NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2020: Last Updated Thursday 1/30

January 30, 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:

Citywide 9Thursday 1/30: Dan Soder (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; HBO special Son of a Gary; Dudley Mafee on Showtime’s Billions; films Trainwreck, Drunk Parents; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The Standups, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, hosts with Big Jay Oakerson Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), 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), 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), Caitlin Peluffo (Stephen Colbert; co-host of podcast Beasts; co-host of Karen), and Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour) perform stand-up for hosts 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) & Abby Rosenquist (Fuse TV): Citywide (7:00 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Chris Gethard, Christi Chiello, Sam Taggart, and Martin UrbanoThursday 1/30: 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), Christi Chiello (multi-talented rising star; Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl CodeChris Gethard Presents, TruTV, PBSKids, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!, co-host of Battle of the Divas, White Chocolate, and Lost and Found), Sam Taggart (Live on BroadgayLake Homo High), and Martin Urbano (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central) perform their extra special flavors of stand-up for this showcase of comics who perform on 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)

Sideshow GoshkoThursday 1/30: Ace storytellerss 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), Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, host of The Liar Show), and Katina Corrao (HBO, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, co-host of Lasers in the Jungle) perform at this wonderful monthly oddball storytelling show featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes hosted by Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post): Sideshow Goshko: 11th Year Anniversary! (7:00 pm, Free!KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Just For Laughs Talent ShowcaseThursday 1/30: Come experience rising star comics doing their very best to make you laugh—and to impress industry folks watching along with you, most likely including a JFL rep sitting in the back quietly taking notes—at these two stand-up audition shows for the largest comedy festival in the world: Just For Laughs Talent Showcase (7:30 pm & 9:30 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

How I Learned In The Beginning: Origin StoriesThursday 1/30: Stellar storytellers Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow; live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; comedy album The Hits), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), Angel Yau (co-host of Asian American Film Thing), Julian Fleisher (WNYC; Joe’s Pub: The Naked American Songbook), and David Heatley (The New Yorker; Qualification: A Graphic Memoir) tell tales about how they started out hosted by Blaise Allysen KearsleyHow I Learned In The Beginning: Origin Stories (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

We Love You 4Friday 1/31: Alise Morales (above right; News & Politics Editor of Betches; Reductress, Above Average), Michael Hartney (top left; TV Land’s Throwing Shade, Broadway’s School of Rock; co-host of Characters Welcome), Natasha Vaynblat (left; Comedy Central, IFC, Funny or Die, McSweeney’s, Reductress; ace improv group What I Did For Love), and John Trowbridge (Huffington Post videos; co-founder of BOOGIEMANJA) perform comedy for hosts Amanda Giobbi & Ariel Gitlin (middle), who ask you to “join us as we welcome some people we love to do some comedy they love and that we think you’ll love too:” We Love You: A Fucking Positive Comedy Show (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Story Collider: Monday 2/3: True tales on this month’s theme of The Science of Sex & Love from comedic storytellers and/or scientists Jamie Brickhouse (PBS’ Stories from the Stage; 4-time Moth StorySlam winner; The New York Times, The Washington Post; author of Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother), Dr. Wendy A. Suzuki (Professor of NeuroScience & Psychology at NYU; author of book Healthy Brain, Happy Life), Stacey Bader Curry (PBS’ Stories From the Stage; Moth GrandSlam champion and 7-time StorySlam winner), D. B. Firstman (ESPN.com), and Ishmael Gaynor (stand-up comic) hosted by Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made) & Paula Croxson (neuroscientist; Associate Director for Education Programs at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute): The Story Collider: The Science of Sex & Love (8:00 pm, $15, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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 June 2018: Last Updated Thursday 6/28

June 28, 2018

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

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

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

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

Kevin Geeks Out About DanceThursday 6/28: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher (Emmy-nominated writer whose work has appeared on HBO, Comedy Central, and AMC; former host of AMC’s The Sci-Fi Dept.) and guest co-host Kate Wilkinson (Wig Wurq website “judging pop culture’s wigs from lace fronts to split ends”), this month focusing on dance (for a trailer, please click here; and for more proof of how fun this theme is, please click here), with scheduled guests Tallie Medel (immensely talented comedic dancer/actress and rising star who’s a member of the fabulous Cocoon Central Dance Team), Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 13 million people on YouTube, please click here), Wendy Mays (host of the Pet Cinematary podcast), and Cristina Cacioppo (cinema programmer for Alamo Drafthouse): Kevin Geeks Out About Dance (7:30 pm; $15—buying in advance is recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and fascinating ideas often sells out; Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at 445 Albee Square West—take the 2/3 subway to Hoyt Street)

Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman, and Leslie GoshkoThursday 6/28: Married couple Brad Lawrence (above; Moth GrandSlam Champion) & Cyndi Freeman (The Colbert Report, Moth StorySlam champion, two-time FringeNYC award winner, star burlesque performer), Gail Thomas (Beavis & Butthead Do America), and Drew Prochaska (two-time Moth StorySlam winner) perform for this free and gloriously oddball monthly storytelling show at the East Village’s KGB Bar, featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above right; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Why Your Train is F*cked: A Love/Hate Show About the History of the MTA

