NYC Top Comedy Choices for August 2019: Last Updated Wednesday 8/21

August 21, 2019

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Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this 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 and ad-free 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 August 2019 (with more to come soon) include:

Emily Flake & Jason Chatfield: Wednesday 8/21: Emily Flake (brilliant writer/cartoonist; The New Yorker, The New York Times) & Jason Chatfield (stellar cartoonist for The New Yorker, Mad Magazine; Australia’s most widely syndicated cartoonist) host this monthly show that features funny people sharing their nightmares, with tonight’s guests Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy, comedy album Immigrant Made), Sarah Cooper (author of bestselling books How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings and 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings; co-host of You’re So Brave), Hollie Harper (creater & executive producer of stage show American Candy), and Doogie Horner (America’s Got Talent): Nightmares: The Best People Tell Their Worst Dreams (6:30 pm doors, 7:00 pm show; no cover but 2-drink min., with cheapest options $8 each, so figure on spending at least $16 plus tip; KGB Bar’s upstairs Red Room at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Mistakes Were MadeWednesday 8/21: Tales of humiliating failure from comedic storytellers TBA hosted by Ritija Rice Gupta: Mistakes Were Made: Storytelling About Failure (7:00 pm; $17 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)

PowerPopWednesday 8/21: Caroline Moore and stellar character comic Filip Jeremic invite you to “journey down the pop culture rabbit hole as they explore star-studded topics through passionate PowerPoints, song, and dance:” PowerPop (7:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Sam JayWednesday 8/21: Sam Jay writes and performs for Saturday Night Live. She’s also starred in a Comedy Central half-hour special, performed on Jimmy Kimmel and Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, hosted RIcking Morty (the post-show for genius Adult Swim series Rick and Morty), has a recurring role on TV Land’s Nobodies, and released comedy album Donna’s Daughter. Tonight Sam performs a deliciously long stand-up set: Sam Jay (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Adventures from Shimmering Grove: A Live D&D ShowWWednesday 8/21: Comics play a game of Dungeons & Dragons live on stage, and “bring it to life through stagecraft and performance,” with Dave Murray, Glo Tavarez, Jason Sweeten, and a guest comic TBA: Adventures from Shimmering Grove: A Live D&D Show (9:00 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Why Your Train is F*cked: Hot Train SummerThursday 8/22: Learn the history of the MTA via fun lectures, sketches, and more at this ongoing comedic history series about NYC transit, this month focusing on “all things summer that make your subway trips miserable. We’ll tell you all about how trains stayed cooled before A/C (hint: they really didn’t), what’s up with construction in the subway during 100° weather, and how New Yorkers have been using the trains to get out of the city for ages. Do we really need to suffer Albuquerque-level heat just to wait for an F train? And does the MTA even really care about our pain? Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam) host this sweaty-to-get-there (but the show itself is delightfully air conditioned) edition of Why Your Train is F*cked: Hot Train Summer (7:00 pm; $17 online or $2f0 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Michelle Buteau 8Thursday 8/22: Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and High Maintenance, Netflix’s Russian Doll, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Amazon’s The Tick, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight; films Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great; comedy album Shut Up) performs a deliciously long stand-up set: Michelle Buteau (7:30 pm and 10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Characters Welcome: Thursday 8/22: The talented comics of UCBT group Velvet MommyJason Gore, Cameron McCall, Alex Otis, Xavier Padin, Nathan Pearson, Elena Skopetos, Graham Techler, and Nichole Yannetty—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Leather Father (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Scream

