NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2018: Last Updated Tuesday 11/13

November 13, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Stan Lee

RIP Stan Lee

Emmy Blotnick and Rachel FeinsteinTuesday 11/13: Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and stars in an upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Stephen Colbert; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Matthew Broussard (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Damien Lemon (host of TruTV’s Comedy Knockout; Comedy Central Half Hour; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), and Marc Theobald (Chappelle’s Show) perform stand-up hosted by Jordan Carlos: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ted Alexandro and Josh GondelmanTuesday 11/13: Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; webseries Teachers Lounge; frequently opens for Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan), Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up album Physical Whisper), Joel Kim Booster (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special, Billy on the Street; for Joel’s Conan set, please click here), and more perform stand-up for host Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1): Sweet (9:00 pm, $10, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)

Christi ChielloThursday 11/13: Deliciously long 30-minute stand-up sets from the fabulous Christi Chiello (above; Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, PBSKids, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!, co-host of Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate) and Carmen Christopher (Comedy Central, The Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and stars in an upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Stephen Colbert; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1): Big Long Sets (10:30 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Solocom 2018Thursday 11/15-Sunday 11/18: It’s the sixth year of this annual 4-day PIT festival devoted to over 100 new comedic solo shows. (The fest was originally created by Peter Michael Marino & co-produced by Ronny Pascale, both giants in PIT history, but they’ve moved on to let others curate & run the extravaganza.) The only requirements for any production are that it’s a one-person show that’s funny and has never been performed in public before. The types of entertainment are therefore wide-ranging, encompassing sketch, characters, storytelling, stand-up, cabaret, music, dance, puppetry, magic, clowning, multimedia, and more. I’ll be posting much more about this festival as we get closer to the starting date: Solocom 2018 ($10 per show (no word so far about an all-you-can-watch pass option, but I’m keeping an eye out); The PIT Upstairs, Downstairs, and Attic Theatres at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Jon Glaser 17Sunday 11/18: Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien) tries out new stand-up material. Be a part of Jon’s process at Jon Glaser: Come See If This Works Or Not (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ophira EisenbergMonday 11/19: The wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (above; one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime), Beth Stelling (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central; comedy album Sweet Beth), Dan Wilbur (author of How Not to Read; website Better Book Titles; writer for The Onion, College Humor, McSweeney’s), Mamoudou N’Diaye (MTV’s Decoded), and Jess Salomon (former war crimes lawyer; host of Dirty Laundry) perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Punderdome 3000Monday 11/19: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 people fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd. Tonight’s special edition pits college improv group members from Columbia, NYU, and Fordham vs. corporate execs from Google, OKCupid, and West Wing Writers vs. former Punderdome champions: Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $20, Chelsea’s Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th Street)

Dulce Sloan 6Monday 11/26: Dulcé Sloan (above; powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), Jacob Williams (America’s Got Talent), Sara Hennessey (comedy albums They Know Too Much and Trouble in Paradise), and Negin Farsad perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Karen CheeWednesday 11/28: The sultry Karen Chee (above; Stephen Colbert, The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney’s), Ryan Beck, and Benito Skinner get drunk and present comedic dissertations about sex, with science judge Dr. Zhana Vrangalova PhD and hosts Joanna Rothkopf (Deputy Editor of Esquire), Shannon Odell (neuroscience PhD student at Weill Cornell), and Jordan Mendoza (once played doctor in webseries): Drunk Science Presents Sex (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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

Advertisements

NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2018: Last Updated Sunday 11/11

November 11, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

New York Comedy Festival 2018Sunday 11/11: It’s the final day of the annual New York Comedy Festival! For the complete list of remaining shows and to buy tickets, please click New York Comedy Festival 2018

Maeve Higgins, Aparna Nancherla, and Jo Firestone: Monday 11/12: This weekly stand-up show’s hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk) celebrate their One Year Anniversary with guests Jacqueline Novak, Janelle James, Joel Kim Booster, Violet Gray, and more: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emmy Blotnick and Rachel FeinsteinTuesday 11/13: Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and stars in an upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Stephen Colbert; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Matthew Matthew Broussard (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Damien Lemon (host of TruTV’s Comedy Knockout; Comedy Central Half Hour; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), and Marc Theobald (Chappelle’s Show) perform stand-up hosted by Jordan Carlos: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Solocom 2018Thursday 11/15-Sunday 11/18: It’s the sixth year of this annual 4-day PIT festival devoted to over 100 new comedic solo shows. (The fest was originally created by Peter Michael Marino & co-produced by Ronny Pascale, both giants in PIT history, but they’ve moved on to let others curate & run the extravaganza.) The only requirements for any production are that it’s a one-person show that’s funny and has never been performed in public before. The types of entertainment are therefore wide-ranging, encompassing sketch, characters, storytelling, stand-up, cabaret, music, dance, puppetry, magic, clowning, multimedia, and more. I’ll be posting much more about this festival as we get closer to the starting date: Solocom 2018 ($10 per show (no word so far about an all-you-can-watch pass option, but I’m keeping an eye out); The PIT Upstairs, Downstairs, and Attic Theatres at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Jon Glaser 17Sunday 11/18: Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien) tries out new stand-up material. Be a part of Jon’s process at Jon Glaser: Come See If This Works Or Not (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ophira EisenbergMonday 11/19: The wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (above; one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime), Beth Stelling (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central; comedy album Sweet Beth), Dan Wilbur (author of How Not to Read; website Better Book Titles; writer for The Onion, College Humor, McSweeney’s), Mamoudou N’Diaye (MTV’s Decoded), and Jess Salomon (former war crimes lawyer; host of Dirty Laundry) perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Punderdome 3000Monday 11/19: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 people fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd. Tonight’s special edition pits college improv group members from Columbia, NYU, and Fordham vs. corporate execs from Google, OKCupid, and West Wing Writers vs. former Punderdome champions: Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $20, Chelsea’s Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th Street)

