NYC Top Comedy Choices for March 2018: Last Updated Wednesday 3/21/18

March 21, 2018

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. Know someone else who does? Send him or her to me, and for the first year I’ll give you a referral fee of 10% of payments received. To learn about my writing and developmental editing 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 March 2018 (with more to come soon) include:

Never Again: A Night to Benefit Stoneman Douglas High SchoolWednesday 3/21: Stellar comics Mike Birbiglia, Dave Hill, Jo Firestone, Michelle Buteau, Christian Finnegan, and host Seth Herzog, plus Tony winner Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), perform stand-up and/or music to raise funds for organizations pushing for gun control: Never Again: A Night to Benefit Stoneman Douglas High School (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

NYC Improv Festival 2018Wednesday 3/21-Sunday 3/25: Today kicks off a 5-day festival featuring over 150 improv shows at all three of The PIT’s theatres: The Seventh Annual NYC Improv Festival ($10 per show, or $30 for an all-you-can-see festival pass, at The PIT Mainstage, Underground, and Loft theatres)

Gina YashereWednesday 3/21: Gina Yashere (above; correspondent for The Daily Show; HBO’s Crashing, Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately, @midnight, Showtime 1-hour special Skinny Bitch), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more perform stand-up for this show raising funds for cooperation: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mindy Raf: "Not the One: A Love Story"Wednesday 3/21: In this superb solo show, Mindy Raf (VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; singer/songwriter alter ego Leibya Rogers) weaves a complex tapestry from her past relationships, anxieties, arcane bits of knowledge (e.g., she explains how the dark Web can record you while you’re masturbating), and sexual preferences (which include being bi and polyamorous) that’s thoroughly compelling. At the same time, Mindy delivers a performance so intimate and in-the-moment that it almost feels as if she’s revealing herself spontaneously. Along similar lines, when anything unexpected happens (such as an audience member snapping fingers to a background song, or another audience member getting up and crossing the stage at a delicate moment to go to the bathroom), Mindy is lightning-quick in providing a response so spot-on that it couldn’t have been better if she’d planned it. I recommend taking advantage of this brief revival of a wonderful show Mindy has previously performed Off-Broadway and at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Not the One: A Love Story (7:30 pm; $20, Theaterlab at 357 West 36th Street off Ninth Avenue)

Rent PartyWednesday 3/21: A music-backed stand-up show that features a live band providing musical accompaniment to jokes, with comics Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Alison Leiby (writer for The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Ryan Beck (Comedy Central, MTV), Farah Brook (Reductress, Someecards; viral video Kiss Me NYC), Kenice Mobley (host of Person About Town podcast), and Jake Head (host of Razzle Dazzle) hosted by Yedoye Travis: Rent Party (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mike Drucker and Christi ChielloWednesday 3/21: Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!, co-host of Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate), Chloé Hilliard, Nate Craig, Ryan Reiss, and Reena Calm perform stand-up for 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)

Nikki GlaserThursday 3/22-Sunday 3/25: Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM Comedy Central Radio; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; film Trainwreck; hour-long special Perfect; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight; NBC’s America Ninja Warrior: Celebrity Edition; podcast You Had to Be There) headlines Thursday through Sunday at Carolines: Nikki Glaser (7:30 pm Thursday and Sunday, 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm Friday & Saturday; $35 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Adrian Sexton & Dana Shulman: "Ouiser & Clairee"Friday 3/23: Delightful stellar improvisors Dana Shulman & Adrian Sexton play Clairee Belcher & Ouiser Boudreaux, the sassy supporting characters from 1989 film Steel Magnolias about charming but tough Southern women. In this show, they’re “fresh graduates from the one-day improv workshop at The Chinquapin Parish Senior Center and are ready to show you everything they’ve learned at the NYC Improv Festival. You’ll be enchanted by their improvisation skills, their witty banter, and their ability to make grown men cry. If you’re lucky, they might give you their signature offer, ‘Come and sit by me, Ouiser and Clairee:'” Ouiser and Clairee Go to an Improv Festival (7:00 pm, $10, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street; part of the Seventh Annual NYC Improv Festival)

Emma Carmichael.and Ashley Brooke RobertsSaturday 3/24: Emma Carmichael (above left; former Editor-in-Chief of Jezebel), Ashley Brooke Roberts (above right; energetic, enormously likeable stand-up, sketch comic and actress; stellar co-host of Fresh Out and Camp; former writer for Nat Geo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely),and Celisse Henderson (singer/songwriter/musician; recently performed with Ke$ha at the Grammys) sing or tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Oh, Such a Good Show, OhSaturday 3/24: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Django Gold (writer for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, The Onion), Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede), Milly Tamarez (The Story Pirates; co-creator of the Diverse as Fuck Festival), and Eudora Peterson (visiting from New Jersey) perform stand-up hosted by Ethan Beach (MTV) & Josh Nasser (The Story Pirates): Oh, Such a Good Show, Oh (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Katie Boyle: "Transplants"Saturday 3/24: Seven comics—tonight including Rob Haze (Jimmy Fallon; from Alanta) and Kimberly Dinaro Massachusetts (Reductress; from Massachusetts)—tell stories of where they originally came from (ranging from Memphis to Columbia) and the journey that led them to NYC, all performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above; from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Space JamSaturday 3/24: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate the 1996 Michael Jordan & Looney Tunes cinematic collaboration Space Jam, with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie just once. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in Space Jam but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:”Space Jam…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street; part of the Seventh Annual NYC Improv Festival)

David CrossSunday 3/25: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn tonight, and also on 3/29: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Double Feature Comedy: Parental Approval and The Lethal LotterySunday 3/25: Comics perform for the approval of a panel of moms and dads in Parental Approval; and then comics randomly paired into duos (e.g., a stand-up with an improvsior) compete for your laughs in The Lethal Lottery, with tonight’s twosomes Clare O’Kane & Sandy Honig, Sydnee Washington & Wes Haney, Stavros Halkias & Nathan Min, and Sonia Denis & Sarah Lazarus, all hosted by Brett Davis (HBO, TruTv, Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award) & Colin Burgess (host of Strangers and Late Mic): Double Feature Comedy: Parental Approval and The Lethal Lottery (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Alphaville at 140 Wilson Avenue; take L subway to Jefferson Street)

The Roast of VegetablesSunday 3/25: In a parody of comedy roasts, comics roast vegetables. Can Mitra Jouhari, Danny Groh, Eliza Cossio, Halcyon Person, Jason Gilbert, Meaghan Strickland, and Tommy McNamara stretch this one-joke idea into a fun hour? You won’t know unless you join them and host Zach Zimmerman for The Roast of Vegetables (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Shit ArcadeMonday 3/26: Stellar comics and game nerds Anthony Atamanuik, Josh Gondelman, Alison Leiby, Mitra Jouhari, Ziwe Fumudoh, Mike Brown, and Dan Ryckert play and make merciless fun of some of the worst video games of all time (e.g., Shaq-Fu) hosted by Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s): Shit Arcade (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Lena HallMonday 3/26: Lena Hall (Tony Award winner and Grammy nominee as Yitzhak in 2014 Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Nicola in Broadway’s Kinky Boots; lead singer of rock band The Deafening) is the guest of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Adira Amram and the ExperienceMonday 3/26: Adira Amram and The Experience (Adira, above middle, is a spectacular comedic writer, singer, and dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens; co-host of Ophira & Adira), Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TruTV, Playgirl Magazine, host of First Set, comedy album True Love), and more perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show hosted by 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 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)

