyleSaturday 8/24: Seven comics TBA who were born outside NYC perform stand-up hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above, from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Friday 8/23: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (8:00 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

North CoastSaturday 8/24: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

The Roast of HistorySaturday 8/24: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics Emily Winter (The New Yorker, Ask Me Another), Spike Einbinder (Los Espookys, High Maintenance), Maggie Crane, and Julien Edward Williams roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention: The Roast of History (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 8/24: A top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by such ace talents as Becky Drysdale, Zack Willis, Katy Barry, Caroline Martin, Amber Ruffin, Tim Sniffen, and Jeff Hiller, plus stellar improv musicians Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Scientific Facts About Fictional RobotsSunday 8/25: Comics TBA discuss robots in novels, movies, and TV shows, and consider “Could that really happen?”: Scientific Facts About Fictional Robots (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Monday 8/26: Comics Ryan Stanisz, Joe Pardavila, and Brian Danger wrote and co-star in a mini-play described as follows: “Death can make you do funny things, and when Lars loses his wife to a freak chicken bone accident he purchases a funeral home,” with original direction by David Carl and subsequent direction by Lauren Brickman. Also on this double-bill of Spanks auditioning for a regular run is a sketch show about weddings written by Nick Ramirez & Chrissy Shackelford, and directed by Alexis Pereira: We Bought a Funeral Home! and The Big Day: A Sketch Show about Weddings (6:00 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Reggie Watts 15Monday 8/26 (also Tuesday & Wednesday): Reggie Watts is the bandleader of CBS’ Late Late Show with James Corden, has a Netflix special titled Spatial…and is unlike anyone else. Years ago, Natasha Leggero told the story of how she came to a Reggie show where he sang a song about eating breakfast. Natasha turned to a mutual friend and said, “Wow, that’s really good. I haven’t heard it before, is it new?” The friend, who’d spent the day with Reggie, replied, “No, you don’t get it. That’s literally what he had for breakfast this morning.” Natasha spent a few moments taking in that Reggie had made the song up on the spot, and then declared, “Reggie Watts has more talent in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.” One of the all-time greats in the biz makes a now-rare NYC stage appearance, with singing twins Max & Nicky Weinbach as openers. Reggie Watts (8:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; buy in advance, because this show will almost certainly sell out)

Marissa Stuart & Laura Merli: Monday 8/26: The adorable Laura Merli (above right; Reductress, McSweeney’s, YouTube, host of How to be Less Awkward) and Marissa Stuart (above left; trend forecaster; member of all-gal hip-hop improv troupe DMXX) perform duo sketch comedy designed to provide you with “feel-good dread” (for a video sample, please click here): Soul Crush Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Reggie WattsTuesday 8/27 (also Wednesday): Reggie Watts is the bandleader of CBS’ Late Late Show with James Corden, has a Netflix special titled Spatial…and is unlike anyone else. Years ago, Natasha Leggero told the story of how she came to a Reggie show where he sang a song about eating breakfast. Natasha turned to a mutual friend and said, “Wow, that’s really good. I haven’t heard it before, is it new?” The friend, who’d spent the day with Reggie, replied, “No, you don’t get it. That’s literally what he had for breakfast this morning.” Natasha spent a few moments taking in that Reggie had made the song up on the spot, and then declared, “Reggie Watts has more talent in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.” One of the all-time greats in the biz makes a now-rare NYC stage appearance, with comic Hannah Einbinder as opener. Reggie Watts (8:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; buy in advance, because this show will almost certainly sell out)

Ira Glass 2Tuesday 8/27: Great lineup of Ira Glass (host of This American Life), Lucy Wainwright Roche (stellar singer/songwriter), Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; Comedy Central and Netflix specials; films Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty), and more hosted by Elna Baker (NPR’s This American Life, bestselling author of The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance) & Kevin Townley (Men in Black III, The Sitter, My Super Ex-Girlfriend): The Talent Show: Control Freak (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Julian VelardTuesday 8/27: Singer/songwriter/musician Julian Velard (pianist for NPR’s Ask Me Another; albums include Fancy Words For Failure) plays a bunch of his wonderful songs in a show he describes as follows: “To mark 19 years of treading water in the music business, Julian will play his originals that have received minor radio airplay outside the United States, left-of-center covers of obscure tracks by 1970s singer/songwriters, and slow acoustic interpretations of modern pop hits.The songs will be punctuated by self-conscious quips and the occasional berating of an audience member. This is a rare intimate performance by Velard, something he only does once a month or so:” Julian Velard Plays Another Show (7:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