Thursday 6/28: Learn the early history of the MTA via fun lectures, sketches, and more at the second of this comedic history series about NYC transit, with guests TBA, hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked: A Love/Hate Show About the History of the MTA (7:00 pm; $16.89 online, $18 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Matt Rogers & Bowen Yang: "Las Culturistas Live: I Don't Think So, Honey"Friday 6/29: Fifty comics (TBA) gather to each share a minute’s worth of observations about a bit of pop culture with which he or she can’t be bothered, with hosts Matt Rogers & Bowen Yang (above; hosts of the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast): Las Culturistas Live: I Don’t Think So, Honey (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Sydnee Washington: "Death of a Bottle Girl"Friday 6/29: A one-woman show by Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) about her decade as a high-earning cocktail waitress and why, after a decade of working in NYC nightlife, she decided to hang up her server dress forever: Death of a Bottle Girl (9:00 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Soft Core!Friday 6/29: Host Chris Gersbeck screens a silly porn movie, and comics Jenn Wehrung, Kat Burdick, Matt Smith McCormick, and Calvin Cato riff on it MST3K-style: Soft Core! (9:00 pm, $15, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

RelationshitFriday 6/29: Storytellers share tales of relationships in front of a panel of comics and therapy experts, who then give advice, with tonight’s guests Emily Winter (writer for Fusion’s Come Here and Say That, TVLand, and The New Yorker; co-host of The BackFatlorette, Backfat Variety, and Side Ponytail) and more TBA hosted by Lynn Bixenspan & Morgan Pielli: Relationshit (9:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

The Chris and Paul ShowSaturday 6/30: Award-winning vaudeville-style sketch duo Chris O’Neill & Paul Valenti perform their favorite bits for this special show: The Best of the Chris and Paul Show (8:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Laughter in the ParkSunday 7/1: NYLaugh.org’s free summer stand-up shows, which happen Sundays 2:00-4:00 pm at parks all over the city, sponsors its second 2018 event today at The Battery (on Castle Clinton Lawn, in front of the National Monument) with headliner Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Presents special; co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; author of book You’re Better Than Me) and other comics TBA. Subsequent shows will happen at Washington Square Park (at Garibaldi Plaza, on the east side of the Fountain) July 8th, The Battery again July 15th, and Tompkins Square Park (on the Old Bandshell Lawn) July 22nd, with lineups TBA: Laughter in the Park (2:00 pm-4:00 pm, Free!, Staten Island’s Wolfe’s Pond Park at 420 Cornelia Avenue)

Kerry CoddettSunday 7/1: Kerry Coddett (above; 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 indie music duo Strange Parts (Attia Taylor & Corey Duncan) perform and are interviewed about “that one song you’ll never forget” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Patrick Cartelli & Evan Forde Barden: Repeater: A Little Show About Big Songs (8:30 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Dear Diary: Comics Read Their Weird Childhood JournalsMonday 7/2: Comics share their observations, fears, dreams, and insanities growing up by reading from their childhood diaries, featuring Lauren Culp, Matt Dittus, Ruthie Dreyer, Emily Evans, Jennifer Gersbeck, Dana Norris, Michael Salgarolo, and Emily Walsh and host Maggie Lalley: Dear Diary: Comics Read Their Weird Childhood Journals (8:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Independence DayTuesday 7/3: Roland Emmerich’s & Dean Devlin’s 1996 film Independence Day is actually quite entertaining—and also a milestone in the history of Hollywood blockbusters (it was the highest-grossing movie of its year). That said, there’s plenty about it to make fun of. Tonight it’ll be screened and mercilessly skewered by comics Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic; author of How to Write Cheesy Movies and 25 MST3K Films That Changed My Life In No Way Whatsoever), John Fugelsang (host of Tell Me Everything on Sirius XM; former host of ABC’s America’s Funniest Home Videos), and Jenn Wehrung (BBC; co-host of Soft Core!), who make this solemn promise: “We will be fast forwarding through the Randy Quaid scenes.” Their cruelty will be contrasted by exceptionally kind host Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Soft Core!, which is essentially a porn version of this show, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic): Movies R Dumb: Independence Day (9:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

The Stand
239 Third Avenue—moving to Union Square this summer; competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

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

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

Eastville Comedy Club
moving to Brooklyn in June 2018, please stay tuned; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2017: Last Updated Sunday 12/31/17

December 31, 2017

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for what’s left of December include:

 

New Year's EveHappy New Year’s Eve!