ScreamThursday 8/22: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate the 1996 Wes Craven-directed slasher flick Scream, with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie just once the previous week. 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 Scream but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:” Scream…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Tampons, Tears, and TriumphsThursday 8/22: An all-gal improv group invites you to “one big girly sleepover, where you share weird secrets about your body and let out all your feelings. Except, it’s an hour, and guys can come. And we think the invitation is long overdue. There are so many things that women go through with cheesy grins on our faces like nothing’s happening! That’s what we’re expected to do, isn’t it? Because if we complain about it, or cry about it, or really say anything about it, we’re just being “girls.” Welp, fuck that noise. This storytelling & improv show is an open conversation about the things we usually hide, ’cause the painfully real stuff is the funny stuff:” Tampons, Tears and Triumphs (8:00 pm, $12 online or $15 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Thursday 8/22: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Modern WhitneyFriday 8/23: Comics TBA try to figure out and articulate the meaning of a piece of art. Then an actual art expert tells them what the piece is generally considered to be about and its cultural impact. Plus select audience members—maybe including you—will draw their art on the spot and have it interpreted by the comics. “This is the only show you’ll want to Van Gogh to:” Modern Whitney (7:00 pm; $10, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Friends Who Folk & FriendsFriday 8/23: Friends Who Folk—i.e., delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky (freelance writer for SNL; Deputy Editor of Reductress; co-host of Mouth Time! podcast; Head Writer of The Story Pirates podcast) & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com—host this show, with guests TBA: Friends Who Folk & Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Friday 8/23: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni: Saturday 8/24: A game show that describes itself as follows: “Ever talk to a straight guy and think, ‘Jesus Christ you’re boring!’ Two straight men TBD enter the arena, but only one leaves with the title of Queen of the Straights. Lifelines include a Woman Who Gets It and a Wise Queer” hosted by Matt Rogers & Dave Mizzoni, who invite you to “come witness the ultimate test of who Is honorarily Gay As Fuck:” GAYme Show (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Terrorbird sketch comedySaturday 8/24: Surreal sketch group Terrorbird performs a new oddball series of scenes designed to unsettle and delight you: Terrorbird (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Katie BoyleSaturday 8/24: Seven comics TBA who were born outside NYC perform stand-up 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)

North CoastSaturday 8/24: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Friday 8/23: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

The Roast of HistorySaturday 8/24: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comics Emily Winter (The New Yorker, Ask Me Another), Spike Einbinder (Los Espookys, High Maintenance), Maggie Crane, and Julien Edward Williams roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention: The Roast of History (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 8/24: A top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by such ace talents as Becky Drysdale, Zack Willis, Katy Barry, Caroline Martin, Amber Ruffin, Tim Sniffen, and Jeff Hiller, plus stellar improv musicians Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Scientific Facts About Fictional RobotsSunday 8/25: Comics TBA discuss robots in novels, movies, and TV shows, and consider “Could that really happen?”: Scientific Facts About Fictional Robots (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Monday 8/26: Comics Ryan Stanisz, Joe Pardavila, and Brian Danger wrote and co-star in a mini-play described as follows: “Death can make you do funny things, and when Lars loses his wife to a freak chicken bone accident he purchases a funeral home,” with original direction by David Carl and subsequent direction by Lauren Brickman. Also on this double-bill of Spanks auditioning for a regular run is a sketch show about weddings written by Nick Ramirez & Chrissy Shackelford, and directed by Alexis Pereira: We Bought a Funeral Home! and The Big Day: A Sketch Show about Weddings (6:00 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Reggie Watts 15Monday 8/26 (also Tuesday & Wednesday): Reggie Watts is the bandleader of CBS’ Late Late Show with James Corden, has a Netflix special titled Spatial…and is unlike anyone else. Years ago, Natasha Leggero told the story of how she came to a Reggie show where he sang a song about eating breakfast. Natasha turned to a mutual friend and said, “Wow, that’s really good. I haven’t heard it before, is it new?” The friend, who’d spent the day with Reggie, replied, “No, you don’t get it. That’s literally what he had for breakfast this morning.” Natasha spent a few moments taking in that Reggie had made the song up on the spot, and then declared, “Reggie Watts has more talent in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.” One of the all-time greats in the biz makes a now-rare NYC stage appearance, with singing twins Max & Nicky Weinbach as openers. Reggie Watts (8:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; buy in advance, because this show will almost certainly sell out)

Marissa Stuart & Laura Merli: Monday 8/26: The adorable Laura Merli (above right; Reductress, McSweeney’s, YouTube, host of How to be Less Awkward) and Marissa Stuart (above left; trend forecaster; member of all-gal hip-hop improv troupe DMXX) perform duo sketch comedy designed to provide you with “feel-good dread:” Soul Crush Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Reggie WattsTuesday 8/27 (also Wednesday): Reggie Watts is the bandleader of CBS’ Late Late Show with James Corden, has a Netflix special titled Spatial…and is unlike anyone else. Years ago, Natasha Leggero told the story of how she came to a Reggie show where he sang a song about eating breakfast. Natasha turned to a mutual friend and said, “Wow, that’s really good. I haven’t heard it before, is it new?” The friend, who’d spent the day with Reggie, replied, “No, you don’t get it. That’s literally what he had for breakfast this morning.” Natasha spent a few moments taking in that Reggie had made the song up on the spot, and then declared, “Reggie Watts has more talent in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.” One of the all-time greats in the biz makes a now-rare NYC stage appearance, with comic Hannah Einbinder as opener. Reggie Watts (8:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; buy in advance, because this show will almost certainly sell out)