Dulce Sloan 6Monday 11/26: Dulcé Sloan (above; powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), Jacob Williams (America’s Got Talent), Sara Hennessey (comedy albums They Know Too Much and Trouble in Paradise), and Negin Farsad perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Karen CheeWednesday 11/28: The sultry Karen Chee (above; Stephen Colbert, The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney’s), Ryan Beck, and Benito Skinner get drunk and present comedic dissertations about sex, with science judge Dr. Zhana Vrangalova PhD and hosts Joanna Rothkopf (Deputy Editor of Esquire), Shannon Odell (neuroscience PhD student at Weill Cornell), and Jordan Mendoza (once played doctor in webseries): Drunk Science Presents Sex (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2018: Last Updated Saturday 11/10

November 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Sabrina JaleesSaturday 11/10: Sabrina Jalees (irresistible dynamo stand-up and red-hot rising star who could make reading a grocery list hilarious; staff writer for TBS’ Search Party and FOX’s upcoming Hanging On; Netflix’s Comedy Lineup, Central’s Nightly Show and Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV’s Failosophy, Amazon’s Transparent; host of My Sexy Podcast) returns to us for NYCF to perform this solo show. Sabrina is one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve greatly missed her since her move to LA, so I’m especially looking forward to this: New York Comedy Festival Presents: Sabrina Jalees (8:30 pm; sold out of seats, but if you’re okay with standing you might get in via the stand-by line; $15; UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Kyle Ayers: Saturday 11/10: Comics write scripts for famous movies and TV series they’ve heard of but have never seen, and then other comics act out those scripts on stage, with tonight’s performers Jean Grae (famed rapper and comic) and Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls, MTV, VH1; author of new bestselling book How to be Alone; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s; host of smash hit show Tinder Live), plus scores played by Tommy McNamara, all hosted by Kyle Ayers (Fuse’s Uproarious; written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times): Never Seen It (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)Saturday 11/10: Sabrina Jalees (irresistible dynamo stand-up and red-hot rising star who could make reading a grocery list hilarious; Comedy Central’s Nightly Show and Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV’s Failosophy, host of My Sexy Podcast) returns to us for NYCF to perform this solo show. Sabrina is one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve greatly missed her since her move to LA, so I’m especially looking forward to this: New York Comedy Festival Presents: Sabrina Jalees (8:30 pm, $15, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Improv Asylum New York Main Stage ShowSaturday 11/10: Do you miss seeing improv and sketch at the legendary UCB Chelsea theatre? Then you should know it’s back…but under new management. Boston’s Improv Asylum is branching out to NYC, and it’s taken over the magical comedy basement under a Gristedes. Come reunite with this beloved venue, and enjoy a talented troupe of comics—which includes spectacular rising star Dana Shulman (third from right; host of Student Driver, half of wonderful improv duo Ouiser and Clairee, improv group Poor Melissa; winner of the 2017 PIT Teacher of the Year Award): Improv Asylum Main Stage Show (7:30 pm, $15, Improv Asylum at 307 West 26th Street)

Josh Gondelman: Saturday 11/10: The wonderful Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up album Physical Whisper) hosts this game show that rewards comics who “brighten the lives of the audience,” with guests Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot; podcasts Broccoli and Ice Cream), Julia Claire (NPR), and Joyelle Nicole (Comedy Cellar): Make My Day: A Comedy Game Show (10:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

New York Comedy Festival 2018Monday 11/5-Sunday 11/11: Hundreds of comics perform in the annual New York Comedy Festival on November 5-11 in dozens of venues all over NYC. For the complete list of shows and to buy tickets, please click New York Comedy Festival 2018

Maeve Higgins, Aparna Nancherla, and Jo Firestone: Monday 11/12: This weekly stand-up show’s hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk) celebrate their One Year Anniversary with guests Jacqueline Novak, Janelle James, Joel Kim Booster, Violet Gray, and more: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emmy Blotnick and Rachel FeinsteinTuesday 11/13: Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and stars in an upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Stephen Colbert; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Matthew Matthew Broussard (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Damien Lemon (host of TruTV’s Comedy Knockout; Comedy Central Half Hour; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), and Marc Theobald (Chappelle’s Show) perform stand-up hosted by Jordan Carlos: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Solocom 2018Thursday 11/15-Sunday 11/18: It’s the sixth year of this annual 4-day PIT festival devoted to over 100 new comedic solo shows. (The fest was originally created by Peter Michael Marino & co-produced by Ronny Pascale, both giants in PIT history, but they’ve moved on to let others curate & run the extravaganza.) The only requirements for any production are that it’s a one-person show that’s funny and has never been performed in public before. The types of entertainment are therefore wide-ranging, encompassing sketch, characters, storytelling, stand-up, cabaret, music, dance, puppetry, magic, clowning, multimedia, and more. I’ll be posting much more about this festival as we get closer to the starting date: Solocom 2018 ($10 per show (no word so far about an all-you-can-watch pass option, but I’m keeping an eye out); The PIT Upstairs, Downstairs, and Attic Theatres at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Jon Glaser 17Sunday 11/18: Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien) tries out new stand-up material. Be a part of Jon’s process at Jon Glaser: Come See If This Works Or Not (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ophira EisenbergMonday 11/19: The wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (above; one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime), Beth Stelling (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central; comedy album Sweet Beth), Dan Wilbur (author of How Not to Read; website Better Book Titles; writer for The Onion, College Humor, McSweeney’s), Mamoudou N’Diaye (MTV’s Decoded), and Jess Salomon (former war crimes lawyer; host of Dirty Laundry) perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Punderdome 3000Monday 11/19: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 people fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd. Tonight’s special edition pits college improv group members from Columbia, NYU, and Fordham vs. corporate execs from Google, OKCupid, and West Wing Writers vs. former Punderdome champions: Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $20, Chelsea’s Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th Street)