The Liar Show New Year's EveSunday 12/31: Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who chooses correctly gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of Sideshow Goshko and The Real Housewives of Columbo), Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; album “The Human Comedy;” for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), Ed Gavagan (TED Talks, Moth Grandslam champion, WNYC’s Moth Radio Hour), and Martin Dockery (touring playwright/actor who’s performed eight solo shows and five two-person shows across the US and Canada; five-time Moth Storyslam winner). Come let these storytellers and host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, exceptionally nice guy) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show (6:00 pm; $25, which includes a glass of champagne; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319; West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia Street)

Happy New Year 2018!Wishing you a 2018 filled with joy, love, wonder, and laughter

 

Anthony Atamanuik: "The Tony Show"Tuesday 1/2/18: Brilliantly innovative comic Anthony Atamanuik (star of Comedy Central hit The President Show; Trump vs. Bernie, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo) plays oddball characters in a mix of sketch and improv, helped by cast members and guests TBA, in the resurrection of this show that used to run weekly at UCB East: The Tony Show (11:00 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2017: Last Updated Thursday 12/28/17

December 28, 2017

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for what’s left of December include:

Jamie Brickhouse and Leslie GoshkoThursday 12/28: Oddball tales from Jamie Brickhouse (above left; author of Dangerous When Wet), Thomas Pryor (author of I Hate the Dallas Cowboys; The New York Times), Tracy Rowland (Emmy-award winning writer & TV producer; Cartoon Network, Rhino Records), and Calvin Cato (Oxygen’s My Crazy Love, host of Ed Sullivan on Acid) at this free monthly storytelling show in the East Village featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above right; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Dave AttellThursday 12/28-Saturday 12/30: Dave Attell (one of the most respected stand-ups in the biz; star of series Insomniac and Comedy Underground on Comedy Central and Dave’s Old Porn on Showtime; two Comedy Central specials, Netflix special Road Work; former writer/performer for Saturday Night Live; HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, The Daily Show) headlines at Carolines: Dave Attell (7:30 pm Thursday, 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm Friday & Saturday, $35-$38.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

 

Cage Match: "Jews vs. Christians"Thursday 12/28: In celebration of the holidays, improvised Jews battle improvised Christians for supremacy—via audience laughs and votes. Overall, history favors the Christians. But this is New York, where Jewish comics may well have the edge. There’s no telling what will happen…which is one of the great pleasures of the extravaganza that from the dawn of time has been called Cage Match: Jews Vs. Christians (11:00 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

"Kevin!!!!!" and "Hold On To Your Butts"Friday 12/29: A spectacular PIT double-bill from shape-shifting performers Kyle Schaefer & Nick Abeel, music & sound wizard Kelsey Didion, and stellar director Kristin McCarthy Parker. First puppetry is used to recreate classic kids’ movie Home Alone (aided by performers Natalie Rich & Sonia Mena, and 4-person choir Sarah Godwin, Evan Maltby, Richard Sears, and Michelle Vo): Kevin!!!!!; and then the same core team conjures a breathtaking live shot for shot stage version of Jurassic Park: Hold On To Your Butts (8:00 pm & 9:15 pm; $20 per show—or see both shows for just $30 total by clicking here; The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Adrian Sexton & Dana Shulman: "Ouiser & Clairee"Friday 12/29: Delightful stellar improvisors Dana Shulman & Adrian Sexton play Clairee Belcher & Ouiser Boudreaux, the sassy supporting characters from 1989 film Steel Magnolias about charming but tough Southern women. In this show, they’re “fresh graduates from the improv workshop at The Chinquapin Parish Senior Center and are ready to show you everything they’ve learned. You’ll be enchanted by their improvisation skills, their witty banter, and their ability to make grown men cry. Why would you be anywhere else when you could come and sit by Ouiser and Clairee?” Why, indeed: Come and Sit By Me with Ouiser and Clairee (9:00 pm, $7, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

The Star Wars Holiday SpecialFriday 12/29: In the wise words of media critic Cyndi Freeman: “The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, on November 17, 1978, preempting Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk. It has never been rebroadcast or officially released on home video. David Hofstede called it ‘the worst two hours of television ever.’ George Lucas has reportedly said ‘If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.‘” See it screened, dissected, and mercilessly savaged tonight by Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Brian McGuinness (Inside Amy Schumer), Wendi Sterling (Glamourpuss), and host Freddy G (NPR): Movies R Dumb: The Star Wars Holiday Special (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Jamie Aderski: "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood"Saturday 12/30: In one of the finest solo shows ever created about motherhood, rising star Jamie Aderski shares extraordinarily honest and hair-curling tales of what it was like for her to go through pregnancy and the early months of raising her baby (for a trailer, please click here). Whether this is a cautionary tale to would-be moms or an ode to the power of love is up to you to decide. Either way, you should not miss the unforgettable Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood (7:00 pm; $12, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Kevin!!!!!Saturday 12/30: After you thoroughly enjoy Jamie Aderski’s show (see directly above), stick around for a puppet version of Home Alone delivered by stellar director Kristin McCarthy Parker, music & sound wizard Kelsey Didion, performers Kyle Schaefer, Nick Abeel, Natalie Rich, and Sonia Mena, and 4-person choir Sarah Godwin, Evan Maltby, Richard Sears, and Michelle Vo: Kevin!!!!! (8:00 pm, $20, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

New Year's EveHappy New Year’s Eve!