Ira Glass 2Tuesday 8/27: Great lineup of Ira Glass (host of This American Life), Lucy Wainwright Roche (stellar singer/songwriter), Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; Comedy Central and Netflix specials; films Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty), and more hosted by Elna Baker (NPR’s This American Life, bestselling author of The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance) & Kevin Townley (Men in Black III, The Sitter, My Super Ex-Girlfriend): The Talent Show: Control Freak (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Julian VelardTuesday 8/27: Singer/songwriter/musician Julian Velard (pianist for NPR’s Ask Me Another; albums include Fancy Words For Failure) plays a bunch of his wonderful songs in a show he describes as follows: “To mark 19 years of treading water in the music business, Julian will play his originals that have received minor radio airplay outside the United States, left-of-center covers of obscure tracks by 1970s singer/songwriters, and slow acoustic interpretations of modern pop hits.The songs will be punctuated by self-conscious quips and the occasional berating of an audience member. This is a rare intimate performance by Velard, something he only does once a month or so:” Julian Velard Plays Another Show (7:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

First ImpressionsTuesday 8/27: Eight comics and one audience member compete to win the heart of a celebrity single through rounds of Q&A and challenge questions, with the help of expert advice from a relationship expert, hosted by Taylor Ortega (HBO’s Succession, Shego in Disney Channel’s live-action Kim Possible, TruTV), Yoni Lotan (Netflix’s Russian Doll, HBO’s High Maintenance, Above Average), and John Trowbridge (Huffington Post): First Impressions: A Live 90s Dating Show (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Marvel ComicsTuesday 8/27: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Reggie WattsWednesday 8/28: Reggie Watts is the bandleader of CBS’ Late Late Show with James Corden, has a Netflix special titled Spatial…and is unlike anyone else. Years ago, Natasha Leggero told the story of how she came to a Reggie show where he sang a song about eating breakfast. Natasha turned to a mutual friend and said, “Wow, that’s really good. I haven’t heard it before, is it new?” The friend, who’d spent the day with Reggie, replied, “No, you don’t get it. That’s literally what he had for breakfast this morning.” Natasha spent a few moments taking in that Reggie had made the song up on the spot, and then declared, “Reggie Watts has more talent in his little finger than most people have in their entire bodies.” One of the all-time greats in the biz makes a now-rare NYC stage appearance, with comic Sarah Squirm as opener. Reggie Watts (8:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; buy in advance, because this show will almost certainly sell out)

ScrappedWednesday 8/28: Mary Twinings & John Celestial interview TV writers and others about the big ideas they had that never made it past the writers’ room: Scrapped (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Characters Welcome: Thursday 8/29: The talented comics of UCBT group Velvet MommyJon Bander, Kami Dimitrova, Desi Domo, Johnny Drago, Woody Fu, Chrissie Gruebel, Adrienne Ianniciello, and Corin Wells—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Velvet Mommy (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling ShowWednesday 8/28: Stand-up and/or storytellers Andrea Coleman, Ann Van Epps, Karen Marder, Freddy Sheffield, and more tell tales about losing their virginity hosted by Angela Cobb (Sirius XM): My First Time: A Stand-Up and Storytelling Show (9:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Thursday 8/29: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Krystyna Hutchinson & Corinne Fisher: Friday 8/30: Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson (authors of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed) record their wildly popular Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast live on stage: Guys We F*cked (7:00 pm; $22.32 in advance online or $24 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Friday 8/30: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry ‘Rooster’ Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas!” This is a work in progress, with occasional lags and scenes that go nowhere, and plot that sometimes moves at a snail’s pace and other times skips over too much. But overall the idea is way fun, and there are clever bits throughout; as well as riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

