NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2020: Last Updated Sunday 1/12

January 12, 2020

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

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

Bacon Bits Brunch ShowSunday 1/12: Enjoy brunch with laughs at this comedy show hosted by Remy Kassimir (host of podcasts How Cum and We Really Love Island) that provides free bacon and $20 bottomless mimosas along with a small army of stand-ups: Subhah Agarwal (HBO, NBC, MTV, TruTv, Fusion; former writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show), Lev Fer (host of the Yung Daddy podcast), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic), Chrissie Mayr (NBC’s America’s Got Talent, FOX, The Chris Gethard ShowWendy Williams; host of Wet Spot podcast; co-host of long-running LGBT stage show Comedy at Stonewall), 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), Luisa Lange (writes & produces segments for MTV News), Natalie McGill (correspondent for RT America’s Redacted Tonight; stand-up film American Comic streaming on Amazon Prime), and Maddy Smith (cast member of MTV’s Wild n Out; writer for Comedy Central’s Roast of Alec Baldwin): Bacon Bits Brunch Show (3:00 pm, $15The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Alex Kayhart & Amarie Castillo: "The Set Up"Sunday 1/12: Alex Kayhart & Amarie Castillo know NYC can be lonely, so they’ve created this new show that helps you make friends as you enjoy stand-up by Corinne Fisher (with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX), and @PhilanthropyGal (top pod “Guys We F*cked”), and Shaun Latham (Comedy Central; host of Barstool Sports’ 20 Dollar Chef and SiriusXM’s daily The Shaun Latham Show): The Set Up (7:00 pm, $10The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Karen Chee & Ariel Dumas: "Big Debates, Lil Issues"Sunday 1/12: Pairs of comics face off in “passionate, high-stakes debates about absolutely unimportant, low-stakes topics,” with Larry OwensZiwe FumudohX MayoJosh SharpMarcia BelskyNatalie WalkerEva VictorPeter Smith, and Bob Vulfov hosted by Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) & Ariel Dumas (staff writer for Stephen Colbert): Big Debates, Lil Issues (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)

Sunday Night Stand-Up at The StandSunday 1/12: Stand-up from Joe List (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The StandUps, comedy albums So Far No Good and Are You Mad at Me?), Chaunte Wayans (Netflix special “They Ready” 1.6, MTV’s Wild N’ Out, @TruTV, @TLC, film 50 Shades of Black, 50 Cents’ 50 CentralJeff Leach (BBC; host of podcast Savage Snowflake and show Stand-Ups Anonymous), Subhah Agarwal (HBO, NBC, MTV, TruTv, Fusion; former writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show), Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays), Chrissie Mayr (NBC’s America’s Got Talent, FOX, The Chris Gethard ShowWendy Williams; host of Wet Spot podcast; co-host of long-running LGBT stage show Comedy at Stonewall), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), and Nina Daniels (The Last O.G., Showtime’s Shameless, Maron): Sunday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Comedy Fight ClubSunday 1/12: This weekly competitive 1-on-1 roast battle tonight features a main bout of Camille Theobald (“The smell of Camel cigarettes and Budweiser remind me of goodnight kisses from Mom”) vs. Brian Barganier judged by Mike Cannon, Remy KassimirBrandan Sagblow, and Patrick Schroeder,and hosted by Matt MaranComedy Fight Club (9:00 pm; $8.13 online using code CFC, otherwise $13.13; The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

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

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

Shalewa Sharpe: Monday 1/13: “A young woman applies for a job at an adult video store because she figures the dress code will be lax.” Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?) performs a solo show “about the people who need porn and the folks brave enough to sell it to them:” Shalewa Sharpe: Don’t Reach in the Bag (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Movies R Dumb: Tuesday 1/14: The 1989 TV movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk introduces David Banner to Matt Murdock, who tries to help David beat a robbery frameup in both his day job of attorney and his nighttime role as superhero Daredevil, battling kingpin Wilson Fisk. Spoiler alert: There never is an actual trial of The Hulk, so the title is a blatant lie. These and other cinematic crimes will likely be pointed out as this film is screened, dissected, and mercilessly savaged by Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Jenn Wehrung (BBC; co-producer of Soft Core!), Brian McGuinness (Inside Amy Schumer, co-host of Retro BitsPlayable Characters podcast), and Aaron Zarabi hosted by Chris Gersbeck (host of Casual Sets, Soft Core!, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic; producer of numerous comedy shows): Movies R Dumb: The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

hoebe Robinson and Special GuestsThursday 1/16: Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White GuysSeth Meyers, Conan O’BrienBroad 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) performs and hosts “special guests” to raise funds for the reelection of her brother, Ohio State Representative Phil Robinson (above left): Phoebe Robinson and Special Guests (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)

Nick Thune & Damien Jurado: Friday 1/17: Famed musical comic Nick Thune (albums Thick NoonFolk Hero, and Good Guy) ]and lengenary musician Damian Jurado team up to create an odd blend of laughs and melancholy: Nick Thune & Damien Jurado: Sad Music, Sad Comedy (9:00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

