NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2019: Last Updated Wednesday 12/11

December 11, 2019

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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:

Pop Show 11Wednesday 12/11: 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 Natalie Walker, Rachel Pegram, Jes Tom, Max Wittert, and Walter Kelly to perform pop songs, preceded by comedic presentations: Pop Show (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Colin QuinnWednesday 12/11: A Broadway, TV, and film star who once said, “Marie Antoinette, I’m sure she was just misinterpreted. You know the ‘Let them eat cake’ line? She seems kind of funny, like a Kathy Griffin type” tries out new material tonight and tomorrow in an intimate club for his next mass media solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

World Champs at The StandWednesday 12/11: Stand-up from the great Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly; Netflix stand-up special America is the Greatest Country in the United States; bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), Joe List (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The StandUps, comedy albums So Far No Good and Are You Mad at Me?), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Rosebud Baker (Comedy Central), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of Frantic), and Drew Dunn (winner of the Boston Comedy Festival 2017 and Seattle International Comedy Competition 2018): World Champs at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Rich Vos 8Wednesday 12/11: As a backup for the first recording last night, Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; four Comedy Central specials; HBO, Showtime, Jimmy Kimmel; Opie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast) tapes his sixth stand-up album. (Rich’s fifth one, titled simply V, hit #1 on iTunes and Billboard, and was voted Best Comedy Album of the Year by the readers of Interrobang.) Come help Rich make this evening electric by lending your joy and getting your laughs immortalized at an intimate West Village club: Rich Vos Album Recording (8:30 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., Comedy Cellar’s Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

@thatsfunny TV Premiere Party & Stand-Up ShowWednesday 12/11: Celebrating the debut of @thatsfunny-TV is a great lineup of Dan Soder (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; HBO special Son of a Gary; Dudley Mafee on Showtime’s Billions; films Trainwreck, Drunk Parents; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The Standups, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, upcoming HBO special; hosts with Big Jay Oakerson Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), 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), Todd Barry (Netflix special Spicy Honey, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, co-star of feature film The Wrestler), Marina Franklin (staff writer for HBO’s Divorce; HBO’s Crashing, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, @midnight, Chappelle’s Show; film Trainwreck; stand-up special Single Black Female), Chris Laker (Jimmy Kimmel; opens for Mike Birbiglia; stand-up album Moments of Greatness), and Damien Lemon (host of TruTV’s Comedy Knockout; Comedy Central Half Hour; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court): @thatsfunny TV Premiere Party & Stand-Up Show (9:00 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Myka Fox and Frank Conniff: "Frank Conniff's Open Riff Night"Wednesday 12/11: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic; author of How to Write Cheesy Movies) hosts an open mic for MST3K-style riffing on film clips of awful movies, tonight with guest co-host Myka Fox (fearless, boundary-busting stand-up; SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network) . Sign-up is open to all, and riffing happens in randomly assigned groups of three, with no advance knowledge of what’s going to be screened. Whoever Frank and Myka decide is best will get to riff with them at the end of the night: Frank Conniff’s Open Riff Night (9:00 pm, $5 to riff or $8 to just watch, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Amanda Giobbi & Ariel Gitlins: "We Love You: A Fucking Positive Comedy Show"Wednesday 12/11: Alise Morales (above right; News & Politics Editor of Betches; Reductress, Above Average), Michael Hartney (top left; TV Land’s Throwing Shade, Broadway’s School of Rock; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Natasha Vaynblat (left; Comedy Central, IFC, Funny or Die, McSweeney’s, Reductress; ace improv group What I Did For Love) perform comedy for hosts Amanda Giobbi & Ariel Gitlin (middle), who ask you to “join us as we welcome some people we love to do some comedy they love and that we think you’ll love too:” We Love You: A Fucking Positive Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stand-Up Wednesday at The StandWednesday 12/11: Joe List (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The StandUps, comedy albums So Far No Good and Are You Mad at Me?), Luis J. Gomez (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Last Comic Standing, TruTV; co-host of podcast Legion of Skanks), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; host of podcast Wine Before Nine), Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr), and Ian Lara (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app): Stand-Up Wednesday at The Stand (10:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Earth 2 Judah FriedlanderWednesday 12/11: Judah Friedlander, or a reasonable facsimile, performs a deliciously long set of new material at an intimate West Village club: World Champion (10:30 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., Comedy Cellar’s Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd 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)