James AcasterTuesday 3/27: UK comic James Acaster is famed for the delightful one-hour solo comedy shows he’s developed over the years for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Today Netflix releases filmed versions of the four productions, titled Recognize, Represent, Reset, and Recap, packaged under the umbrella titled of Repertoire. Stream and enjoy: James Acaster: Repertoire

An Evening with The Comedy Resistance: Mike Birbiglia, Hari Kondabolu, and MoreTuesday 3/27: Mike Birbiglia (writer/director/star of feature films Don’t Think Twice and Sleepwalk with Me; actor in numerous films and TV shows, including Trainwreck, Inside Amy Schumer, and Orange is the New Black; multiple appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, etc.; three Comedy Central specials; comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live), Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97), Eudora Peterson (Jezebel, Huffington Post), and more perform stand-up for this show by The Comedy Resistance, “a nonprofit headlined by comedians, run by professionals with decades of experience in talent and campaign management, and fueled by anyone who wants to make an impact in our country by getting out the vote and boosting activism. Laugh, learn, and resist:” An Evening with The Comedy Resistance: Mike Birbiglia, Hari Kondabolu, and More (7:30 pm, $40, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Cocks Against Glocks: 50 Comedians Tell Dick Jokes To Benefit Gun ControlWednesday 3/28: Fifty comics tell dick jokes for this show raising money to support gun control, featuring Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Emmy Blotnick, Roy Wood Jr., Ashley Brooke Roberts, Mike Drucker, Christi Chiello, Clare O’Kane, The Reformed Whores, Janelle James, Kat Radley…and many more, hosted by long-time Daily Show staff writer Matt Koff. Cocks Against Glocks: 50 Comedians Tell Dick Jokes To Benefit Gun Control (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

David CrossThursday 3/29: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Feel Good ShowSaturday 3/31: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Abbi Crutchfield (Broad City, MTV, VH1, Witstream), and Mamoudou N’Diaye (MTV’s Decoded) perform stand-up for this show that each month raises funds for a different worthy cause—this time it’s The Ali Forney Center—hosted by Mike Brown & Sam Grittner: The Feel Good Show (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

It's a Guy ThingSaturday 3/31: Hosts Catherine Cohen & Mitra Jouhari “are gals who just don’t get ‘guy stuff.’ They’ve invited comics to give them lectures on guy stuff so that they can finally fit in,” with tonight’s bearers of wisdom Marie Faustin, Lily Marotta, Martin Urbano, Emily Panic, and sketch group Please Don’t Destroy: It’s a Guy Thing (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union 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/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

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; 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.

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NYC Top Comedy Choices for March 2018: Last Updated Tuesday 3/20/18

March 20, 2018

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. Know someone else who does? Send him or her to me, and for the first year I’ll give you a referral fee of 10% of payments received. To learn about my writing and developmental editing 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 March 2018 (with more to come soon) include:

The Chris Gethard ShowTuesday 3/20: One of the most risk-taking shows on television returns for another 10 episodes on TruTV, now running Tuesdays at 11:00 pm. The live call-in show and improvised roller coaster ride is described by Chris Gethard as “a talk show where the host has no control over what’s happening. I think the show is at its best when I’m on my heels and all authority and respect have been taken away from me.” Tonight’s guest is Abbi Jacobson of Broad City, and subsequent scheduled guests include Sasheer Zamata & Nicole Byer on March 27th, and Will Ferrell on April 3rd: The Chris Gethard Show

Roz Chast and Emily FlakeTuesday 3/20: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children, with tonight’s cruel jokesters Roz Chast (above top; genius star cartoonist for The New Yorker; author of numerous books including Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York, Theories of Everything, What I Hate From A to Z, and Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?), Emily Flake (above bottom; genius 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), 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), Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), and Aminah Imani (host of podcast Wine Before Nine) hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!) and aforementioned Emily Flake: Sh!tshow (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

David CrossTuesday 3/20: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn tonight, and also on 3/25 and 3/29: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm; $15SOLD OUT, but you might still be able to nab a ticket via the Fan Exchange; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Never Again: A Night to Benefit Stoneman Douglas High SchoolWednesday 3/21: Stellar comics Mike Birbiglia, Dave Hill, Jo Firestone, Michelle Buteau, Christian Finnegan, and host Seth Herzog, plus Tony winner Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), perform stand-up and/or music to raise funds for organizations pushing for gun control: Never Again: A Night to Benefit Stoneman Douglas High School (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Gina YashereWednesday 3/21: Gina Yashere (above; correspondent for The Daily Show; HBO’s Crashing, Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately, @midnight, Showtime 1-hour special Skinny Bitch), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more perform stand-up for this show raising funds for cooperation: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mindy Raf: "Not the One: A Love Story"Wednesday 3/21: In this superb solo show, Mindy Raf (VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; singer/songwriter alter ego Leibya Rogers) weaves a complex tapestry from her past relationships, anxieties, arcane bits of knowledge (e.g., she explains how the dark Web can record you while you’re masturbating), and sexual preferences (which include being bi and polyamorous) that’s thoroughly compelling. At the same time, Mindy delivers a performance so intimate and in-the-moment that it almost feels as if she’s revealing herself spontaneously. Along similar lines, when anything unexpected happens (such as an audience member snapping fingers to a background song, or another audience member getting up and crossing the stage at a delicate moment to go to the bathroom), Mindy is lightning-quick in providing a response so spot-on that it couldn’t have been better if she’d planned it. I recommend taking advantage of this brief revival of a wonderful show Mindy has previously performed Off-Broadway and at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Not the One: A Love Story (7:30 pm; $20, Theaterlab at 357 West 36th Street off Ninth Avenue)

Rent PartyWednesday 3/21: A music-backed stand-up show that features a live band providing musical accompaniment to jokes, with comics Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Alison Leiby (writer for The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Ryan Beck (Comedy Central, MTV), Farah Brook (Reductress, Someecards; viral video Kiss Me NYC), Kenice Mobley (host of Person About Town podcast), and Jake Head (host of Razzle Dazzle) hosted by Yedoye Travis: Rent Party (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mike Drucker and Christi ChielloWednesday 3/21: Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!, co-host of Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate), Chloé Hilliard, Nate Craig, Ryan Reiss, and Reena Calm perform stand-up for 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)