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

Jordan Klepper's Debate Club: Monday 1/20: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) hosts a comedic debate about whether we should break up big tech, with Kelly Bachman (CNN, The New York Times, Glamour), Adam Green (co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Progressive Change Institute), and Peter Suderman (Managing Editor of Reason.comThe New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Politico): Debate Club: Should We Break Up Big Tech? (7:00 pm, $22.20 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Serious MattersTuesday 1/21: Helping to solve some “serious problem” (TBA) via PowerPoint, essays, music, and/or videos are guests 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), Mia Jackson (Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer), and Adam Mamawala (Comedy Central, MTV, BET; freelance contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; stand-up album One of the Good Ones) plus hosts Kevin McCaffrey (former warm-up comic for David Letterman; TruTV; co-host of podcast Sex and the Cidiots; stand-up album Nice & Drunk) and and Emmy-winning writer/producers Brock Mahan (Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj) and Josiah Madigan (Head Writer of HQ Trivia): Serious Matters (7:00 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sketchy HistoryTuesday 1/21: A highly popular show that reenacts bizarre events of the past, with all sketches researched, written, and directed by award-winning journalist Malorie Cunningham (ABC News, NBC News) and Heath Harckham (Food Network), and performed by comics including Malorie, Heath, Victoria HoffmanSophia ShefnerTalia HellerIan Mather, and/or Mike NewkirkSketchy History (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ben SinclairWednesday 1/22: Ben Sinclair (co-creator, co-director, and co-star of HBO’s High Maintenance) is the guest of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan CoultonAsk Me Another (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Why Your Train is F*cked: The G TrainThursday 1/23: This monthly comedic show about the MTA is usually full of compaints, but tonight sings the praises of…the G Train! “The New York Times said it best in 2016, with an article titled, ‘Once Mocked, the G Train Is Now Cool. Kind Of.’ Honestly, we think the G line kicks ass and is massively misunderstood. The trains may be short, but their hearts are large. So we’re going to spend an hour and a half telling you why The Little Light Green Line That Could really can,” hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked: The G Train (7:00 pm; $16.89 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Risk!Thursday 1/23: Comedic storytellers TBA join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State; owner of The Story Studio) at what’s typically one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk! (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sim Yan Ying: Friday 1/24-Sunday 1/26: This solo show is described as follows: “”In my four years of living in New York, I’ve only ever swiped right on white men.’ In this semi-autobiographical stand-up drama, Sim Yan Ying takes a bitingly honest look at white worship, postcolonial baggage, and politically correct culture. She tears apart her escapades with white men in New York and delves into her experiences growing up in Singapore, throwing into question how and why we are sometimes complicit in the very things we outwardly reject:” I Love White Men (7:00 pm, $22, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Internet Explorers-AmazonFriday 1/24: “Amazon is a crazy big corporation. So big, in fact, it’s hard to even wrap your head around it. Web hosting, groceries, streaming video, home surveillance, holiday gifts…you can get almost anything from Jeff Bezos’ mega-company…” The online store & Web services company that changed the world, Amazon.com, is explored by host Mark Vigeant (Funny Or Die, Prairie Home Companion) with Kashmir Hill (The New York Times), Dhruv Mehrotra (Gizmodo), Caroline Haskins (Buzzfeed News), Samantha Reece (Head Writer of Buzzfeed’s BTW) and Rollie Williams (host of An Inconvenient Talk Show), plus music by Darren WilliamsInternet Explorers: Amazon.com (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Great Moments in Weed History LiveFriday 1/24: This popular podcast by Abdullah Saeed & David Bienenstock (above right) “blazes joints, cracks jokes, and explores the people, places, and events that make up the complex and fascinating 10,000+ year past of weed and weed culture, from Barack Obama’s time in the Choom Gang, to an exclusive first-hand account of how the Hollywood sign briefly became the Hollyweed sign,” tonight with guest Ben Sinclair (above left; co-creator, co-director, and co-star of HBO’s High Maintenance): Great Moments in Weed History Live (10:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; part of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival)

Thank You For Coming OutSaturday 1/25: Candid conversations about coming out with a diverse array of LGBTQ+ persons (TBA) for a podcast sponsored by Gay City News, the largest LGBT newspaper in the country: Thank You For Coming Out (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jordan Klepper's Debate Club: Monday 1/27: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) hosts a comedic debate about whether the US should pay reparations, with Kenice Mobley (host of podcast Love About Town, co-host of The Pasta Show), Michael Cruz Kayne (sketches on Seth Meyers and The Chris Gethard Show; HBO’s High Maintenance; 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)Nelini Stamp (National Organizing Director at the Working Families Party), and Coleman Hughes (undergrad at Columbia University who’s written for The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and The National Review): Debate Club: Should the US Pay Reparations? (9:30 pm, $22.20 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