Characters Welcome: Characters Welcome: "Leather Father"Thursday 12/12: One of the best innovations of UCBT-NY Artistic Director Michael Hartney was creating a new category of house teams (beyond those for improv and sketch) devoted to talented comedic character actors. Tonight one of those two groups, Leather FatherJason 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)

Michael Ian Black 10Thursday 12/12: Comedy icon Michael Ian Black has acted in over a dozen movies, including Wet Hot American Summer; and in scores of TV series—including Netflix’s Insatiable, Comedy Central’s Another Period and The Jim Gaffigan Show, and such classics as seminal MTV sketch series The State and NBC’s Ed. He’s also the author of over a dozen books, including the 2016 bestseller A Child’s First Book of Trump. And on top of all that, he enjoys performing stand-up…which is what he’s doing tonight: Michael Ian Black Does Brooklyn (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)

MortifiedThursday 12/12: 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)

TV Sketch Show Auditions.jpgThursday 12/12: Following an established audition format for shows like SNL, sketch/character comics Melissa Aquiles, Gary DeNoia, Sarah Ann Houghton, Mary Cait Kelly, Dejen Tesfagiorgis, and Kaili Y. Turner will each perform three characters and three impersonations in an attempt to impress you—and whoever else might be watching: TV Sketch Show Audition Show (8:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Blank! The MusicalFriday 12/13: Musical improvisors—typically including the stellar and multi-talented Desi Domo (Comedy Central’s Alternatino; film The Conjuring; UCB’s Characters Welcome; indie improv group Miles From Pete) make up the story, songs, and dances of a new musical on the spot based on “fill in the blank” audience suggestions: Blank! The Musical (9:30 pm; $22.60 in advance online or $25 at the door; The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Friends Who Folk & FriendsSaturday 12/14: 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 Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow; live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; comedy album The Hits), Max Wittert (HBO’s High Maintenance), and Francesca D’Uva: Friends Who Folk & Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sketchy HistorySaturday 12/14: A highly popular show that reenacts bizarre events of the past, with all sketches researched, written, and directed by award-winning journalist Malorie Cunningham (ABC News, NBC News) and Heath Harckham (Food Network), and performed by comics including Malorie, Heath, Victoria Hoffman, Sophia Shefner, Mike Mike, Talia Heller, Ian Mather, and/or Mike Newkirk: Sketchy History (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

CentraliaSaturday 12/14: Groundbreaking acclaimed improvisors Patrick McCartney, Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott make up scenes that often have a theatrical quality: Centralia (8:00 pm; $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

North Coast 4Saturday 12/14: 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)

Book Club: Saturday 12/14: Blythe Roberson (bottom left; The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s; author of How to Date Men When You Hate Men) & Colin Stokes (bottom right; Associate Cartoon Editor at The New Yorker; The Onion, GQ) select a book, and then each guest comic uses it as a springboard for a set that might provide insights about the work but, more typically, have almost nothing to do with the book. If you actually love the book—which this month is cookbook Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman—you may find this a painful experience; but if you love snark, come. Plus this month’s comics are stellar: Jo Firestone (top right; 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), Karen Chee (top left; staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Fran Hoepfner (The Onion, Vulture, ClickHole, Maxim), and Dash Turner (improvisor): Book Club—A Comedy Show: Nothing Fancy (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

