NYC Top Comedy Choices for March 2020: Last Updated Friday 3/6

March 6, 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 March 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Standup 2020Friday 3/6: Samantha Ruddy (Stephen Colbert; warm-up comic for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; written for College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, host of wildly popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Mike Brown (correspondent for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; TruTV, MTV, Adult Swim), and Negin Farsad (Comedy Central, MTV, Netflix) 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)

Stars at The StandFriday 3/6: Jim Florentine (Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers, Inside Amy Schumer, and @midnight; co-host 2008-2015 of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show; MTV; films Trainwreck, A Little Help; stand-up album Cringe N Purge), Ron Bennington (host of radio shows Bennington and Unmasked; Kreeps With Kids tour), Ahmed Ahmed (Egyptian-American comic who was a regular on TBS’ Sullivan & Son, and appeared on such other series as ABC’s Roseanne, HBO’s Tracy Takes On, and Showtime’s Weeds, and in such hit movies as Iron Man, Swingers, Executive Decision, and his own documentary Just Like Us), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, CW), and Lev Fer (Showtime; host of the Yung Daddy podcast) perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $25, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Stars at The StandFriday 3/6: Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Ron Bennington (host of radio shows Bennington and Unmasked; Kreeps With Kids tour), Ahmed Ahmed (Egyptian-American comic who was a regular on TBS’ Sullivan & Son, and appeared on such other series as ABC’s Roseanne, HBO’s Tracy Takes On, and Showtime’s Weeds, and in such hit movies as Iron Man, Swingers, Executive Decision, and his own documentary Just Like Us), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, CW), and Richie Redding (HBO) perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Stars at The Stand (9:00 pm, $25, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Melissa Stokoski & Larry Owens: Friday 3/6: Ashlee Simpson’s Autobiography isn’t just a smash hit debut album that sold over 5 million copies, it’s apparently a series of coded conspiracy messages about 9/11. Making this clear with her own special spin on Simpson’s music is Melissa Stokoski (TruTV; regular on John Fuselsang’s Tell Me Everythling; co-writer & co-star of Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; host of Star Fuckers), with help from guest Larry Owens (joyful, hilarious musical comic & red-hot rising star; staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust) and Fernanda Douglas (composer, singer, and musical director): The Pieces: A 9/11 Conspiracy Told Through the Music of Ashlee Simpson (10:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street; PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT.)

Joke-e-oke-The Standup Karaoke GameshowFriday 3/6: If you like the idea of karaoke but aren’t great at singing, this may be the show for you. Joke-e-oke replaces songs with classic stand-up routines, allowing you to take the role of a master comic performing his or her finest jokes. The text is all up on the screen, so all you have to do is deliver it with perfect timing and nuance to make the audience laugh—and then be rated by comedy judges (TBA). This unique game show is hosted by Harmon Leon (This American Life, Vice): Joke-e-oke: The Standup Karaoke Gameshow (11:00 pm, $13, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Late Night Stand-Up at The StandFriday 3/6: Late night stand-up from Shari Díaz, Pedro Gonzalez (Stephen Colbert), Emily Catalano, Kim Congdon (writer for Impractical Jokers; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV; host of podcast Broad Topix), Tyler Fischer (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Stephen Colbert, NBC’s America’s Got Talent, HQ Trivia), Ryan Long (Netflix, CBC), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), and Marcello Hernandez hosted by Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX)—plus a post-show party with music by DJ Weegee: Late Night Gold at The Stand (11:00 pm, $20, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street; includes afterparty!)

On Air FestSaturday 3/7: An audio festival today in Brooklyn features interviews with Freakonomics podcasters 9:30 am, Dolly Parton’s America podcasters at 11:00 am, Wyatt Cenac & Black Thought at 11:45 am, plus a number of superb musicians: On Air Fest (9:30 am-8:00 pm; $160.14 for all-day pass; Brooklyn’s Wythe Hotel at N 11th Street/Brewers Row & 80 Wythe Aveue—take L subway to Bedford Avenue)

Zach Sherwin: Saturday 3/7: Word wizard Zach Sherwin, who’s previously created clever bits for CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Epic Rap Battles of History, hosts this new game show for which he cleverly connects crossword puzzles, pop culture trivia, slides, hip-hop music, and more, with today’s star contestants 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), 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), and Mike Brown (correspondent for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; TruTV, MTV, Adult Swim): The Crossword Show (4:00 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: Saturday 3/7: World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life—somehow creating 20 minutes of continual laughs—and then turn everything they discoverd into a hilarious 30-minute musical with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC shows here). This is not only a top improv event, it’s one of the finest shows of any kind in NYC. I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $15-$30, depending on seating (this show usually sells out, so buying in advance is recommended); LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jax Dell'Osso & Alia Janine: Saturday 3/7: TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Alex English (Starz, Viceland; former writer of BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede and Netflix’s The Fix with Jimmy Carr), Sarah Tollemache (NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Adam Devine’s House Party; co-host of Vadge podcast), Jared Waters, and Dave Temple perform stand-up hosted by Jax Dell’Osso (MTV, Twitch TV) & Alia Janine (former adult film star; host of the Whormones Podcast): Jawbreakers! (7:00 pm, $20 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Stars at The StandSaturday 3/7: Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Presents special; co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; author of You’re Better Than Me), Kevin Brennan (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Carson Daly; star of HBO special One Night Stand; former writer for SNL; co-host of podcast Misery Loves Company), Ahmed Ahmed (Egyptian-American comic who was a regular on TBS’ Sullivan & Son, and appeared on such other series as ABC’s Roseanne, HBO’s Tracy Takes On, and Showtime’s Weeds, and in such hit movies as Iron Man, Swingers, Executive Decision, and his own documentary Just Like Us), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, CW), Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas) perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $25, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 3/7: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour to make up scenes, songs, and witty wordplay: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Stars at The StandSaturday 3/7: Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; AMC’s Better Call Saul; HBO’s Crashing, Bored to Death, Down and Dirty; Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, FX’s Louie; E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction), Ahmed Ahmed (Egyptian-American comic who was a regular on TBS’ Sullivan & Son, and appeared on such other series as ABC’s Roseanne, HBO’s Tracy Takes On, and Showtime’s Weeds, and in such hit movies as Iron Man, Swingers, Executive Decision, and his own documentary Just Like Us), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, CW), and Lev Fer (Showtime; host of the Yung Daddy podcast) perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Stars at The Stand (9:00 pm, $25, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 3/7: 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 ace improvisors TBA, plus stellar improv musicians who are typically 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)