An Evening of Humorous Readings 3Tuesday 1/28: Readings of short humor pieces by sharp writers & comics TBA, plus hosts Brian AnglerLuke Burns, and James Folta (all writers for The New Yorker and McSweeney’s)An Evening of Humorous Readings (7:00 pm—arrive at 6:30 to hang out a bit with the guests, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jordan Klepper's Debate Club: Tuesday 1/28: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) hosts a comedic debate about whether the US should pay forgive student loan debt, with Michael Cruz Kayne (sketches on Seth Meyers and The Chris Gethard Show; HBO’s High Maintenance; 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)Lou Perez (former producer for Impractical Jokers; half of sketch duo Greg and Lou), and more: Debate Club: Should the US Forgive Student Loan Debt? (9:30 pm, $22.20 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

How I Learned In The Beginning: Origin StoriesThursday 1/30: Stellar storytellers 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; comedy album The Hits), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), David Heatley (The New Yorker; Qualification: A Graphic Memoir), Angel Yau (Asian American Film Thing), and Julian Fleisher (Joe’s Pub: The Naked American Songbook) tell tales about how they started out hosted by Blaise Allysen KearsleyHow I Learned In The Beginning: Origin Stories (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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.

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.

You can also find me on Twitter at @hybender, Instagram at @hybenderny, and Facebook at https://Facebook.com/hybender.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for October 2019: Last Updated Friday 10/25

October 25, 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 at @hybender, and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com. (I’m also on Instagram at @hybenderny and Facebook at hybender; but honestly, you’ll be doing me the most good if you follow and retweet me on Twitter.)

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

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

Jeff Ayars & Dan Rosen: "Cannibal Milkshake"Friday 10/25-Sunday 10/27: The Eighth Annual NYC SketchFest runs 3 more days, through Sunday, with over 120 groups from 16 states and 3 countries performing at the East Side PIT Mainstage (Striker) and PIT Underground, and the West Side PIT Loft. Shows happening tonight include Jeff Ayars & Dan Rosen as duo Cannibal Milkshake (above), Girls With Brown Hair, Paperboy Prince Show: Superhero Music—and over two dozen more. Show slots (which can feature 1-3 shows) are $13-$20 each, but the sensible thing to do is buy an all-you-can-see pass (which covers everything except sold out shows) for $50: NYC SketchFest 2019 (Friday 6:00 pm-12:30 am; $13-$20 per show, or $50 for an all-you-can-see pass for the entire weekend, except sold out shows; The PIT Mainstage & The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Karen Chee & Ariel Dumas: Friday 10/25: Pairs of TV comedy writers face off in “passionate, high-stakes debates about absolutely unimportant, low-stakes topics,” with Asher Perlman, Jes Tom, Steve Waltien, Shane O’Neill, and Heben Nigatu hosted by Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) & Ariel Dumas (staff writer for Stephen Colbert): Big Debates, Lil Issues (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Roast of DrugsFriday 10/25: A comedy roast for Drugs (because, why not?), with stand-ups Tommy McNamara as Alcohol, Rachel McCartney as Adderall, Eli Sairs as Weed, Maddy Smith as Cocaine, Veronica Rioseco as Molly, Deno DeMartino as Heroin, Greg Warner as Shrooms, David Spector as Zyrtec, and host Raanan Hershberg as “the role I’ve been researching these last two years,” Sobriety): The Roast of Drugs (10:00 pm, $5, The Creek and the Cave upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC at 10-93 Jackson Avenue)

Michelle DrozdickSaturday 10/26: Michelle Drozdick (above; stage show Message in a Bottle) will try to pull off the exceptionally difficult feat of performing an hour-long improv show solo, playing all the characters herself, using an interview with actor Kimberly Alu and suggestions from the audience as her raw material, plus an opening stand-up set from Dustin D’Addato. This free show is part of this month’s FringeNYC BYOV fest: The Gimmick and You (3:30 pm, Free!, Under St. Marks at 94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue)

Katie BoyleSaturday 10/26: Seven comics TBA who were born outside NYC perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to New York, all hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above, from Ireland; co-host of podcast The Shift): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Kaiju Big Battel

Kaiju Big BattelSaturday 10/26: A modern conflict of epic proportions. Evil villains, menacing alien beasts, and giant, city-crushing monsters threaten to destroy the planet. Who will save the helpless humans from total ruin? The Heroes, of course; plus a few privileged audience members getting in on the action, as they try to contain danger within the three-roped arena of Kaiju Big Battel (6:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Sydnee Washington: Saturday 10/26: Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) performs a new solo show, with Eudora Peterson opening: Sydnee Washington: My Favorite Open Book Of Beautiful Garbage (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Friends Who Folk & FriendsSaturday 10/26: Friends Who Folk—i.e., delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky (writer for Jimmy Fallon, freelance writer for SNL; Deputy Editor of Reductress; co-host of Mouth Time! podcast; Head Writer of The Story Pirates podcast) & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com—host guests Larry Owens, Jes Tom, Amelia Bande, David Sidorov, Hannah Hiaasen, and Dan Chamberlain: Friends Who Folk & Friends (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Rebekah Sebastian;s Sunday 10/27: 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 (8:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