J.W. Crump: Saturday 12/14: Using low-brow horror films often purchased in local gas stations and bodegas, host J.W. Crump plays select clips for 30 seconds, then asks his talented cast of improvisers—Sean Reidy, Connor McClure, B. J. Thorne, Josh Krebs, Kaitlin Fontana, Sam Jackel, Michelle Francesca Thomas, Tim Mele, Ali Gordon, Jordan Hirsch, Alyson Cripps, and/or Táhlia Robinson—to complete the scene: Gas Station Horror (10:30 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Eliot Glazer's Sunday 12/15: “Eliot Glazer, a classically trained vocalist-turned-comedian, takes some of pop music’s most infamous songs and turns them into highbrow, sweeping ballads. Like a twisted version of MTV Unplugged, Austin City Limits, or VH1 Storytellers, it’s an intimate night of bad music made good,” with an incredible lineup of singing Saturday Night Live cast members: Melissa Villaseñor (force-of-nature voiceover artist who’s performed characters for Family Guy, Scooby Doo, and many other shows; also a brilliant illustrator and moving singer/songwriter whose first music album is Dreamer), Cecily Strong (left), and Ego Nwodim (right); plus iconic fashion designer Isaac Mizrath!: Haunting Renditions (7:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sean McLoughlinSunday 12/15: UK-based comic Sean McLoughlin (Comedy Central, Viceland; co-hosts the podcast Sean & Eliot Read The Bible; album Support Act) performs an hour of stand-up in Brooklyn for one night only: Sean McLoughlin (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It ComedyMonday 12/16: This 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 Sagittarius stand-ups include Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), and Jes Tom (Reductress): Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Becky Chicoine and Amanda GiobbiTuesday 12/17: Comedic characters by hosts Becky Chicoine (above left; Comedy Central; half of sketch duo Girls With Brown Hair) and Amanda Giobbi (above right; webseries Puppet Soap Opera; co-host of Power Hour) and their guests Chrissy Shackelford, Jason Gore, Rachel Joravsky, Ariel Gitlin, and more. There’ll probably be fun surprises, because according to the hosts “The less you know, the better:” Huge Character Showcase (6:00 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 12/17: 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)

David Lawson: Thursday 12/19: Superb storyteller David Lawson (Comedy Central; solo shows include The Flyer Guy, No Oddjob, The Prequels; host of The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show) performs a one-man show “standing onstage judging people who are seeking The White House in 2020. The only qualification David has? He’s read their books:” David Lawson’s 2020 Book Report (7:30 pm, $15, The Kraine Theatre at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue; followed at 9:00 pm by a live screening of the Democratic Debate)

X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in ConcertFriday 12/20: “When a mutant-hunting robot decimates the X-Men mansion on Christmas Eve, can our heroes overcome their differences to create the best X-Mas yet? Not if that grinch Magneto has anything to say about it!” This musical’s book & lyrics are by Sarah A. Mucek and its music by Christian Duhamel; for a sample from 2017, please click here. There are just two chances to experience the show this year at The PIT, tonight and Saturday: X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in Concert (8:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Blank! The MusicalFriday 12/20: Musical improvisors—typically including the stellar and multi-talented Desi Domo (Comedy Central’s Alternatino; film The Conjuring; UCB’s Characters Welcome; indie improv group Miles From Pete) make up the story, songs, and dances of a new musical on the spot based on “fill in the blank” audience suggestions: Blank! The Musical (9:30 pm; $22.60 in advance online or $25 at the door; The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Sloan Brettholtz & Julie Tran: "Dark With a Chance of Stupid"Friday 12/20: Comedy duo Sloan Brettholtz & Julie Tran perform dark and silly sketches they’re written for the holidays: Dark With a Chance of Stupid (9:30 pm, $12, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Johnathan Appel and Marina di Marzo 2Saturday 12/21: Indie character group Poughkeepsie—which consists of Johnathan Appel (above left; writer for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and PIT sketch group Boogiemanja; Producer & Teaching Artist for Story Pirates; host of Some Fun Lines, the only open mic for satire & humor writing), Marina di Marzo (above right; Producer for CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter; previously Associate Producer for MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber), Hugh Hobbs, Rafael Rautha, Kevin Necciai, Mary Nepi, Julia Ogilvie, and Kathleen Cameron—performs brand new characters every month to surprise and delight you: Poughkeepsie’s Character Showcase (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Beth StelllingSaturday 12/21: Beth Stelling (Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, @midnight, Corporate, and High Court; Netflix special The Standups 1.5; Amazon’s Red Oaks; written for HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Another Period, and Hulu’s I Love You America with Sara Silverman) performs a solo stand-up show in Brooklyn: Beth Stelling (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Josh Gondelman, Lane Moore, Hari Kondabolu, and Frank Conniff: Saturday 12/21: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guests Josh Gondelman (left; 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; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Hari Kondabolu (top right; 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), and Frank Conniff (bottom right; TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic) : Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 12/21: 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)