The Liar Show New Year's EveSunday 12/31: Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who chooses correctly gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of Sideshow Goshko and The Real Housewives of Columbo), Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; album “The Human Comedy;” for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), Ed Gavagan (TED Talks, Moth Grandslam champion, WNYC’s Moth Radio Hour), and Martin Dockery (five-time Moth GrandSlam finalist). Come let these storytellers and host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, exceptionally nice guy) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show (6:00 pm; $25, which includes a glass of champagne; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319; West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia Street)

Happy New Year 2018!Wishing you a 2018 filled with joy, love, wonder, and laughter

 

Anthony Atamanuik: "The Tony Show"Tuesday 1/2/18: Brilliantly innovative comic Anthony Atamanuik (star of Comedy Central hit The President Show; Trump vs. Bernie, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo) plays oddball characters in a mix of sketch and improv, helped by cast members and guests TBA, in the resurrection of this show that used to run weekly at UCB East: The Tony Show (11:00 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 8/19/17

August 19, 2017

Emmy Blotnick, Christine Nangle, and Lane Moore: "Tinder Live"A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (bottom; 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 during the adventure are tonight’s guests, Emmy Blotnick (top left; brilliant rising star stand-up; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever) and Christine Nangle (top right; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Inside Amy Schumer and Kroll Show). This show usually sells out, so I recommend nabbing tickets ASAP for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Cait Elliott: "Good at Cults"…or if you like storytelling shows, take in a bunch on this next-to-last day of the Speak Up, Rise Up Festival. They start at 1:30 pm with Cait Elliott performing an autobiographical one-woman show about “joining a cult in 2014, falling in love with its leader, and life on the other side; a meditation on spirituality, sexuality, abuse of power, and the basic human drive to seek something more:” Good at Cults (1:30 pm; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Leslie Goshko: "Slightly Feral"…and experience stories about being somewhat animalistic by Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of Sideshow Goshko and The Real Housewives of Columbo), Aasif Mandvi (former correspondent for The Daily Show; appearances in numerous movies & TV shows), Andrew Bancroft (ace hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme), and Catie Lazarus (host of Employee of the Month): Slightly Feral (6:00 pm; part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Aparna Nancherla…and enjoy storytelling by Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), who “has always been unsure of herself. In fact, she has spent a good deal of her life trying to figure out why exactly other people aren’t. Spend an evening with her, aided by some extraordinary cohorts, as she bumbles her way through a show that offers no answers, but does raise more questions. The only guarantee is no guarantee, no warranty, no problem. Sound intriguing? If so, please lower your expectations and come on down:” A Night of Subjective Comedy with Aparna ‘N Friends (9:00 pm; part of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival; $17 online, $20 at the door, or $45-$150 for discount tickets to multiple festival shows; The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Dave Chappelle Live at RCMH…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are diverse guests, as follows: 8/19: Childish Gambino; 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Saturday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($65.50 plus 2-drink min.): The star of seven seasons of 30 Rock and cast member for eight seasons of Saturday Night Live headlines tonight and Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Tracy Morgan

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Killy Dwyer (wild singing comic), Ray DeVito (Comedy Central), and Tracy Carnazzo (host of Hashtag Comedy) perform at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 13 million people on YouTube, please click here): Don’t Feed the Musicians

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): What may be your last chance to see Maggie Seymour & Olivia Atwood revive their acclaimed FringeNYC 2016 two-woman production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, tackling 15 characters in a wacky condensed version running just an hour that reportedly includes puppets, nerf guns, rap, song & dance, breaking the fourth wall, and lots of energy and comedic timing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 15 Villainous Fools

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

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

9:30 pm ($10): A raunchy musical about high school seniors and aliens from outer space plotting to harvest our genitals continues its run through September 18th at The PIT Mainstage from writer Joe Kelly, musical director Jonathan Evans, and director Griffin Osborne: Aliens Coming: The Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Casey Jost (former writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Lui Vega—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

10:00 ($5): Comics compete in freestyle rap games and battles, with the prize being stage time, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Noah Savage with DJ Will Winner: So You Think You Can Rap

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

11:00 pm ($7): “A feminist exploration of Tentacle Erotica, this show delves into the world of female sexuality through the lens of one slimy genre of pornography at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tentacles

11:30 pm ($7): Comics playing characters answer obscure quiz questions in this comedic game show at UCB East hosted by Vincent Moore: Best Answer

[TOP PICK] [$] Midnight ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Hasan Minhaj (correspondent for The Daily Show; breakthrough star performance at this year’s White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner; Netflix special Homecoming King) tries out a new solo stand-up show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Hasan Minhaj: Experiment Time

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: A monthly lip synch contest judged by you and your audience, taking into account costume, choreography, and lip synching perfection, with this month’s theme 90s hip-hop and R&B, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Christina Galston: What That Mouth Do

NYC Comedy Picks for Sunday 8/20/17

Picture This!In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Tonight’s superb comedy lineup consists of T.J. Miller (red-hot comedy star; David Letterman, Stephen Colbert; co-star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, HBO’s Crashing, and former ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-star of numerous movies including Deadpool, Transformers: Age of Extinction, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, Cloverfield, and Get Him to the Greek; for vintage videos, please click here), Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents half-hour special), Josh Johnson (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents half-hour special; Comedy Central’s Hart of the City and @midnight; former writer/performer for Jimmy Fallon), Greg Fitzsimmons (host of The Greg Fitzsimmons Show on Howard 101 radio; former writer for Lucky Louie, Politically Incorrect, Chelsea Handler, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show—for which he won four Daytime Emmy Awards), Jamie Lee (writer for HBO’s Crashing; TruTV, Conan O’Brien, MTV’s Girl Code, The Pete Holmes Show), and Chloe Hilliard (The Nightly Show, Last Comic Standing, MTV, TruTV), produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Robin Bady…and go out earlier to experience the issues of the day addressed by five female storytellers—Robin Bady (host of BADYHouse Storytelling Concerts), Nicole Ferraro (The New York Times), Valentina Ortiz (author/musician), Angel Yau, Megan Hicks, and Michele Carlo—in this final show of this week’s Speak Up, Rise Up Festival: “No, We Won’t Shut Up” (3:00 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door, The Connelly Theater at 220 East 4th Street between Avenues A & B)…