The 12th Annual Schtick or Treat

The 12th Annual Schtick or TreatMonday 10/28: For the 12th year of this fabulous annual event, scores of NYC comics get a couple of minutes each to do a set as a famous comedian (e.g., Amy Schumer, George Carlin, Jimmy Fallon, Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers…the possibilities are endless) hosted by Mark Normand & Matt Ruby. For highlights of last year’s show, please click here, and then nab tickets to The 12th Annual Schtick or Treat (8:00 pm; $16.41 online or $12 at the door (if it doesn’t sell out in advance, which it often does); Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue—take the G subway to Metropolitan Avenue or L subway to Lorimer Street)

First ImpressionsMonday 10/28: Seven comics—Desi Domo, Rachel Pegram, Tim Platt, Jes Tom, Thomas Whittington, Zach Teague, and Donald Chang—and one audience member compete to win the hearts of celebrity single Aparna Nancherla (Aparna is actually in a relationship, but suspend your disbelief) for this 1990’s-style dating game show hosted by Taylor Ortega, John Everett Trowbridge, Jenny Gorelick, and Jonathan Yoni Lotan: First Impressions: The 90’s Dating Game Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The PUN-ch UpMonday 10/28: Skilled punsters Sam Corbin, Tim Donnelly, Jerzy Gwiazdowski, Ally Spier, and Nikolai Vanyo 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)

The Science of MonstersTuesday 10/29: Meg Hafdahl & Kelly Florence, who host the podcast Horror Rewind, celebrate the release of their book The Science of Monsters by talking about the medical mysteries and scientific marvels that inspired the creation of such characters as Freddy Kruger, Hannibal Lecter, zombies, werewolves, and much more: The Science of Monsters Book Release Show (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Stevie PresentsTuesday 10/29: Fine lineup of Jo Firestone, Karen Chee, Clare O’Kane, Rachel Pegram, and Larry Owens performing stand-up for hosts Sam Taggart and Pat Regan: Stevie Presents (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Where Do You Get Off?: A Show for Petty PeopleTuesday Tuesday 10/29: Hosts Austin Bernhardt (writer for Comedy Central, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) & Megan Meadows (Reductress) “invite you and your worst impulses to a night of gripes, games, and non-scary audience participation,” featuring petty complaints from 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), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), Mary Cella (Comedy Central, The New Yorker, The New York Times), Nicole Boyce (Comedy Central, The New Yorker), and Brian Bahe (Vulture): Where Do You Get Off?: A Show for Petty People (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 10/29: 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)

Murder Mystery PartyWednesday 10/30: Enjoy a blend of stand-up, sketch, music, and murder with Caroline Portu & Marty Miller, Avra Friedman, Alex Boyce, John Everett Trowbridge, Michael Kayne, Maya Deshmukh, and Milly Tamarez hosted by Jenny Gorelick: Jenny’s Birthday: Murder Mystery Party! (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Roy Wood Jr.Wednesday 10/30: Roy Wood Jr. (above; correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Matt Goldich (staff writer for Seth Meyers; Comedy Central, VH1), Julia Johns (member of sketch group All Female Reboot; former writer for MTV’s Girl Code), Xasmin Garza, and David Sitrick perform stand-up hosted by Emily Winter, Julia Shiplett, Carolyn Busa, and/or Ben Wasserman: Side Ponytail Comedy (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Friends and Lovers at 641 Classon Avenue)

The Witching Hour: Live in Union ScareThursday 10/31: An extra special treat for Halloween is this free comedy show performed in Union Square Park’s South Plaza featuring Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Carolina Hidalgo (co-host with MST3K’s Frank Conniff & Trace Beaulieu of Movie Sign with the Mads podcast), Andrea Allan (producer of Keith & The Girl; host of podcast The Hot Mess Comedy Hour; stand-up album Gonzo), Carmen Lagala (Stephen Colbert; member of sketch group All Female Reboot), and Kelsey Caine (The New York Times; Miss New York State finalist; for a video sample, please click here): The Witching Hour: Live in Union Scare (6:00 pm, Free!, Union Square Park South Plaza between East 14th & 15th Streets near Fourth Avenue; hopefully this is be an unnecessary note, but in case of rain the show will move underground to the MTA station near the mezzanine and N/R subways)

BackFat Variety Presents: Comedians with Ghost StoriesThursday 10/31: Stand-ups share true personal stories about supernatural experiences, with Adam Mamawala (Comedy Central, MTV, BET; stand-up album One of the Good Ones), Pranav Behari (co-host of Mango Bae podcast), Maria Wojciechowski (editor at Comedywire), Srilatha Rajamani, and Jericho Davidson hosted by Emily Winter (writer for NPR’s Ask Me Another; The New Yorker, The New York Times) and Larry Mancini (ESPN radio; band member of The Tracys): BackFat Variety Presents: Comedians with Ghost Stories (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Friday 11/1: David Cross (right; comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family), Josh Gondelman (left; 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; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), Kerry Coddett (writer for HBO’s Wyatt Cenac: Problem Areas; HBO’s Crashing, BET’s The Rundown, Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show, MTV’s Joking Off; host of Brooklyn, Stand Up!), and Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede) perform stand-up at this comedy show that’s also a voter registration drive for 2020 hosted by Selena Coppock, Alison Klemp, Matt Nedostop, and Jarret Bernstein: Standup 2020 (7:30 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