X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in ConcertFriday 12/20: “When a mutant-hunting robot decimates the X-Men mansion on Christmas Eve, can our heroes overcome their differences to create the best X-Mas yet? Not if that grinch Magneto has anything to say about it!” This musical’s book & lyrics are by Sarah A. Mucek and its music by Christian Duhamel; for a sample from 2017, please click here. This is the final performance of its two-night PIT run: X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in Concert (10:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Gary DeNoia: "Celebrities Teach Kids Sh*t"Friday 12/27: In this one-man show, comic & impressionist Gary DeNoia plays Nicolas Cage, Vin Diesel, and other celebrities teaching children—and you—lessons through books, games, and more (directed by Desmond Thorne): Celebrities Teach Kids Sh*t (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Maryann Aita: "My Dysfunctional Vagina"Saturday 12/28-Monday 12/30: Maryann Aita describes her one-woman show as follows: “After several disappointing visits with a gynecologist, and many failed efforts to Sex and the City it up with friends, ‘Detective’ Maryann takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on with her body and how to fix it, relying mostly on whatever she could find on Amazon.com. This is a hilarious (and just a touch sentimental) show about a woman taking charge of her own body that’s perfect for fans of Law & Order, vibrators, and vagina: My Dysfunctional Vagina (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street; running tonight, Sunday, and Monday at 7:00 pm)

Ben Tomassetti & Kevin C. Hill: "Jeez!"Saturday 12/28: Ben Tomassetti & Kevin C. Hill play rock duo Tips Moncrief & Gary Van Patten, a band named Jeez “known for its pedestrian ‘hits’ in the 80’s such as ‘Teen Crocodile,’ ’96 Olympics in Cincinatti,’ and ‘Talk to Me (You Dirty Dirty Dirty Computer).’ The guys are hitting the road again in support of a Greatest Hits album—as bands do. Tonight they discuss their songs Storyteller’s style—or at least that’s what their tour manager told them they were doing. Come see your oddball uncle’s second favorite band:” Jeez! The “Greatest Hits of 1979-1992” Tour (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 12/28: 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)

Naomi Ekperigin & Andy Beckerman: "Couples Therapy"Sunday 12/29: This charming show puts comics who are duos behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together,with tonight’s close friends and/or couples TBA hosted by lovers Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour; staff writer for NBC’s Great News; former writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, host of podcast Beginnings): Couples Therapy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Chris GethardTuesday 12/31: Chris Gethard (star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; producer of fresh comedy webseries Chris Gethard Presents) and a bunch of his friends TBA perform comedy on New Year’s Eve. Come for just the show, running from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, or buy a “Party Package” that includes drinks, music and dancing post-show to celebrate 2020: Pregame with Gethard and Friends (7:00 pm; $15 for 2-hour show only, $35 for “Party Package” that also includes food/drinks at Parklife and a Littlefield afterparty; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett 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.