Dulce Sloan 6Monday 11/26: Dulcé Sloan (above; powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), Jacob Williams (America’s Got Talent), Sara Hennessey (comedy albums They Know Too Much and Trouble in Paradise), and Negin Farsad perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Karen CheeWednesday 11/28: The sultry Karen Chee (above; Stephen Colbert, The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney’s), Ryan Beck, and Benito Skinner get drunk and present comedic dissertations about sex, with science judge Dr. Zhana Vrangalova PhD and hosts Joanna Rothkopf (Deputy Editor of Esquire), Shannon Odell (neuroscience PhD student at Weill Cornell), and Jordan Mendoza (once played doctor in webseries): Drunk Science Presents Sex (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2018: Last Updated Thursday 11/8

November 8, 2018

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

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 November 2018 (with more to come soon) include:

Ted AlexandroThursday 11/8: Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; webseries Teachers Lounge; has frequently opened for Louis C.K. and Jim Gaffigan), Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; feature films What Men Want and Ibiza; author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain), Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV; album You Guys Are Dope), and Sam Taggart (Live on Broadgay, Lake Homo High) perform stand-up for this weekly show produced by Carol Hartsell and hosted by Sean Crespo & Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle (7:30 pm, $12, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Mortified 6Thursday 11/8: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show—which is now also a six-part series titled The Mortified Guide on Netflix!: Mortified (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Boast BattleThursday 11/8: A reverse roast battle, in which comics compete to deliver the best compliments to their opponent, with a stellar lineup of Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Mike Drucker, Martha Kelly, and more hosted by Kyle Ayers: Boast Rattle: A Compliment Contest (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

New York Comedy Festival 2018Monday 11/5-Sunday 11/11: Hundreds of comics perform in the annual New York Comedy Festival on November 5-11 in dozens of venues all over NYC. For the complete list of shows and to buy tickets, please click New York Comedy Festival 2018

Carly Ann FilbinFriday 11/9: A unique show based on the premise “Let’s be honest, love doesn’t exist, couples suck, and Valentine’s Day is bullshit. We test real life couples to see if they are meant to be together (they aren’t). The couple with the least amount of points at the end of the night will have to break up, because we all die alone anyway and what’s the point of anything really? It’ll be fun!” hosted by spectacular rising star Carly Ann Filbin (above; video correspondent for Cosmopolitan.com): Let Me Break You Up: An Anti-Dating Game Show (Midnight, $12, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Kyle Ayers: Saturday 11/10: Comics write scripts for famous movies and TV series they’ve heard of but have never seen, and then other comics act out those scripts on stage, with tonight’s performers Jean Grae (famed rapper and comic) and Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls, MTV, VH1; author of new bestselling book How to be Alone; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s; host of smash hit show Tinder Live), plus scores played by Tommy McNamara, all hosted by Kyle Ayers (Fuse’s Uproarious; written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times): Never Seen It (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sabrina JaleesSaturday 11/10: Sabrina Jalees (irresistible dynamo stand-up and red-hot rising star who could make reading a grocery list hilarious; Comedy Central’s Nightly Show and Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV’s Failosophy, host of My Sexy Podcast) returns to us for NYCF to perform this solo show. Sabrina is one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve greatly missed her since her move to LA, so I’m especially looking forward to this: New York Comedy Festival Presents: Sabrina Jalees (8:30 pm, $15, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Josh Gondelman: Saturday 11/10: The wonderful Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up album Physical Whisper) hosts this game show that rewards comics who “brighten the lives of the audience,” with guests Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot; podcasts Broccoli and Ice Cream), Julia Shiplett (HBO’s Crashing), and Joyelle Nicole: Make My Day: A Comedy Game Show (10:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Maeve Higgins, Aparna Nancherla, and Jo Firestone: Monday 11/12: This weekly stand-up show’s hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk) celebrate their One Year Anniversary with guests Jacqueline Novak, Janelle James, Joel Kim Booster, Violet Gray, and more: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emmy Blotnick and Rachel FeinsteinTuesday 11/13: Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and stars in an upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Stephen Colbert; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Matthew Matthew Broussard (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Damien Lemon (host of TruTV’s Comedy Knockout; Comedy Central Half Hour; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), and Marc Theobald (Chappelle’s Show) perform stand-up hosted by Jordan Carlos: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jon Glaser 17Sunday 11/18: Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien) tries out new stand-up material. Be a part of Jon’s process at Jon Glaser: Come See If This Works Or Not (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ophira EisenbergMonday 11/19: The wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (above; one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime), Beth Stelling (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central; comedy album Sweet Beth), Dan Wilbur (author of How Not to Read; website Better Book Titles; writer for The Onion, College Humor, McSweeney’s), Mamoudou N’Diaye (MTV’s Decoded), and Jess Salomon (former war crimes lawyer; host of Dirty Laundry) perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Dulce Sloan 6Monday 11/26: Dulcé Sloan (above; powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), Jacob Williams (America’s Got Talent), Sara Hennessey (comedy albums They Know Too Much and Trouble in Paradise), and Negin Farsad perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Karen CheeWednesday 11/28: The sultry Karen Chee (above; Stephen Colbert, The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney’s), Ryan Beck, and Benito Skinner get drunk and present comedic dissertations about sex, with science judge Dr. Zhana Vrangalova PhD and hosts Joanna Rothkopf (Deputy Editor of Esquire), Shannon Odell (neuroscience PhD student at Weill Cornell), and Jordan Mendoza (once played doctor in webseries): Drunk Science Presents Sex (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2018: Last Updated Wednesday 11/7