Dave Chappelle Live at RCMH…and one of our greatest stand-ups, superstar Dave Chappelle, continues to perform in NYC through August at Radio City Music Hall. Making each show unique are diverse guests, as follows: 8/20: Lauryn Hill; 8/23: Yasiin Bey; 8/24: Ali Wong, John Mayer, and Lil Jon (as DJ). It’s all happening this month at Dave Chappelle Live (8:00 pm; ticket prices vary by seat location; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)

Other notable shows this Sunday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 1:30 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among five shows, with four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Melissa Villaseñor (force-of-nature rising star cast member on Saturday Night Live), Lisa Curry, Matty Ryan, Alex Kumin, Brian Mitchell, and Eman El-Husseini perform stand-up at UCB East produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Alison Leiby (sharp, fresh, likeable stand-up; staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; VICE; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($12) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($65.50 plus 2-drink min.): The star of seven seasons of 30 Rock and cast member for eight seasons of Saturday Night Live headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Tracy Morgan

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Artie Lange, VH1) and more perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Kenny DeForest, and Clark Jones: Comedy Night at the Knit

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Stand-ups challenge each other’s and the audience’s dumbest assumptions at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; webseries KCK): Let’s Say You’re Right

NYC Comedy Picks for Monday 8/21/17

Sex HouseToday kicks off the annual Brooklyn Comedy Festival, running every night through August 26th. Among the vibrant choices is this world premiere screening of a unified cut of The Onion’s entire 2012 webseries Sex House satirizing America’s reality show culture (for a trailer, please click here), followed by a Q&A with the director and writers of the series hosted by Sean Joseph Patrick Carney (host of Humor and the Abject podcast) and Darcie Wilder (author of Literally Show Me a Healthy Person): Sex House (7:30 pm, $16, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…

Bob the Drag Queen: "Queen for the People"…and also part of the Brooklyn Comedy Festival is this stand-up show starring Bob the Drag Queen (winner of Season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race) and Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), plus performances by Alotta McGriddles, Lady Bearica Andrews, Papusa Smear, and host Sandy Devastation, with music by DJ Ten Yards: Bob the Drag Queen: Queen for the People (7:30 pm & 10:30 pm, $30, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue)…

The Special Without Brett Davis: Live in Brooklyn…or see this Brooklyn Comedy Festival show starring extreme character comic Brett Davis (HBO’s Animals; TruTv’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; creator/host of weekly Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award) with guests Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet), Lorelei Ramirez (host of Do Something), Bardia Salimi (host of Hell House), Andrew Tisher, Steve Whalen, and Sebastian Dinatale: The Special Without Brett Davis: Live in Brooklyn (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Nicki Wright: "Panel of Thrones"…and if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, check out this free weekly show in which comics Christian Finnegan, Michael Lewis, Samantha Bednarz, and Jeremy Kaplowitz discuss the final episodes of this spectacular season of GoT hosted by Nicki Wright: Panel of Thrones (7:30 pm, Free!, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Other notable shows this Monday include:

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($7): UCB comics perform solo character bits at the UCB Chelsea theatre: UCBT Character Showcase

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including at 8:00 pm the groups Thunderbuster (with ace comics Chris Booth and Jen Clark) and The Department (with the superb Dana Shulman)—all at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): Improv trio Doppelganger—consisting of Sasheer Zamata, Keisha Zollar, and Nicole Byer—created fresh, brilliant improv before each of its rising stars went off to be famous. Nicole is probably in LA right now, but Sasheer and Keisha are reuniting to make up scenes based on audience suggestions at the UCB East theatre: Doppelganger

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Janelle James, Jeffrey Joseph, Tim Dillon, Katie Hannigan, Noah Garfinkel, and Calvin Evans perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park, Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Terrific character comics perform solo bits demonstrating their impressive talent at UCB East hosted & directed by Michael Hartney plus a co-host (last month it was Timothy Dunn, who was a perfect partner for Michael). This is one of my favorite shows, and I especially recommend checking it out if you’re a producer, casting director, or other industry pro in search of sharp comedy actors: Characters Welcome

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Mark Normand, Joe List, and other stand-ups perform for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE; reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There): Whiplash

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 8/22/17

Cocoon Central Dance Team: "Snowy Bong Bongs Across the North Star Combat Zone"Day #2 of the annual Brooklyn Comedy Festival (running through August 26th) includes this screening of a performance film starring the Cocoon Central Dance Team (delightful trio of immensely talented comedic dancers/actresses and rising stars Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Medel, and Sunita Mani—who will also perform live on stage!), with cameos by Reggie Watts, Kate Berlant, and more directed by Rachel Wolther & Alex H. Fischer: Cocoon Central Dance Team: Snowy Bong Bongs Across the North Star Combat Zone (7:30 pm, $16, Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)…