The Roast of HistoryFriday 11/1: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics 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; comedy album The Hits), Kevin Bauer (MTV), Julian Edward Williams (co-host of WALT), and Lucyana Randall roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention hosted by Matt Strickland (Comedy Central): 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)

Brian Parise and Dan St. GermainSaturday 11/2: Dan St. Germain (right; 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), Brian Parise (staff writer and Emmy Award winner for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; co-host and chef of The Pasta Show), 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), Molly Kornfeld, Fareeha Khan, Maddy Smith, and Kevin Sean perform stand-up for host Khalid A. Rahmaan (Conan O’Brien): Electric Laughs (7:30 pm; Free!, plus free punch!; Brooklyn’s Work Heights/Franklin Electric at 650 Franklin Avenue; take the S subway to Park Place or the A/C to Franklin Avenue)

Punderdome 3000: Halloween SpecialTuesday 11/5: 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. This special Halloween edition also features a spooky Pun-Costume competition: Punderdome 3000: Halloween Special (8:00 pm, $12, 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)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 11/5: 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)

The National Lampoon Radio HourWednesday 11/6: The National Lampoon Radio Hour ran weekly from November 1973 through December 1974. A number of its comics then moved on to Saturday Night Live, including John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, and brilliant writer Michael O’Donoghue. Decades later, you can come see NLRH resurrected as a podcast and stage show with a brand new cast of writers and performers: Jo Firestone, Maeve Higgins, Aaron Jackson, Brett Davis, Alex English, Rachel Pegram, Lorelei Ramirez, Meg Stalter, Martin Urbano, and Cole Escola: The National Lampoon Radio Hour (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)

Eric Dittelman: Wednesday 11/6: Mind reader Eric Dittelman (America’s Got Talent, Ellen) hosts professional magicians testing out new acts—including comedic bits—for this long-running free monthly show: Amazeballs (10:00 pm, Free!, The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC at 10-93 Jackson Avenue; take 7 subway to Vernon Boulevard–Jackson Avenue)

David Lawson: Friday 11/8: Superb storyteller David Lawson (Comedy Central; solo shows include The Flyer Guy, No Oddjob, The Prequels; host of The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show) performs a one-man show “standing onstage judging people who are seeking The White House in 2020. The only qualification David has? He’s read their books:” David Lawson’s 2020 Book Report (7:00 pm, $15, The Kraine Theatre at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Sarah Squirm's HellTrap NightmareFriday 11/8: Sarah Squirm, who created the infamous Adult Swim video here, gifts us with a live show filled with her disturbingly gross dark comedy, plus musical guests Ana Fabrega & Lorelei Ramirez (as duo Beautiful Souls Al Fresco): Sarah Squirm’s HellTrap Nightmare (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)

Jean Grae, Lane Moore, and Connor Ratliff: Saturday 11/9: 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 guests Jean Grae (left; renowned, seminal hip hop recording artist; also sharp pro comic and comedy host), Connor Ratliff (right; brilliant improvisor & character comic; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Orange is the New Black, Broad City, The Chris Gethard Show, The President Show; co-star of legendary improv group The Stepfathers; host of The George Lucas Talk Show), and Chase Mitchell (staff writer for FOX’s What Just Happened?; former long-time staff writer for Jimmy Fallon): 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)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 11/12: 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)

Josh Gondelman: Wednesday 11/13: 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; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Katie Boyle (co-host of podcast The Shift; host of Transplants Comedy), Zain Sharif, Jared Goldstein, and Ronnie Fleming perform stand-up hosted by Emily Winter, Julia Shiplett, Carolyn Busa, and/or Ben Wasserman: Side Ponytail Comedy (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Friends and Lovers at 641 Classon Avenue)