November 7, 2018

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

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 November 2018 (with more to come soon) include:

Lane Moore's Wednesday 11/7: The luminous and multi-talented Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls, MTV, VHI; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s; host of smash hit show Tinder Live) has just released her first book, an instant bestseller titled How to be Alone. Come see Lane interviewed about it by Scott Rogowsky (NBC’s The Voice; host of wildly popular trivia game app HQ Trivia) at one of NYC’s most iconic bookstores, The Strand: Lane Moore’s How to Be Alone Book Release Interview (7:00 pm; $15 to receive admission plus a $15 Stand gift card, or $16 for admission plus a signed copy of Lane’s book; The Strand’s Rare Book Room, 828 Broadway at corner of 12th Street, 3rd Floor)

Chris Gethard 72Wednesday 11/7: Chris Gethard (comedy genius, above; star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; co-star of Mike Birbiglia film Don’t Think Twice; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; The Office, Comedy Central, IFC; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York), Calise Hawkins (Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, TruTV, Oxygen; writer for Comedy Central, Playboy.com), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), and Pat Brown (Stephen Colbert) perform stand-up while celebrating the One Year Anniversary of this free weekly LES show produced by Luisa Díez, and hosted by Samantha Ruddy, Luke Touma, JP McDade, Jordan Temple, and/or Dina Hashem: Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!, Lucky Jack’s Pub at 129 Orchard Street between Rivington & Delancey Streets)

New York Comedy Festival 2018Monday 11/5-Sunday 11/11: Hundreds of comics perform in the annual New York Comedy Festival on November 5-11 in dozens of venues all over NYC. For the complete list of shows and to buy tickets, please click New York Comedy Festival 2018

Mortified 6Thursday 11/8: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show—which is now also a six-part series titled The Mortified Guide on Netflix!: Mortified (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kyle Ayers: "Never Seen It"Saturday 11/10: Comics write scripts for famous movies and TV series they’ve heard of but have never seen, and then other comics act out those scripts on stage, with tonight’s performers Jean Grae (famed rapper and comic) and Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls, MTV, VH1; author of new bestselling book How to be Alone; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s; host of smash hit show Tinder Live), plus scores played by Tommy McNamara, all hosted by Kyle Ayers (Fuse’s Uproarious; written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times): Never Seen It (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Josh Gondelman: "Make My Day"Saturday 11/10: The wonderful Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up album Physical Whisper) hosts this game show that rewards comics who “brighten the lives of the audience,” with guests Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot; podcasts Broccoli and Ice Cream), Julia Shiplett (HBO’s Crashing), and Joyelle Nicole: Make My Day: A Comedy Game Show (10:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Maeve Higgins, Aparna Nancherla, and Jo Firestone: "Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve"Monday 11/12: This weekly stand-up show’s hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk) celebrate their One Year Anniversary with guests Jacqueline Novak, Janelle James, Joel Kim Booster, Violet Gray, and more: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emmy Blotnick and Rachel FeinsteinTuesday 11/13: Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and stars in an upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Stephen Colbert; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Matthew Matthew Broussard (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Damien Lemon (host of TruTV’s Comedy Knockout; Comedy Central Half Hour; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), and Marc Theobald (Chappelle’s Show) perform stand-up hosted by Jordan Carlos: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jon Glaser 17Sunday 11/18: Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien) tries out new stand-up material. Be a part of Jon’s process at Jon Glaser: Come See If This Works Or Not (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ophira EisenbergMonday 11/19: The wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (above; one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime), Beth Stelling (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central; comedy album Sweet Beth), Dan Wilbur (author of How Not to Read; website Better Book Titles; writer for The Onion, College Humor, McSweeney’s), Mamoudou N’Diaye (MTV’s Decoded), and Jess Salomon (former war crimes lawyer; host of Dirty Laundry) perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Dulce Sloan 6Monday 11/26: Dulcé Sloan (above; powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), Jacob Williams (America’s Got Talent), Sara Hennessey (comedy albums They Know Too Much and Trouble in Paradise), and Negin Farsad perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Karen CheeWednesday 11/28: The sultry Karen Chee (above; Stephen Colbert, The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney’s), Ryan Beck, and Benito Skinner get drunk and present comedic dissertations about sex, with science judge Dr. Zhana Vrangalova PhD and hosts Joanna Rothkopf (Deputy Editor of Esquire), Shannon Odell (neuroscience PhD student at Weill Cornell), and Jordan Mendoza (once played doctor in webseries): Drunk Science Presents Sex (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2018: Last Updated Tuesday 11/6

