NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2019: Last Updated Friday 12/6

December 6, 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 330,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at 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 at @hybender, and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com. (I’m also on Instagram at @hybenderny and Facebook at hybender; but honestly, you’ll be doing me the most good if you follow and retweet me on Twitter.)

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 December 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

Jawbreakers!Friday 12/6: Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, Netflix’s Master of None; host of podcast No Need for Apologies), Chanel Ali (MTV’s Girl Code, Starz, TruTV), Calise Hawkins (Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, TruTV, Oxygen; writer for Comedy Central, Playboy.com), and Jay Jurden (Jimmy Fallon; written for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Vutlure) perform stand-up hosted by Jax Dell’Osso (MTV, Twitch TV) & Alia Janine (former adult film star; host of the Whormones Podcast): Jawbreakers! (7:00 pm, $20 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Baron Vaughn & Open Mike Eagle: "The 2nd Annual Janelle James Comedy Festival"Friday 12/6-Saturday 12/7: Day #2 of the Janelle James Comedy Festival features Baron Vaughn & Open Mike Eagle (above; hosts of Comedy Central’s The New Negroes) hosting stellar comics Kevin Iso, Yassir Lester, Hadiyah Robinson, Janelle James, and more: A Black Ass 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)

Stars at The StandFriday 12/6: Stand-up from Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Presents special; co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; author of You’re Better Than Me), 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), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Jim Florentine (co-host of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show; Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers, MTV; film A Little Help; stand-up album Cringe N Purge), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; very nearly a cast member of SNL), Lev Fer (host of the Yung Daddy podcast), and Yamaneika Saunders (HBO’s Crashing, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle; stand-up album Damsel in Distress): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Nikki Glaser, Subhah Agarwal, and MoreFriday 12/6: Stand-up from 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), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, Netflix’s Master of None; host of podcast No Need for Apologies), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; very nearly a cast member of SNL), Charles Engle (co-host of podcast Please Send Nudes), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas): Nikki Glaser, Subhah Agarwal, and More (9:00 pm, $20 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

"Modern Whitney" with Rachel SennottFriday 12/6: Comics Rachel Sennott (above), Kylie Holloway, Ari Durnell, and Bradley Sinanan 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. According to hosts Matt Hartin & Akmal Tajihan, “This is the only show you’ll want to Van Gogh to:” Modern Whitney (9:30 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Soft Core!Friday 12/6: Host Chris Gersbeck screens a “cheesy” porn movie that comics make fun of MST3K-style, with tonight’s riffers Laura Merli (above middle; McSweeney’s, Reductress; half of sketch duo Soul Crush Comedy; host of podcast How to be Less Awkward), Brian McGuinness (bottom right; Inside Amy Schumer, co-host of Retro Bits, Playable Characters podcast), Bobby Hankinson (left; host of Kweendom; webseries Single Blonde Failure), and Jenn Wehrung (top right; BBC; this show’s producer): Soft Core! (11:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Comedians Who Flewed OutSaturday 12/7: This third and final day of the Janelle James Comedy Festival features ace comics Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin (above middle; hosts of podcast The Unofficial Expert and, with Aminah Imani, highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit), The Lucas Brothers (top right; Jimmy Fallon, 22 Jump Street, Netflix’s The Lucas Bros: On Drugs and Lady Dynamite, FOX’s Lucas Bros Moving Company and Arrested Development, HBO’s Crashing), Ayo Edebiri (top left; Comedy Central, The New Yorker), Jaboukie Young-White (bottom left; correspondent for The Daily Show), Ethan Simmons-Patterson (bottom right), Casey Balsham, and more: Comedians Who Flewed Out (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)

Chaos TheoryMonday 12/9: This solo production, which debuted at the 2018 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 (7:00, $27.50 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)