Stars at The StandSaturday 3/7: Late night stand-up from Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Ahmed Ahmed (Egyptian-American comic who was a regular on TBS’ Sullivan & Son, and appeared on such other series as ABC’s Roseanne, HBO’s Tracy Takes On, and Showtime’s Weeds, and in such hit movies as Iron Man, Swingers, Executive Decision, and his own documentary Just Like Us), Ryan Long (Netflix, CBC), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), Mehran Khaghani (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, MTV, IFC, TruTV; co-hosts Sirius XM’s Paid or Pain), and Lev Fer (Showtime; host of the Yung Daddy podcast): Stars at The Stand (11:00 pm, $25, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Marie Carter: Sunday 3/8: For Women’s History Month, Marie Carter (guide with walking tour company Boroughs of the Dead) gives this lecture “about the women who were considered witches in pre-20th century New York. Learn about NYC’s only witch trial, the witches who inhabited Broome Street (no joke), fortunetellers, and others whose supernatural practices allowed them to make money…and the men who tried to frame them:” Witches of Old New York (3:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Gemma Soldati & Amrita Dhaliwal: Sunday 3/8: Professional clowns Gemma Soldati & Amrita Dhaliwal won this year’s Best Comedy Award at the Melbourne Fringe Festival with this duo play about “two accountants working tirelessly to record the death toll…an absurd and physical jaunt brimming with audience interaction, existential phone calls, impaired dancing, and the love of a goldfish” that critics have called “a surreal, clowning, macabre wonder” and “transformative and hilarious:” The Living Room (7:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Noah and Ester Have Guests 2Sunday 3/8: Noah Gardenswartz (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour) & Ester Steinberg (Oxygen’s Funny Girls) host stand-ups Roy Wood Jr. (above left; correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Drew Michael (above right; writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central Half Hour; NBC’s The Carmichael Show), Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?), Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), and Eman El Husseini (opens for Patton Oswalt; stand-up albums Unveiled and Handsome Daughter): Noah & Ester Have Guests (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Roy Wood Jr., Griffin Newman, Taylor Garron, and Nat Towsen: Sunday 3/8: Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Griffin Newman (brilliant character/improv comic; Arthur on Amazon’s The Tick, Jared Kushner on Showtime’s Our Cartoon President, HBO, CBS, MTV, TBS; feature films Draft Day, Fort Tilden, Night Moves), andd Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress) try out new jokes via deliciously long sets 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, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Patrick Roche: Sunday 3/8: A powerful spoken word solo show by award-winning poet Patrick Roche—for a sample, please click here—about “pop culture, queer identity, body image, a mental breakdown, sudden Internet fame, therapists (both good and very bad), and more (with) impressions of figures from Kermit the Frog and Stitch to Bernie Sanders, Harvey Fierstein, and Natasha Lyonne…challenging everyone to understand, connect to, and laugh with each other even in the face of all of our many breakdowns:” A Socially Acceptable Breakdown (7:00 pm, $13, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Recent Cutbacks: Monday 3/9: One of the most innovative theatrical comedy companies in NYC, Recent Cutbacks—whose stellar productions include live-on-stage ‘shot for shot’ parodies of Lord of the Rings (Fly, You Fools!) and Jurassic Park (Hold On To Your Butts…Jurassik Parc)—try out new material at this monthly show parodying the latest TV and pop culture obsessions: Peak TV (7:00 pm, $20, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/10: Every Tuesday at 7:00, 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 (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Funny as Tech 2Tuesday 3/10: For this live-on-stage recording of a popular podcast, technology experts discuss the backlash against Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and other tech giants, with Yaël Eisenstat (Visiting Fellow at Cornell Tech in the Digital Life Initiative, former Global Head of Elections Integrity Operations at Facebook’s business integrity division), Joe Toscano (author of Automating Humanity, founder of BEACON), and Stephanie Humphrey (Technology Contributor for ABC News), plus stand-up from data science Andrea Jones-Rooy (Professor and Director of Undergraduate Study at the NYU Center for Data Science—and also a fire-wielding circus performer), all hosted by David Ryan Polgar & Joe Leonardo: Funny as Tech Live (8:00 pm, $9, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

BKBX: Broken Box MimeTuesday 3/10: The innovative and award-winning Broken Box Mime troupe performs their finest wordless sketches & stories, mixed with fresh bits , all set to a “rip-roarin’ soundtrack” (for a sample, please click here): BKBX: Quiet Riot (9:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Phoebe RobinsonWednesday 3/11: Star 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 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 some of her stand-up friends. This will probably be awesome and almost certainly sell out in advance: Phoebe Robinson and Friends (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Meg Stalter and her BratsThursday 3/12: Comedy dynamo Meg Stalter (National Lampoon Radio Hour, The Chris Gethard Show) performs her unique format-mocking brand of stand-up, with guests Sandy Honig (one-third of sketch group Three Busy Debras; host of Pig and The Bongo Hour), Joe Castle Baker (host of Get Reel), and RIchie Owens (Meg’s husband in this): Meg Stalter and her Brats! (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

MortifiedThursday 3/12: 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)

Ophira Eisenberg, Lane Moore, and Hari Kondabolu: Friday 3/13: 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 the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (left; one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime), Hari Kondabolu (right; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives), and Stacy London (pundit for NBC’s Today Show; former co-host of TLC’s What Not to Wear; former Senior Fashion Editor for Mademoiselle): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street)

Dear Diary: Comics Read Their Weird Childhood JournalsFriday 3/13: Comics share their observations, fears, dreams, and insanities growing up by reading from their childhood diaries hosted by Maggie Lalley: Dear Diary: Comics Read Their Weird Childhood Journals (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