First ImpressionsTuesday 8/27: Eight comics and one audience member compete to win the heart of a celebrity single through rounds of Q&A and challenge questions, with the help of expert advice from a relationship expert, hosted by Taylor Ortega (HBO’s Succession, Shego in Disney Channel’s live-action Kim Possible, TruTV), Yoni Lotan (Netflix’s Russian Doll, HBO’s High Maintenance, Above Average), and John Trowbridge (Huffington Post): First Impressions: A Live 90s Dating Show (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Marvel ComicsTuesday 8/27: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Reggie WattsWednesday 8/28: Reggie Watts is the bandleader of CBS’ Late Late Show with James Corden, has a Netflix special titled Spatial…and is unlike anyone else. Years ago, Natasha Leggero told the story of how she came to a Reggie show where he sang a song about eating breakfast. Natasha turned to a mutual friend and said, “Wow, that’s really good. I haven’t heard it before, is it new?” The friend, who’d spent the day with Reggie, replied, “No, you don’t get it. That’s literally what he had for breakfast this morning.” Natasha spent a few moments taking in that Reggie had made the song up on the spot, and then declared, “Reggie Watts has more talent in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.” One of the all-time greats in the biz makes a now-rare NYC stage appearance, with comic Sarah Squirm as opener. Reggie Watts (8:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; buy in advance, because this show will almost certainly sell out)

ScrappedWednesday 8/28: Mary Twinings & John Celestial interview TV writers and others about the big ideas they had that never made it past the writers’ room: Scrapped (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Characters Welcome: Thursday 8/29: The talented comics of UCBT group Velvet MommyJon Bander, Kami Dimitrova, Desi Domo, Johnny Drago, Woody Fu, Chrissie Gruebel, Adrienne Ianniciello, and Corin Wells—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Velvet Mommy (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling ShowWednesday 8/28: Stand-up and/or storytellers Andrea Coleman, Ann Van Epps, Karen Marder, Freddy Sheffield, and more 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)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Thursday 8/29: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Krystyna Hutchinson & Corinne Fisher: Friday 8/30: Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson (authors of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed) record their wildly popular Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast live on stage: Guys We F*cked (7:00 pm; $22.32 in advance online or $24 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Friday 8/30: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

North CoastSaturday 8/31: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Saturday 8/31: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins.) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry “Rooster” Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas! Featuring toe-tapping riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 8/31: A top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by such ace talents as Becky Drysdale, Zack Willis, Katy Barry, Caroline Martin, Amber Ruffin, Tim Sniffen, and Jeff Hiller, plus stellar improv musicians Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Mike Drucker's Thursday 9/5: In this monthly show from 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), comics read obituaries they wrote for themselves, “honoring the lives they had and making fun of the lives they could have had.” Tonight’s dying-as-we-speak guests are Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes, stand-up album Seen Better Days), Ian Fidance (host of Picture This!; regular on SiriusXM’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central Radio), Tom Thakkar (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour; co-host of podcast Stand by Your Band), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Ismael Loutfi (Jimmy Kimmel; staff writer for Netflix’s Patriot Act): My Obituary Show (7:30 pm, $10, 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 at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Stand
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2019: Last Updated Monday 1/8

January 8, 2019

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. Know someone who does? Email me for a 10% referral fee on all money I receive from the client for a full year. To learn about my writing services, please visit BookProposal.net.

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please enjoy my new podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for January 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

Fred Firestone: Tuesday 1/8: 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: Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $12 (advance tickets are sold out, but there’ll be 150 tickets available for sale at the door), 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)

The Story Collider: Tuesday 1/8: Storytellers Neil Intraub (two-time Moth StorySlam winner), Adele Jackson-Gibson (co-host of Rule Breakers podcast), Roxanne Khamsi (Chief News Editor for Nature Medicine; writer for The New York Times, The Economist, Scientific American, and Slate), Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%; co-host of The Last Laugh), and Kelsey McCoy (Columbia University PhD candidate in biological sciences) tell tales on this month’s science theme of “personal rebirth, from mystery illnesses to family bonds,” hosted by Tracy Rowland & Paula Croxson: The Story Collider: Personal Rebirth (8:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Judah Friedlander, Aparna Nancherla, Dan St Germain, and Michael KostaTuesday 1/8: Killer lineup of 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), 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), Dan St. Germain (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Crashing, @midnight, This is Not Happening, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1; former staff writer for CBS’ Superior Donuts, Netflix’s The Break with Michelle Wolf, and TruTV’s Ten Things; album No Real Winners Here), Michael Kosta (correspondent for The Daily Show), and Pat Regan (The Eric Andre Show, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Seek Treatment podcast) perform stand-up hosted by the charming Ruby Karp: We Hope You Have Fun (10:30 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