Norm MacdonaldThursday 11/7-Sunday 11/10: Hilarious, quick-witted Norm MacDonald both gets in trouble and is beloved for not being afraid to make waves. For example, way back in 1997 Norm got the biggest laugh ever out of Conan O’Brien when he began by declaring that if Carrot Top is the star of the new movie of another guest, a good title for the film would be “Box Office Poison.” Conan then asked the guest for the actual title, and she responded Chairman of the Board. Conan turned to Norm and said, “Do something with that, you freak.” Without missing a beat, Norm replied, “I bet Board is spelled B-O-R-E-D.” Conan, and the audience, went into hysterics. (Also famed is Norm’s moth story.) Norm was a popular cast member of Saturday Night Live for five seasons and the anchor of Weekend Update for three seasons. He was also a regular on several network sitcoms, and even starred in his own ABC sitcom The Norm Show, which ran for three seasons. More recently, Norm is the voice of Yaphit on The Orville and hosts the Netflix interview program Norm Macdonald Has a Show. Norm is also one of the most acclaimed stand-ups in the biz., and well worth catching. He’s headlining Thursday through Sunday as part of the New York Comedy Festival: Norm Macdonald (8:00 pm & 10:30 pm, $57.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Ophira Eisenberg: Sunday 11/10: Each of us endures a lot more, and is far tougher, than is apparent from surface appearances. And that refers to not only emotional and spiritual hardships, but permanent bodily mementos. In this show, Ophira Eisenberg (one of the very finest storytellers in the country; NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!; for a sampling of Ophira’s remarkably deep comedic tales, please click here) reveals “I have a lot of scars. And I don’t mean metaphorical ones, I’m talking actual physical scars. I’m actually covered in them. They stem from incidents throughout my life, from putting my finger into a meat grinder at age 4 to surviving a near-fatal car crash. This show is about my scars, filled with both comedic and tragic stories, and how to accept these patterns etched in my skin day after day after day.” Opening for Ophira during this 90-minute show are storytellers Michaela Murphy (recommended by The New Yorker) and Mike Albo (writer for The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York Magazine; author of novels Homito and The Underminer): Ophira Eisenberg: How to Get Rid of Scars (2:00 pm, $20, The Kraine Theatre at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Caitlin Peluffo and Mike DruckerWednesday 11/20: Mike Drucker (left; 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), Caitlin Peluffo (right; Stephen Colbert), Richie Owens, and more TBA perform stand-up hosted by Emily Winter, Julia Shiplett, Carolyn Busa, and/or Ben Wasserman: Side Ponytail Comedy (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Friends and Lovers at 641 Classon Avenue)

Patrick McCartney: Friday 11/29: Patrick McCartney (member of acclaimed theatrical improv group Centralia) performs a comedic solo show about addiction and recovery, directed by Shira Piven (HBO’s Divorce and Room 104, Amazon’s Transparent), that’s received raves from the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert (superstar author of Eat Pray Love), who wrote, “Patrick McCartney is a phenomenally gifted performer, whose work I have admired for years. But we almost lost this extraordinary artist to alcoholism and drug addiction—which would have been a tragedy on so many levels. Now McCartney has returned to the stage with a one-man show about his struggle with substance abuse. Miraculously, it manages to be simultaneously brilliant, devastating, hilarious, humble, searching, and triumphant. Go see it. It’s a beautiful piece of work:” Sinister Kid (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Michelle Buteau 8Sunday 12/1: Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and High Maintenance, Netflix’s Russian Doll, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Amazon’s The Tick, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight; films Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great; comedy album Shut Up) performs a deliciously long stand-up set: Michelle Buteau (9:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

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

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

Upright Citizens Brigade 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.

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.

You can also find me on Twitter at @hybender, Instagram at @hybenderny, and Facebook at https://Facebook.com/hybender.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for July 2019: Last Updated Friday 7/19

July 19, 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 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 2019 (with more to come) include:

Karen Chee & Ariel Dumas: Friday 7/19: Pairs of comics face off in “passionate, high-stakes debates about absolutely unimportant, low-stakes topics,” with Emmy Blotnick (brilliant and Emmy-nominated rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and in a Comedy Central Half Hour; staff writer for Stephen Colbert; former writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show and @midnight), 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), Alison Leiby (staff 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), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust), and Rachel Pegram hosted by Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) & Ariel Dumas (staff writer for Stephen Colbert): Big Debates, Lil Issues (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mike Drucker's Friday 7/19: Comics & game nerds Nicole Silverberg, Danielle Riendeau, Brandon Reese, Jim Tews, Mehran Khaghani, and Maria Heinegg play and make merciless fun of video games based on fat cat Garfield hosted by Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up, staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and writer for Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man; 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): Shit Arcade (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 7/19: 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)

Masters of the UniverseFriday 7/19: 1987’s Masters of the Universe starred Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella as Mattel action figures He-Man and Skeletor…and was a miserable failure both critically and financially, scoring 17% on Rotten Tomatoes, and grossing a pathetic $17 million worldwide from a budget of $22 million. However, it was bad enough to eventually achieve a certain status as a cult film. Tonight it’ll be screened and mercilessly skewered by comics Brian McGuinness (Inside Amy Schumer, co-host of Retro Bits, Playable Characters podcast), Laura Merli (Reductress; host of How to be Less Awkward podcast), Will Watkins (Zeroes on Heroes), and Nick Nicosia (host of Free Mic Fridays). Their cruelty will be contrasted by exceptionally kind host Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Soft Core!, which is essentially a porn version of this show, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic): Movies R Dumb: Masters of the Universe (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Anna Drezen: Saturday 7/20: Anna Drezen (superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters, movement, and sketch; writer for Saturday Night Live and Comedy Central’s Reductress pilot; co-author of How May We Hate You and How to Win at Feminism) performs a solo show: Anna Drezen: Okay Get Home Safe!! (5:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: Saturday 7/20: 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)

SuperegoSaturday 7/20: A popular podcast in which Paul F. Tompkins, Matt Gourley, Jeremy Carter, Mark McConville, and James Bladon make up self-absorbed oddballs and analyze them is performed for one night only live on a Brooklyn stage: Superego (7 :00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue. PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT.)

