I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 340,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at email@example.com.
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That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for January 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:
Wednesday 1/8: Comedic storytellers, musicians, and/or political organizers “tell inspiring, funny, and absolutely true personal stories about turning points, and no turning back points. With special remarks from Swing Left about its 2020 strategy to flip the Senate, plus specific calls to action and ways for you to get involved in the fight for our lives. 100% ticket proceeds go directly to Swing Left’s Senate funds,” with performers Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Shaina Taub (Emmy-nominated singer/songwriter who’s written songs for TV shows ranging from The TONY Awards to Julie Andrews’ Julie’s Greenroom to Sesame Street; albums Visitors and Die Happy), Paola Mendoza (activist who co-founded @WeAreSoze, @ResistanceRev, and Women’s March OG; author of Together We Rise), Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Sandi Marx (PBS, 7-time Moth StorySlam winner), and more hosted by Nicole Ferraro (founder of Art, Humanity & Action) and Liat Olenick (Indivisible Nation BK): No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the Senate (7:30 pm, $35-$60, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Wednesday 1/8: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children (and guest comics who aren’t revel in their freedom), with tonight’s cruel jokesters Jenny Hagel (staff writer for Seth Meyers; iO, Second City), Doogie Horner (NBC’s America’s Got Talent; author of A Die Hard Christmas, This Might Hurt a Bit, and Home Alone Hard; stand-up album A Delicate Man), Iris Bahr (actress in numerous TV shows including Friends, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The King of Queens, and such films as Larry the Cable Guy and The Last Exorcism), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), and Katie Goodman (member of Broad Comedy; YouTube hits I Didn’t F*ck It Up and Sorry Babe, You’re a Feminist) hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) and Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves): Shitshow (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 1/8: A beloved Broadway, TV, and film star tries out new material in an intimate club for his next mass media solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)
Wednesday 1/8: Fans of kombucha beverages Lawrence DeLoach (CBS Sports Network; host of lifestyle podcast Sup?) & Troy Alan host Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, animated webseries Damaged, comedy album Mind Over Melee), Corinne Fisher (with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), and Harrison Greenbaum (America’s Got Talent, Comedy Central, Mad Magazine) in an intimate club venue: Kombucha Komedy (7:30 pm, $10, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Wednesday 1/8: Radio star Ron Bennington (host of shows Bennington and Unmasked), Jessica Kirson (recent special Talking to Myself streaming on Comedy Central; HBO’s Crashing, The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; recent interview on Artie Lange’s Halfway House), and Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Wednesday 1/8: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic; author of How to Write Cheesy Movies) hosts an open mic for MST3K-style riffing on film clips of awful movies, tonight with guest co-host Carolina Hidalgo (co-host with Frank and Trace Beaulieu of Movie Sign with the Mads podcast; also co-host of podcast Professional Friends). Sign-up is open to all, and riffing happens in randomly assigned groups of three, with no advance knowledge of what’s going to be screened. Whoever Frank and Carolina decide is best will get to riff with them at the end of the night: Frank Conniff’s Open Riff Night (9:00 pm, $5 to riff or $ 8 to just watch, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Wednesday 1/8: In this unique show, you pay $5 to get in, but also commit to spending at least another $10 on the comics who’ll be performing. Specifically, during the show you’ll Venmo the stand-ups who make you laugh the most. Each stand-up’s Venmo feed will be displayed live on stage, so you can post whatever comment you like for all to see…as long as you pay to say it. Tonight’s competitors for your laughs & cash are Tyler Richardson (quick-witted rising star stand-up; The Splash Report, ReelzChannel; host of New Bedtime Stories and co-host of Black Guys), Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing; host of Homeschooled and co-host of Fresh Out; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York; comedy album I Was in Band), Lizzie Martinez (co-host of Star F*ckers), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentaries 25 Sets, A Universal Language, co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water and The Stand’s Frantic!), and Derek Humphrey (ABC, MTV, host of podcast Derek Mansplains It All) hosted by Boris Khaykin (Comedy Central’s Broad City, The Opposition; Amazon’s Red Oaks, acclaimed improv hip-hop group North Coast; host of Impro(VS)tandup) & Brian Theriot: Capitalism! (9:30 pm, $15—$5 for entry and at least $10 to comics during the show via Venmo; The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Wednesday 1/8: Ace stand-up from Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; recent interview on Artie Lange’s Halfway House), Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays), and Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic): Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Thursday 1/9: Michelle Collins (host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise) performs a deliciously long stand-up club set for one night only: Michelle Collins Headlines Carolines (7:00 pm, $32.75 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)
Thursday 1/9: Stand-ups Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?), Daniel Simonsen (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar; cast member of BBC’s House of Fools; toured with Simon Amstell), Mohanad Elshieky (Conan O’Brien; Epix’s Unprotected Sets; digital producer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), and Amelita (“Future icon blazing through the intersection of diva pop music and comedy that some would argue does not actually exist”) perform for hosts Emily Winter (writer for NPR’s Ask Me Another; The New Yorker, The New York Times) & Larry Mancini (ESPN Radio; band member of The Tracys): BackFat Variety (7:00 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Thursday 1/9: A guest or guests TBA (not available yet, but to be reported here pre-show) will be the focus of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan Coulton: Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Thursday 1/9: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show—which is now also a six-part series titled The Mortified Guide on Netflix: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Friday 1/10: Great lineup of Eva Victor (Twitter comedic characters video superstar; The New Yorker), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Ego Nwodim (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust), Conner O’Malley (former staff writer/performer for Seth Meyers; Louie, Broad City), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), and Dan Licata (writer for Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks To You; The Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Ethan Beach & Josh Nasser. Oh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence Project (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Friday 1/10: A solo show by Tiff Stevenson (UK-based comic/actress; numerous UK/US TV show appearances include The Office, Drunk History, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week) about which one reviewer said, “It’s jaw-droppingly remarkable how much ground she covers, how funny she is, how intelligent her attacks are:” Tiff Stevenson: Mother (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Friday 1/10: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are Laura Benanti (Tony Award winner for Broadway musical She Loves Me; cast member of TBS’ The Detour; NBC’s The Sound of Music Live, CW’s Supergirl, CBS’ The Good Wife, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie; album Songs From My Fair Lady), and married couple Jennifer Wright (right; political Editor-at-Large for Harper’s Bazaar; The New York Times; author of numerous books including It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History, We Came First: Relationship Advice from Women Who Have Been There, and Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History) & Daniel Kibblesmith (left; staff writer since 2015 for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s; writer of such Marvel comic books as Loki and Black Panther vs. Deadpool; author of books How to Win at Everything and Santa’s Husband; former Humor Editor for Buzzfeed): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street)
Saturday 1/11: World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $22.32 for a seat, or $17 for standing room, online; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street. Please note this show consistently sells out, so buying in advance online is highly recommended.)