J.W. Crump: Saturday 12/14: Using low-brow horror films often purchased in local gas stations and bodegas, host J.W. Crump plays select clips for 30 seconds (via ace tech booth operator Christine Pynn), then asks his talented cast of improvisers—Sean Reidy, Connor McClure, B. J. Thorne, Josh Krebs, Kaitlin Fontana, Sam Jackel, Tim Mele, Ali Gordon, Jordan Hirsch, Alyson Cripps, Táhlia Robinson, and/or Alyssa Lott—to complete the scene: Gas Station Horror (10:30 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Friends Who Folk & FriendsSaturday 3/14: 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 Gabe Gonzalez (host for MTV News and ScruffApp), Rebecca O’Neal (Netflix’s Easy; Vanity Fair, Gawker, Vulture; former host of local Chicago TV show One Night Stand-Up), and Lily Marotta (HBO’s High Maintenance): Friends Who Folk & Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jordan Klepper's Productive Existential Crisis, with FriendsSunday 3/15: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) has had a busy few years: “Just recently he shared a falafel with the Clintons, got arrested in Georgia, and ran away to the woods to deal with the inevitability of the aging process, only to come back three days later because a rat ate his turkey sausage. He’s got some stories, and he’s working some things out. He’s doing some of that on stage with a microphone. He’s also invited some of his talented friends to share their existential dread and, you know, stand-up jokes so we can feel a bit less alone together,” with guests TBA: Jordan Klepper’s Productive Existential Crisis, with Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It ComedyMonday 3/16: This show is about “the science of astrology, which is very real and definitely not fake. Each month, hosts Melissa Stokoski, Karolena Theresa, and Brian Bahe (all Virgos) along with resident Astrologist Lizzie Martinez (Taurus) welcome a lineup of comedians all born under the current zodiac.” This month’s group of Pisces stand-ups are TBA: Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Samantha RuddyTuesday 3/17: Samantha Ruddy (above left; Stephen Colbert; warm-up comic for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; written for College Humor, Reductress, Someecards) hosts stellar stand-ups 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), Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Megan Stalter (star of webseries The Megan Stalter Show; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour), Joe Pera (star of Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks With You; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central), Napoleon Emill (Carolines’ Comedy Madness 2018 champion), and Luke Mones (Comedy Central, Inside Edition, Funny Or Die, College Humor, Howard Stern Show): Samantha Ruddy Has Guests (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/17: Every Tuesday at 7:00, 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 (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Feminist Buzzkills of ComedyTuesday 3/17: Stand-up from Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Devon Walker (Comedy Central), Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), and Amy Shanker hosted by Lizz Winstead (co-creator of The Daily Show) and produced by the Abortion Access Front: Feminist Buzzkills of Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stavros Halkias: Wednesday 3/18: A typically great alt comedy lineup (TBA) hosted by Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays): Pantheon with Stavros Halkias (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Frank Conniff: Wednesday 3/18: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic; author of How to Write Cheesy Movies) hosts an open mic for MST3K-style riffing on film clips of awful movies. Sign-up is open to all, and riffing happens in randomly assigned groups of three, with no advance knowledge of what’s going to be screened. At the end, whoever Frank decides is best will get to riff with him: Frank Conniff’s Open Riff Night (9:00 pm, $5 to riff or $8 to just watch, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Chris GethardThursday 3/19: Chris Gethard (star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; producer of fresh comedy webseries Chris Gethard Presents) hosts superb comics (TBA) who have performed on his MNN cable access show Chris Gethard Presents: Chris Gethard Presents All-Stars (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Debra Messing and Emily NussbaumThursday 3/19: Debra Messing (Emmy Award-winning star role of Grace in NBC’s Will & Grace; upcoming Broadway play Birthday Candles) and Emily Nussbaum (Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic for the New Yorker; author of I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through The TV Revolution) are tonight’s 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 Coulton: 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)

Get Reel 6Friday 3/20: Comics dub—i.e., provide a verbal soundtrack—by making up narration and dialogue on the spot for silly video and film clips, with this month’s theme Technically Speaking, starring Josh Sharp & Aaron Jackson, Julia Shiplett, Shalewa Sharpe, Mary Beth Barone, and Sam Taggart hosted by Max Wittert & Joe Castle Baker: Get Reel (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Benito Skinner & Mary Beth Barone: Friday 3/20: Stand-up and/or music from 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), Lauren Servideo (character comic Instagram star), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), and Pat Regan (The Eric Andre Show, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Seek Treatment podcast) hosted by Benito Skinner (YouTube star) & Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive): Cruel Intentions (7:30 pm, $18, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Morgan Pielli & Lynn Bixenspan: Friday 3/20: Storytellers Lindsay Goldwert (middle left; author of new book Bow Down: Lessons From Dominatrixes On How to Get Everything You Want, host of podcast Spent), Wilson McDermut (middle right; BBC America’s Crash Course in Comedy), and more TBA share tales of relationships in front of a panel of comics and bona fide therapists who then provide their professional advice, hosted by Lynn Bixenspan (far right; Comedy Central, MTV; former writer for Fuse TV) & Morgan Pielli (far left; cartoonist): Relationshit (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 3/20: Storytellers Meghan Walsh, Jared Waters, Bob Hansen, and Justin Auslaender 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)

Picture This!Saturday 3/21: In this unique show, animators (TBA) spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups (TBA) 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 Ian Fidance (regular on SiriusXM’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central Radio): Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Switch n' Play's Family ValuesSaturday 3/21: A subversive and award-winning Brooklyn drag & burlesque collective performs a tribute to The Addams Family, exploring “the queer resonance of America’s most iconic and beloved spooky family…emphasizing themes of resistance, the celebration of difference, and the power of chosen family,” with Switch n’ Play members Divina GranSparkle, K.James, Miss Malice, Nyx Nocturne, Vigor Mortis, and Zoe Ziegfeld, plus guest artists West Dakota, Fem Appeal, Hystée Lauder, MiscAllaneous and DomTop, all promising you “an evening of performances that will ready you for a queer revolution that is creepy, spooky, kooky, and altogether ooky:” Switch n’ Play’s Family Values (8:00 pm, $23-$31—which includes post-show dance party; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Gastor Almonte & Jess Salomon: Saturday 3/21: Stand-ups TBA perform by sandwiching new jokes in between time-tested opening and closing material for hosts Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy, comedy album Immigrant Made) & Jess Salomon (former UN war crimes attorney turned comic; Jimmy Fallon, CBS, Sirius XM): Sandwich (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 3/21: 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 ace improvisors TBA, plus stellar improv musicians who are typically 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)

Rachel FeinsteinSunday 3/22: Red-hot stand-up Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View, Adult Swim; films include Trainwreck and Top Five) performs a deliciously long set at an intimate venue: Rachel Feinstein (5:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Tiff Stevenson: Sunday 3/22: A solo show by Tiff Stevenson (UK comic/actress; numerous UK/US TV show appearances include The Office, Drunk History, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week) about which one reviewer said, “It’s jaw-droppingly remarkable how much ground she covers, how funny she is, how intelligent her attacks are:” Tiff Stevenson: Mother (7:30 pm, $11.55-$15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Phoebe RobinsonWednesday 3/23: Star 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 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 some of her stand-up friends. This will probably be awesome and almost certainly sell out in advance: Phoebe Robinson and Friends (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/24: Every Tuesday at 7:00, 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 (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Sam Taggart, Marcia Belsky, and Drew Anderson: Tuesday 3/24: Comics TBA perform for this monthly stand-up showcase named after Stevie Nicks and hosted by Marcia Belsky, Sam Taggart, and Drew Anderson: Stevie (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Bardia Salimi: Wednesday 3/25: Bardia Salimi (Stephen Colbert, CBS’ Madam Secretary, TBS’ Search Party, Comedy Central, MTV) spearheads a sketch show about the Presidential race featuring Annie Donley, Drennen Quinn, Carmen Christopher, Brian Fiddyment, and Tony Zaret, and with an opening set by Mike Hanford: Bardia Salimi: Race To The Nut House (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

One Liner MadnessThursday 3/26: In this quick-paced show, 64 comics each perform a one-line joke for the sake of winning audience laughs and applause (for samples, please click here). This bracket-style competition is designed to produce a single champion in under two hours, hosted by Emily Winter and Larry Mancini: The 5th Annual One Liner Madness (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Ziwe Fumudoh: Thursday 3/26: Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero, and previously for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe) hosts an extravaganza of jokes, song, and dance with stellar comics TBA performing pop songs preceded by comedic presentations: Pop Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