Superego: Forgotten ClassicsSaturday 7/20: “A bold interpretation of the great works of literature. So bold, in fact, nobody even bothered to read them. Paul F. Tompkins, Matt Gourley, Jeremy Carter, Mark McConville, and James Bladon improvise famous works of fiction, works with which they’re not at all familiar. They’ll be given only the book’s title, its first and last lines, and the names of its characters. The rest is up to them:” Superego: Forgotten Classics (10:00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Baby Wants CandySaturday 7/20: 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)

Rockefeller ParkSunday 7/21: This free outdoor NYLaugh.org stand-up show takes place at Battery Park City’s Rockefeller Park (above), featuring comics Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Carmen Lynch (America’s Got Talent, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing finalist; SiriusXM 2017 comedy album of the year Dance Like You Don’t Need the Money), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), and more: Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, Battery Park City’s Rockefeller Park at River Terrace & Warren Street)

SPONTOURCOSunday 7/21: Superb, hilarious improvisors Paul F. Tompkins, Eugene Cordero, Tawny Newsome, and Janet Varney interview a special guest (TBD) and then make up comedy on the spot, accompanied by improv pianist Eban Schletter: Spontourco (7:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $30, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Hypatia and the HeathensMonday 7/22: This work-in-progress musical is effectively a staged reading—except it’s mostly singing. The latter is part of the problem, as there’s so much singing and so little story that it’s closer to operetta than musical; plus the songs vary in quality. That said, the foundation is compelling: This is based on the true story of Hypatia, the last caretaker of the Library of Alexandria during the apocalyptic end times of the Roman Empire that in some ways eerily echoes what’s happening right now under the Trump administration. Also, the singers are terrific, especially Lia Tamborra who stars as Hypatia (and also co-wrote the book and songs, and is pictured above left). There are times when Tamborra achieves magic, such as when she schools the audience on what’s most important in life, and them combines those lessons into a song that’s memorable and surprisingly moving. There are also periodic moments when you’ll be lifted up by especially lovely harmonies. And the ending packs a wallop that, despite the various issues, made me grateful to have experienced this show: Hypatia and the Heathens: A Musical Bacchanalia (7:00 pm, $22.32 in advance or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Adrian Sexton's BeatlemaniaMonday 7/22: Adrian Sexton is one of the sharpest and most inventive improvisors in NYC, starring or co-starring in numerous shows including The Community Players, George/Martha, Ouiser & Clairee, Pet Prov, Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show, and Unauthorized: The Musical. Adrian normally expresses herself in the moment through characters, but tonight will let you see a more vulnerable side as, at times, she speaks directly from her heart about her lifelong love of the greatest band of all time. In this solo show, Adrian explores what John, Paul, George, and Ringo have meant to her, sometimes movingly, sometimes not (this initial Monday night run is effectively a workshop for the script), but always with the playful charisma that makes Sexton a rising star worth keeping an eye on: Adrian Sexton’s Beatlemania (8:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Colin QuinnTuesday 7/23 (also 7/24): Broadway, TV, and film star, and one of the most beloved stand-ups in the biz, Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, national comedy treasure) tries out new material for his next solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Gary Gulman and Emmy Blotnick: Tuesday 7/23: Stellar lineup of Gary Gulman (above left; razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country, currently touring with show Must Be Nice; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno; finalist on Last Comic Standing; comedy specials include Boyish Man, In This Economy, and It’s About Time), Emmy Blotnick (above right; brilliant rising star stand-up who writes for and performs on Stephen Colbert; Comedy Central Half Hour; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, The President Show, Roast of Rob Lowe, Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1; comedy album Party Nights), Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Gordan Grant (Boost mobile spokesman), and more perform stand-up for host Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1): Sweet (9:00 pm, $14.30 in advance or $13 at the door, Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street)