Emma Carmichael.and Ashley Brooke RobertsSaturday 3/24: Emma Carmichael (above left; former Editor-in-Chief of Jezebel), Ashley Brooke Roberts (above right; energetic, enormously likeable stand-up, sketch comic and actress; stellar co-host of Fresh Out and Camp; former writer for Nat Geo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely),and Celisse Henderson (singer/songwriter/musician; recently performed with Ke$ha at the Grammys) sing or tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Oh, Such a Good Show, OhSaturday 3/24: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Django Gold (writer for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, The Onion), Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede), Milly Tamarez (The Story Pirates; co-creator of the Diverse as Fuck Festival), and Eudora Peterson (visiting from New Jersey) perform stand-up hosted by Ethan Beach (MTV) & Josh Nasser (The Story Pirates): Oh, Such a Good Show, Oh (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Katie Boyle: "Transplants"Saturday 3/24: Seven comics—tonight including Rob Haze (Jimmy Fallon; from Alanta) and Kimberly Dinaro Massachusetts (Reductress; from Massachusetts)—tell stories of where they originally came from (ranging from Memphis to Columbia) and the journey that led them to NYC, all performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above; from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

David CrossSunday 3/25: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn tonight, and also on 3/29: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Double Feature Comedy: Parental Approval and The Lethal LotterySunday 3/25: Comics perform for the approval of a panel of moms and dads in Parental Approval; and then comics randomly paired into duos (e.g., a stand-up with an improvsior) compete for your laughs in The Lethal Lottery, with tonight’s twosomes Clare O’Kane & Sandy Honig, Sydnee Washington & Wes Haney, Stavros Halkias & Nathan Min, and Sonia Denis & Sarah Lazarus, all hosted by Brett Davis (HBO, TruTv, Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award) & Colin Burgess (host of Strangers and Late Mic): Double Feature Comedy: Parental Approval and The Lethal Lottery (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Alphaville at 140 Wilson Avenue; take L subway to Jefferson Street)

The Roast of VegetablesSunday 3/25: In a parody of comedy roasts, comics roast vegetables. Can Mitra Jouhari, Danny Groh, Eliza Cossio, Halcyon Person, Jason Gilbert, Meaghan Strickland, and Tommy McNamara stretch this one-joke idea into a fun hour? You won’t know unless you join them and host Zach Zimmerman for The Roast of Vegetables (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Shit ArcadeMonday 3/26: Stellar comics and game nerds Anthony Atamanuik, Josh Gondelman, Alison Leiby, Mitra Jouhari, Ziwe Fumudoh, Mike Brown, and Dan Ryckert play and make merciless fun of some of the worst video games of all time (e.g., Shaq-Fu) hosted by Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s): Shit Arcade (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Elizabeth MarvelMonday 3/26: Elizabeth Marvel (President Elizabeth Keane on Showtime’s Homeland, Solicitor General Heather Dunbar on Netflix’s House of Cards, Detective Nancy Parras on The District) is the guest of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Adira Amram and the ExperienceMonday 3/26: Adira Amram and The Experience (Adira, above middle, is a spectacular comedic writer, singer, and dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens; co-host of Ophira & Adira), Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TruTV, Playgirl Magazine, host of First Set, comedy album True Love), and more perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show hosted by 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 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)

James AcasterTuesday 3/27: UK comic James Acaster is famed for the delightful one-hour solo comedy shows he’s developed over the years for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Today Netflix releases filmed versions of the four productions, titled Recognize, Represent, Reset, and Recap, packaged under the umbrella titled of Repertoire. Stream and enjoy: James Acaster: Repertoire

An Evening with The Comedy Resistance: Mike Birbiglia, Hari Kondabolu, and MoreTuesday 3/27: Mike Birbiglia (writer/director/star of feature films Don’t Think Twice and Sleepwalk with Me; actor in numerous films and TV shows, including Trainwreck, Inside Amy Schumer, and Orange is the New Black; multiple appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, etc.; three Comedy Central specials; comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live), Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97), Eudora Peterson (Jezebel, Huffington Post), and more perform stand-up for this show by The Comedy Resistance, “a nonprofit headlined by comedians, run by professionals with decades of experience in talent and campaign management, and fueled by anyone who wants to make an impact in our country by getting out the vote and boosting activism. Laugh, learn, and resist:” An Evening with The Comedy Resistance: Mike Birbiglia, Hari Kondabolu, and More (7:30 pm, $40, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Cocks Against Glocks: 50 Comedians Tell Dick Jokes To Benefit Gun ControlWednesday 3/28: Fifty comics tell dick jokes for this show raising money to support gun control, featuring Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Emmy Blotnick, Roy Wood Jr., Ashley Brooke Roberts, Mike Drucker, Christi Chiello, Clare O’Kane, The Reformed Whores, Janelle James, Kat Radley…and many more, hosted by long-time Daily Show staff writer Matt Koff. Cocks Against Glocks: 50 Comedians Tell Dick Jokes To Benefit Gun Control (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

David CrossThursday 3/29: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Feel Good ShowSaturday 3/31: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Abbi Crutchfield (Broad City, MTV, VH1, Witstream), and Mamoudou N’Diaye (MTV’s Decoded) perform stand-up for this show that each month raises funds for a different worthy cause—this time it’s The Ali Forney Center—hosted by Mike Brown & Sam Grittner: The Feel Good Show (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

It's a Guy ThingSaturday 3/31: Hosts Catherine Cohen & Mitra Jouhari “are gals who just don’t get ‘guy stuff.’ They’ve invited comics to give them lectures on guy stuff so that they can finally fit in,” with tonight’s bearers of wisdom Marie Faustin, Lily Marotta, Martin Urbano, Emily Panic, and sketch group Please Don’t Destroy: It’s a Guy Thing (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union 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/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

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; 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 March 2018: Last Updated Monday 3/19/18

March 19, 2018

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. Know someone else who does? Send him or her to me, and for the first year I’ll give you a referral fee of 10% of payments received. To learn about my writing and developmental editing 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 March 2018 (with more to come soon) include:

Ophira EisenbergMonday 3/19: Ophira Eisenberg (above; a rare combination of top storyteller & ace stand-up; NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!; for a sampling of Ophira’s remarkably deep comedic tales, please click here), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Dwayne Kennedy (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seinfeld, semifinalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Showtime, FX), and Chris Donahue (host of Panic Attack) perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show hosted by 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 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)

FOMO Live with Kristen BartlettMonday 3/19: A show about the Fear Of Missing Out on some cool experience mentioned on social media, with a terrific late night TV lineup of Chris Redd (cast member of Saturday Night Live; NBC’s Will & Grace, Netflix’s Disjointed, movie Popstar: Never Stop Stopping), Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Alex Moffat (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Kate Sidley (writer for Stephen Colbert), Jasmine Pierce (writer for Jimmy Fallon and Editor-at-Large for Reductress), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; member of sketch group Pop Roulette; co-host of podcast Las Culturistas) and Jason Gore (Hulu’s Difficult People, sketch group Bridge & Tunnel) hosted by Kristen Bartlett (writer for Saturday Night Live): FOMO Live with Kristen Bartlett (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Roz Chast and Emily FlakeTuesday 3/20: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children, with tonight’s cruel jokesters Roz Chast (above top; genius star cartoonist for The New Yorker; author of numerous books including Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York, Theories of Everything, What I Hate From A to Z, and Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?), Emily Flake (above bottom; genius 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), 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), Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), and Aminah Imani (host of podcast Wine Before Nine) hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Sh!tshow (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