John Reynolds and Matt BaratsThursday 3/26: John Reynolds (co-star of Search Party, cast member of Stranger Things; previously writer for The President Show, Craig Ferguson, and Celebrity Deathmatch) & Matt Barats (HBO’s High Maintenance, Seth Meyers, The New Yorker) perform duo comedy: John Reynolds & Matt Barats (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aminah Imani, Sydnee Washington, Marie Faustin, and Neko WhiteFriday 3/27: Stellar talents Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin (above middle; co-hosts of podcast The Unofficial Expert and popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit) host this showcase of stand-up by Neko White (right; MTV, TruTV, Vice; Carolines’ March Madness 2016 champion) and Aminah Imani (left; producer of this show; host with Sydnee & Marie of Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine): Just Run It: Neko White & Aminah Imani Hosted by Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin (7:30 pm, $11.55-$15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Critical Mass with Taylor Garron & FriendsFriday 3/27: Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress) hosts an evening of comics “who all have roots in beautiful, historic Massachusetts,” including 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), Kyle Harris (writer for NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me), and Julia Claire (NPR, Nerdist): Critical Mass with Taylor Garron & Friends (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin: Saturday 3/28: Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin (co-hosts of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit) host this live-on-stage recording of their podcast that tests stand-ups (TBA) on their masterful knowledge of an intriguing subject (also TBA): The Unofficial Expert Live (7:30 pm; $11.55-$15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street; part of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival)

Katie Boyle, Lucie Pohl, and Norlex BelmaSaturday 3/28: Seven comics who weren’t born here—tentatively including this show’s charming producer Katie Boyle (above left; from Ireland; co-host of podcast The Shift), Lucie Pohl (above middle; from Germany; voice of Mercy in Overwatch and Harmony in Red Dwarf XI; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), and Norlex Belma (above right; from Pittsburgh; PBS doc The Comedy Confluence)—perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to NYC: Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Comedians You Should KnowSunday 3/29: Stand-ups TBA produced by Saurin Choksi, David Drake, Mike Lebovitz, and Jeff Steinbrunner: Comedians You Should Know (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Josh Nasser: Sunday 3/29: Josh Nasser hosts stand-up Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe; host of Pop Show), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), Gabe Gonzalez (host for MTV News and ScruffApp), and more TBA: A Show for the People (7:30 pm; $11.55-$15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street; part of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival)

This Crowd Loves You: A Salute to Sunday 3/29: Stand-up Steve Whalen, who passed away last month at age 33, is celebrated by nearly three dozen comics including Aparna Nancherla, Jo Firestone, Emmy Blotnick, Josh Gondelman, Brett Davis, and many more: This Crowd Loves You: A Salute to “Mr. Jokes” Steve Whalen (8:00 pm, $7, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/31: Every Tuesday at 7:00, 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 (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Maryann Aita: Tuesday 3/31: Maryann Aita describes her one-woman show as follows: “After several disappointing visits with a gynecologist, and many failed efforts to Sex and the City it up with friends, ‘Detective’ Maryann takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on with her body and how to fix it, relying mostly on whatever she could find on Amazon.com. This is a hilarious (and just a touch sentimental) show about a woman taking charge of her own body that’s perfect for fans of Law & Order, vibrators, and vagina: My Dysfunctional Vagina (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Andrew MichaanTuesday 3/31:Andrew Michaan is a comedian from Los Angeles who has done lots of comedy festivals and made stuff with Netflix, Comedy Central, TruTV, Instagram, Twitter, and Yelp. He co-hosts the popular podcast Podcast But Outside. He’s doing one long set in NY (this show), and he’s inviting some of his colleagues to perform as well,” with Joe Pera and more TBA: Andrew Michaan and Colleagues (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street; part of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival)

Supermodels of the 1990sTuesday 3/31: Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes, stand-up album Seen Better Days) hosts a show dedicated to Naomi, Christy, Elle, Claudia, Niki, and other supermodels from the 1990s, with storytelling by Sarah Hartshorne (America’s Next Top Model Cycle 9), a quiz show letting you show off your model knowledge, and a live re-enactment of George Michael’s music video Freedom 90. Get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day and come to” Supermodels of the 1990s: Tribute & Quiz Show (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Ophira EisenbergSunday 4/5: The wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) is recording a new stand-up album titled High Brow, Low Brow—with the help of your energy and joy. Come have your laughs immortalized at either the early or late show—and for a huge discount if you use code CANADA: Ophira Eisenberg Comedy Album Recording (7:00 pm and 9:15 pm; $13.26 online using discount code CANADA plus $18 beverage min.; New York Comedy Club at 241 East 24th Street between Second & Third Avenues)

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 February 2020: Last Updated Friday 2/21

February 21, 2020

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 340,000 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 February 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Bushwick Bears 4Friday 2/21: Wendy Starling (co-host of Glamourpuss Show), Kenny WarrenNorlex Belma, and Danny Cohen (Comedy Central’s Premium Blend; co-host of Spin Cycle Comedy) perform stand-up for hosts Derek Humphrey (ABC, MTV, host of podcast Derek Mansplains It All), 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 Jericho Davidson at an intimate club space: Bushwick Bears (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Pete LeeFriday 2/21-Saturday 2/22: Pete Lee (Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s Half Hour, Roast Battle, This Week at the Comedy Cellar; TruTV, VH1) performs a deliciously long stand-up set tonight and Saturday at an iconic comedy club: Pete Lee Headlines at Carolines (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm Friday and 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm Saturday$27.25 cover plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Get Reel 4Friday 2/21: Comics dub—i.e., provide a verbal soundtrack—by making up narration and dialogue on the spot for silly video and film clips, with this month’s theme Super Reel, starring Carmen Christopher (Seth Meyers, HBO’s High Maintenance, TruTV’s The Chris Gethard Show, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV’s Bugging Out), Devon Walker (Comedy Central), Solange Azor,and Andrés Govea hosted by Max Wittert & Joe Castle BakerGet Reel (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