November 6, 2018

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

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 November 2018 (with more to come soon) include:

New York Comedy Festival 2018Monday 11/5-Sunday 11/11: Hundreds of comics perform in the annual New York Comedy Festival on November 5-11 in dozens of venues all over NYC. For the complete list of shows and to buy tickets, please click New York Comedy Festival 2018

Punderdome 3000Tuesday 11/6: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 audience members fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd: Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early—doors open at 7:00—to nab a seat, or plan on standing)

Lane Moore's "How to Be Alone"Wednesday 11/7: The luminous and multi-talented Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s; host of smash hit show Tinder Live) has just released her first book, an instant bestseller titled How to be Alone. Come see Lane interviewed about it by Scott Rogowsky (NBC’s The Voice; host of wildly popular trivia game app HQ Trivia) at one of NYC’s most iconic bookstores, The Strand: Lane Moore’s How to Be Alone Book Release Interview (7:00 pm, $15to receive admission plus a $15 Stand gift card, or $16 for admission plus a signed copy of Lane’s book; The Strand’s Rare Book Room, 828 Broadway at corner of 12th Street, 3rd Floor)

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.


FringeNYC 2018 Coverage for October: Last Updated Friday 10/26

October 26, 2018

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

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

The following are the FringeNYC 2018 shows I’ve seen from beginning to end. (Shows that I walk out of mid-stream—sometimes just because time is exceptionally short for me this month, but sometimes to avoid tearing my head off—aren’t mentioned.)

The shows are listed in rough order of personal preference, with each production assigned one to four stars using the following rating system:

**** = Transcendently Great
*** = Solid & Worth Seeing
** = Unless Your Relatives Are in the Cast, Think Twice
* = “I Wanted to Kill Myself”

I’ll be updating the list often, so please make a habit of checking this page frequently.

Please also note that I very seldom rate a show four stars. (For example, during FringeNYC 2016 I gave only 5 productions **** out of 58.)

All that said, what follows are the 21 FringeNYC 2018 shows I’ve seen to date from beginning to end, listed in rough order of preference:

Jane Elias: "Do This One Thing for Me"
Do This One Thing for Me ****
I’m a child of Holocaust survivors—my mother spent WWII in a concentration camp, and my father as the leader of a Jewish commando unit in the woods of Poland. So I have some sense of what’s authentic on this subject.

This solo show by writer/performer Jane Elias is the real deal.

Elias hits the right notes in her sensitive and observant portrayal of her father Beni, who (barely) survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. She shows him hovering over his only offspring like she’s a fragile doll, always worrying about her safety, and obsessed with her getting married (i.e., continuing a family line the Nazis very nearly wiped out).

Elias applies the same clear eye to portraying herself as a woman with extreme and opposing feelings. For example, she virtually never dates Jewish guys, yet finds the guys she does date seem small next to the gravitas of her father…and his devotion to her.

Those who live through trauma as intense as Beni inevitably pass some of that along to their children. Elias chooses to confront those feelings head-on in her mid-30s by visiting the concentration camps, which have been turned into tourist attractions. She shares that experience with us…alternating with mesmerizing, gut-wrenching tales from the past Beni tells about his struggle to not be exterminated in those camps.

And Elias is choosing to confront those feelings again—and create an artful tribute to the memory of her dad—by performing this show.

The Holocaust is so inhumanely immense and severe that it takes a special talent to do any story about it justice.

Elias pulls it off.

Raanan Hershberg's

Off the Grid ****
Sometimes I Google a performer before deciding whether to see his show. When doing that for stand-up Raanan Hershberg, I landed on a roast battle in which Hershberg destroyed his opponent Jay Welch with a single line, cleverly taking advantage of the fact one of the judges was beloved comic Big Jay Oakerson. (You can watch it by clicking here; the pertinent round starts at 16:39.). This video proved that, at minimum, Hershberg was a way talented writer of one-liners—which, if you’re coming from the literary world, is the comedy equivalent of being a poet laureate.

What I couldn’t tell was whether Hershberg also had the discipline and deep understanding of stories to create an effective long-form work—especially one on as small a topic as his having to spend a single day without his iPhone. The fact is very, very few comics have the skills to create both finely honed jokes and movie-like tales that take you a memorable and satisfying journey.

Gentle reader, I’m delighted to report that Hershberg is one of the rare jewels of a writer/performer who can do it all.

His one-man show Off the Grid is virtually non-stop laughs, delivered by a veteran stand-up with great intelligence and impeccable timing. But it’s also so carefully and shrewdly constructed as to emotionally sneak up at you at the end and leave you deeply moved. If you’re someone who spends too much time online, you might even find it life-altering.

This is easily one of the best-written and best-performed shows in the festival. It’s also one of the finest one-man shows you’re likely to see anywhere.

Netflix, if you’re looking for your next comedy special, here it is.

But gentle reader, don’t wait for the TV version. Take advantage of the opportunity FringeNYC is providing to experience this intimate, magnificent show live by nabbing tickets here; just $12.30 each using promo code ACRBV21.

Jessica Ellen Creane: "Chaos Theory"Chaos Theory ****
This production starts out pretending to be a scientific lecture about and demonstration of chaos theory.