The Fancy Show…or see this Brooklyn Comedy Festival stand-up show with T.J. Miller (red-hot comedy star; David Letterman, Stephen Colbert; co-star of HBO’s Silicon Valley, HBO’s Crashing, and former ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-star of numerous movies including Deadpool, Transformers: Age of Extinction, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Big Hero 6, Cloverfield, and Get Him to the Greek; for vintage videos, please click here), Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son; Comedy Central one-hour special Father Figure), Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately), Janelle James (@midnight, SeeSo’s Night Train with Wyatt Cenac), Michael Joyce, Simmons McDavid, and Lane Pieschel hosted by Rob Haze (Adam Devine’s House Party, Viceland’s Flophouse): The Fancy Show (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Other notable shows this Tuesday include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Broadway, TV, and film star Colin Quinn (Trainwreck, comedy national treasure) hones material for a one-man show at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Colin Quinn: Law Abiding Criminals

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups—all typically led by the best improv pianist in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Tuesday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), Matteo Lane (Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, co-host of Battle of the Divas), Casey James Salengo (Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents), Jordan Carlos (HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime), and Sydnee Washington (host of The Warm Up) perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street) hosted by Sharron Paul (College Humor) & Calvin Cole (TBS’ Just for Laughs): Cheap Date Comedy Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm (no charge, but you must RSVP): Comics who create material for Above Average perform, including Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special, Billy on the Street; for Joel’s Conan set, please click here), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Blair Socci (MTV’s Girl Code and Ladylike), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show), Rae Sanni (New York Magazine), and host Matt Star, all at the Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th Street): Above Average Live

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show; previously staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers), Ronny Cheng (correspondent for The Daily Show), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), and Joey Dundale perform stand-up hosted by Dan Licata, Joe Pera, and Charles Gould at Brooklyn’s The Shanty (79 Richardson Street; take L subway to Lorimer Street): Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Two long headlining sets on this stand-up double-bill starring Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, Netflix’s Master of None) and Derek Gaines (host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show) at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Monroe Martin and Derek Gaines: No Need for Apologies

[FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

[FREE] 10:30 pm (Free! using online code COMP; no min.): Stand-ups pair up to brutally insult each other and then be judged for the effectiveness of their viciousness by veteran comics such as Big Jay Oakerson and Rich Vos at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Luis J. Gomez: The RoastMasters

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/22/17

April 22, 2017

Leslie Goshko's "The Real Housewives of Columbo"It’s the 1970’s. The cocktail parties are glamorous, the brandy snifters abound, the clothes are colorfully polyester—and when foul play occurs, homicide detective Lieutenant Columbo is on the case. But behind every man’s untimely death remains a shattered housewife who wants answers. Join Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, host of Sideshow Goshko) as she and guests Gary Burton, Tamra Paselk, and Jan TIlley present this comedic musical-mystery show where day-drinking is glamorous and chain-smoking the norm. Play detective and receive clues from live musical performances, overly dramatic pauses, and more. And just when you think you have the case solved, there’s “one more thing”…there always is when you’re dealing with The Real Housewives of Columbo (6:00 pm; $10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319 because this show often sells out; West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[TOP PICK] [$] 3:00 pm ($15): Grammy-nominated family comic Billy Kelly performs a squeaky-clean matinee show for all ages—but especially recommended for kids 8 and up—at The PIT Underground: Billy Kelly’s Family Comedy Show

6:00 pm ($7): Group Daddy’s Ghost hosts improv, sketch, and/or more at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Eulogy: A Variety Show

6:00 pm ($7): Solo improv by Dion Flynn (frequent sketch comic on Jimmy Fallon) at The PIT Mainstage: Works Well With Others

6:00 pm ($5): Four indie improv troupes perform at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($12): Improv group Women and Men interview audience members about a weird and/or wild birthday, wedding, bar mitzvah, or other social gathering and then make up scenes based on those anecdotes at the UCB East theatre: Women and Men: Party Jumpin’

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up Ryan Schutt tries out new material one last night at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Ryan Schutt

7:00 pm ($7): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Electoral Dysfunction

7:00 pm ($10): Improv group BBC2 (which includes Patrick McCartney, Raquel Powell, Jennifer Bareilles, and Kevin Scott) make up scenes at The PIT Mainstage: BBC2

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who tonight is Bryan Berlin—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

7:30 pm ($10): Comics (not announced) share with you things they feel you really ought to know at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Colum Tyrrell & Lev Fer: Sh*t You Should Know: An Educational Comedy Show

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($53 & 2-drink min.) A writer/comic who plays Leon Black on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, and has performed on Saturday Night Live, FOX, Comedy Central, MTV, The Chris Rock Show, and in such feature films as Pootie Tang and Mr. Deeds, headlines at the Carolines Comedy Club: JB Smoove

7:30 pm ($10): Married couple Jordan & Amanda Hirsch perform a comedic play about their everyday lives at The PIT Underground: Til Death

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

8:00 pm ($5): A mashup of stand-up, sketch, and minor league sports gimmickry—cheap beer, mascots, questionable seat upgrades, kiss cameras, hot dog cannons, and more—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Instantacular