North Coast's Hip-Hop RebootFriday 2/21: Highly talented singing improv group North Coast turns popular TV shows suggested by the audience into improvised hip-hop musicals on the spot: North Coast’s Hip-Hop Reboot (7:30 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Stars at The StandFriday 2/21: Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland), Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), and Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr) perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square club: Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Friday Night Stand-Up at The StandFriday 2/21: Stand-up from Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland), Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, 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 crewed), Dante Nero (Comedy Central, HBO, ABC, FOX; co-host of podcast Man School 202), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), and Lev Fer (Showtime; host of the Yung Daddy podcast): Friday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (9:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Stars at The StandFriday 2/21: Stand-up from stars 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), Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland), Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), and Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr): Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Late Night Stand-Up at The StandFriday 2/21: Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, 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 crewed), Francis Ellis (co-host of Oops the Podcast), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Andrew CasertanoTom CassidyKat BelinfanteSteve Furey, and Raphael Guitler perform late night stand-up hosted by Ben DeMarco, plus a post-show party with music by DJ WeegeeLate Night Gold at The Stand (11:00 pm, $20The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street; includes afterparty!)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 2/22: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Comedians You Should KnowSunday 2/23: 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), Nathan Macintosh (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), Carmen Lagala (Stephen Colert; member of sketch group All Female Reboot, co-host of Creek Bros), and Damon Sumner (co-host of podcast Forth and Ten) perform stand-up hosted by Mike Lebovitz (HBO’s The Deuce, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing): Comedians You Should Know (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Gay Gulman and Nat Towsen: Sunday 2/23: Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; superb recent HBO special The Great Depresh; notable role as stand-up in blockbuster movie Joker; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno; finalist on Last Comic Standing; other comedy specials include Boyish Man, In This Economy, and It’s About Time) and more TBA try out new jokes via deliciously long sets 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, $12The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Chemical X: The Powerpuff Girls Improv ShowTuesday 2/25: Improvisors who are fans of the Cartoon Network make up scenes on the spot about adorable super-powered trio PowerPuff GirlsChemical X: The Powerpuff Girls Improv Show (7:00 pm, $9The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 2/25: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Artie Brennan & Anthony Giordano: Thursday 2/27: Artie Brennan, Anthony Giordano and friends create comedy chaos with this acclaimed show that “places you into the audience at a live taping of a fictional TV show overflowing with weird characters, interactive games, mysteries, puppets, prizes, and so much more. You have never experienced anything like it:” Super Crazy Fun Time Variety Game Show Hour (7:00 pm, $11The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

How Not to Fall for a ScamThursday 2/27-Saturday 2/29: A solo play written & performed by Monte D. Monteleagre self-described as follows: “The Puppeteer and his two sock puppet friends, Calvin and Sir Flops-A-Lot, have teamed up to put on a family-friendly play to educate children on the dangers of falling for a check scam. Except Sir Flops-A-Lot doesn’t know his lines. And the puppets aren’t getting paid. And the puppeteer might have turned their box shelter into this stage:” How Not to Fall for a Scam (7:00 pm, $13The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Characters WelcomeThursday 2/27: Talented comedic writer/actors—who may include Desi DomoElena SkopetosChrissy ShackelfordAntonia Lassar, and/or many more—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael HartneyEric Feurer, and/or Sarah ParsonsCharacters Welcome (7:30 pm, $7UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Natalie Cuomo: Friday 2/28: Natalie Cuomo (Carolines, SirusXM) hosts superb stand-ups Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Leah Bonnema (Stephen Colbert, VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), and Chloe LaBranche (host of The Chlo Show pod, Weep at The Stand): That Time of The Month Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $13The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

ational Treasure RemasteredSaturday 2/29: A play based on this premise: “Before Disney announced it would be making National Treasure 3, a strapped-for-cash Nicolas Cage tried to digitally remaster National Treasure on his own. He had to rely on outside funding to make the project happen, and was crushed when Disney threatened to sue if Cage released the film to theaters. Luckily for you, we’ve obtained the final cut of the film:” National Treasure Remastered (9:00 pm, $13The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

North Coast 9Saturday 2/29: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 2/29: 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 ace improvisors TBA, plus stellar improv musicians who are typically 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, $14UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/3: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th 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 February 2020: Last Updated Monday 2/17

February 17, 2020

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 340,000 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 February 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It ComedyMonday 2/17: This show is about “the science of astrology, which is very real and definitely not fake. Each month, hosts Melissa StokoskiKarolena Theresa, and Brian Bahe (all Virgos) along with resident Astrologist Lizzie Martinez (Taurus) welcome a lineup of comedians all born under the current zodiac.” This month’s group of Aquarius stand-ups are Devon Walker (Comedy Central), Amamah Sardar (McSweeneys), Jatty Robinson, and Brittany CarneyStar F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stars at The StandMonday 2/17: The great Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland), Andrew Schulz (Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, Hulu’s There’s…Johnny!, HBO’s Crashing, Netflix, MTV, co-host of podcast The Brilliant Idiots), Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, 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 crewed), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Scott Chaplain (Comedy Central Roast Battle), and TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo perform at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Aaron Berg & Kerryn Feehan: "Frantic"Monday 2/17: Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, 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 crewed), John Hastings (Comedy Central, BBC), Phoebe Bottoms (Adult Swim’s Decker; Jim Henson Foundation-trained puppeteer; written for Tig Notaro’s Twitter account; 4-time Competitive Erotic Fan Fiction winner), Dylan Adler (sketch comic on Maude Night; co-host of Woke AF and Just Come), Jamie WolfKeith Carey (writer for Comedy Central’s Lights Out with David Spade and Netflix’s Historical Roast), and Steve Furey perform for hosts Aaron Berg (documentary 25 Sets; TV series 24 Hour Rental; co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water ) & Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV): Frantic (10:00 pm, Free!The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 2/18: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Friends of Single PeopleTuesday 2/18: The spectacular Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow; co-star of Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks With You) hosts this show in which “comics represent you onstage in a live dating game! You may cringe and remain as anonymous as you want in the crowd…or arrive at 7:00 pm to be paired up with a comic and tell everything there is to know about you in 10 minutes or less, and then let them guide your love life in great and maybe horrible ways. Out of over 100 couples matched, four couples have managed to develop actual long-term relationships. One couple moved in together. It’s amazing and defies all odds,” with comics Ashley Brooke RobertsJohn ReynoldsGary RichardsonJosh SharpAaron JacksonKevin IsoCeleste YimSamantha RuddyRachel Pegram, and Carmen ChristopherFriends of Single People (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Feminist Buzzkills of ComedyTuesday 2/18: Stand-up from Lizz Winstead (co-creator of The Daily Show), Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy albums I Did It; and Senior Class of Earth; webseries Teachers Lounge; frequently opens for Jim Gaffigan), Maddy Smith (cast member of MTV’s Wild n Out; writer for Comedy Central’s Roast of Alec Baldwin), Xazmin Garza (Sirius XM), and Alex English (Starz, Viceland; former writer of BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede and Netflix’s The Fix with Jimmy Carr) sponsored by the Abortion Access FrontFeminist Buzzkills of Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Love Bender Variety ShowWednesday 2/19: I know nothing about this comedy variety show, but am a fan of the title: The Love Bender Variety Show (7:00 pm, $9The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