David CrossTuesday 3/20: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn tonight, and also on 3/25 and 3/29: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Never Again: A Night to Benefit Stoneman Douglas High SchoolWednesday 3/21: Stellar comics Mike Birbiglia, Dave Hill, Jo Firestone, Michelle Buteau, Christian Finnegan, and host Seth Herzog, plus Tony winner Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), perform stand-up and/or music to raise funds for organizations pushing for gun control: Never Again: A Night to Benefit Stoneman Douglas High School (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Gina YashereWednesday 3/21: Gina Yashere (above; correspondent for The Daily Show; HBO’s Crashing, Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately, @midnight, Showtime 1-hour special Skinny Bitch), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more perform stand-up for this show raising funds for cooperation: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mindy Raf: "Not the One: A Love Story"Wednesday 3/21: In this superb solo show, Mindy Raf (VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; singer/songwriter alter ego Leibya Rogers) weaves a complex tapestry from her past relationships, anxieties, arcane bits of knowledge (e.g., she explains how the dark Web can record you while you’re masturbating), and sexual preferences (which include being bi and polyamorous) that’s thoroughly compelling. At the same time, Mindy delivers a performance so intimate and in-the-moment that it almost feels as if she’s revealing herself spontaneously. Along similar lines, when anything unexpected happens (such as an audience member snapping fingers to a background song, or another audience member getting up and crossing the stage at a delicate moment to go to the bathroom), Mindy is lightning-quick in providing a response so spot-on that it couldn’t have been better if she’d planned it. I recommend taking advantage of this brief revival of a wonderful show Mindy has previously performed Off-Broadway and at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Not the One: A Love Story (7:30 pm; $20, Theaterlab at 357 West 36th Street off Ninth Avenue)

Rent PartyWednesday 3/21: A music-backed stand-up show that features a live band providing musical accompaniment to jokes, with comics Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Alison Leiby (writer for The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Ryan Beck (Comedy Central, MTV), Farah Brook (Reductress, Someecards; viral video Kiss Me NYC), Kenice Mobley (host of Person About Town podcast), and Jake Head (host of Razzle Dazzle) hosted by Yedoye Travis: Rent Party (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mike Drucker and Christi ChielloWednesday 3/21: Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!, co-host of Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate), Chloé Hilliard, Nate Craig, Ryan Reiss, and Reena Calm perform stand-up for 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)

Emma Carmichael.and Ashley Brooke RobertsSaturday 3/24: Emma Carmichael (above left; former Editor-in-Chief of Jezebel), Ashley Brooke Roberts (above right; energetic, enormously likeable stand-up, sketch comic and actress; stellar co-host of Fresh Out and Camp; former writer for Nat Geo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely),and Celisse Henderson (singer/songwriter/musician; recently performed with Ke$ha at the Grammys) sing or tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Oh, Such a Good Show, OhSaturday 3/24: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Django Gold (writer for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, The Onion), Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede), Milly Tamarez (The Story Pirates; co-creator of the Diverse as Fuck Festival), and Eudora Peterson (visiting from New Jersey) perform stand-up hosted by Ethan Beach (MTV) & Josh Nasser (The Story Pirates): Oh, Such a Good Show, Oh (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Katie Boyle: "Transplants"Saturday 3/24: Seven comics—tonight including Rob Haze (Jimmy Fallon; from Alanta) and Kimberly Dinaro Massachusetts (Reductress; from Massachusetts)—tell stories of where they originally came from (ranging from Memphis to Columbia) and the journey that led them to NYC, all performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above; from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

David CrossSunday 3/25: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn tonight, and also on 3/29: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Double Feature Comedy: Parental Approval and The Lethal LotterySunday 3/25: Comics perform for the approval of a panel of moms and dads in Parental Approval; and then comics randomly paired into duos (e.g., a stand-up with an improvsior) compete for your laughs in The Lethal Lottery, with tonight’s twosomes Clare O’Kane & Sandy Honig, Sydnee Washington & Wes Haney, Stavros Halkias & Nathan Min, and Sonia Denis & Sarah Lazarus, all hosted by Brett Davis (HBO, TruTv, Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award) & Colin Burgess (host of Strangers and Late Mic): Double Feature Comedy: Parental Approval and The Lethal Lottery (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Alphaville at 140 Wilson Avenue; take L subway to Jefferson Street)

The Roast of VegetablesSunday 3/25: In a parody of comedy roasts, comics roast vegetables. Can Mitra Jouhari, Danny Groh, Eliza Cossio, Halcyon Person, Jason Gilbert, Meaghan Strickland, and Tommy McNamara stretch this one-joke idea into a fun hour? You won’t know unless you join them and host Zach Zimmerman for The Roast of Vegetables (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Shit ArcadeMonday 3/26: Stellar comics and game nerds Anthony Atamanuik, Josh Gondelman, Alison Leiby, Mitra Jouhari, Ziwe Fumudoh, Mike Brown, and Dan Ryckert play and make merciless fun of some of the worst video games of all time (e.g., Shaq-Fu) hosted by Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s): Shit Arcade (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Elizabeth MarvelMonday 3/26: Elizabeth Marvel (President Elizabeth Keane on Showtime’s Homeland, Solicitor General Heather Dunbar on Netflix’s House of Cards, Detective Nancy Parras on The District) is the guest of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Adira Amram and the ExperienceMonday 3/26: Adira Amram and The Experience (Adira, above middle, is a spectacular comedic writer, singer, and dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens; co-host of Ophira & Adira), Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TruTV, Playgirl Magazine, host of First Set, comedy album True Love), and more perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show hosted by 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 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)

James AcasterTuesday 3/27: UK comic James Acaster is famed for the delightful one-hour solo comedy shows he’s developed over the years for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Today Netflix releases filmed versions of the four productions, titled Recognize, Represent, Reset, and Recap, packaged under the umbrella titled of Repertoire. Stream and enjoy: James Acaster: Repertoire

An Evening with The Comedy Resistance: Mike Birbiglia, Hari Kondabolu, and MoreTuesday 3/27: Mike Birbiglia (writer/director/star of feature films Don’t Think Twice and Sleepwalk with Me; actor in numerous films and TV shows, including Trainwreck, Inside Amy Schumer, and Orange is the New Black; multiple appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, etc.; three Comedy Central specials; comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live), Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97), Eudora Peterson (Jezebel, Huffington Post), and more perform stand-up for this show by The Comedy Resistance, “a nonprofit headlined by comedians, run by professionals with decades of experience in talent and campaign management, and fueled by anyone who wants to make an impact in our country by getting out the vote and boosting activism. Laugh, learn, and resist:” An Evening with The Comedy Resistance: Mike Birbiglia, Hari Kondabolu, and More (7:30 pm, $40, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Cocks Against Glocks: 50 Comedians Tell Dick Jokes To Benefit Gun ControlWednesday 3/28: Fifty comics tell dick jokes for this show raising money to support gun control, featuring Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Emmy Blotnick, Roy Wood Jr., Ashley Brooke Roberts, Mike Drucker, Christi Chiello, Clare O’Kane, The Reformed Whores, Janelle James, Kat Radley…and many more, hosted by long-time Daily Show staff writer Matt Koff. Cocks Against Glocks: 50 Comedians Tell Dick Jokes To Benefit Gun Control (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