North CoastSaturday 8/31: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist Saturday 8/31: Playwright Annie Pulsipher, director Stephen M. Eckert, costumer Olivia Hern, and a cast of 10 (Sebastiana Gullo, Benjamin Culpepper, Chantelle Guido, Jordan Plutzer, Ariel Neema Blake, Logan Faust, Leon Schwendener, Becca Bernard, Zach Herman, and Stephanie Hawkins.) create a musical that “replaces that most optimistic of orphans with Paul Ryan’s favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, so as to better educate the youths of today about the glory of Laissez Faire Capitalism. We follow Lil’ Orphan Objectivist in her quest to save Depression-era America from FDR’s tyrannical New Deal. Along the way moochers such as the kindly nun, Sister Hannigan, and fire-brand socialist Vice President Henry “Rooster” Wallace try to dissuade her, but with the power of pure reason and an unshakeable sense-of-self there’s sure to be no New Deal for Christmas! Featuring toe-tapping riffs on such Annie favorites as “Handout Life,” “Tomorrow (We Seize the Markets!),” and “I Don’t Need Anything but Me:” Aynnie: The Lil’ Orphan Objectivist (9:30 pm, $15 online or $20 at the door,, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 8/31: A top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by such ace talents as Becky Drysdale, Zack Willis, Katy Barry, Caroline Martin, Amber Ruffin, Tim Sniffen, and Jeff Hiller, plus stellar improv musicians Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Mike Drucker's Thursday 9/5: In this monthly show from Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously a staff writer for NBC’s Jimmy Fallon and Comedy Central’s The President Show, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), comics read obituaries they wrote for themselves, “honoring the lives they had and making fun of the lives they could have had.” Tonight’s dying-as-we-speak guests are Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes, stand-up album Seen Better Days), Ian Fidance (host of Picture This!; regular on SiriusXM’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central Radio), Tom Thakkar (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour; co-host of podcast Stand by Your Band), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Ismael Loutfi (Jimmy Kimmel; staff writer for Netflix’s Patriot Act): My Obituary Show (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

Eastville Comedy Club
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t

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

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

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

The Stand
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for June 2019: Last Updated Sunday 6/16

June 16, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 305,000 copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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

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

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for June 2019 (with more to come soon) include:

Rachel FeinsteinSunday 6/16: Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five) performs a long set in an intimate setting about her marrying an FDNY captain in September and other life milestones, with several other talented stand-ups as openers: Rachel Feinstein: On Fire (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Mistakes Were MadeSunday 6/16: Tales of humiliating failure from comedic storytellers Christian Finnegan (creator & co-host of A&E’s Black and White; co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; TBS, VH1, MSNBC, Chappelle’s Show; new album 60% Joking), Prachi Gupta (senior reporter and former co-host for Jezebel; CNBC, WNYC, Cosmopolitan.com), David Arroyo, and Michele Carlo hosted by Ritija Rice Gupta: Mistakes Were Made: Storytelling About Failure (7:00 pm; $17 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)

Psychobabble 2Sunday 6/16: Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV) performs a new hour of comedy that involves PowerPoint, aided by Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City, HBO’s High Maintenance; co-host of popular podcast & stage show Las Culturistas): Josh Sharp: Psychobabble (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Christi Chiello: It's Christi, B*tch!Monday 6/17: Christi Chiello is a delightful rising star stand-up, writer, and actress with an infectiousness enthusiasm and a unique voice who’s appeared on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, and PBSKids, and is co-host of superb monthly comedy shows Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate. Tonight Christi performs a solo production that demonstrates she’s one of the funniest and most talented comics in NYC. Kudos also go to directors Randy Blair and Giulia Rozzi for helping Christi show off what a powerhouse she is at her confident best. I gladly paid $18 twice to see this, so tonight’s $12 tickets are real bargains. If you like fun, I happily recommend you come enjoy Christi Chiello: It’s Christi, B*tch! (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Writers' RoomMonday 6/17: Stellar writers of late-night comedy TV shows perform stand-up, with Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe; host of Pop Show), Django Gold (writer for Stephen Colbert), and Jordan Carlos (HBO, Netflix; former writer for The Nightly Show) hosted by Matt Goldich (staff writer for Seth Meyers; Comedy Central, VH1): The Writers’ Room: A Stand-Up Show (8:00 pm, $16.87 in advance online, Brooklyn’s Eastville Comedy Club at 487 Atlantic Avenue; take 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R subway to Atlantic Avenue)