PopOpWednesday 2/19: Host Jenny Gorelick (sketches on Seth Meyers; CBS’ Blue Bloods; Improv Anywhere) discusses the past month’s “biggest, sauciest, and most heinous moments of pop culture” with a panel of comics including Jay Jurden (Jimmy Fallon; written for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Vulture), Rachel Sennott (HBO’s High Maintenance), Gabe Gonzalez (host for MTV News and ScruffApp), and Devon Walker (Comedy Central), plus guests TBA: PopOp! The Pop Culture Talk Show that Pops Off (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Pete LeeThursday 2/20: Pete Lee (Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s Half Hour, Roast Battle, This Week at the Comedy Cellar; TruTV, VH1) performs a deliciously long stand-up set tonight through Saturday at an iconic comedy club: Pete Lee Headlines at Carolines (7:00 pm Thursday, 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm Friday, and 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm Saturday$27.25 cover plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Monroe Martin, Mary Houlihan, Alex English, and Chris Gethard: "Chris Gethard Presents All-Stars"Thursday 2/20: Chris Gethard (star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; producer of fresh comedy webseries Chris Gethard Presents) hosts Mary Houlihan (The New Yorker; Billy on the Street, Difficult People, The Chris Gethard Show, Cartoon Monsoon), Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, Netflix’s Master of None; host of podcast No Need for Apologies), Alex English (Starz, Viceland; former writer of BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede and Netflix’s The Fix with Jimmy Carr), and more TBA at this showcase of comics who perform on the MNN cable access show Chris Gethard PresentsChris Gethard Presents All-Stars (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Characters WelcomeThursday 2/20: Talented comedic writer/actors—who may include Desi DomoElena SkopetosChrissy ShackelfordAntonia Lassar, and/or many more—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael HartneyEric Feurer, and/or Sarah ParsonsCharacters Welcome (7:30 pm, $7UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Friends of Single PeopleThursday 2/20: Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), 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 Gordon Baker-Bone (host of podcast Bad Advice Show; album Nobody? Just Me?) join hosts Mike Brown & Dillon Stevenson in making fun of a bunch of music videos a la MST3KSuper Video Bros (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Max Wittert & Joe Castle Baker: "Get Reel"Friday 2/21: Comics dub—i.e., provide a verbal soundtrack—by making up narration and dialogue on the spot for silly video and film clips, with this month’s theme Super Reel, starring Solange AzorAnnie DonleyAndrés GoveaSandy Honig, and Devon Walker hosted by Max Wittert & Joe Castle BakerGet Reel (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

North Coast's Hip-Hop RebootFriday 2/21: Highly talented singing improv group North Coast turns popular TV shows suggested by the audience into improvised hip-hop musicals on the spot: North Coast’s Hip-Hop Reboot (7:30 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 2/22: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Comedians You Should KnowSunday 2/23: 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), Nathan Macintosh (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), Carmen Lagala (Stephen Colert; member of sketch group All Female Reboot, co-host of Creek Bros), and Damon Sumner (co-host of podcast Forth and Ten) perform stand-up hosted by Mike Lebovitz (HBO’s The Deuce, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing): Comedians You Should Know (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Gay Gulman and Nat Towsen: Sunday 2/23: Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; superb recent HBO special The Great Depresh; notable role as stand-up in blockbuster movie Joker; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno; finalist on Last Comic Standing; other comedy specials include Boyish Man, In This Economy, and It’s About Time) and more TBA try out new jokes via deliciously long sets 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, $12The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Chemical X: The Powerpuff Girls Improv ShowTuesday 2/25: Improvisors who are fans of the Cartoon Network make up scenes on the spot about adorable super-powered trio PowerPuff GirlsChemical X: The Powerpuff Girls Improv Show (7:00 pm, $9The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 2/25: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Artie Brennan & Anthony Giordano: Thursday 2/27: Artie Brennan, Anthony Giordano and friends create comedy chaos with this acclaimed show that “places you into the audience at a live taping of a fictional TV show overflowing with weird characters, interactive games, mysteries, puppets, prizes, and so much more. You have never experienced anything like it:” Super Crazy Fun Time Variety Game Show Hour (7:00 pm, $11The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

How Not to Fall for a ScamThursday 2/27-Saturday 2/29: A solo play written & performed by Monte D. Monteleagre self-described as follows: “The Puppeteer and his two sock puppet friends, Calvin and Sir Flops-A-Lot, have teamed up to put on a family-friendly play to educate children on the dangers of falling for a check scam. Except Sir Flops-A-Lot doesn’t know his lines. And the puppets aren’t getting paid. And the puppeteer might have turned their box shelter into this stage:” How Not to Fall for a Scam (7:00 pm, $13The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Characters WelcomeThursday 2/27: Talented comedic writer/actors—who may include Desi DomoElena SkopetosChrissy ShackelfordAntonia Lassar, and/or many more—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael HartneyEric Feurer, and/or Sarah ParsonsCharacters Welcome (7:30 pm, $7UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Natalie Cuomo: Friday 2/28: Natalie Cuomo (Carolines, SirusXM) hosts superb stand-ups Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Leah Bonnema (Stephen Colbert, VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), and Chloe LaBranche (host of The Chlo Show pod, Weep at The Stand): That Time of The Month Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $13The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

ational Treasure RemasteredSaturday 2/29: A play based on this premise: “Before Disney announced it would be making National Treasure 3, a strapped-for-cash Nicolas Cage tried to digitally remaster National Treasure on his own. He had to rely on outside funding to make the project happen, and was crushed when Disney threatened to sue if Cage released the film to theaters. Luckily for you, we’ve obtained the final cut of the film:” National Treasure Remastered (9:00 pm, $13The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

North Coast 9Saturday 2/29: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 2/29: 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 ace improvisors TBA, plus stellar improv musicians who are typically 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, $14UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/3: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th 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 February 2020: Last Updated Friday 2/14

February 14, 2020

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 340,000 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 February 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Small World Valentine's DayFriday 2/14: Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Kevin Iso (Hulu’s High Fidelity, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar and Adam Devine’s House PartyLance Weiss (NBC’s The Today Show, CMT’s Next Big Comic, MTV, Bravo, co-host of Gandhi, Is That You?), and Ryan Reiss (Seth Meyers, MTV, VH1, FOX, Spike, WE, NICK): Small World on Valentine’s Day (7:00 pm, $20 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Michael CheFriday 2/14-Sunday 2/16: Michael Che (star co-host of Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update; former correspondent for The Daily Show and staff writer for Saturday Night Live; has also performed on David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, The Today Show, and The View; and starred in a Comedy Central Half Hour and in Netflix special Michael Che Matters) headlines tonight, Saturday, and Sunday at Carolines: Michael Che (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 7:00 pm Sunday, Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 BroadwayPLEASE NOTE: All shows have SOLD OUT.)