The Biodiversity JamThursday 1/10: Comics share their love for the weirdest animals on the planet, with tonight’s zoologists 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), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show and the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast), Dylan Marron (host of Conversations with People Who Hate Me podcast, Welcome to Night Vale podcast, Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv), Eliza Cossio (HBO’s Problem Areas with Wyatt Cenac), Kenice Mobley (Person About Town), and Fumi Abe (Asian Not Asian) hosted by Karen Chee (The New Yorker, McSweeney’s): The Biodiversity Jam (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

MortifiedThursday 1/10: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show—which is now also a six-part series titled The Mortified Guide on Netflix!: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Abbi Crutchfield, Lane Moore, and Chase Mitchell: Friday 1/11: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of superb bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guest comics Abbi Crutchfield (above left; Broad City, MTV, VH1, TBS, TruTV, Witsream), Chase Mitchell (above right; former writer for Jimmy Fallon, the 2017 Golden Globe Awards, and MTV). and Samhita Mukhopadhyay (Executive Editor of Teen Vogue, co-editor of book Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump’s America). This show usually sells out, so I highly recommend nabbing tickets in advance online for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-HoperaFriday 1/11: 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, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jon GlaserSunday 1/13: Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien) tries out material for a stand-up special he’s putting together. Help Jon decide what’s funny and what might destroy his career: Come See If This Works Again (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

I'm a Doctor Now: Stories About Self-DiagnosisSunday 1/13: Storytellers TBA tell DIY healthcare tales, which in the past have ranged from homeopathic cures for yeast infections to at-home surgery, hosted by Allie Kokesh and Sarah Burton: I’m a Doctor Now: Stories About Self-Diagnosis (3:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Publish or Perish: Scientists Review Sunday 1/13: Peer review is applied to the big screen in this show where scientists and comics TBD watch and discuss the science of hit movies and, with your help, decide if the film deserves to be published and have its findings endorsed across the land, or should perish for its crimes against facts. This month focuses on the science of 2002 animated feature film Ice Age, and on the broader topic of climate change: Publish or Perish: Scientists Review Ice Age (7:00 pm, $13.82 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Drug Test: PsychedelicsTuesday 1/15: Experts and comics—including psychologist Ingmar Gorman (Director of the Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program) and Adam Strauss (writer/performer of show The Mushroom Cure)—have a frank and taboo-free discussion of drugs, this month focused on psychedelics, hosted by Sarah Rose Siskind (comedy writer for NatGeo’s StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson): Drug Test: Psychedelics (7:00 pm, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

RumpleteaserThursday 1/17: Highly talented singing improvisors Eric Gersen, Jeff Hiller, Michael Hartney, Jessica Morgan, Zack Willis, Hannah Solow, and Jake Smith interview an audience member about his or her college major, minor, classes, and final thesis, and then use the information to make up a complete musical on the spot: Rumpleteaser: Major and Minor (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

gayme show 2Friday 1/18: A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Two straight men TBD enter the arena, but only one leaves with the title of Queen of the Straights. Lifelines include a Woman Who Gets It and a Wise Queer” hosted by Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni, who invite you to “come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck:” GAYme Show (9:30 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: Saturday 1/19: 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; $17 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)

Adult Sex EdSaturday 1/19: Storytelling, sketches, and more about sex, including “practical takeaways for the audience,” from comics TBD hosted by Dani Faith Leonard: Adult Sex Ed (9:30 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Talks Progress AdministrationSunday 1/20: Four brand-new 10-minute segments titled “Lie Detector” (tech expert Sree Sreenivasan explores questions about truth and lies in the digital age), “Control Chorus” (an investigation into our internal rhythms and the external factors that set the tempo for our biology), “Zone Out” (the musical story of going to the doctor at age 13 and learning you’re not who you’ve been led to believe), and “Blood Shame” (What if we could erase our trauma? Would we live healthier lives?): Talks Progress Administration (7:00 pm; $11.70 online or $15 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