Emma Vernon & Pooja Reddy: Tuesday 7/23: The fab Emma Vernon (North Coast Hip-Hop Improv, Anybody: The Improv Musical, Off Top; host of In a World) & Pooja Reddy (host of Kutti Gang) debut this free biweekly comedy show, tonight featuring Marcia Belsky (Reductress; Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; lead singer of band Free the Mind), Dekunle Somade (host of Cry Baby Comedy), Eric Neumann (stand-up album Nervous Lover), and Solange Azor (member of Lady Parts Justice League): Critical Darlings (9:00 pm, Free!, LES’ Under the Oven Gallery Serafina Ludlow at 98 Rivington Street—take the F/M/J/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Colin QuinnWednesday 7/24: Broadway, TV, and film star, and one of the most beloved stand-ups in the biz, Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, national comedy treasure) tries out new material for his next solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Dave Hill: Wednesday 7/24 (also 7/31): For this new podcast, Dave Hill (@midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On) gives his first person account of different periods throughout history, while calling bullshit on most of what Dave’s saying are Jim Biederman (previous Executive Producer for numerous comedy shows, including The Kids In The Hall, The Howard Stern Radio Show, The Tom Green Show, I’m With Busey, The Whitest Kids U Know, and The Onion News) and Jodi Lennon (renowned improvisor who’s performed at Chicago’s Second City, The Annoyance Theatre, and iO; writer for Billy On The Street, Hulu’s Difficult People, TruTV’s Impractical Jokers and At Home with Amy Sedaris): Dave Hill: History Fluffer (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Robert KellyWednesday 7/24: Robert Kelly (Louie, Trainwreck, HBO, CBS, two Comedy Central specials, frequent guest on The Opie and Anthony Show) performs a long stand-up set in an intimate venue, with several other talented stand-ups as openers: Robert Kelly (8:30 pm, $15 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Jaws.jpgWednesday 7/24: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate the Steven Spielberg 1975 masterpiece Jaws, with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie 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 Jaws but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:” Jaws…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Democratic Debates—Featuring Mimi!Wednesday 7/24: “There’s plenty of great candidates at the 2020 democratic debates, but there’s only one Mimi! Mimi is an uninformed hyper-liberal millennial whose heart is in the right place, but her policy is a bit misguided. She wants universal healthcare, but only for women and cats. She supports a ban on fracking, but also a ban on knowing what fracking is. Bottom line, she cares less about making sense and more about feeling right. Watch Mimi debate Biden, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris, and all the rest. There will be incredible political impressions, parodies, video sketches and a live improvised debate” with Becky Chicoine (Comedy Central; half of sketch duo Girls With Brown Hair) as Mimi and Jared Eimicke as writer & host: The Democratic Debates—Featuring Mimi! (10:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Here to Make FriendsThursday 7/25: Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco and other special guests help dissect an episode of ABC’s The Bachelor along with hosts Emma Gray & Claire Fallon for this live taping of their podcast: Here To Make Friends Live (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. PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT.))

Characters Welcome: Thursday 7/25: 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)

The Roast of HistoryFriday 7/26: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics Alison Leiby, Khalid A. Rahmaan, Dave Bluvband, Taylor Garron, Mary Kate Doherty, and host Matt Strickland 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)

Katie BoyleSaturday 7/27: Seven comics who were born outside NYC, with homes ranging from Norway to Ireland to Canada, perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to NYC, featuring Daniel Simonson (Norway; Seth Meyers), Colum Tyrrell (Ireland; Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Michael Harrison (Canada Comedy Network), Hannah Boone (Florida; Adult Swim), JF Harris (LA; Comedy Central), Charles McBee (Ohio; Comedy Central, MTV, host of Nerd is the New Black), and Sally Ann Hall (Alaska; Winner of Laughing Devil contest), all 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)

Rebekah Sebastian's Sunday 7/28: 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 (8:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Phoebe RobinsonMonday 7/29: This superb weekly stand-up show’s hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk) welcome guests Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; feature films What Men Want and 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) and more TBA: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jaime Harrison and Lindsey GrahamMonday 7/29: 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), 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), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), and Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards) perform stand-up hosted by Sharron Paul (co-host of Cheap Date) for this show raising funds for Jaime Harrison, who is campaigning to unseat Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: #SendLindseyHome (7:30 pm, $16.09 in advance online or $18 at the door, Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Adrian Sexton's BeatlemaniaMonday 7/29: Adrian Sexton is one of the sharpest and most inventive improvisors in NYC, starring or co-starring in numerous shows including The Community Players, George/Martha, Ouiser & Clairee, Pet Prov, Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show, and Unauthorized: The Musical. Adrian normally expresses herself in the moment through characters, but tonight will let you see a more vulnerable side as, at times, she speaks directly from her heart about her lifelong love of the greatest band of all time. In this solo show, Adrian explores what John, Paul, George, and Ringo have meant to her, sometimes movingly, sometimes not (this initial Monday night run is effectively a workshop for the script), but always with the playful charisma that makes Sexton a rising star worth keeping an eye on: Adrian Sexton’s Beatlemania (8:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Dave Hill: Wednesday 7/31: For this new podcast, Dave Hill (@midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On) gives his first person account of different periods throughout history, while calling bullshit on most of what Dave’s saying are Jim Biederman (previous Executive Producer for numerous comedy shows, including The Kids In The Hall, The Howard Stern Radio Show, The Tom Green Show, I’m With Busey, The Whitest Kids U Know, and The Onion News) and Jodi Lennon (renowned improvisor who’s performed at Chicago’s Second City, The Annoyance Theatre, and iO; writer for Billy On The Street, Hulu’s Difficult People, TruTV’s Impractical Jokers and At Home with Amy Sedaris): Dave Hill: History Fluffer (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Naomi Ekperigin & Andy Beckerman: Thursday 8/1: This charming show puts comics who are duos behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together, hosted by lovers 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) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, Beginnings Podcast): Couples Therapy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mike Drucker's Thursday 8/1: 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 TBD, but please stay tuned: 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.

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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.