David CrossThursday 3/29: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Feel Good ShowSaturday 3/31: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Abbi Crutchfield (Broad City, MTV, VH1, Witstream), and Mamoudou N’Diaye (MTV’s Decoded) perform stand-up for this show that each month raises funds for a different worthy cause—this time it’s The Ali Forney Center—hosted by Mike Brown & Sam Grittner: The Feel Good Show (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

It's a Guy ThingSaturday 3/31: Hosts Catherine Cohen & Mitra Jouhari “are gals who just don’t get ‘guy stuff.’ They’ve invited comics to give them lectures on guy stuff so that they can finally fit in,” with tonight’s bearers of wisdom Marie Faustin, Lily Marotta, Martin Urbano, Emily Panic, and sketch group Please Don’t Destroy: It’s a Guy Thing (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union 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/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

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; 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 March 2018: Last Updated Sunday 3/18/18

March 18, 2018

Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. Know someone else who does? Send him or her to me, and for the first year I’ll give you a referral fee of 10% of payments received. To learn about my writing and developmental editing 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 March 2018 (with more to come soon) include:

Zhubin Parang and Jo Firestone on Chris Duffy's "You're the Expert"Sunday 3/18: Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show; UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love) and Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and co-host of Butterball, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) demonstrate their quick wits by hilariously answering questions about what a guest scientist’s job entails at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $16.89 in advance online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sunday 3/18: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

If You Build ItSunday 3/18: Terrific lineup of—starting from top row above, left to right—Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Matt Koff (staff writer for The Daily Show), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Rebecca Vigil (rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), Kat Radley (staff writer for The Daily Show; stand-up album The Important Thing is That I’m Pretty), and Evan Williams (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle II) performing stand-up, produced by Kara Klenk (writer for MTV’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City) and hosted by Alison Leiby (writer for The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It (7:30 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Ophira EisenbergMonday 3/19: Ophira Eisenberg (above; a rare combination of top storyteller & ace stand-up; NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!; for a sampling of Ophira’s remarkably deep comedic tales, please click here), Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Dwayne Kennedy (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seinfeld, semifinalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Showtime, FX), and Chris Donahue (host of Panic Attack) perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show hosted by 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 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)

FOMO Live with Kristen BartlettMonday 3/19: A show about the Fear Of Missing Out on some cool experience mentioned on social media, with a terrific late night TV lineup of Chris Redd (cast member of Saturday Night Live; NBC’s Will & Grace, Netflix’s Disjointed, movie Popstar: Never Stop Stopping), Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Alex Moffat (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Kate Sidley (writer for Stephen Colbert), Jasmine Pierce (writer for Jimmy Fallon and Editor-at-Large for Reductress), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City; member of sketch group Pop Roulette; co-host of podcast Las Culturistas) and Jason Gore (Hulu’s Difficult People, sketch group Bridge & Tunnel) hosted by Kristen Bartlett (writer for Saturday Night Live): FOMO Live with Kristen Bartlett (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Roz Chast and Emily FlakeTuesday 3/20: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children, with tonight’s cruel jokesters Roz Chast (above top; genius star cartoonist for The New Yorker; author of numerous books including Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York, Theories of Everything, What I Hate From A to Z, and Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?), Emily Flake (above bottom; genius 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), 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), Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), and Aminah Imani (host of podcast Wine Before Nine) hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Sh!tshow (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

David CrossTuesday 3/20: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn tonight, and also on 3/25 and 3/29: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Never Again: A Night to Benefit Stoneman Douglas High SchoolWednesday 3/21: Stellar comics Mike Birbiglia, Dave Hill, Jo Firestone, Michelle Buteau, Christian Finnegan, and host Seth Herzog, plus Tony winner Lena Hall (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), perform stand-up and/or music to raise funds for organizations pushing for gun control: Never Again: A Night to Benefit Stoneman Douglas High School (7:30 pm, $25, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Gina YashereWednesday 3/21: Gina Yashere (above; correspondent for The Daily Show; HBO’s Crashing, Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately, @midnight, Showtime 1-hour special Skinny Bitch), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more perform stand-up for this show raising funds for cooperation: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mindy Raf: "Not the One: A Love Story"Wednesday 3/21: In this superb solo show, Mindy Raf (VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; singer/songwriter alter ego Leibya Rogers) weaves a complex tapestry from her past relationships, anxieties, arcane bits of knowledge (e.g., she explains how the dark Web can record you while you’re masturbating), and sexual preferences (which include being bi and polyamorous) that’s thoroughly compelling. At the same time, Mindy delivers a performance so intimate and in-the-moment that it almost feels as if she’s revealing herself spontaneously. Along similar lines, when anything unexpected happens (such as an audience member snapping fingers to a background song, or another audience member getting up and crossing the stage at a delicate moment to go to the bathroom), Mindy is lightning-quick in providing a response so spot-on that it couldn’t have been better if she’d planned it. I recommend taking advantage of this brief revival of a wonderful show Mindy has previously performed Off-Broadway and at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Not the One: A Love Story (7:30 pm; $20, Theaterlab at 357 West 36th Street off Ninth Avenue)

Rent PartyWednesday 3/21: A music-backed stand-up show that features a live band providing musical accompaniment to jokes, with comics Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Alison Leiby (writer for The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Ryan Beck (Comedy Central, MTV), Farah Brook (Reductress, Someecards; viral video Kiss Me NYC), Kenice Mobley (host of Person About Town podcast), and Jake Head (host of Razzle Dazzle) hosted by Yedoye Travis: Rent Party (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mike Drucker and Christi ChielloWednesday 3/21: Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!, co-host of Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate), Chloé Hilliard, Nate Craig, Ryan Reiss, and Reena Calm perform stand-up for 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)

Emma Carmichael.and Ashley Brooke RobertsSaturday 3/24: Emma Carmichael (above left; former Editor-in-Chief of Jezebel), Ashley Brooke Roberts (above right; energetic, enormously likeable stand-up, sketch comic and actress; stellar co-host of Fresh Out and Camp; former writer for Nat Geo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely),and Celisse Henderson (singer/songwriter/musician; recently performed with Ke$ha at the Grammys) sing or tell jokes, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love…which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You’re the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm, $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Oh, Such a Good Show, OhSaturday 3/24: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Django Gold (writer for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, The Onion), Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede), Milly Tamarez (The Story Pirates; co-creator of the Diverse as Fuck Festival), and Eudora Peterson (visiting from New Jersey) perform stand-up hosted by Ethan Beach (MTV) & Josh Nasser (The Story Pirates): Oh, Such a Good Show, Oh (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Katie Boyle: "Transplants"Saturday 3/24: Seven comics—tonight including Rob Haze (Jimmy Fallon; from Alanta) and Kimberly Dinaro Massachusetts (Reductress; from Massachusetts)—tell stories of where they originally came from (ranging from Memphis to Columbia) and the journey that led them to NYC, all performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above; from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