Chandler Dean: Tuesday 12/10: Members of the West Wing Writers group (which includes former Presidential speechwriters) will break down their favorite speeches, give behind-the-scenes looks at the speech drafting process, and even lead you in crafting your own keynote speech, all hosted by Chandler Dean (McSweeney’s): SpeakEasy (7:00 pm; $15; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Andrea Jones-Rooy
Thursday 12/12:
Andrea Jones-Rooy, who is a Professor and Director of Undergraduate Study at the NYU Center for Data Science—and also a fire-wielding circus performer—uses decades of data-driven political research to “help us understand what our political structures are actually doing, why, and how (and whether) to change them. We explore such questions as ‘What does majority rule even mean, and what are the consequences of it? Are we actually getting more polarized? Why, despite the historical records in the midterm election, do so many candidates and leaders still look the same?”: Political Circus: Why Democracy is F*cked and What to Do About It (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

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

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

The PIT 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.

Fat Black Pussycat Lounge
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s smaller, intimate, and lower-priced sister venue (next door to Village Underground), which serves as its primary home for solo shows and experimental shows—which means it’s sometimes the most exciting choice; 2-item min.

The Stand
116 East 16th Street; Club closest to competing with Comedy Cellar, featuring top stand-ups on a main stage and upstairs stage; 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
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.

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.

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.

You can also find me on Twitter at @hybender, Instagram at @hybenderny, and Facebook at https://Facebook.com/hybender.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2019: Last Updated Friday 11/15

November 15, 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 330,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at 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 at @hybender, and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com. (I’m also on Instagram at @hybenderny and Facebook at hybender; but honestly, you’ll be doing me the most good if you follow and retweet me on Twitter.)

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

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

Gastor Almonte, Jeena Bloom, and Josh GondelmanFriday 11/15: Superb comics Gastor Almonte (left), Jeena Bloom (middle), Josh Gondelman (right), Carolyn Castiglia, and more perform stories or sketches on sexual topics—including a “best of” segment celebrating this show’s One Year Anniversary—hosted by Dani Faith Leonard: Adult Sex Ed: Happy Anniversary Edition (7:00 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Josh Sharp and Natasha VaynblatFriday 11/15: Josh Sharp (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV; co-creator of Cool Shit/Weird Shit) and Natasha Vaynblat (Comedy Central, Funny or Die, McSweeney’s, Reductress; ace improv group What I Did For Love) each perform stand-up and/or characters for 30 minutes: Josh Sharp & Natasha Vaynblat Do Half Hours (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Lynn Bixenspan & Morgan Pielli: "Relationshit"Friday 11/15: Storytellers TBA share tales of relationships in front of a panel of comics and bona fide therapists who then provide their professional advice, hosted by Lynn Bixenspan (Comedy Central, MTV; former writer for Fuse TV) & Morgan Pielli (cartoonist): Relationshit (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Jo FirestoneFriday 11/15: Jo Firestone (above; 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 co-host of Butterball; comedy album The Hits), Damien Lemon (host of TruTV’s Comedy Knockout; Comedy Central Half Hour; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), and 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, The Today Show) perform stand-up for the only comedy club in Brooklyn: Firestone, Lemon, and Finnegan at Eastville (8:00 pm; normally $21 with no min., but free following these instructions [support this special by optionally buying food and/or drinks]; Brooklyn’s Eastville Comedy Club at 487 Atlantic Avenue—take 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R subway to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center)

Modern WhitneyFriday 11/15: 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. According to hosts Matt Hartin & Akmal Tajihan, “This is the only show you’ll want to Van Gogh to:” Modern Whitney (9:30 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 11/15: Storytellers TBA share cringe-worthy experiences from their pasts hosted by Brendan Busee & Ron Raganella: Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy Show (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Movies R Dumb: "Son of Dracula"Friday 11/15: The 1943 movie Son of Dracula starring Lon Chaney is a terrible sequel to the Bela Legosi classic. (Chaney plays Count Alucard—which is Dracula spelled backwards—and the script goes downhill from there…).Tonight this embarrassment will be screened and mercilessly skewered by ace comics 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), Eric Drysdale (hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously staff writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show), Carolina Hidalgo (co-host with MST3K’s Frank Conniff & Trace Beaulieu of Movie Sign with the Mads podcast), and Matthew Reiser (co-host with Chris Gersbeck of podcast Hacks on Drac). 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, and producer of many other shows): Movies R Dumb: Son of Dracula (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Alia Janine: "The Hardcore Comedy Show"Friday 11/15: Alia Janine (above right; former adult film star; host of the Whormones Podcast; owner of Hardcore Comedy Entertainment) hosts this free monthly comedy show featuring stand-ups, porn stars, and/or more, plus audience games and sex toy prizes: The Hardcore Comedy Show (Midnight, Free!, The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC at 10-93 Jackson Avenue; take 7 subway to Vernon Boulevard–Jackson Avenue)

