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That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for November 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:
Thursday 11/14: What’s it like to reach age 28 without ever having an orgasm? Comic Molly Brenner shares her “long, harrowing, and strangely expensive journey to her first orgasm” in this solo storytelling show that was a hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival: Molly Brenner: “I’m Coming” (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Thursday 10/14: 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 data-driven political research to answer such questions as “Are protests actually effective? How often, and under what conditions, do people engaged in protests actually get what they want? Even if they don’t get what they want, are there other indirect benefits (or costs) of protests? And what might make your next protest more likely to succeed?:” Political Circus: Do Protests Work? (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Thursday 11/14: Strong line-up of Robert Kelly, Rachel Feinstein, Joe DeRosa, and Corinne Fisher performing stand-up for hosts Justin Silver & Krystyna Hutchinson…who want to be sure you know they’re involved only comedically: We’re Not Banging (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)
Thursday 11/14: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show—which is now also a six-part series titled The Mortified Guide on Netflix: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 11/14: Storytellers Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; album The Human Comedy; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), Grant Bowen (writer/actor), and Katie Rivard (copywriter) tell comedic tales on this month’s theme Holidays for this long-running stage series and podcast hosted by the wonderful David Martin: The Nights of Our Lives: The Holidays (8:30 pm, $7, The Magnet at 254 West 29th Street)
Thursday 11/14: Stars Nikki Glaser (left; 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 Rachel Feinstein (right; 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), plus Katharyn Henson (co-host of podcasts Somewhat Scientific and Yikes Yikes Baby), Josef Anolin, and Peter Ryan O’Connell perform stand-up hosted by Joe Gorman: Dog & Pony (9:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)
Thursday 11/14: Skilled punsters Sam Corbin, Tim Donnelly, Jerzy Gwiazdowski, Ally Spier, and Nikolai Vanyo will show off their word expertise by punching up news headlines, tightening movie titles, merging words to create new terms, taking etymological deep-dives, and playing a variety of other word games: The PUN-ch Up (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Thursday 11/14: Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero, and previously for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe) invites comics Eudora Peterson, Benito Skinner, Ayo Edebiri, and Hannah Berner to perform pop songs, preceded by comedic presentations—plus a reading by Larry Owens: Pop Show (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 11/14: Seaton Smith (HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Chris Rock’s film Top Five, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show; album Greatest Album of the Year) performs a deliciously long stand-up set in an intimate venue, with several other talented stand-ups as openers: Seaton C. Smith (10:30 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)
Friday 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)
Friday 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)
Friday 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)
Friday 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)
Saturday 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)
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.)
Saturday 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)
Saturday 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)
Sunday 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)
Sunday 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)
Monday 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)
Monday 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)
Monday 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)
Thursday 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)
Wednesday 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)
Friday 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)
Friday 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)
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)
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 Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
Fat Black Pussycat Lounge
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s smaller, intimate, and lower-priced sister venue (next door to Village Underground), which serves as its primary home for solo shows and experimental shows—which means it’s sometimes the most exciting choice; 2-item min.
NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams
If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.
In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.
All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.
There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.
Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya
From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.
Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at email@example.com.