North Coast's Hip-Hop RebootFriday 2/14: Highly talented singing improv group North Coast turns popular TV shows suggested by the audience into improvised hip-hop musicals on the spot: North Coast’s Hip-Hop Reboot (7:30 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Natalie Palamides: Friday 2/14-Sunday 2/16: Natalie Palamides—whose roles have spanned from Buttercup on Power Puff Girls to Ophelia on The Real Housewives of Shakespeare—further demonstrates her range in this highly acclaimed show about toxic masculinity that blends clowning and extreme laughs with nuanced questions about consent, playing in Chelsea through Sunday: NATE (8:00 pm Friday, 11:00 pm Saturday, 7:30 pm Sunday; $25Improv Asylum at 307 West 26th Street)

Valentine's Day at The StandFriday 2/14: Love experts Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson (NBC; hosts of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and authors of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s crewed), Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction), Justin Silver ( @Hulu’s High Fidelity, star of former CBS series Dogs in the City), and Lev Fer (Showtime; host of the Yung Daddy podcast) perform at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Valentine’s Day at The Stand (8:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $40 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Valentine's Day at The StandFriday 2/14: Explore the laughs in love with Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson (NBC; hosts of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and authors of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s crewed), Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction), Justin Silver ( @Hulu’s High Fidelity, star of former CBS series Dogs in the City), and Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine) perform at an intimate club space: Valentine’s Day at The Stand Upstairs (9:00 pm, $40 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Valentine's Day GoldFriday 2/14: Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Hannah Berner (cast of Bravo’s Summer House; host of podcast Berning In Hell), Remy Kassimir (Netflix’s Explained; host of podcasts How Cum and We Really Love Island), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), and Ryan Long (Netflix) perform Valentine’s Day stand-up for host Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX): Valentine’s Day Gold (11:00 pm; $20—which includes afterparty; The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Emma Vernon: Saturday 2/15: Multitalented rising star Emma Vernon (hip-hop musical improvisor, stand-up, actor, writer, and romance expert) aims to use her exceptional matchmaking skills to bring together two strangers and have them fall in love on their first date—which will take place in front of you on-stage: In A World: The Dating Show (8:00 pm, $13.44 onlineChelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street; followed by singles dancing afterparty)

CentraliaSaturday 2/15: Acclaimed groundbreaking improvisors Patrick McCartneyMatt HigginsJay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott make up scenes that often have a theatrical quality: Centralia (8:00 pm; $15The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 2/15: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 2/15: 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 ace improvisors TBA, plus stellar improv musicians who are typically 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, $14UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Caroline Riley and Marie FaustinSaturday 2/15: Stand-up by Carolyn Riley (above left; Funny or Die), Marie Faustin (above right; MTV’s Girl Code and Vidiots; co-host of 99.5 FM’s Tall Tales in the Big City; host with Sydnee Washington of podcast The Unofficial Expert; host with Sydnee Washington & Aminah Imani of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit),former host of Oxygen’s Very Real Talk), Ayo Edebiri (Comedy Central, The New Yorker), Jordan Carlos (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and Girls; writer for HBO’s Divorce; Netflix’s Black Mirror, Friends From College; Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim), and Dan Perlman (cast member of MTV’s Vidiots; co-writer, co-director, and co-star of series Flatbush Misdemeanors; written for Lewis Black and Roy Wood Jr.) perform stand-up hosted by the charming Ruby Karp (author of author of Earth Hates Me)We Hope You Have Fun (Midnight, $9UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Jordan Klepper, Bardia Salimi, Lana Schwartz, and Nat Towsen: "New Material Night"Sunday 2/16: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show), Bardia Salimi (Stephen Colbert, CBS’ Madam Secretary, TBS’ Search Party, Comedy Central, MTV), and Lana Schwartz (The New Yorker; author of book Build Your Own Romantic Comedy; co-host of My Hometown and Chanukahstravaganza) try out new jokes via deliciously long sets 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, $12The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 2/18: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

The Love Bender Variety ShowWednesday 2/19: I know nothing about this comedy variety show, but am a fan of the title: The Love Bender Variety Show (7:00 pm, $9The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Characters WelcomeThursday 2/20: Talented comedic writer/actors—who may include Desi DomoElena SkopetosChrissy ShackelfordAntonia Lassar, and/or many more—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael HartneyEric Feurer, and/or Sarah ParsonsCharacters Welcome (7:30 pm, $7UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

North Coast's Hip-Hop RebootFriday 2/21: Highly talented singing improv group North Coast turns popular TV shows suggested by the audience into improvised hip-hop musicals on the spot: North Coast’s Hip-Hop Reboot (7:30 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 2/22: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Gay Gulman and Nat Towsen: "New Material Night"Sunday 2/23: Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; superb recent HBO special The Great Depresh; notable role as stand-up in blockbuster movie Joker; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno; finalist on Last Comic Standing; other comedy specials include Boyish Man, In This Economy, and It’s About Time) and more TBA try out new jokes via deliciously long sets 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, $12The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Chemical X: The Powerpuff Girls Improv ShowTuesday 2/25: Improvisors who are fans of the Cartoon Network make up scenes on the spot about adorable super-powered trio PowerPuff GirlsChemical X: The Powerpuff Girls Improv Show (7:00 pm, $9The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 2/25: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Characters WelcomeThursday 2/27: Talented comedic writer/actors—who may include Desi DomoElena SkopetosChrissy ShackelfordAntonia Lassar, and/or many more—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael HartneyEric Feurer, and/or Sarah ParsonsCharacters Welcome (7:30 pm, $7UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

North Coast 9Saturday 2/29: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 2/29: 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 ace improvisors TBA, plus stellar improv musicians who are typically 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, $14UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/3: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th 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 February 2020: Last Updated Monday 2/10

February 10, 2020

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 340,000 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 February 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Whitmer Thomas: "The Golden One"Monday 2/10: Whitmer Thomas (NBC’s The Good Place, AMC’s The Walking Dead, Netflix’s Glow) performs a club-length stand-up set, with openers Joe Pera (star of Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks With You; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central) and Larry Owens (joyful, hilarious musical comic; staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust): Whitmer Thomas: The Golden One (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)

Stars at The Stand 2-10-20Monday 2/10: Comedy titans 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), Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week EverComedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, 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 crewed), a comic who can’t be advertised, Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), and TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Butterboy 15Monday 2/10: Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk) host stand-ups Sara Schaefer (Comedy Central special streaming here; former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; twice Emmy-winning head blogger for Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central’s @Inside Amy Schumer and @midngiht, VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There), Jay Jurden (Jimmy Fallon; written for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, VultureKyle Ayers (Fuse’s Uproarious; written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times), Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV; album Squirtacus), Sami SchwaeberLexie Grace—and maybe a special guest—plus music from DJ DonwillButterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; 10:00 pm afterparty at Parklife at 636 Degraw Street)

Whiplash 5Monday 2/10: Seminal stand-up show Whiplash, which for years was a must-see every Monday night, finally returns to a weekly schedule, this time at LES’ Caveat with host Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?). Tonight’s guests are TV & movie star Janeane GarofaloKate Willett (Comedy Central’s The Jim Jeffries Show and This Is Not Happening; VICE’s Flophouse, Netflix’s Comedy Lineup; comedy album Glass Gutter; co-host of Reply Guys Podcast), and 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): Whiplash (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Frantic 20Monday 2/10: Great lineup of stars 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), Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week EverComedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Hannah Berner (cast of Bravo’s Summer House; host of podcast Berning In Hell), a comic who can’t be advertised, Neel Nanda (Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Devine’s House Party, VICE, IFC, Oxygen), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), Ryan Long (Netflix), and Pranav Behari performing for hosts Aaron Berg (documentary 25 Sets; TV series 24 Hour Rental; co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water ) & Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV): Frantic (10:00 pm, Free!The Stand Mainstage 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.