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

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

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

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

EnlargementEnlargement ***

Truth be told, I didn’t have high hopes for a musical comedy about penis enlargement. But curiosity got the better of me.

And I’m so glad it did…because this is one of most energetic and fun productions of the festival.

Jake Smith (member of superb UCB musical improv group Rumpleteaser) & James Donahower have written a show filled with lively, clever lyrics and dialogue, and extremely enjoyable music (performed by a fine band named “The Dicktones”) that will probably have you smiling throughout.

Also fine is the cast. Cynthia Bonacum simply blew me away, as she was constantly radiant and irresistibly likeable as an actress, and demonstrated one of the most beautiful singing voices you’re likely to hear at the fest (and while pretending to be Russian!). I expect this young performer to enjoy a stellar career.

Other standouts included Ken McGraw, a comedic actor who was way more funny and charismatic than he needed to be playing the lead’s best friend; Jake Smith as the lead, who in addition to writing the show has a distinctive singing voice; and McLean Peterson, who believably played the most popular girl in school.

I’m not rating this higher because, as it stands, the characters are all two-dimensional and the story is almost nonexistent. But the book could be vastly improved by a script doctor who better understands how to structure stories; and the current high concept, sharp comedy, enjoyable songs, and dance numbers give this show commercial potential.

So for this first version of the show, come to simply have a good time. (I’m mostly a story person myself, and I had a blast…)

Lisa Bettencourt & Katie Emerson: Pretty Sad White Girls ***
When I’m not reviewing FringeNYC, I cover comedy; and one of my most joyful discoveries on that beat this year was Pretty Sad White Girls. Back in March I wrote “Lisa Bettencourt & Jillian Schiralli are a comedic musical duo who deserve your attention. They combine witty original lyrics with beautiful harmonies, hitting notes that may make you happy for days afterward. If you love Garfunkel and Oates, then you’ll probably also adore these superb artists working a similar folk comedy vein.” While the songs—both the music & lyrics are written by wondrously talented rising star Lisa Bettencourt—are still top-notch, Jillian recently got married and dropped out of the group. Her brand new replacement, Katie Emerson, is a skilled theatrical actress with a beautiful voice, but—to my eye—is still in the process of figuring out how she “fits” as half of a comedy singing duo. Also, the banter between songs doesn’t always quite hit the mark; and at 50 minutes, the show feels too short. (Then again, “it left me wanting more” is as much a compliment as a knock…) So I absolutely recommend this show. I just feel that, with further development, it could rise to a **** rating; and it wouldn’t at all surprise me if it becomes increasingly greater as the festival goes on.

One Christmas EveOne Christmas Eve ***
This short story anthology consists of nine stories set in a mall on Christmas Eve, with individual tales by Lynne Haliday, Arlene Hutton, James Hindman, and Craig Pospisil, plus a closing song by Gretchen Cryer. The show is charming throughout, and offers a number of both lovely and fun moments. And the cast is uniformly fine—one of the most professional of the festival—with the standout Adrienne Paquin, a luminous redhead who manages to be both warm and funny, and who earns most of the big laughs.

This production doesn’t try to dig deep or be life-altering. But it provides a feel-good holiday experience that may leave you with some fond memories.

Sarah Cuneo: Eulalia: A Bedtime Story ***
Infanta Eulalia, born in 1864. was the youngest daughter of Queen Isabella II of Spain; and, as this marvelous solo show details, she struggled with the responsibilities of royalty, and the limitations placed on women, pitted against her desire to live freely and at her full potential.

While the theme is compelling, what makes this show truly special are writer/actress Sarah Cuneo‘s smart, thoughtful choices for her script, and her sensitive, passionate, graceful performance. For example, you won’t find many one-woman shows that include image clusters; but this production starts with an adorable parrot strangled for saying the wrong thing, then at its mid-point has a king choke to death in mid-sentence, and near the end has a woman toying with a black scarf around her neck as if it was a noose. While Cuneo (who is a clever Lupton) never calls attention to such patterns, the fight to speak one’s mind comes up repeatedly and effectively; and the gentle ways women combat authority is conveyed in Cuneo’s soft, loving gestures and dancer-like movements.

I’d rate this 45-minute gem higher if it simply delivered an ending worthy of all that had come before it. However, an extreme choice the historical Eulalia made is—to my eye—inadequately examined (for example, I was left wondering if postpartum depression played a part); and a song Cuneo concludes with is, while lovely, oddly anachronistic. So I’d recommend a bit more work on the conclusion.

That said, if you want to experience a beautifully written show about a woman’s demand for freedom and dignity performed by one of the finest actresses in the festival, come see Sarah Cuneo—who, to my eye, is a star in the making.

Late Night at the SerpentLate Night at the Serpent ***

This 40-minute drama, thoughtfully and finely scripted by Ally Sass, provides us with a swift punch to the gut and then plenty of time to brood about it afterwards.

On the logline level, it’s about two former high school students who run into each other years later…by getting stuck in a porn shop during a snowstorm.

Thematically, it ties in with recent national news; but to say more would give too much away.

Actors Joseph Dalfonso and Trevor van Uden are both terrific; and so is the direction by Elizabeth Callahan.

The ending is exasperating, but intentionally so. (And anyway, endings are hard…)

Again, I can’t say much more without spoiling the plot; but this is good. See it.