The Jackie and Laurie ShowSaturday 11/16: Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom) & Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing; podcast and album I Am Not The Hero Of This Story; podcast The Dork Forest; for hilarious cartoon about LA pet owners, please click here) perform stand-up and record an episode of their long-running podcast: The Jackie & Laurie Show Live (6:00 pm, $20 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: Saturday 11/16: World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $22.32 for a seat, or $17 for standing room, online; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street. PLEASE NOTE: The 11/16 show has SOLD OUT. However, you can still nab tickets for the Saturday 12/14 show here.)

Courtney PaurosoSaturday 11/16: Courtney Pauroso (Jimmy Kimmel, Key & Peale, American Housewife) performs her hit Edinburgh Fringe and sold out New York Comedy Festival show that “takes its audience on an intense and hilarious journey in an hour of chaos that somehow portrays a deep, life-spanning story.” Catch this delightful character comic tonight at either 7:30 or 10:00 because she returns to LA: Gutterplum (7:30 pm or 10:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stars at The StandSaturday 11/16: Stand-up from Tom Green (icon), Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction), Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Presents special; co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; author of You’re Better Than Me), Ian Lara (Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny), and Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV2, FX): Stars at the Stand (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Ashley Explains How To Be YourselfSunday 11/17: This amazing smorgasbord of a show provides stand-up from Aparna Nancherla (Comedy Central’s Corporate, HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There) and Nick Maritato (This American Life, MTV, host of podcast Reality Blows), and interviews & games with Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; comedy album The Hits) and Gary Richardson (writer for Saturday Night Live; brilliant improvisor; Comedy Central), all revolving around the theme of self-discovery hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts (energetic, enormously likeable rising star stand-up, sketch comic, and actress; stellar host of Fresh Out; former writer for NatGeo Explorer and MTV’s Guy Code; UCB Maude sketch groups The Prom and Absolutely): Ashley Explains How To Be Yourself (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Anya VolzSunday 11/17: Anya Volz (above; writer for Riot Fest, The Hard Times; host of Thirst Trap With Anya Volz), Aasif Mandvi (HBO’s The Brink, Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, numerous films; former correspondent for The Daily Show; author of No Man’s Land), and Steve Whalen (HBO, Comedy Central) try out new jokes via deliciously long sets at this popular weekly safe space for the stand-up creation process hosted by Nat Towsen (Esquire, VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety): New Material Night (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It ComedyMonday 11/18: This brand new show is about “the science of astrology, which is very real and definitely not fake. Each month, hosts Melissa Stokoski, Karolena Theresa, and Brian Bahe (famously all Virgos) along with resident Astrologist Lizzie Martinez (Taurus) welcome a lineup of comedians all born under the current zodiac.” This month’s group of Scorpio stand-ups include Petey DeAbreu (host of Petey’s World and co-host of White Chocolate), Marcia Belsky (Reductress; Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; lead singer of band Free the Mind), and Pooja Reddy (host of Kutti Gang): Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kevin Iso and Dina HashemMonday 11/18: Dina Hashem (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Stand-Up and Roast Battle) and Kevin Iso (Hulu’s High Fidelity, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar and Adam Devine’s House Party) each performs a 30-minute stand-up set: Dina Hashem and Kevin Iso Do Long Sets (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Anna DrezenMonday 11/18: Anna Drezen (superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters, movement, and sketch; Supervising Writer for Saturday Night Live; Editor-at-Large of Reductress; co-author of How May We Hate You and How to Win at Feminism) headlines, with opening stand-up from Anna’s Saturday Night Live colleagues Bowen Yang, Alex Moffat, and Sam Jay: Anna Drezen and SNL Friends (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Murmrr Ballroom at 17 Eastern Parkway—take 2/3 subway to Grand Army Plaza)