8:00 pm ($7): Skilled improvisors David Rysdahl & Paul Gutkowski make up a play on the spot at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) as improv duo True East

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15): A show celebrating a modern dating site, with guests Ariel Dumas (staff writer for Stephen Colbert) and Sady Doyle (writer for The Atlantic, The Guardian, and Rookie; author of book Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock and Fear, and Why) and host Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeneys), playing around with Tinder at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Tinder Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($12): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A highly talented freestyle rapping long-form improv group makes up scenes with fierce musical energy at The PIT Underground: North Coast

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($12): An improvised apocalypse from sharp comics John Murray, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Caroline Cotter, Joanna Bradley, David Bluvband, and Zach Cherry at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A talk & variety show that spotlights character comics Julie A. Feltman, Tessa Claire Hersh, Lauren Ireland, Ren Peir, Adrien Pellerin, and Tom Sanchez, plus stand-up by Natasha Vaynblat and musical guest Adrien Pellerin, all performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; FringeNYC): This Live Show

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Rick Andrews make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

9:00 pm ($5, or Free if you show up at 8:00 pm): Brandon Scott Wolf (contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Brian Rabideu, Ashley Hamilton, Neil Constantine, and Ayanna Dookie perform stand-up at Brooklyn’s Art Cafe & Bar (884-886 Pacific Street) hosted by Ben Totushek & Koshin Egal: The Human Citizen Comedy Show

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($15): Dynamite comedy duo Jen Jamula & Allison Goldberg (producers & stars of Blogologues) share audience break-up texts, plus screen shots of their favorite relationship dumps found on the Net, in this fast-paced and hilarious interactive show at The PIT Mainstage: How to Break Up By Text

9:30 pm ($10): Jay Light (Comedy Central), JC Best (co-host of podcast Trans Talk), and more perform stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Tracey Carnazzo: Hashtag Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Casey Jost (former writer for NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Lui Vega—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($12): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

10:30 pm ($7): A one-man show from Matt Mitchell “as he journeys back across his life, reflecting on the girls he fell so hard for and those who broke his heart in a million little pieces” at The PIT Underground: Where the Hell Have You Been

10:30 pm ($7): A variety show that incorporates tarot cards—show up an hour early for a free reading—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tamara’s & Adrian’s Tarot Variety Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups who are single each perform a set and then participate in a dating game show, choosing among three mystery contestants based on their online dating profiles at The PIT Mainstage: Tinderella

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Fredric Goldstein and hosted by Judith George: Last Stop Laughs

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($7): Elna Baker (genius storyteller, and bestselling author of comedic book The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance; NPR’s This American Life; writer for Glamour, Elle; for sample tales, please click here), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Nathan Macintosh (Conan O’Brien), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Jolenta Greenberg share true-life longish funny tales at this UCB East mashup of stand-up and storytelling hosted by Alison Leiby (VICE): It’s a Long Story

11:30 pm ($5): “In a post-apocalyptic world now dominated by rats, a writer comedian wants to fulfill her/his dream of selling a TV pilot to a network television (or Netflix). So with the first draft ready, she/he embarks on a journey across Bushwick and New York City to pitch to the presumably still alive network (rat) executives” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Chumble

11:30 pm ($7): A one-man show by Dekunle during which he might sing, play guitar and piano and drums, and express reservations about living at The PIT Underground: Dekunle Wants to Die

[FREE] Midnight: “Mother Oslo (a.k.a. Oslo The Gay Black Metal Southerner) will host and read scriptures from the most unholy book of all eternity. The Black Metal Bible. Come for the damnation, stay for the sacrifice” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Black Metal Chvrch

Midnight ($7): Sketch groups Austin Rye and Terrorbird compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea hosted by Alden Ford & Justin Tyler: Backyard Brawl

Saturday Open Mics & Jams

4:00 pm ($5; your ticket provides $3 off a drink at nearby Pioneers Bar): Walk-in lottery style open mic (sign-up starting at 2:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 5:00 pm-7:00 pm: Walk-in comedy open mic (lottery system, with sign-up starting at 4:30 pm) providing each selected comic 4 minutes on stage at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Murray Povich Mic

6:00 pm ($7): A walk-in open mic for any form of poetry, memorized or improvised, at The PIT Underground: The PIT Poetry Slam

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Walk-in open mic, with names drawn from a bucket (sign-up starts at 6:50 pm), and a designated beer drinker on stage who might chime in at any moment to riff with you during your set, at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Amy Shanker, Brett Hiker, and Cameron Ford: Power Hour Open Mic

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for character bits, stand-up, etc. at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea (307 West 26th Street): 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10

Upright Citizens Brigade East (153 East 3rd Street): 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10

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

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

The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

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

The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer): 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10

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

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

Littlefield (622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street): 100-seat theatre; shows $5-${20

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street): Among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

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

The Stand (239 Third Avenue): Recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 9/3/16

September 3, 2016

Leslie GoshkoFour funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who chooses correctly gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Rich Greene (author of Walt Disney biography 30 Years: Inside the Dream), Marie Faustin (The Today Show), Andy Ross (Mad Magazine; Onion News Network), and Rory Scholl (The PIT, BTK Band). These talented storytellers and guest host Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, host of Sideshow Goshko) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show (6:00 pm, $10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319 because this show usually sells out; West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia Street)