David CrossSunday 3/25: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn tonight, and also on 3/29: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Double Feature Comedy: Parental Approval and The Lethal LotterySunday 3/25: Comics perform for the approval of a panel of moms and dads in Parental Approval; and then comics randomly paired into duos (e.g., a stand-up with an improvsior) compete for your laughs in The Lethal Lottery, with tonight’s twosomes Clare O’Kane & Sandy Honig, Sydnee Washington & Wes Haney, Stavros Halkias & Nathan Min, and Sonia Denis & Sarah Lazarus, all hosted by Brett Davis (HBO, TruTv, Manhattan cable TV show The Special Without Brett Davis; winner of the 2015 Andy Kaufman Award) & Colin Burgess (host of Strangers and Late Mic): Double Feature Comedy: Parental Approval and The Lethal Lottery (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Alphaville at 140 Wilson Avenue; take L subway to Jefferson Street)

The Roast of VegetablesSunday 3/25: In a parody of comedy roasts, comics roast vegetables. Can Mitra Jouhari, Danny Groh, Eliza Cossio, Halcyon Person, Jason Gilbert, Meaghan Strickland, and Tommy McNamara stretch this one-joke idea into a fun hour? You won’t know unless you join them and host Zach Zimmerman for The Roast of Vegetables (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Shit ArcadeMonday 3/26: Stellar comics and game nerds Anthony Atamanuik, Josh Gondelman, Alison Leiby, Mitra Jouhari, Ziwe Fumudoh, Mike Brown, and Dan Ryckert play and make merciless fun of some of the worst video games of all time (e.g., Shaq-Fu) hosted by Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for The President Show; previously wrote for Jimmy Fallon, SNL, Bill Nye Saves the World, The Onion, McSweeney’s): Shit Arcade (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Elizabeth MarvelMonday 3/26: Elizabeth Marvel (President Elizabeth Keane on Showtime’s Homeland, Solicitor General Heather Dunbar on Netflix’s House of Cards, Detective Nancy Parras on The District) is the guest of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Adira Amram and the ExperienceMonday 3/26: Adira Amram and The Experience (Adira, above middle, is a spectacular comedic writer, singer, and dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens; co-host of Ophira & Adira), Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TruTV, Playgirl Magazine, host of First Set, comedy album True Love), and more perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show hosted by 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 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)

James AcasterTuesday 3/27: UK comic James Acaster is famed for the delightful one-hour solo comedy shows he’s developed over the years for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Today Netflix releases filmed versions of the four productions, titled Recognize, Represent, Reset, and Recap, packaged under the umbrella titled of Repertoire. Stream and enjoy: James Acaster: Repertoire

An Evening with The Comedy Resistance: Mike Birbiglia, Hari Kondabolu, and MoreTuesday 3/27: Mike Birbiglia (writer/director/star of feature films Don’t Think Twice and Sleepwalk with Me; actor in numerous films and TV shows, including Trainwreck, Inside Amy Schumer, and Orange is the New Black; multiple appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, etc.; three Comedy Central specials; comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live), Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, @midnight; former writer & correspondent for FX’s Totally Biased), Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97), Eudora Peterson (Jezebel, Huffington Post), and more perform stand-up for this show by The Comedy Resistance, “a nonprofit headlined by comedians, run by professionals with decades of experience in talent and campaign management, and fueled by anyone who wants to make an impact in our country by getting out the vote and boosting activism. Laugh, learn, and resist:” An Evening with The Comedy Resistance: Mike Birbiglia, Hari Kondabolu, and More (7:30 pm, $40, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Cocks Against Glocks: 50 Comedians Tell Dick Jokes To Benefit Gun ControlWednesday 3/28: Fifty comics tell dick jokes for this show raising money to support gun control, featuring Jo Firestone, Josh Gondelman, Emmy Blotnick, Roy Wood Jr., Ashley Brooke Roberts, Mike Drucker, Christi Chiello, Clare O’Kane, The Reformed Whores, Janelle James, Kat Radley…and many more, hosted by long-time Daily Show staff writer Matt Koff. Cocks Against Glocks: 50 Comedians Tell Dick Jokes To Benefit Gun Control (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

David CrossThursday 3/29: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Feel Good ShowSaturday 3/31: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Abbi Crutchfield (Broad City, MTV, VH1, Witstream), and Mamoudou N’Diaye (MTV’s Decoded) perform stand-up for this show that each month raises funds for a different worthy cause—this time it’s The Ali Forney Center—hosted by Mike Brown & Sam Grittner: The Feel Good Show (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

It's a Guy ThingSaturday 3/31: Hosts Catherine Cohen & Mitra Jouhari “are gals who just don’t get ‘guy stuff.’ They’ve invited comics to give them lectures on guy stuff so that they can finally fit in,” with tonight’s bearers of wisdom Marie Faustin, Lily Marotta, Martin Urbano, Emily Panic, and sketch group Please Don’t Destroy: It’s a Guy Thing (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union 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/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

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; 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 Monday 7/17/17

July 17, 2017

Mike BirbigliaMike Birbiglia (writer/director/star of feature films Don’t Think Twice and Sleepwalk with Me; actor in numerous films and TV shows, including Trainwreck, Inside Amy Schumer, and Orange is the New Black; multiple appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, etc.; three Comedy Central specials; comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live) is one of the most sensitive and observant comics in the biz. This week he’s allowing audiences into his process as he tries out new material. I don’t usually get the opportunity to list this show because it rapidly sells out way in advance; but tonight a limited number of tickets have been set aside for at-the-door sales. Arrive early to enjoy Mike Birbiglia: Working It Out (7:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Phoebe Tyers and Filip Jeremic…and character comics—including brilliant writer/performers Phoebe Tyers (above left), Filip Jeremic (above right), and many more—perform solo bits demonstrating their impressive talent at UCB East hosted by Frank Garcia-Hejl & Justin Tyler. This is one of my favorite monthly events, and I especially recommend it if you’re a producer, casting director, or other industry pro in search of sharp comedy actors: Characters Welcome (9:00 pm, $5, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Tuesday 7/18/17

A monthly wild pun competition that’s been enormously popular in Brooklyn expands its audience tonight to Chelsea by playing at the fancy Highline Ballroom. As always, it’ll be hosted by father-daughter duo Fred Firestone and Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author with Fred of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers). Enjoy the spectacle as 18 audience members—maybe including you—compete in Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $20, Chelsea’s Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th Street)…

Dave Hill and Melissa Villasenor…or see a live taping of a terrific weekly Sirius XM Radio comedy show, with Dave Hill (above left), SNL’s Melissa Villaseñor (above right), Judy Gold, Gregg Rogell, Paul Morrisey, and Phil Hanley performing stand-up and/or sketch, plus music from Helio Alves and the Come to Papa Trio, hosted by Tom Papa (host of Jerry Seinfeld-produced NBC comedy The Marriage Ref; numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno; three Comedy Central specials): Come to Papa (8:00 pm, $10 plus two-item min., Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street)…