YouShouldDate.pptThursday 11/20: Participants (maybe you, if you apply) pitch their single friends via fun PowerPoint presentations and then conduct a Q&A session with the audience, after which everyone mingles: YouShouldDate.ppt (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Caitlin Peluffo and Mike DruckerWednesday 11/20: Mike Drucker (left; 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), Caitlin Peluffo (right; Stephen Colbert), Richie Owens, and more TBA perform stand-up hosted by Emily Winter, Julia Shiplett, Carolyn Busa, and/or Ben Wasserman: Side Ponytail Comedy (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Friends and Lovers at 641 Classon Avenue)

Karen Chee and Rachel PegramFriday 11/22: Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) and Rachel Pegram (Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV, BET; movies Don’t Think Twice and The Week Of; member of UCB star improv group ASSSSCAT 3000) each performs a deliciously long 30-minute stand-up set hosted by Jeff Hiller (30 Rock, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, musical improv group Rumpleteaser): Karen Chee and Rachel Pegram Do One Collective Hour of Comedy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Thanks But No ThanksgivingFriday 11/22: Native Americans Brian Bahe (Tohono O’odham/Hopi/Navajo), Tai Leclaire (Mohawk/Mi’kmaq), Dash Turner (Yurok), and other American Indians offer their own take on the holidays via stand-up, characters, and games: Thanks But No Thanksgiving (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Patrick McCartney: Friday 11/29: Patrick McCartney (member of acclaimed theatrical improv group Centralia) performs a comedic solo show about addiction and recovery, directed by Shira Piven (HBO’s Divorce and Room 104, Amazon’s Transparent), that’s received raves from the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert (superstar author of Eat Pray Love), who wrote, “Patrick McCartney is a phenomenally gifted performer, whose work I have admired for years. But we almost lost this extraordinary artist to alcoholism and drug addiction—which would have been a tragedy on so many levels. Now McCartney has returned to the stage with a one-man show about his struggle with substance abuse. Miraculously, it manages to be simultaneously brilliant, devastating, hilarious, humble, searching, and triumphant. Go see it. It’s a beautiful piece of work:” Sinister Kid (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Punderdome 3000 Tuesday 12/3: 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 (a dozen sign-ups and six returning champions) fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd: Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early—doors open at 7:00—to nab a seat, or plan on standing)

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.

Fat Black Pussycat Lounge
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s smaller, intimate, and lower-priced sister venue (next door to Village Underground), which serves as its primary home for solo shows and experimental shows—which means it’s sometimes the most exciting choice; 2-item min.

The Stand
116 East 16th Street; Club closest to competing with Comedy Cellar, featuring top stand-ups on a main stage and upstairs stage; 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
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.

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.

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.

You can also find me on Twitter at @hybender, Instagram at @hybenderny, and Facebook at https://Facebook.com/hybender.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for August 2019: Last Updated Friday 8/23

August 23, 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 310,000 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 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:

Modern WhitneyFriday 8/23: Comics Randall Otis (The Daily Show), Sophie Bramnick (The PIT), and Jess Fuchs (Jane Don’t) 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. According to hosts Matt Hartin & Akmal Tajihan, “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 (writer for Jimmy Fallon, 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 guests Ana Fabrega (breakout star of HBO’s Los Espookys; At Home with Amy Sedaris, Portlandia, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Chris Gethard Show), Julia Shiplett (HBO’s Crashing, Moth Radio Hour), Taylor Garron (Editor for Reductress), and Andrés Govea: 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” (for a video sample, please click here): 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.