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 December 2019: Last Updated Tuesday 12/10

December 10, 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:

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)

Colin QuinnTuesday 12/10: A beloved Broadway, TV, and film star who said, “The thing that drives me crazy is when comics say ‘I have low self-esteem.’ No, you don’t. You’re standing on stage asking people to pay. You don’t play an instrument. You want people to pay to hear what’s in your mind. You don’t have low self-esteem. You might have other problems.” tries out new material in an intimate club for his next mass media solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 12/10: 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)

Dan Soder & Big Jay Oakerson: "he Bonfire Live Holiday Spectacular"Tuesday 12/10: Top comics Dan Soder & Big Jay Oakerson do a live-on-stage version of their highly popular Comedy Central Radio Sirius XM 95 show to celebrate the season. This is SOLD OUT, but you can try getting in by arriving early and waiting on the stand-by line: The Bonfire Live Holiday Spectacular (8:30 pm, $14 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s Village Underground at 130 West 3rd Street off Sixth Avenue)

Rich Vos 10Tuesday 12/10: Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; four Comedy Central specials; HBO, Showtime, Jimmy Kimmel; Opie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast) tapes his sixth stand-up album. (Rich’s fifth one, titled simply V, hit #1 on iTunes and Billboard, and was voted Best Comedy Album of the Year by the readers of Interrobang.) Come help Rich make this evening electric by lending your joy and getting your laughs immortalized at an intimate West Village club: Rich Vos Album Recording (8:30 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., Comedy Cellar’s Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Northern DiscomfortTuesday 12/10: 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), Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Ian Lara (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Ray DeVito (The Jim Gaffigan Show, MTV; co-host of The Ghole Podcast) and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas) perform stand-up for host Josh Carter (Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Jim Gaffigan Show): Northern Discomfort (9:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

The Stand 12-10-19.jpgTuesday 12/10: Great lineup of 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), Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland; feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Michael Kosta (correspondent for The Daily Show), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), and Janelle Draper (IFC): $5 Funnies (10:00 pm, $5 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Ziwe Fumudoh: Wednesday 12/11: 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 Joyelle Nicole, Natalie Walker, Rachel Pegram, and Max Wittert to perform pop songs, preceded by comedic presentations: Pop Show (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Amanda Giobbi & Ariel Gitlins: Wednesday 12/11: Alise Morales (News & Politics Editor of Betches; Reductress, Above Average), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade, Broadway’s School of Rock, ; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Natasha Vaynblat (Comedy Central, Funny or Die, McSweeney’s, Reductress; ace improv group What I Did For Love) perform comedy for hosts Amanda Giobbi & Ariel Gitlins (above), who ask you to “join us as we welcome some people we love to do some comedy they love and that we think you’ll love too:” We Love You: A Fucking Positive Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union 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)

MortifiedThursday 12/12: 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)

TV Sketch Show Auditions.jpgThursday 12/12: Following an established audition format for shows like SNL, sketch/character comics Melissa Aquiles, Gary DeNoia, Sarah Ann Houghton, Mary Cait Kelly, Dejen Tesfagiorgis, and Kaili Y. Turner will each perform three characters and three impersonations in an attempt to impress you—and whoever else might be watching: TV Sketch Show Audition Show (8:30 pm, $10, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Blank! The MusicalFriday 12/13: Musical improvisors—typically including the stellar and multi-talented Desi Domo (Comedy Central’s Alternatino; film The Conjuring; UCB’s Characters Welcome; indie improv group Miles From Pete) make up the story, songs, and dances of a new musical on the spot based on “fill in the blank” audience suggestions: Blank! The Musical (9:30 pm; $22.60 in advance online or $25 at the door; The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Friends Who Folk & FriendsSaturday 12/14: 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 Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow; live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; comedy album The Hits), Max Wittert (HBO’s High Maintenance), and Francesca D’Uva: Friends Who Folk & Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sketchy HistorySaturday 12/14: A highly popular show that reenacts bizarre events of the past, with all sketches researched, written, and directed by award-winning journalist Malorie Cunningham (ABC News, NBC News) and Heath Harckham (Food Network), and performed by comics including Malorie, Heath, Victoria Hoffman, Sophia Shefner, Mike Mike, Talia Heller, Ian Mather, and/or Mike Newkirk: Sketchy History (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

CentraliaSaturday 12/14: Groundbreaking acclaimed improvisors Patrick McCartney, Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott make up scenes that often have a theatrical quality: Centralia (8:00 pm; $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

North Coast 4Saturday 12/14: 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)