Jamie Brickhouse: "I Favor My Daddy"
I Favor My Daddy ***
Jamie Brickhouse is a superb writer and performer who’s famed for his previous solo show and memoir Dangerous When Wet: Booze, Sex, and My Mother. In this new one, Brickhouse changes his focus to his father. The problem is that his dad simply doesn’t come across as interesting as his mom. Also, this story isn’t filled with tales comparable to his previous ones of sex with ex-priests amd dwarves.

To my eye, this is a work in progress. It has promise, but needs more development.

That said, seeing Brickhouse perform anything is a treat, and worth doing.

Bremner Duthie: ’33 (a kabarett) ***
When the President of the United States regularly attacks the press, and now appears to be trying to cover up the brutal premeditated murder of a Washington Post journalist, this one-man show about 1933 Germany couldn’t be more much timely. An impresario of a once-thriving cabaret returns to its ruins after all his stars have presumably been imprisoned or killed by the government to stifle their diverse and unpredictable voices. To honor their memories, and also the audience brave enough to risk their lives by even being there, he embodies those who’ve been lost—a song-and-dance man, a showgirl, a clown, and more—and performs their greatest hits to keep their spirits alive. Writer/performer Bremner Duthie was inspired by the sad history of the Eldorado Club in Berlin, which was closed by Hermann Goering and then turned into a Nazi headquarters, This production set at the start of Hitler’s rise to power is disturbing and haunting, but also quite artful. Please note it’s not for every taste; to get a feel for whether it might be a fit for yours, please click here.

Kristina Grosspietsch & Devin O'Neill: Opening Night ***
Sharp sketch comics Kristina Grosspietsch & Devin O’Neill (who perform regularly at NYC’s Magnet Theatre) play various duos experiencing the opening night of a Broadway show, including the director & stage manager, stagehands, audience members, and most notably the production’s stars: Hollywood divas who are twins trying to make their comeback…while continually feuding. For example, a memorable show-stopper consists of the sisters performing “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” while both refusing to take the male role… It’s a bit of fluff, but it’s also fearless female comedy fun.

Nina Mozes: I’m Just Fine ***

As you might intuit from the photo above, Nina Mozes is an extremely warm, playful, and charming comic and storyteller. And she pretty much has to be to make enjoyable a series of horror stories about doctors who are clueless and the opposite of helpful when being presented with Mozes’ symptoms.

Based on my own research and personal experience, the greater tragedy is that what Mozes has isn’t rare; it’s a silent epidemic that tortures millions. That doctors are still essentially unaware of this, and as likely to make things worse than better, is arguably scandalous.

That said, I’m coming from a very outside-the-mainstream place—e.g., my (non-medical) suggestions include going organic and vegan (no meat, eggs, cheese, etc.), avoiding GMO such as corn and canola oil, avoiding gluten, and avoiding toxins; and consuming things like Maine wild blueberries, garlic, cilantro, cat’s claw, L-Lysine, red marine algae, Hawaiian spirulina, nettle leaf, licorice root, lemon balm, liquid zinc, and vitamins C and B12 daily. (And possibly Nature-Throid for any hypothyroidism, which is more likely to be effective than T4-only pills such as Synthroid.)

Once I realized the condition Mozes probably has—which I guessed very early on, but still remains undiagnosed by her physicians—I lost the ability to purely enjoy the production for what it was and mostly sat fuming about all the mistakes her doctors made.

I’m therefore neither recommending or panning this show, because I can’t really be objective about it. But I can heartily recommend Mozes as a performer; and if you have any issues with your thyroid, EBV, or a myriad of mysterious symptoms that doctors either can’t identify or tell you are incurable, you’ll probably relate to what she has to share.

The F#@%ing Wright BrothersThe F#@%ing Wright Brothers **½
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be on the road performing a non-equity children’s musical, this show pulls back the curtain in an entertaining way. There’s a great deal to like about this comedic play with music, including such clever bits as instructing us as if we were kids and providing a faux audience talkback. Plus the extremely likeable cast is one of the best of the festival—in alphabetical order, Harrison Chad, Jarid Faubel, Jordan J. Ford, Montana Lampert Hoover, Joseph Medeiros, Randy Merrill, and Tam Young.

On the downside, the characters are rather two-dimensional; the relationship issues are a bit too repetitive and soap-operish; ultimately not a whole lot happens, which makes the two hours feel a bit draggy; and the ending—while arguably realistic—is less than entirely satisfying.

So there’s room for additional depth and invention on the script side. That said, I’m glad to have experienced this; and if, like me, you know a lot of actors and see a lot of stage shows, you’ll probably enjoy it too.

Hillary Clinton’s Song Cycle: Witness **½
Random songs about the heartbreak of Hillary’s 2016 election loss can’t help but come across as dated, especially a month before the 2018 midterms. That said, this is well-intentioned, and a few of the songs are especially memorable, such as the lovely Walk in the Woods (click to listen) and the musical plea to President Trump “Please, Won’t You Come to an Unfortunate End?” Also, keyboardist and co-singer Deidre Rodman Struck is superb—frankly, outshining the writer & lead singer who plays Hillary—and is reason enough to come experience this folk cabaret. Here’s hoping Struck goes on from this to create her own show.

OPIE **½
Chicago-based sketch duo Olivia Nielsen & Patriac Coakley are skilled performers who understand both comedy and darkness. I wanted to 100% love this, but the writing was simply too hit-or-miss. That said, the sketches that hit the bullseye—such as the “deer in the headlights” bit, or the encounter between the mom and the teen boy who likes conversation—are as fine as anything in the fest. Also, Olivia Nielsen’s expressive face and disciplined character portraits are well worth catching, particularly if you’re a casting director seeking fresh talent.