Becca BeberaggiTuesday 6/18: The talented and petite Becca Beberaggi (Paste Magazine) describes herself as “a Brooklyn-based bicoastal Ecuadorian-American writer, comedian, and tiny brown human.” Tonight she debuts a comedic solo show about depression: “Mental illnesses lie to you and make you believe things that aren’t real. But for Becca, it’s just made her really bad at parties. Come join her as she tells some of her favorite stories about how parties are bad, why parties are bad, and how she was probably the reason why:” Party Animal (9:30 pm; $12, The Tank at 312 West 36th Street between Eighth & Ninth Avenues)

Profiled: The Case for ReparationsTuesday 6/18: Fifteen comics each make a case for US reparations for slavery, hosted by Marcela Onyango and guest co-host Andrea Coleman: Profiled: The Case for Reparations (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Joe MachiWednesday 6/19: Joe Machi (Jimmy Fallon; breakout star of 2014 Last Comic Standing; This Week at the Comedy Cellar) has a way fun outside-of-the-box perspective that’s produced some of my favorite lines in comedy. Come see Joe perform a long set in an intimate setting, with several other talented stand-ups as openers: Joe Machi Helps You See It Differently (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Howard the DuckFriday 6/21: Decades before every Marvel movie was an instant classic came 1986 box office and critical disaster Howard the Duck, executive produced by no less than George Lucas. Costing $37 million, the movie made just $15 million domestically; plus it won four Golden Raspberry awards, for Worst Screenplay, Worst New Star, Worst Visual Effects, and Worst Picture. Tonight it’ll be screened and mercilessly skewered by comics Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic; author of How to Write Cheesy Movies and 25 MST3K Films That Changed My Life In No Way Whatsoever), Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; host of Let’s Say You’re Right; webseries KCK), Laura Merli (host of How to be Less Awkward podcast), and Colin Fitzgerald (Cosmic Castoff). Their cruelty will be contrasted by exceptionally kind host Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Soft Core!, which is essentially a porn version of this show, Casual Sets, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic): Movies R Dumb: Howard the Duck (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Jessica Creane: Saturday 6/22: This solo production, which debuted at last year’s FringeNYC and is now enjoying a monthly revival at LES’ Caveat, starts out pretending to be a scientific lecture about and demonstration of chaos theory.
But it’s really a highly interactive show that uses comedy and thoughtfully structured game-play for nudging audiences to explore their wishes and desires, push past boundaries, connect with everyone around them, and be open to anything.
It’s all courtesy of writer/performer Jessica Ellen Creane, who cycles between faux-shyly giving illustrated talks about such things as fractals, love, and velociraptors, making herself fearlessly vulnerable, and improvising quick-witted responses to audience choices. For example, when Creane asked me to name a goal, I replied, “writing and selling a movie.” She immediately gave me the best pep talk I’ve ever had, stating beyond doubt that I’d succeed. In gratitude, I added, “I’ll cast you in it.” Without missing a beat, and fully committing to her scientist character (wearing thick black-frame glasses with no lenses), Creane tossed off, “I’m not good at acting” before moving on to help someone else. That she even thought of that line demonstrates what a superb actress Creane is…and how completely she performs in the moment.
Because this show relies so deeply on interaction, each edition will be different based on the decisions made by you and your fellow audience members. Along the same lines, how much you enjoy it, and genuinely get out of it, will depend heavily on what you bring to it.
For me, it was a **** (out of 4) show. If you come experience this—and you should—I hope you have a wonderful time too; and that it moves you closer to your dreams.
Chaos Theory (9:30, $27.63 in advance online or $30 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Raanan HershbergSunday 6/23: Exceptionally sharp, inventive, and funny stand-up Raanan Hershberg (HBO’s Crashing, TruTV; superb FringeNYC 2018 solo show Off the Grid) records his second comedy album, with the aid of your laughter, 7:00 pm and 9:15 pm. Help Raanan create a great show and get your vocal joy immortalized at Raanan Hershberg’s Album Recording (7:00 pm & 9:15 pm; $13.26 online using discount code RAANAN [otherwise $30.90], plus two-drink min.; New York Comedy Club at 241 East 24th Street between Second & Third Avenues)