Third Annual Muslim Funny Fest…and this annual comedy mini-fest (four shows over three days) is a rare NYC gathering of Muslim stand-ups, including Aasif Mandvi (HBO’s The Brink; former correspondent for The Daily Show), Maysoon Zayid (self-described “Palestinian Muslim with cerebral palsy, from New Jersey;” cast member for two seasons of As the World Turns; former pundit for Keith Olbermann; Queen Latifah show), Ramy Youssef (Stephen Colbert), Wali Collins (David Letterman), Dina Hashem (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Seeso’s Night Train), Gibran Saleem (MTV), Azhar (one-man show Ultra American…which he’ll perform Thursday at 9:30 pm to close the festival), Preacher Moss, Aman Ali, Suzie Afridi, Moses the Comic, and more hosted by Dean Obeidallah (CNN, Comedy Central’s Axis of Evil, SiriusXM’s The Dean Obeidallah Show, one-man show I Come in Peace). For complete details, please click Third Annual Muslim Funny Fest (8:00 pm tonight, 8:00 pm Wednesday, and 7:30 pm & 9:45 pm on Thursday; $25 per show, plus 2-drink min.; Comic Strip Live Comedy Club at 1568 Second Avenue off 81st Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Wednesday 7/19/17

Mindy RafMindy Raf (VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; singer/songwriter alter ego Leibya Rogers) has been a respected and beloved member of the comedy community for over a decade. In this one-woman show, however, Raf achieves a whole new level of comedy greatness. Her script weaves a complex tapestry from her past relationships, anxieties, arcane bits of knowledge (e.g., she explains how the Dark Web can record you while you’re masturbating), and sexual preferences (which include being bi and polyamorous) that’s thoroughly compelling. At the same time, Raf delivers a performance so intimate and in-the-moment that it almost feels as if she’s revealing herself spontaneously

Along similar lines, when anything unexpected happens (such as an audience member snapping fingers to a background song, or another audience member getting up and crossing the stage at a delicate moment to go to the bathroom), Raf is lightning-quick in providing a response so spot-on that it couldn’t have been better if she’d planned it.

With this show, Raf has developed into a star talent who demands attention.I highly recommend this wonderful production, which is having a brief Off-Broadway run tonight and this weekend, and then moves on in August to play for 28 performances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

By the way, don’t get put off by the oddball title. This show has nothing to do with illness; and the only body organs it focuses on are the vagina and the human heart: Mindy Raf: Keeping My Kidneys (8:30 pm tonight, 2:30 pm this Saturday & Sunday; $15; 59E59 Theater at 59 East 59th Street between Madison & Park Avenues)…

Julio Torres: "My Favorite Shapes"Julio Torres (staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Billy on the Street, HBO’s High Maintenance, Louis C.K.’s Horace and Pete) is honing a fresh, clever one-man show that (like Mindy directly above) he’ll be performing at next month’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. You can enjoy Julio’s production tonight, Thursday, or Friday at UCB Chelsea, or on Saturday or Sunday at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Julio Torres: My Favorite Shapes (6:30 pm tonight & Thursday, 7:30 pm Friday, $7-$12, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street; or 8:00 pm Saturday & Sunday, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

Gad Elmaleh…and a comic who’s a superstar in France playing to 12,000-seat stadiums, but is just starting to get known in the US (Seth Meyers, The Daily Show, Comedians in Cars; feature films Coco, Priceless, La Doublure, Midnight in Paris; for a May 2016 stand-up set & interview on Conan, please click here and here), performs in an intimate 50-seat West Village lounge: Gad Elmaleh (9:00 pm, $20 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

NYC Comedy Picks for Thursday 7/20/17

Mike BirbigliaFrom my favorite monthly show, a spectacular collection of hilarious film & TV clips and guest pop culture experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and guest co-host Brian Solomon (author of new book Godzilla FAQ: All That’s Left To Know About The King Of The Monsters) focusing on Japanse-style giant creatures (for a video teaser, please click here): Kevin Geeks Out About Kaiju (7:30 pm, $15 [buying in advance is recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas often sells out]; Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at 445 Albee Square West—take the 2/3 subway to Hoyt Street)…

…and a one-of-a-kind treasure of a comedy star, whose scores of credits include numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Seth Meyers, @midnight, and Comedy Central Roasts—and who’s acted in the Robert DeNiro film The Comedian, such animated features as Aladdin and Lego Batman 3, Showtime’s Episodes, Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, classic documentary The Aristocrats, and brand new documentary Gilbert—headlines for one night only at Carolines: Gilbert Gottfried (7:30 pm, $27.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 6/16/16

June 16, 2016

Mike BirbigliaBrilliant comics Mike Birbiglia…

Kate Micucci…Kate Micucci, John Lutz, Tami Sagher, Connor Ratliff, Shannon O’Neill, and Gary Richardson improvise for two back-to-back shows hosted by Ira Glass and aimed to be broadcast on Ira’s super-popular TAL: This American Life Improv Taping (6:00 pm & 8:00 pm; $5 per show; SOLD OUT, but you can probably get in if you arrive early on the stand-by line and are okay with standing; UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th Street)

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), and Jen Clark performing stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Forrest Haigh: Crowd Sourced Comedy

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; HBO, Comedy Central, NPR, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, book Tasteful Nudes, comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Shonali Bhowmik (singer, host, Variety SHAC), Michelle Biloon (Chelsea Lately), Amanda Baramki (FOX), and Nathan Macintosh performing stand-up or music at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($42 plus 2-drink minimum):The longest-running cast member in Saturday Night Live’s history whose impressions have been widely applauded for their uncanny accuracy and range, and a talented stand-up who’s been a frequent guest on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Jay Leno, headlining tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Darrell Hammond

7:30 pm ($5): Clown guests (not announced) and clown host Icky Shirley Dangle performing a silly show at The PIT downstairs lounge: An Unapologetic Mess: A Clown Show

7:30 pm ($5): Two teams of storytellers compete for your applause at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Tim Unkenholz & Liz Phillips: The Rivalry

7:30 pm ($5): All-gal variety show at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Liisa Murray & Meghan Ross: That Time of the Month

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Superb stand-ups Gary Gulman, Mike Lawrence, Rachel Feinstein, Ari Shaffir, and Jim Florentine performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Thursday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($12): White rapper Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1) hosts a talk show with a live band, with tonight’s guests Rebecca Vigil (rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), Jon Laster, Anna Wise, Kat Burdick, Jeni Aron, Danny Cohen, and The 6th Street Snake at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Right Now! with Carolyn Castiglia

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Object Work (long-form improv revolving around physical objects on stage), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Robert Dean, Caitlin Peluffo, Kelsey Caine, and Johan Jonezy Ankarcrona performing at Brooklyn’s Hungry Ghost Cafe/Bar (781 Fulton Street, between Fulton and South Oxford Streets) hosted by Keenan Steiner: Comedy at the Corner

8:00 pm ($10): A young all-guy comedy group performing improv and/or sketch at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly showcase of musicians (funny or otherwise) trying out material in a laid-back way at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by Caitlin Cook: Fake Birthday

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by stand-up Nick Maritato and improv troupe Priest and the Beekeeper: Pig Pile

8:00 pm ($5): Three improv house groups make up scenes for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Detention + Gun Club

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Improv from indie troupe’s Midnight Society, Jolly Roger, and Emily Bogue & Friends, sketch from Kasey Borger & Amy Wright, and characters from Patrick Robinson, all performing at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Nick Ramirez: Leslie

8:30 pm ($10): Boston comics from group Improv Asylum and from YouTube’s Simply Unemployable perform sketch comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): The T