coming to americaMonday 1/21: Racquel Gates (author of Double Negative: The Black Image and Popular Culture) examines the stylistic qualities and production of 1988 comedy film Coming to America, arguing it’s actually two movies in one resulting from the ideological and interpersonal tensions between director John Landis and star Eddie Murphy: Flying University: That Ain’t a Black Film! (7:00 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Brian Agler of West Wing Writers: Tuesday 1/22: Members of the West Wing Writers group (which includes former Presidential speechwriters) and comic 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) will break down their favorite speeches, give behind-the-scenes looks at the speech drafting process, and even lead you in crafting your own keynote speech, all hosted by Brian Agler (Director of West Wing Writers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s): SpeakEasy (9:30 pm; $12; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Anne Burrell and Julia ChildWednesday 1/23: Stoytellers TBD tell tales about great female chefs in history: Yeah She Did: If You Can’t Take the Heat—Women in Food (7:00 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Marcela Onyango & Lauren Clark: Wednesday 1/23: Comics TBD share their experiences with racial profiling hosted by Marcela Onyango (host of Feel the News): Profiled (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Why Your Train is FckedThursday 1/24: Learn the history of the MTA via fun lectures, sketches, and more at this ongoing comedic history series about NYC transit, this month focusing on the troubled L train and why it’s going to be shut down in April for major repairs, with a disgruntled MTA employee as the “secret” guest, hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked: The L Train’s Sabbatical (7:00 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Anybody 11Friday 1/25: 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, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sci-Fi ExplosionSaturday 1/26: This new free show has fun with SF/fantasy video clips, asking such questions as “Why is Robocop selling blue jeans? Why did Billy Ocean make a Star Wars-themed music video? Did ET ever do porno?” hosted by Chris Cummins (Den of Geek) and guests TBD: Sci-Fi Explosion (7:00 pm; Free!, reserve tickets here; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Roast of HistorySaturday 1/26: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics TBD roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention hosted by Matt Strickland: The Roast of History (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

It's Complicated: How the U.S. Shaped the Middle EastTuesday 1/29: Iranian comic Mehdi Barakchian (host of Passport Control, co-host of Brunch Night, improv group Kibbles and Bits) and writer Kylie Holloway will answer your questions about the relationship between the US and the Middle East—”Why are we still hanging out with Saudi Arabia?’, “Why is Iran is so mad at America?”, and “What the heck is an Aleppo, and is it bigger or smaller than a Venti?”, with this month’s topic Operation Ajax—The Coup That Rocked Iran: It’s Complicated: How the U.S. Shaped the Middle East (7:00 pm, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Kids are All GreatWednesday 1/30: Taylor Lorenz (staff writer on technology and culture for The Atlantic) and Reed Kavner (former director of product development at Billboard magazine; host of Powerpoint comedy show Next Slide Please) host this look at “what the kids are into—apps, memes, songs, fashion trends—through a lens of empathy and genuine curiosity, helped by experts and actual teens sharing the latest developments in youth culture:” The Kids are All Great (7:00 pm, $11.70 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Natalie Wall and Anita FloresWednesday 1/30: The lovely Natalie Wall (above left; host of superb storytelling shows Awkward Sex and the City and Awkward Poop and the City, and co-producer of Bad Assery) and Anita Flores (above right; Buzzfeed) host this show about the unseemly, extreme, and taboo things that ladies don’t usually talk about: Gross Girls: An Unladylike Comedy Show (9:30 pm, $17 online or $18 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Midnight Society: Why You're Still Afraid of the DarkThursday 1/31: Storytellers TBD try to scare you with modern fantasy/horror tales in this show that’s the next the best to a moonlit campfire: Midnight Society: Why You’re Still Afraid of the Dark (9:30 pm, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2018: Last Updated Wednesday 12/5

December 5, 2018

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. Know someone who does? Email me for a 10% referral fee on all money I receive from the client for a full year. To learn about my writing services, please visit BookProposal.net.

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please enjoy my new podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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

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

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 LiesThursday 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)


Tracy Mull: Sunday 12/9: One of the most playful and delightful improvisors in NYC, Tracy Mull (who says of herself, “If you tilt me side to side, you’ll hear the gentle roar of puzzle pieces collectively shifting to and fro”) performs a solo sketch show…with cardboard boxes! If you’re craving something different in comedy, this show is it: Boxed: Cardboard Out of My Mind (7:30 pm, $8, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for July 2018: Last Updated Friday 7/20

July 20, 2018

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. To learn about my writing services, please visit BookProposal.net.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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

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

Mac and MeFriday 7/20: Infamous 1988 E.T. ripoff movie Mac and Me is considered one of the worst films of all time, with a rare 0% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The images above provide some clue as to why. It’s also notable for numerous product placements, winning Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst Director (Stewart Ratfill) and Worst New Star (Ronald McDonald). “Enjoy” this screening with comics Christian Finnegan (creator & co-host of A&E’s Black and White; co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; TBS, VH1, MSNBC), Brian McGuinness, Erin Lynn O’Connor, and Colin Fitzgerald making cruel comments throughout produced by Chris Gersbeck (host of Casual Sets, Soft Core!, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic): Movies R Dumb: Mac and Me (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Bitches' BrewFriday 7/20: 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), plus Rob Haze, Greg Stone, Julia Johns, Maria Shehata, and Jill Weiner perform stand-up hosted by Shelby Taylor (host of The Killing Joke, producer of See You In Hell): Bitches’ Brew (8:30 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar at 406 Third Avenue)