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 February 2020: Last Updated Tuesday 2/4

February 4, 2020

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 340,000 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 February 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Anya Volz & Gabby Bryan: "Our Time of the Week"Tuesday 2/4: Smart, fresh stand-up from Jessica Kirson (stellar hour-long special Talking to Myself currently streaming on Comedy Central; HBO’s Crashing, The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Chanel Ali (MTV’s Girl Code, STARZ, TruTV), and Pat Regan (The Eric Andre Show, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Seek Treatment podcast) for hosts Anya Volz (writer for Riot Fest, The Hard Times; host of Thirst Trap With Anya Volz) & Gabby Bryan (co-host with Katie Hannigan of podcast Apodcalypse): Our Time of the Week (7:00 pm, $15The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Alise Morales & Orli Matlow, and Chandler Dean of West Wing Writers: "SpeakEasy"Tuesday 2/4: Members of the ace professional speechwriting West Wing Writers group—Brian Agler (New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Muizz Akhtar (Fellows for Peace, OCA Greater Houston), Sarah Gruen (McSweeney’s, The Institute), and Chai Karve (Sack of Troy, The Breakdown) 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—with some extra fun added by comics Alise Morales (News & Politics Editor of Betches; Reductress, Above Average; voice of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Showtime’s Our Cartoon President) and Orli Matlow (Adult Swim, Someecards; co-host of Aliens of Extraordinary Ability), all hosted by Chandler Dean (above; McSweeney’s, Reductress): SpeakEasy (7:00 pm; $15; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Virzi Effect Live: An Interview with Domenick LombardozziTuesday 2/4: Star Domenick Lombardozzi (numerous movies and TV series include The IrishmanCold PursuitBridge of Spies; HBO’s The Wire and The Deuce, Starz’s Power, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire) is interviewed on-stage by Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr) for Paul’s weekly podcast The Virzi EffectThe Virzi Effect Live: An Interview with Domenick Lombardozzi (7:30 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Fred Firestone: Tuesday 2/4: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 audience members (a dozen sign-ups and six returning champions) fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd: Punderdome 3000: The State of the Human (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)

Big Jay Oakerson: "The Worst"Tuesday 2/4: With brutal honesty, comics Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, 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 crewed), Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, Netflix’s Master of None; host of podcast No Need for Apologies), and Joe List (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, James Corden, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Netflix’s The StandUps, comedy albums So Far No Good and Are You Mad at Me?) each shares a story of one of the worst things he or she has ever experienced, with periodic questions and other fun interjections from stellar host Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall): The Worst (9:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Corinne FisherTuesday 2/4: Corinne Fisher (“I brought my dog to a Super Bowl party and everyone’s mood is noticeably better than usual; dogs are magic;” with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed) and Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction) team up for this podcast that covers interesting items in the news every Tuesday and concludes with a town hall-style Q&A with the audience: Without A Country Podcast— Live! (9:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs 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.

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 January 2020: Last Updated Tuesday 1/7

January 7, 2020

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 340,000 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 January 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Our Time of the WeekTuesday 1/7: Smart, fresh stand-up by Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy SchumerThe View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, 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 crewed), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), Josh Johnson (writer for Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central Half Hour, Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City), and more for hosts Anya Volz (writer for Riot Fest, The Hard Times; host of Thirst Trap With Anya Volz) & Gabby Bryan (co-host with Katie Hannigan of podcast Apodcalypse): Our Time of the Week (7:00 pm, $15The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

The Story Collider: New BeginningsTuesday 1/7: True tales on this month’s theme of Future Tense/New Beginnings from comedic storytellers and/or scientists Peter Aguero (Conan O’Brien, Moth GrandSlam Champion, WNYC’s Moth Radio Hour, The BTK Band), Vicki Eastus (Professor at New York Law School, using storytelling and improv to help law students find their voices), and Dr. Maria Mercedes Franco (Chair of Mathematics & Computer Science at Queensborough CUNY) hosted by Tracy Rowland (3-time Moth StorySlam winner) & Paula Croxson (neuroscientist; Associate Director for Education Programs at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute): The Story Collider: New Beginnings (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Fred Firestone: Tuesday 1/7: 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. Be prepared to boo 2020 puns anything less than stellar: Punderdome 3000: New Year! (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)

Fat TuesdaysTuesday 1/7: Sal Vulcano (co-star of TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, animated webseries Damaged, comedy album Mind Over Melee), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Maddy Smith (cast member of MTV’s Wild n Out; writer for Comedy Central’s Roast of Alec Baldwin), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas) perform stand-up for host Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC, co-host of podcast Cum Town): Fat Tuesdays (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Dan St. GermainTuesday 1/7: Dan St. Germain (above; 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), Alex Babbitt (HBO’s All Def Comedy), Olga Namer (“Unorthodox Jewish comedian”), Stephon Bishop, and Justin Smith perform stand-up hosted by 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) representing both well-known and less-known comics considered worthy of your attention by comedy blog Stellar Underground (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sugar and SpiceTuesday 1/7: There are scores of open mics in NYC, but this is the only one I know of devoted to erotic-themed jokes and/or performances. If you’re either looking to try out your raunchier material or simply want to experience something unusual, consider this monthly event hosted by Jennifer Dawn Harmon: Sugar & Spice: An Erotica Open Mic (9:00 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Corinne Fisher and Joe DeRosa: "Without a Country"Tuesday 11/12: Corinne Fisher (with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed) and Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction) team up for this podcast which, starting tonight, will run every Tuesday at 9:30 pm at The Stand. They describe it as follows: “Amidst a culture filled with loud pigs and whiny cows, we discuss current news stories and how each is covered differently by our media’s most biased, poker-prodding news sources. We are hell bent on finding the quiet, spineless middle ground that must exist somewhere between cries of Vulture and Breitbart:” Without A Country Podcast— Live! (9:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

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

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

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

Stars at The StandWednesday 1/8: Radio star Ron Bennington (host of shows Bennington and Unmasked), Jessica Kirson (recent special Talking to Myself streaming on Comedy Central; HBO’s Crashing, The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week EverComedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; recent interview on Artie Lange’s Halfway House), and Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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

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

The Stand 1-8-20 2Wednesday 1/8: Ace stand-up from Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week EverComedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; recent interview on Artie Lange’s Halfway House), Shane Gillis (@ComedyCentral, co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays), and Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic): Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.