Tessa Skara: Rock GoddessSunday 6/23: “Part comedy special and part rock concert” from Tessa Skara (Pop Roulette) and her band, which Tessa describes as “kind of like if a stand-up special was made by Stevie Nicks, if Stevie Nicks was a messy queer millennial,” featuring Marcia Belsky (band Free the Mind): Tessa Skara: Rock Goddess (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sex and the City: The MovieSunday 6/23: Two men have been watching 2008’s Sex and the City: The Movie twice a week for six months. See them review it live at The Worst Idea of All Time: Endlessly Sex and the City—The Movie (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Liza TreygerTuesday 6/25: Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, This Is Not Happening, @midnight, Horace and Pete, Chelsea Lately) performs a long set in an intimate setting, with several other talented stand-ups as openers: Liza Treger Tells It Like It Is (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

/Friends Who Folk and Melissa VillaseñorWednesday 6/26: Friends Who Folk (delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com) host this show, with stellar guests Melissa Villaseñor (Emmy-winning star cast member of Saturday Night Live; force-of-nature voiceover artist who’s performed characters for Family Guy, Scooby Doo, and many other shows), Rachel Wenitsky (freelance writer for SNL; Deputy Editor of Reductress; co-host of Mouth Time! podcast; Head Writer of The Story Pirates podcast), Franchesca Ramsey (YouTube star with over 29 million views; host of MTV’s Decoded; The Nightly Show), Rachel Joravsky (member of The Story Pirates; founder of sketch production company Damn Lady Laugh), and Rachel Kaly (host of Ellen Degenerous is the Only Ally): Friends Who Folk (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emily Flake & Ophira Eisenberg:Sunday 6/30: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children (and guest comics who aren’t revel in their freedom), with tonight’s cruel jokesters Beth Newell (co-founder and editor of Reductress; written for The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s; host of We Knows Parenting podcast), Kate Tellers (staff host and writer for The Moth; host of I’m Still Here podcast about making art after having children), Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet), Abby Sher (author of Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things) and Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery; The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Elle), Hollie Harper (playwright & filmmaker; solo show American Candy), and Raquel D’Apice (Bust Magazine), hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another,” author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy,” comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) and Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves): Shitshow (8:00 pm, $10, 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 at SubCulture
45 Bleecker Street; What used to be a top comedy venue called UCB East has sadly gone under, but some of its shows live on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at respected East Village indie theatre SubCulture at Bleecker & Lafayette Streets, direclty by the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop; shows $7-$14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

Eastville Comedy Club
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t

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

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

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

The Stand
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for July 2018: Last Updated Monday 7/23

July 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

Hari KondaboluMonday 7/23: Hari Kondabolu (above left; fresh, sharp, rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives; co-host of Kondabolu Brothers podcast), Dwayne Kennedy (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Presents, Seinfeld, Martin, Totally Biased), Maria Shehata (Showtime, Comedy Central, The New York Times), Michelle Biloon (Craig Ferguson, Chelsea Lately, Comedy Central), Sam Taggart (Live on Broadgay, Lake Homo High), and Samantha Ruddy (College Humor, Reductress, Someecards) perform stand-up for hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), 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), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Mistakes Were MadeMonday 7/23: Tales of humiliating failure from comedic storytellers Vanessa Golembewski (NBC, Moth StorySlam winner), David Hu (Moth StorySlam winner), Harmon Leon (VICE), Alan I. Ross (Risk!), and ChaChanna Simpson (writer) hosted by Tija Mittal: Mistakes Were Made: Storytelling About Failure (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jessica WalterMonday 7/23: Jessica Walter (Archer, Arrested Development, Play Misty For Me, Grand Prix) is tonight’s guest of this NPR weekly comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn and hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime): Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $20, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Rebecca VigilMonday 7/23: Terrific lineup of Rebecca Vigil (above; powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante, Kick It!), Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show and nearly 400 episodes of NBC’s Jimmy Fallon, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central’s Broad City, HBO’s High Maintenance; co-host of podcast & stage show Las Culturistas), Scott Rogowsky (NBC’s The Voice; host of wildly popular trivia game app HQ Trivia), and Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade, Broadway’s School of Rock; co-host of Characters Welcome) are scheduled to perform stand-up or music for this free weekly show hosted by the multi-talented Morgan Miller (immensely likeable improvisor, sketch comic, stand-up, and juggler): Dirty Laundry (11:00 pm, Free! (make reservation here), UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Punderdome 3000Tuesday 7/24: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 audience members fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd. Tonight’s extra special edition includes New York Post writers in the competition, and will be judged by NY1 TV Anchor Pat Kiernan: Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $20, Chelsea’s Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th Street)