Sunday 1/12: Real-life ER doctors Andrés Mallipudi and Darien Sutton host “chronically over-sharing comics” Peter Muth, Sherm Jacobs, and Todd Montesi to tell stories of their weirdest diagnoses, and then “break down the insane history of how the medical community has treated that condition, why that condition has been stigmatized, and the real facts you should know when dealing with the condition yourself;” plus you can ask the doctors “your own embarrassing medical questions:” Doctors Without Boundaries (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Sunday 1/12: “A young woman applies for a job at an adult video store because she figures the dress code will be lax.” Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?) performs a solo show “about the people who need porn and the folks brave enough to sell it to them:” Shalewa Sharpe: Don’t Reach in the Bag (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Sunday 1/12: Highly talented & hilarious duo Taylor Ortega (HBO’s Succession, Shego in Disney Channel’s live-action Kim Possible, TruTV) & Jay Malsky (acclaimed solo shows Elaine Stritch: Still Here and Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) play “Leaeah and Jacobs, the founders and resident pastors of a church for the Instagram generation that is known for its celebrity parishioners and hot, relatable take on Christianity. Bear witness to this clearly closeted married couple’s latest fame-hungry venture: Jesus. Sing with them in praise. Become the rock upon which they build their religious empire for Christ-horny millennials:” Turnt Valley Church Club (7:00 pm, $12, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Monday 1/13: Cole Steffensen (Rainbow Brigade) hosts this show about sports for people who don’t “get” sports. This month the game of Football is explained in ways that finally make sense, including the gayest moments in football history, the queer athletes that made it happen…and tons of pictures of hot jocks! In between these edutainment segments, a member of the queer community—this month Gus Constantellis—faces off against a straight person—TaTa Sherise—in a series sport-themed challenges; plus stand-up from Moroccan-Japanese comic Sarah Harvard (CBS): Sports For Gays (and Curious Straights): Football (7:00 pm; $11.59 in advance online using discount code SPORTYVIBES, or $15 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Wednesday 1/15: Hosts Molly Gaebe & Kylie Holloway invite female storytellers, comics, and historians to share the tales of “some of the greatest women the world has ever known, but history erased” for this live-on-stage podcast recording, with this week’s theme Heroines of Reproductive Rights (in partnership with Abortion Access Front) articulated by guests Lizz Winstead (Comedy Central Presents, The Daily Show, Air America), Sarah Hartshorne (HBO’s Vice, Netflix’s Explained, former contestant on America’s Next Top Model), Jaye McBride (writer for Abortion Access Front), Arti Gollapudi (host of Yourself, Your Body), Onika McLean (Bravo; co-host of podcast Violently Funny; host of Cosmic Comedy), and Brittany Brave (TBS, MTV; the other co-host of podcast Violently Funny): Nevertheless She Existed: Boss of Her Body (7:00 pm; $16.89 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Wednesday 1/15: Professional meme creators and @NetflixIsAJoke writers Ben Leary & Kendall Payne scour the Net every day for the latest viral trends and deep cut content. In this monthly talk show, they share their expert knowledge with you via visual round-ups, as well as provide you with stand-up comedy and interviews with guests TBA: Extremely Online (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Thursday 1/16: Skilled punsters Sam Corbin, Tim Donnelly, Jerzy Gwiazdowski, Ally Spier, and Nikolai Vanyo will show off their word expertise by punching up news headlines, tightening movie titles, merging words to create new terms, taking etymological deep-dives, and playing a variety of other word games: The PUN-ch Up (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Sunday 1/19: “Since the dawn of mankind, humans have tried to get high in one way or another. Why? Altered states of consciousness can be profoundly dangerous or dangerously profound. Knowledge makes the difference. We welcome a panel of experts and comedians to discuss how these drugs work.” More specifically, tonight’s focus is on drug economics: “When the black market turns rainbow, what are we gonna do? How do we keep the good parts of an underground community? How do we protect against the bad parts of a legal economy? How do we keep the deal in drug deal?” Plus a post-show hour of networking: Drug Test: Psychedelic Economics & Networking Hour (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
You can find the vast majority of notable NYC live comedy shows by using the links below to explore the schedules of the following top NYC comedy venues:
Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling
Upright Citizens Brigade Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12
Upright Citizens Brigade at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14
The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20
The PIT 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
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
Fat Black Pussycat Lounge
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s smaller, intimate, and lower-priced sister venue (next door to Village Underground), which serves as its primary home for solo shows and experimental shows—which means it’s sometimes the most exciting choice; 2-item min.
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
From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.
Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.