Seaton SmithFriday 7/20: This new free stand-up show features Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Chris Rock’s film Top Five, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Half Hour), Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), Dan Black (sketches for Jimmy Fallon; TruTV, TLC, Fuse; UCB’s Death by Roo Roo), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), and Mary Kate Doherty (MTV’s 420 Theater) performing for hosts Matt Strickland & Colby Smith: Knapsack (8:30 pm, Free!, Crystal Lake Brooklyn at 647 Grand Street; take L subway to Brooklyn’s Lorimer Street or Graham Avenue)

GAYme ShowFriday 7/20: A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Two straight men—Nick Kocher and Brian McElhaney—enter the arena, but only one leaves with the title of Queen of the Straights. Lifelines include a Woman Who Gets It (Catherine Cohen) and a Wise Queer (Pat Regan)” hosted by Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni, who invite you to “come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck:” GAYme Show (9:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jacqueline Novak and John EarlySaturday 7/21: Jacqueline Novak (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) practices this solo show she’ll be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which she describes—eerily, in third person—as follows: “Jacqueline finds everything embarrassing…except for the obvious. Revealing intimate details of her life to strangers? Her chosen profession. Crying in public? She wrote a book encouraging it. Being caught for even a moment having something resembling self-esteem? Unbearable. As a woman, shame is constantly dumped upon you…in regards to body, beauty, sexual behavior, and more. As a human, the indignities are near constant. This show weaves Novak’s personal stories with stand-up to parse what does and does not deserve our embarrassment.” For tonight only, it’ll be hosted by John Early (Netflix’s The Characters and Wet Hot American Summer, NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s Broad City). “Exquisite banter between J and J will unfold into Jacqueline performing the show—sweaty, personal, passionate, and full notionry—and then afterward John will praise it:” Jacqueline Novak, Hosted by John Early: How Embarrassing for Her (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Go Fact YourselfSaturday 7/21: A guest celebrity answers arcane questions on a topic he or she claims to be expert in by hosts J. Keith van Straaten & Helen Hong for this live podcast recording: Go Fact Yourself (Noon; $11.59 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; a second edition of this show happens Sunday)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"Saturday 7/21: World-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). 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)

Tompkins Square ParkSunday 7/22: NYLaugh.org’s free summer stand-up series concludes today with a show at the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park, with comics TBA: Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, at Tompkins Square Park on the Old Bandshell Lawn; take the F subway to Second Avenue)

Michelle Buteau and Jordan Carlos: "Adulting"Sunday 7/22: “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,” with guests Matt Robers & Bowen Yang (hosts of the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast) and Yamaneika Saunders (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle): Haunting Renditions (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Go Fact YourselfSunday 7/22: In the second of two editions this weekend, a guest celebrity answers arcane questions on a topic he or she claims to be expert in by hosts J. Keith van Straaten & Helen Hong for this live podcast recording: Go Fact Yourself (Noon; $11.59 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)

Women's HealthSunday 7/22: A show for hypochondriacs and victims of terrible insurance, these comedic stories of healthcare nightmares range from self-diagnosis via Internet to at-home surgery, with this month’s topic Women’s Health by comics TBA, hosted by Sarah Burton and Allie Kokesh: I’m a Doctor Now: Stories About Self-Diagnosis (7:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Hari KondaboluMonday 7/23: Hari Kondabolu (above left; fresh, sharp, rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives; co-host of Kondabolu Brothers podcast), Michelle Biloon (Craig Ferguson, Chelsea Lately, Comedy Central), Sam Taggart (Live on Broadgay, Lake Homo High), and Maria Shehata perform stand-up for hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, 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 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers), 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)

Mistakes Were MadeMonday 7/23: Tales of humiliating failure from comedic storytellers Vanessa Golembewski (NBC, Moth StorySlam winner), David Hu (Moth StorySlam winner), Harmon Leon (VICE), Alan I. Ross (Risk!), and ChaChanna Simpson (writer) hosted by Tija Mittal: Mistakes Were Made: Storytelling About Failure (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jessica WalterMonday 7/23: Jessica Walter (Archer, Arrested Development, Play Misty For Me, Grand Prix) 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)