Book Club: Saturday 12/14: Blythe Roberson (bottom left; The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s; author of How to Date Men When You Hate Men) & Colin Stokes (bottom right; Associate Cartoon Editor at The New Yorker; The Onion, GQ) select a book, and then each guest comic uses it as a springboard for a set that might provide insights about the work but, more typically, have almost nothing to do with the book. If you actually love the book—which this month is cookbook Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman—you may find this a painful experience; but if you love snark, come. Plus this month’s comics are stellar: Jo Firestone (top right; 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), Karen Chee (top left; staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Fran Hoepfner (The Onion, Vulture, ClickHole, Maxim), and Dash Turner (improvisor): Book Club—A Comedy Show: Nothing Fancy (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

J.W. Crump: "Gas Station Horror"Saturday 12/14: Using low-brow horror films often purchased in local gas stations and bodegas, host J.W. Crump plays select clips for 30 seconds, then asks his talented cast of improvisers—Sean Reidy, Connor McClure, B. J. Thorne, Josh Krebs, Kaitlin Fontana, Sam Jackel, Michelle Francesca Thomas, Tim Mele, Ali Gordon, Jordan Hirsch, Alyson Cripps, and/or Táhlia Robinson—to complete the scene: Gas Station Horror (10:30 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Eliot Glazer's Sunday 12/15: “Eliot Glazer, a classically trained vocalist-turned-comedian, takes some of pop music’s most infamous songs and turns them into highbrow, sweeping ballads. Like a twisted version of MTV Unplugged, Austin City Limits, or VH1 Storytellers, it’s an intimate night of bad music made good,” with an incredible lineup of singing Saturday Night Live cast members: Melissa Villaseñor (force-of-nature voiceover artist who’s performed characters for Family Guy, Scooby Doo, and many other shows; also a brilliant illustrator and moving singer/songwriter whose first music album is Dreamer), Cecily Strong (left), and Ego Nwodim (right); plus iconic fashion designer Isaac Mizrath!: Haunting Renditions (7:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sean McLoughlinSunday 12/15: UK-based comic Sean McLoughlin (Comedy Central, Viceland; co-hosts the podcast Sean & Eliot Read The Bible; album Support Act) performs an hour of stand-up in Brooklyn for one night only: Sean McLoughlin (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It ComedyMonday 12/16: This 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 Sagittarius stand-ups include Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), and Jes Tom (Reductress): Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 12/17: 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)

David Lawson: "The 2020 Book Report"Thursday 12/19: Superb storyteller David Lawson (Comedy Central; solo shows include The Flyer Guy, No Oddjob, The Prequels; host of The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show) performs a one-man show “standing onstage judging people who are seeking The White House in 2020. The only qualification David has? He’s read their books:” David Lawson’s 2020 Book Report (7:30 pm, $15, The Kraine Theatre at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue; followed at 9:00 pm by a live screening of the Democratic Debate)

X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in ConcertFriday 12/20: “When a mutant-hunting robot decimates the X-Men mansion on Christmas Eve, can our heroes overcome their differences to create the best X-Mas yet? Not if that grinch Magneto has anything to say about it!” This musical’s book & lyrics are by Sarah A. Mucek and its music by Christian Duhamel; for a sample from 2017, please click here. There are just two chances to experience the show this year at The PIT, tonight and Saturday: X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in Concert (8:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Blank! The MusicalFriday 12/20: Musical improvisors—typically including the stellar and multi-talented Desi Domo (Comedy Central’s Alternatino; film The Conjuring; UCB’s Characters Welcome; indie improv group Miles From Pete) make up the story, songs, and dances of a new musical on the spot based on “fill in the blank” audience suggestions: Blank! The Musical (9:30 pm; $22.60 in advance online or $25 at the door; The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Josh Gondelman, Lane Moore, Hari Kondabolu, and Frank Conniff: Saturday 12/21: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guests Josh Gondelman (left; 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; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Hari Kondabolu (top right; 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), and Frank Conniff (bottom right; TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic) : Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 12/21: 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)

