NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2018: Last Updated Saturday 11/3

November 3, 2018

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Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this 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

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:

Tinder Live 11Saturday 11/3: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (middle; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s; author of upcoming book How to be Alone) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guest comics Connor Ratliff (left; brilliant improvisor & character comic; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Orange is the New Black, Broad City, The Chris Gethard Show, The President Show; co-star of legendary improv group The Stepfathers; host of The George Lucas Talk Show), Michelle Collins (right; 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), and Kyle Ayers (bottom; Fuse’s Uproarious; written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times). This show usually sells out, so I recommend nabbing tickets in advance online for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Seventh Annual Gotham Storytelling FestivalToday-Monday 11/5: This annual East Village storytelling festival this year features tales about Tinder dating, schoolteaching, chronic illness, immigration, and more, all taking place at the Kraine Theatre. For show descriptions and showtimes, please click Seventh Annual Gotham Storytelling Festival ($20 per show, or significantly less if you buy 3 or more shows at a time; The Kraine Theatre at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 or, or for any other reason by emailing me at


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 6/23/10

June 23, 2010

For full details, please visit

Seth Herzog, Kevin Allison, and Michelle Collins

Seth Herzog, Kevin Allison, Michelle Collins, and other stars reveal their TV failures tonight at Jon Friedman's The Rejection Show

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

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($5): TV & movie star Kristen Schaal (one of the funniest women alive; shining star correspondent on The Daily Show; co-star of HBO’s Flight of the ConchordsComedy Central Presents half-hour special; AMC’s Mad Men; star of UK TV series Penelope: Princess of Pets) and Jim Henson’s Puppets are the guests at this evening’s live broadcast of the WFMU radio show 7 Second Delay

6:30 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): The perfect show for short attention spans—open-mic stand-up with 4½ minutes per set and 25 comics crammed into 2½ hours—at John Morrison’s Ochi’s Motel

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation in The PIT’s Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show Risk!), Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon, VH1, host of Sweet), Michelle Collins (VH1), Rob Lathan (Conan O’Brien, MTV), and Megan Neuringer (HBO, VH1) share their tales of TV material being turned down at Jon Friedman’s wonderful The Rejection Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Reggie Watts (musical improv comedy genius; 2009 ECNY Award for Best Musical Comedy Act and 2007 Andy Kaufman Award; cast member of the new Electric CompanyJimmy Fallon; for video samples, please click here), John Mulaney (writer/performer forSaturday Night LiveConan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, VH1’s Best Week Ever; for John’s great bit on Weekend Update, please click here), Brent Sullivan (Comedy Central), James Adomian (Craig Ferguson), and musical sax duo Ronald Reagon performing at this free weekly comedy show at Brooklyn’s Cameo (behind Lovin’ Cup) hosted by Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman, and Max Silvestri: Big Terrific

[FREE] 8:30: NYC stand-ups Kristeen von Hagen, Brian Longwell, Matt Rohr, Carrie Gravenson, Marian Rosin, and The Bridgets Fitzgerald performing at this free weekly show hosted by Sharon Spell: Shrink

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Improv geniuses Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik make up an entire feature film on the spot; and Deborah Gross recreates absurd and amusing conversations she’s experienced through her sharp storyteller’s perspective, in the double-bill The Two-Man Movie and Conversations with Deb

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:30 pm ($7.44 online if you use code VIPJUNE, plus 2-item minimum): Four of the finest comedic actresses in the country—Lennon Parham, Christina Gausas, Livia Scott, and Ophira Eisenberg—take on characters they’re always wanted to play at the elegant Comix Comedy Club’s Dream Role

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Host Justin Purnell (The Colbert Report) providing as many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a show makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

For full details, please visit

NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 2/25/10

February 25, 2010

For full details, please visit

Andy Christie, Andrea Rosen, and Michelle Collins tell hilarious tales of being "Blindsided" at Risk!

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15): Top comics and comedic storytellers—who tonight are stellar stand-ups Andrea Rosen (Comedy Central’s Michael & Michael Have Issues, Variety SHAC), Michelle Collins (VH1’s Best Week Ever,; for a memorable chat about the power of penises over vaginas, please click here), and A.D. Miles (staff writer on Jimmy Fallon; Comedy Central, MTV), and top storytellers Andy Christie (The New York Times; host of The Liar Show) and Mark Allen (The New York Times, NPR)—joining brilliant sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to share tales on tonight’s theme “Blindsided: Didn’t See It Coming” at one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($34.57 online if you use code VIPFEB, plus 2-item minimum): A star stand-up who’s done half-hour comedy specials for HBO, Comedy Central, and Showtime; was a regular on Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and cast member on FOX’s The Jury; appeared repeatedly on Late Night with Conan O’Brien; and guest starred on such TV shows as NBC’s The Office and FOX’s Arrested Development, headlining through Saturday at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Patrice Oneal

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($5 online if you use code SNOSHU, otherwise $10): Razor-sharp, adorable, irresistible comedic storyteller Leslie Goshko (Manhattan Monologue Champion, host of Sideshow Goshko) spins yarns about her childhood in her one-woman show Vodka Shoes

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Comedy dynamo Shannon O’Neill debuting her extravaganza about an annual talent show in “Charlie Sheen Prison, the only talent show starring the criminally retarded and insane,” directed by the wonderful Will Hines; and superb sketch troupe Pangea 3000 performs material better than its show’s title indicates, in the double-bill Prison Freaks: A Talent Show and Pangea 3000 Sucks

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($18): One of the highlights of FringeNYC 2008 was Allen Warnock and Andrea Alton (members of sketch troupe Freedumb) teaming up to create hilarious characters in a very silly and fun show—for my review, please click here. The production has now been revived for a commercial run through February 28th: Carl & Shelly: Best Friends Forever

8:00 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors directed by James Eason “take an audience suggestion and break it into a million funny pieces,” and veteran improvisors play with “elements of monoscene, deconstruction, and La Ronde,” in the double-bill The Deconstruction and Sleepover

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15): Wonderful stand-ups Todd Barry, Lizz Winstead, Seth Herzog, Liam McEneaney, and Baratunde Thurston performing at Comedy Below Canal

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:30 pm ($7.44 online if you use code VIPFEB, plus 2-item minimum): A unique sports-themed stand-up, sketch comedy, and interview show hosted by Scott Rogowsky and Neil Janowitz, tonight featuring JP Foschi Tight End for the Cincinnati Bengals, Jets Quarterback Erik Ainge, and undefeated heavyweight boxer & 2008 Golden Gloves champ Tor Hamer, all performing at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: 12 Angry Mascots

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Two vibrant improv troupes—The Brothers Hines and Casual Sex Offenders—compete for audience laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match

For full details, please visit