Rebecca VigilMonday 7/23: Terrific lineup of Rebecca Vigil (above; rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante, Kick It!), 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), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; co-host of podcast & stage show Las Culturistas), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade, Broadway’s School of Rock, ; co-host of Characters Welcome), and and Scott Rogowsky (NBC’s The Voice; host of wildly popular trivia game app HQ Trivia) are scheduled to perform stand-up for this free weekly show hosted by the multi-talented Morgan Miller (immensely likeable improvisor, sketch comic, and stand-up): Dirty Laundry (11:00 pm, Free! (make reservation here), UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Kick It! with Rebecca VigilTuesday 7/24: Rebecca Vigil (rising star improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante) sings powerhouse songs she makes up on the spot, backed by a superb improv band headed by keyboardist Dan Reitz. Plus she’s joined by typically terrific NYC comics (TBA): Kick It! with Rebecca Vigil (7:30 pm; $11 online using code KICKIT [otherwise $18], plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

The Nights of Our LivesWednesday 7/25: Stellar storytellers TBA tell comedic tales on this month’s theme TBA for this live podcast taping hosted by the wonderful David Martin: The Nights of Our Lives (7:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

RumpleteaserWednesday 7/25: Highly talented singing improvisors Eric Gersen, Zack Willis, Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Lauren Adams, Jessica Morgan, Hannah Solow, Carrie McCrossen, Jeff Hiller, Jake Smith, and/or Jeremy Bent make up an entire musical on the spot springboarding off an audience suggestion as group Rumpleteaser; and for the second half of this double-bill, a bio-sketch show about pharmaceutical insider turned prison inmate Martin Shkreli: Shkreli! Portrait of a Pharma Bro (9:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Why Your Train is F*cked: A Love/Hate Show About the History of the MTAThursday 7/26: Learn the early history of the MTA via fun lectures, sketches, and more at the third of this comedic history series about NYC transit, with guests TBA, hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked: A Love/Hate Show About the History of the MTA (7:00 pm; $16.89 on<line, $18 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ashley Brooke Roberts and Jim TewsThursday 7/26: Stand-ups TBA perform for stellar hosts (above) Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable rising star stand-up, sketch comic, and actress; former writer for NatGeo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely) and/or Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing; host of Homeschooled; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York; comedy album I Was in Band): Fresh Out (9:00 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Making Number 2Sunday 7/29: Comedy duo Marty Scanlon (musical improv team Good Catch) & Ali Gordon (musical improv group Rumpleteaser), plus guest Grey Henson (Tony Nominee for Broadway’s Mean Girls; previously Elder McKinley in The Book of Mormon), improvise on-the-fly pitches for sequels to movies that definitely do not need them for this live recording of their podcast: Making Number 2: Sequels = Comedy + Time (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)

The Secret History of Ice CreamMonday 7/30: Historic gastronomist Sarah Lohman (Cooking Channel’s Food: Fact or Fiction?) will unearth the stories behind your favorite ice cream treats and share some of history’s wildest bygone flavors that may be due for a revival. By the end of the night, you’ll be able to answer such questions as “Which came first, chocolate or vanilla? The ice cream sandwich or the ice cream cone? Neapolitan or liquid nitrogen?” Plus Jonathan Soma will show you the science behind making the perfect batch at home; reveal Big Ice Cream’s tricks for plumping up their profit margins; and track frozen desserts across the globe, from Italian gelato to dondurma, the magically stretchy ice cream from Turkey: The Secret History of Ice Cream—Presented by Masters of Social Gastronomy (7:00 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Our HouseTuesday 7/31: Comedic storytellers share tales of reclaiming power, with Aparna Nancherla (brilliant stand-up and TV star), Danny Artese (Moth GrandSlam champion), Sandi Marx (7-time Moth StorySlam champion), Elana Lancaster (Moth StorySlam winner), Dawn Fraser (TED@NYC), Stephanie Summerville (The Moth mainstage), Lily Herman (founder of Get Her Elected), and Mark Pagá—plus political organizers Adrienne Lever (Director of Swing Left) and Asher Novek (President of Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats) offer ways to support a blue wave for the 2018 elections, all hosted by Nicole Ferraro: Our House: A Storytelling Benefit for Swing Left (7:00 pm; $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for July 2018: Last Updated Thursday 7/19

July 19, 2018

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. To learn about my writing services, please visit BookProposal.net.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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