More recommendations for the best in NYC  comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Emily Winter, Patrick Hastie, Jared Dryden, and Mike Mercadal each perform a different 10-minute stand-up every Saturday in February at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Grant Lindahl: The 8

7:00 pm ($5): Two improv groups performing at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): All Aboard The Butter Cruise + m/marc/k

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who tonight is Akbar Shahzad—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): An all-gal group of improvisors—typically Keisha Zollar, Glenn Boozan, Joanna Bradley, Laura Wilcox, Caroline Colter, and/or Nicole Drespel—make up scenes about failed relationships at the UCB East theatre: The Breakup

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus improv group The Quitters, make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and The Quitters

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

7:30 pm ($5): Short form improv (vs. long forms such as The Harold) at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by improv group Good Stuff: Short Form Saturday

7:30 pm ($5): Comics not affiliated with any particular comedy theatre perform solo characters at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Super Indie Takeover: Characters

7:30 pm ($8): NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Charles McBee: Nerd is the New Black

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($42 & 2-drink min.) A co-star of such movies as I’m Gonna Get You Sucka and White Chicks, and of TV series In Living Color and The Wayans Bros., headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Shawn Wayans

8:00 pm ($10): A non-verbal duo sketch show by Rachel Kaly & Charlie Bardey at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Ugly x Crying

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): “Do you ever leave a comedy show saying ‘Hmm, that was pretty funny but not enough reading’? Literati is a night of comics in character performing hilarious readings—sometimes while wearing wigs,” with comics Amber Nelson, Aaron Jackson, Patti Harrison, Cory Palmer, and Cole Escola at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About the Greatest American Novels Never Written

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($15 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Top comics (not announced) are interviewed at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Inside Joke

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): In this acclaimed monthly show, NYC stand-ups “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself in this monthly showcase” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Matt Wayne & Doug Smith: See You in Hell

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv group that includes such talents as Evan Kaufman (Your Love Our Musical) takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

9:00 ($10): Long form improv known as The Harold from group Women & Men based on tales from audience members on the times they had to hurry the most at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Women & Men: Rush Hour

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Alex Marino & Louis Kornfeld make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Evil Trike: Murder Most Foul

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Neel Nanda (Adam Devine’s House Party, IFC, Oxygen), Joe Zimmerman (Comedy Central Half Hour, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Last Comic Standing), Subhah Agarwal (PBS’ Modern Comedian, TruTV), Freddy Sheffield, Nina Tarr, and Kyle Turner performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Art Cafe & Bar (884-886 Pacific Street) hosted by Ben Totushek & Koshin Egal: The Human Citizen Comedy Show

9:30 pm ($10): A variety of comics (not announced) performing at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Will Cheng: Wildcard Comedy Hour

9:30 pm ($5): Long-form improv with a playful title directed by Conner O’Malley at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Michael Jordan Steakhouse

9:30 pm ($10): Annie Lederman, Carolyn Castiglia, Jason Burke, Rebecca Rush, and Kerryn Feehan performing stand-up featuring “the dirtiest, most unsafe for prime-time jokes, bits, and riffs” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Ben Conrad & Lucas Connolly: The Dirty Show

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), and Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die)—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Comics perform their darkest, saddest, and most traumatically funny bits for this monthly catharsis machine at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Shane Torres, Nate Fridson, and Alison Zeidman: Dark Spots

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

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

10:30 pm ($5): A comedic play by Caitlin Dullea & Thomas Fricilone at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Labor

10:30 pm ($5): An improvised show based on the premise that “in the middle of a live news broadcast the signal goes down, leaving the anchors and crew with nothing to do but wait until it goes back up” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Signal Is Down

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Freddy Goldstein: Last Stop Laughs

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($5): An enormously fun freestyle rap contest at UCB East with NYC comics (not announced), plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by superstar human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central): Battlicious

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] Midnight  ($8.45 online using discount code LABOR; no min.): Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America; frequent guest host of Whiplash), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays), Vladimir Caamano (WB), Subhah Agarwal (TruTV, Fusion), and Luis J. Gomez performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): The Stamd Saturday: Sean Patton, Pete Lee, and More

Midnight ($5): Indie improv groups Affirmative Action, Seyonce, and PartyDads make up scenes at UCB Chelsea hosted by indie group The St. Louis Rams: Indie Improv Showcase

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show, with names drawn out of a bucket, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Rachel Coleman: Let’s Be Friends

4:00 pm ($5; your ticket provides $3 off a drink at nearby Pioneers Bar): Walk-in lottery style open mic (sign-up starting at 3:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in comedy open mic (lottery system, with sign-up starting at 4:30 pm) providing each selected comic 4 minutes on stage at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Murray Povich Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Put your name in a bucket for this open mic for stand-up, sketch, music, or anything else you want to work out on stage at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Josh Bates & Brian Pisano: Make Out Party: An Open Mic

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for character bits, stand-up, etc. at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

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

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

The PIT Loft
(154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

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

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10)

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

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

Littlefield
(622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar:

The Stand

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

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