Grand Rounds **½
The term grand rounds refers to a formal meeting at which physicians share information about patient care and hone clinical reasoning skills. In this show, terrifically organic actress Caroline Luft gives just such a medical lecture…except it takes increasingly odd turns as it veers from the medical to the personal. The script by Chris Adrian has an impressively Aaron Sorkin-like density & pacing—you can actually read it by clicking here. For me, the material starts out strong but doesn’t quite come together. However, you may well feel differently, so please feel encouraged to skim the script and then decide if you’d enjoy having it expertly performed by Luft.

There Has Possibly Been an Incident **
I’m usually pretty open about format. But when this show started with three humorless actors in chairs that weren’t facing each other, and who appeared to have no intention of interacting with each other, and each actor was holding a stack of pages, my gut feeling was “Oh no…”

That concern quickly became justified. The pages were artful, but in a way that was ponderous for a live show. For example, from the first few minutes: “He was wearing a white shirt. He was wearing a white shirt. He was wearing a white shirt and black trousers.” This would be fine for print, or even for a podcast or radio play in which the listener can control the pacing. But for a captive live audience, to my ear, it was a playwright being self-indulgent.

To be clear, both the writing and acting are okay. But see this only if you actually enjoy having a whole bunch of pages read to you on stage.

Turing Test **
This science fiction drama started out well, with a really interesting analysis of a sonnet. But then, inexplicably, the writing seemed to lose direction and imagination, with action slowing to a crawl and story logic falling apart. Also, the “surprise twist” is not only evident in minutes, it’s explicit in the show’s title (if you don’t already know, Google it). The only reason I’m not rating this lower is my fondness for the first 25 minutes (out of 100), and the solid performances of all four actors. Still, there are better ways to spend your time.

Devices of TortureDevices of Torture *½
I’ve never been—for better or worse—a client of sex workers. But as a book ghostwriter, I’ve worked extensively with dommes, fetish experts, and call girls, so know there are many fascinating stories to tell in this field. Sadly, almost none of them make their way into this poorly scripted and badly directed play, which consists of a hodgepodge of scenes that individually fail to provide insights, depth, or even simple entertainment, and then add up to even less.

The primary rays of light amidst the gloom are Olivia Jampol (above, third from the left), the only one of the four actresses who manages to rise above the disappointing material, and whose ability to be consistently interesting is the main reason I didn’t walk out; and a scene in which a customer wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap asks to be punished for his vote in 2016. The domme responds, “I think you’ll find several people here willing to beat the shit out of you. Or you can walk out in that hat and get a free beating from any New Yorker who sees you.”

The latter is nicely put. But overall this show is itself a device of torture, and you can probably role-play a better one on your own.

The Last Jimmy *
This trial for “Jimmy, the last black man arrested in the world,” features an Inept book and dreadful direction (by the same person), and a pace that rivals molasses. As for the casting, the actor playing the judge was so laid-back I wondered if he might fall asleep at any moment.

The writer of the show’s music and lyrics, a hip hop artist associated with The Roots, also originally played the lead role of Jimmy—but, very unusually, he dropped out after the first few performances. (I don’t know the reason why, but maybe seeing the show through an audience’s eyes made him realize how terrible it was…)

Luckily for me—and the 12 other people in my audience for the fifth & final performance (word of mouth presumably got around)—two standout talents stuck with the production.

Khalil Munir is a terrific tap dancer who stole every scene he was in. He merits his own show.

And Reg Smith proved himself to be a phenomenal talent, with the grace and kinetic energy of a dancer, a singing voice that belongs on Broadway, and the charisma of a star. (If you’re casting anything, give Smith a close look.)

If this production was just Munir and Smith, it would be amazing; but they’re allowed only a small fraction of performance time. Here’s hoping they each move on to way better shows, both on stage and on screen.

After Burn *
I was looking forward to this, figuring one couldn’t go wrong with a show “based on interviews with combat soldiers returning from deployment in Iraq in 2005.” But while the source material may be authentic, the resulting play comes across as a boring, over-the-top soap opera. Even worse, the cast provides shockingly wooden performances (a notable exception being Leif Steinert, who effortlessly steals every scene he’s in, but doesn’t appear nearly often enough…). It’s hard to imagine how this production went so wrong. But if you’re seeking a thoughtful and well-executed play about US soldiers and PTSD, avoid engagement with this one.

FringeNYC 2018

Friday 10/12-Sunday 10/28 (plus outer borough shows 10/1-10/31): My favorite annual NYC event is the New York International Fringe Festival, which has grown to become a major force in New York theatre…and an absolutely wonderful experience for anyone who loves vibrant live shows. The largest multi-arts festival in North America, this 21st annual FringeNYC offers around 80 productions running from October 12th through October 28th at its primary hub in the West Village. In addition, venues in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island will be hosting FringeNYC-affiliated shows during the entire month of October. FringeNYC productions run the gamut, including theatrical comedy, theatrical drama, musical, opera, sketch, improv, dance, solo, puppetry, clowning, performance art, and children’s. I won’t be doing my usual comprehensive coverage this go-round (am juggling a lot of professional balls right now), but will provide some guidance as the fest goes on: FringeNYC 2018

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.