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

Judah FriedlanderThursday 7/19: 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) performs a deliciously long set of his unique form of crowd work and Q&A stand-up, with opening comics TBA: Judah Friedlander Headlines (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Lucie Pohl's "Immigrant Jam"Thursday 7/19: 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; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them): Immigrant Jam (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Aparna NancherlaThursday 7/19: Aparna Nancherla (above; 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), Rell Battle (co-creator of Comedy Central’s Roast Battle; Conan O’Brien; cast member of CBS’ Superior Donuts), Joe Pera (star of Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks With You; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central), Boris Khaykin (Comedy Central’s Broad City, The Opposition; Amazon’s Red Oaks, acclaimed improv hip-hop group North Coast; host of Impro(VS)tandup), and more are slated to perform for stellar hosts Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable rising star stand-up, sketch comic, and actress; former writer for NatGeo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely) and/or Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing; host of Homeschooled; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York; comedy album I Was in Band): Fresh Out (9:00 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

GAYme ShowFriday 7/20: A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Two straight men enter the arena, but only one leaves with the title of Queen of the Straights. Lifelines include a Woman Who Gets It and a Wise Queer,” with guest comics TBA, hosted by Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni, who invite you to “come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck:” GAYme Show (9:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sonia DenisFriday 7/20: This new free stand-up show features 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), Sonia Denis (above; HBO’s High Maintenance, Netflix’s Set It Up, Emmy-nominated webseries Brown Girls), Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), and Mary Kate Doherty (MTV’s 420 Theater) performing for hosts Matt Strickland & Colby Smith: Knapsack (8:30 pm, Free!, Crystal Lake Brooklyn at 647 Grand Street; take L subway to Brooklyn’s Lorimer Street or Graham Avenue)

Jacqueline Novak and John EarlySaturday 7/21: Jacqueline Novak (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) practices this solo show she’ll be performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which she describes—eerily, in third person—as follows: “Jacqueline finds everything embarrassing…except for the obvious. Revealing intimate details of her life to strangers? Her chosen profession. Crying in public? She wrote a book encouraging it. Being caught for even a moment having something resembling self-esteem? Unbearable. As a woman, shame is constantly dumped upon you…in regards to body, beauty, sexual behavior, and more. As a human, the indignities are near constant. This show weaves Novak’s personal stories with stand-up to parse what does and does not deserve our embarrassment.” For tonight only, it’ll be hosted by John Early (Netflix’s The Characters and Wet Hot American Summer, NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s Broad City). “Exquisite banter between J and J will unfold into Jacqueline performing the show—sweaty, personal, passionate, and full notionry—and then afterward John will praise it:” Jacqueline Novak, Hosted by John Early: How Embarrassing for Her (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Go Fact YourselfSaturday 7/21: A guest celebrity answers arcane questions on a topic he or she claims to be expert in by hosts J. Keith van Straaten & Helen Hong for this live podcast recording: Go Fact Yourself (Noon; $11.59 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; a second edition of this show happens Sunday)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"Saturday 7/21: World-class singing improvisors Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). 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)

Tompkins Square ParkSunday 7/22: NYLaugh.org’s free summer stand-up series concludes today with a show at the East Village’s Tompkins Square Park, with comics TBA: Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, at Tompkins Square Park on the Old Bandshell Lawn; take the F subway to Second Avenue)

Michelle Buteau and Jordan Carlos: "Adulting"Sunday 7/22: “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,” with guests Matt Robers & Bowen Yang (hosts of the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast) and Yamaneika Saunders (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle): Haunting Renditions (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Go Fact YourselfSunday 7/22: In the second of two editions this weekend, a guest celebrity answers arcane questions on a topic he or she claims to be expert in by hosts J. Keith van Straaten & Helen Hong for this live podcast recording: Go Fact Yourself (Noon; $11.59 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)

Women's HealthSunday 7/22: A show for hypochondriacs and victims of terrible insurance, these comedic stories of healthcare nightmares range from self-diagnosis via Internet to at-home surgery, with this month’s topic Women’s Health by comics TBA, hosted by Sarah Burton and Allie Kokesh: I’m a Doctor Now: Stories About Self-Diagnosis (7:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Hari KondaboluMonday 7/23: Hari Kondabolu (above left; fresh, sharp, rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives; co-host of Kondabolu Brothers podcast), Michelle Biloon (Craig Ferguson, Chelsea Lately, Comedy Central), Sam Taggart (Live on Broadgay, Lake Homo High), and Maria Shehata perform stand-up for hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, 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 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers), 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)