Kick It! with Rebecca VigilTuesday 7/24: Rebecca Vigil (rising star improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante) sings powerhouse songs she makes up on the spot, backed by a superb improv band headed by keyboardist Dan Reitz. Plus she’s joined by typically terrific NYC comics (TBA): Kick It! with Rebecca Vigil (7:30 pm; $11 online using code KICKIT [otherwise $18], plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

The Nights of Our LivesWednesday 7/25: Stellar storytellers TBA tell comedic tales on this month’s theme TBA for this live podcast taping hosted by the wonderful David Martin: The Nights of Our Lives (7:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

RumpleteaserWednesday 7/25: Highly talented singing improvisors Eric Gersen, Zack Willis, Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Lauren Adams, Jessica Morgan, Hannah Solow, Carrie McCrossen, Jeff Hiller, Jake Smith, and/or Jeremy Bent make up an entire musical on the spot springboarding off an audience suggestion as group Rumpleteaser; and for the second half of this double-bill, a bio-sketch show about pharmaceutical insider turned prison inmate Martin Shkreli: Shkreli! Portrait of a Pharma Bro (9:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Why Your Train is F*cked: A Love/Hate Show About the History of the MTAThursday 7/26: Learn the early history of the MTA via fun lectures, sketches, and more at the third of this comedic history series about NYC transit, with guests TBA, hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked: A Love/Hate Show About the History of the MTA (7:00 pm; $16.89 on<line, $18 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ashley Brooke Roberts and Jim TewsThursday 7/26: Stand-ups TBA perform for stellar hosts (above) Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable rising star stand-up, sketch comic, and actress; former writer for NatGeo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely) and/or Jim Tews (Louie, Last Comic Standing; host of Homeschooled; New York Times bestselling author of Felines of New York; comedy album I Was in Band): Fresh Out (9:00 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)

Making Number 2Sunday 7/29: Comedy duo Marty Scanlon (musical improv team Good Catch) & Ali Gordon (musical improv group Rumpleteaser), plus guest Grey Henson (Tony Nominee for Broadway’s Mean Girls; previously Elder McKinley in The Book of Mormon), improvise on-the-fly pitches for sequels to movies that definitely do not need them for this live recording of their podcast: Making Number 2: Sequels = Comedy + Time (9:30 pm; $9.47 online or $12 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Secret History of Ice CreamMonday 7/30: Historic gastronomist Sarah Lohman (Cooking Channel’s Food: Fact or Fiction?) will unearth the stories behind your favorite ice cream treats and share some of history’s wildest bygone flavors that may be due for a revival. By the end of the night, you’ll be able to answer such questions as “Which came first, chocolate or vanilla? The ice cream sandwich or the ice cream cone? Neapolitan or liquid nitrogen?” Plus Jonathan Soma will show you the science behind making the perfect batch at home; reveal Big Ice Cream’s tricks for plumping up their profit margins; and track frozen desserts across the globe, from Italian gelato to dondurma, the magically stretchy ice cream from Turkey: The Secret History of Ice Cream—Presented by Masters of Social Gastronomy (7:00 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Our HouseTuesday 7/31: Comedic storytellers share tales of reclaiming power, with Aparna Nancherla (brilliant stand-up and TV star), Danny Artese (Moth GrandSlam champion), Sandi Marx (7-time Moth StorySlam champion), Elana Lancaster (Moth StorySlam winner), Dawn Fraser (TED@NYC), Stephanie Summerville (The Moth mainstage), Lily Herman (founder of Get Her Elected), and Mark Pagá—plus political organizers Adrienne Lever (Director of Swing Left) and Asher Novek (President of Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats) offer ways to support a blue wave for the 2018 elections, all hosted by Nicole Ferraro: Our House: A Storytelling Benefit for Swing Left (7:00 pm; $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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