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000, The Unexpectashow, and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), Phoebe Robinson (Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Totally Biased, co-host of 2 Dope Queens), Dan Licata, and Jordan Temple performing stand-up, plus music from band Frisky Kids, at Brooklyn’s Sunnyvale (1031 Grand Street) hosted by Harris Mayersohn: Just a Show

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A musical comedy about women brutally managed by nuns in Ireland’s notorious Magdalene Laundries co-written and directed by Jed Resnik & Philip Markle at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Magdalene Sisters

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East typically hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): A sketch comedy show “covering everything from a chance encounter with Taylor Swift at the airport to a befriending of strangers at a shooting range” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Bingo

9:00 pm ($6): Stand-ups Missy Baker, Will Miles, Brad Austin, Rae Sanni, Saurin Choksi, and Liz Days performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sue Funke & Katie Compa: Happy Place Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The Emmy-winning writers of The Daily Show gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Non-Daily Show

9:30 pm ($10): A two-person play by Marina & Nicco about a man and woman in a hospital waiting room at The PIT upstairs theatre: Standing By

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC magicians try out new material, with some stand-up thrown in, at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by mind reader Eric Dittelman (America’s Got Talent, Ellen): Amazeballs

[FREE] 10:30 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced & hosted by Chris Gersbeck, Lauren Hope Krass, and/or Peter Bandyk: Casual Sets

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): UCB weekend improv group The Curfew and Improv group Blush compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “A curated hour of eclectic comedic material written in a week with no rehearsals” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

11:00 pm ($5): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Jon Laster (BET), and more performing stand-up at the UCB East theatre hosted by Brendan Fitzgibbons & Lance Weiss: Gandhi, Is That You?

Thursday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

5:45 pm-8:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Weekly walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 4-5 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic Thursday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: A character-based open-mic happening weekly at UCB East hosted by Sean Hart: Don’t Be Yourself: Character Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

6:30 pm ($3): If you’re a gal who’d like to try stand-up but are wary of being vulnerable in a tough male-dominated room, this show may be the perfect opportunity for you—an all-female open mic, with the first 15 comics to sign up (starting at 5:50 pm) getting 3 minutes each on stage at The PIT downstairs lounge: Ladies Night Open Mic

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with a veteran improv group to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer Thursday

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A weekly improv jam hosted by group Salt at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Blender

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Thursday After Class Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Patrick Hastie: Beer, Booze, and Bits

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

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

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

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

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 1/7/15

January 7, 2015

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Louis CK Alert: If you’ve got tickets to Louis’ sold out show at
Madison Square Garden, don’t forget it’s tonight at 8:00 pm.

TV Alert: Bill Maher and Nick Kroll are on Jimmy Kimmel;
Fred Armisen is on Jimmy Fallon;
Jessica St. Clair is on The Late Late Show guest-hosted by Drew Carey;
Brett Gelman, Paul Scheer, and Andy Daly are on @midnight

Mike Birbiglia

At UCB Chelsea, a top storyteller inspires ace improvisors to create amazing scenes at Mike Birbiglia’s Dream

The Two-Man Movie

…and brilliant improvisors Anthony Atamanuik & Neil Casey make up a feature film on the spot in The Two-Man Movie

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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Mike Birbiglia’s Dream is both a reference to Mike’s hit play & film Sleepwalk With Me, and to the group of improvisors he’s gathered being a “dream team” for making up scenes springboarding off his stories. Tonight at UCB Chelsea Mike spins tales for Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher, and/or more: Mike Birbiglia’s Dream

7:00 pm to 11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB Eastwhich tonight features house groups Buchanan, Astronomy Club, and Big Revival: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, “When Trevor and Craig, two business adversaries, suddenly realize they’re identical twin brothers, they decide to switch places, reunite their divorced parents, and become a family again. But there’s a few problems: Dad is too busy fucking sewer boys, and Mom’s vagina fell off her body and crawled away! Will Trevor and Craig be able to reunite the family they never knew they wanted? Also, it’s a musical. Basically The Parent Trap for horrible, disgusting people:” Fucking Identical Twins: A Musical

…and in the second half of this double-bill, “Six months ago, Karin and Glenn started emailing each other every time they cried. Then they wrote a comedy show about feelings. To test the theory of ‘Tragedy Plus Time Equals Comedy,’ Karin and Glenn will perform some sketches, dance a little bit, and then tell you some very personal stories that they shouldn’t be talking about in front of this many people,” directed by Stone Cold Fox’s Leslie Meisel & Brandon Gulya: This Is Going to Hurt

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Gregg Rogell and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Dan Soder, Pete Davidson, and Dov Davidoff at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Mark Normand, Big Jay Oakerson, Carmen Lynch, Sam Morril, Andrew Schulz, and Godfrey (hosting) at the 11:30 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Joe Machi (Jimmy Fallon; breakout star of the most recent season of Last Comic Standing), Sheng Wang (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased), Mike Gaffney (Last Comic Standing), Julie Kottakis, Gina Brillon, Tim Warner, and Jason Chatfield performing stand-up at the Producer’s Club(358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Brooke Arnold: Train Wreck Stand-Up

8:00 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow,and live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), Brigid Boyle, Evan Kaufman, Richie Moriarty, Matt Donaher, and Trevor Livingston performing stand-up or sketch at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Matt Catanzano & Richie Moriarty: Simply Unemployable Live

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-up teams from all over the country compete for laughs at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Benel Germosen: Border Wars

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Charla Lauriston (staff writer for upcoming Tina Fey-produced Netflix sitcomUnbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, sketch group Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), Ryan Reiss (Howard Stern Show), Harrison Greenbaum (Comedy Central, Mad Magazine), Robyn Schall, Megan Gailey, Andy Fiori, and Damo Hicks performing at this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis:Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik, both brilliant members of the legendary Death by Roo Roo, perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film at UCB Chelsea as The Two-Man Movie

9:30 pm ($5): Charla Lauriston (staff writer for upcoming Tina Fey-produced Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV), Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Toby Muresianu, and Mary Houlihan performing stand-up at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Griffin Newman and/or Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($10 online using discount code GRIFT; no min.): Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Paul Virzi (FOX, Spike TV), John Moses, Chris Cotton, and John Porch performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Mike Finoia: Dan Soder, Adrienne Iapalucci, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Stellar improvisors Charlie Todd & Kevin Hines provide color commentary on improv sets by other top improvisors at UCB East for this monthly event: Play by Play

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Leslie Meisel & Kate Riley chose UCB comics to write sketches for the opposite sex, then cast and directed the scripts. Tonight’s show is the result of this fun experiment—featuring the very best bits from 2014!—at the UCB Chelsea theatre: He Said, She Said: Best Sketches of 2014

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at theStand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors:Magnet Improv Mixer

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with each comic whose name is selected from a bucket getting on stage for 3-5 minutes (depending on the number of comics) at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Jenn Welch & Will Neville: The Guilt Trip

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore & Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house group Bucky and DJ Cipha Sounds: The Improv Jam

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; shows free-$10; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seat main theatre, bar area for open mics; shows free-$10)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$20)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

 From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.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, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.