Mistakes Were MadeMonday 7/23: Tales of humiliating failure from comedic storytellers Vanessa Golembewski (NBC, Moth StorySlam winner), David Hu (Moth StorySlam winner), Harmon Leon (VICE), Alan I. Ross (Risk!), and ChaChanna Simpson (writer) hosted by Tija Mittal: Mistakes Were Made: Storytelling About Failure (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jessica WalterMonday 7/23: Jessica Walter (Archer, Arrested Development, Play Misty For Me, Grand Prix) 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)

Rebecca VigilMonday 7/23: Terrific lineup of Rebecca Vigil (above; rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante, Kick It!), 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), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; co-host of podcast & stage show Las Culturistas), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade, Broadway’s School of Rock, ; co-host of Characters Welcome), and and Scott Rogowsky (NBC’s The Voice; host of wildly popular trivia game app HQ Trivia) are scheduled to perform stand-up for this free weekly show hosted by the multi-talented Morgan Miller (immensely likeable improvisor, sketch comic, and stand-up): Dirty Laundry (11:00 pm, Free! (make reservation here), UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Kick It! with Rebecca VigilTuesday 7/24: Rebecca Vigil (rising star improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante) sings powerhouse songs she makes up on the spot, backed by a superb improv band headed by keyboardist Dan Reitz. Plus she’s joined by typically terrific NYC comics (TBA): Kick It! with Rebecca Vigil (7:30 pm; $11 online using code KICKIT [otherwise $18], plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

The Nights of Our LivesWednesday 7/25: Stellar storytellers TBA tell comedic tales on this month’s theme TBA for this live podcast taping hosted by the wonderful David Martin: The Nights of Our Lives (7:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

RumpleteaserWednesday 7/25: Highly talented singing improvisors Eric Gersen, Zack Willis, Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Lauren Adams, Jessica Morgan, Hannah Solow, Carrie McCrossen, Jeff Hiller, Jake Smith, and/or Jeremy Bent make up an entire musical on the spot springboarding off an audience suggestion as group Rumpleteaser; and for the second half of this double-bill, a bio-sketch show about pharmaceutical insider turned prison inmate Martin Shkreli: Shkreli! Portrait of a Pharma Bro (9:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Why Your Train is F*cked: A Love/Hate Show About the History of the MTAThursday 7/26: Learn the early history of the MTA via fun lectures, sketches, and more at the third of this comedic history series about NYC transit, with guests TBA, hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked: A Love/Hate Show About the History of the MTA (7:00 pm; $16.89 on<line, $18 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ashley Brooke Roberts and Jim TewsThursday 7/26: Stand-ups TBA perform for stellar hosts (above) Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable rising star stand-up, sketch comic, and actress; former writer for NatGeo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely) and/or Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing; host of Homeschooled; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York; comedy album I Was in Band): Fresh Out (9:00 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Making Number 2Sunday 7/29: Comedy duo Marty Scanlon (musical improv team Good Catch) & Ali Gordon (musical improv group Rumpleteaser), plus guest Grey Henson (Tony Nominee for Broadway’s Mean Girls; previously Elder McKinley in The Book of Mormon), improvise on-the-fly pitches for sequels to movies that definitely do not need them for this live recording of their podcast: Making Number 2: Sequels = Comedy + Time (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)

The Secret History of Ice CreamMonday 7/30: Historic gastronomist Sarah Lohman (Cooking Channel’s Food: Fact or Fiction?) will unearth the stories behind your favorite ice cream treats and share some of history’s wildest bygone flavors that may be due for a revival. By the end of the night, you’ll be able to answer such questions as “Which came first, chocolate or vanilla? The ice cream sandwich or the ice cream cone? Neapolitan or liquid nitrogen?” Plus Jonathan Soma will show you the science behind making the perfect batch at home; reveal Big Ice Cream’s tricks for plumping up their profit margins; and track frozen desserts across the globe, from Italian gelato to dondurma, the magically stretchy ice cream from Turkey: The Secret History of Ice Cream—Presented by Masters of Social Gastronomy (7:00 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Our HouseTuesday 7/31: Comedic storytellers share tales of reclaiming power, with Aparna Nancherla (brilliant stand-up and TV star), Danny Artese (Moth GrandSlam champion), Sandi Marx (7-time Moth StorySlam champion), Elana Lancaster (Moth StorySlam winner), Dawn Fraser (TED@NYC), Stephanie Summerville (The Moth mainstage), Lily Herman (founder of Get Her Elected), and Mark Pagá—plus political organizers Adrienne Lever (Director of Swing Left) and Asher Novek (President of Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats) offer ways to support a blue wave for the 2018 elections, all hosted by Nicole Ferraro: Our House: A Storytelling Benefit for Swing Left (7:00 pm; $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade 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.