X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in ConcertFriday 12/20: “When a mutant-hunting robot decimates the X-Men mansion on Christmas Eve, can our heroes overcome their differences to create the best X-Mas yet? Not if that grinch Magneto has anything to say about it!” This musical’s book & lyrics are by Sarah A. Mucek and its music by Christian Duhamel; for a sample from 2017, please click here. This is the final performance of its two-night PIT run: X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical in Concert (10:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 12/28: 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)

Chris GethardTuesday 12/31: Chris Gethard (star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; producer of fresh comedy webseries Chris Gethard Presents) and a bunch of his friends TBA perform comedy on New Year’s Eve. Come for just the show, running from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, or buy a “Party Package” that includes drinks, music and dancing post-show to celebrate 2020: Pregame with Gethard and Friends (7:00 pm; $15 for 2-hour show only, $35 for “Party Package” that also includes food/drinks at Parklife and a Littlefield afterparty; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett 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.

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 December 2019: Last Updated Sunday 12/8

December 8, 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:

Bacon Bits Brunch ShowSunday 12/8: Enjoy brunch with laughs at this comedy show that provides free bacon and $20 bottomless mimosas along with ace comics Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland), Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots; host with Marie Faustin of podcast The Unofficial Expert; host with Marie Faustin & Aminah Imani of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit), Kristen Toomey (#1 on iTunes stand-up album Mother. F*cker.), Amy Miller (Comedy Central Stand-Up, Last Comic Standing; host of podcast Who’s Your God?; stand-up album Solid Gold), and host Remy Kassimir (host of podcast How Cum): Bacon Bits Brunch Show (3:00 pm, $15, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Joe Perrow & Sam Mazany: "Sorry Not Sorry"Sunday 12/8: Storytellers share tales of when they did something terrible—but if given the chance would absolutely do the same thing again! Featuring the great Sean Patton, SallyAnn Hall, Sam Evans, Jared Waters, and Dara Jemmott hosted by Joe Perrow & Sam Mazany: Sorry Not Sorry (7:00 pm, $10, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

 

Lorelei Ramirez, Tim Platt, and Peter Mills Weiss: "A Date with Sloop Jumbly"Sunday 12/8: Lorelei Ramirez (fresh, explosively brilliant comic; Adult Swim, VICE), Tim Platt (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central, Sesame Street; member of The Story Pirates and Cartoon Monsoon; host of podcast Hampton High), and Peter Mills Weiss perform & host “a night of sketches and stories and sorrows” that provide “absurd, thoughtful catharsis.” If you enjoy the cool and different, consider going on A Date with Sloop Jumbly (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sunday Night at The StandSunday 12/8: Stand-up from Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Francis Ellis (Senior Editor of BroBible.com, co-host of Oops the Podcast), Luis J. Gomez (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Last Comic Standing, TruTV; co-host of podcast Legion of Skanks), Kristen Toomey (#1 on iTunes stand-up album Mother. F*cker.), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Nina Daniels (The Last O.G., Shameless, Maron), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas):: Sunday Night at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

New Material NightSunday 12/8: Mary Houlihan (The New Yorker, Difficult People, The Chris Gethard Show, Cartoon Monsoon), Alise Morales (News & Politics Editor of Betches; Reductress, Above Average; voice of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Showtime’s Our Cartoon President), Christian Finnegan (three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; TBS, VH1, MSNBC, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show; stand-up album 60% Joking), and Phil Jamesson (YouTube star) 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, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street; Please Note: Jordan Klepper was slated to headline tonight, but he had to cancel. Jordan may be back on a later show.)

 

Comedy at the Knit 12-8-19.jpgSunday 12/8: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth; Amazon special Pizza Mind; podcast Best Friends), Hadiyah Robinson (The Nightly Show, MTV, Oxygen), Megan Stalter (star of webseries The Megan Stalter Show; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour), Amy Miller (Comedy Central Stand-Up, Last Comic Standing; host of podcast Who’s Your God?; stand-up album Solid Gold), Rojo Perez (HBO’s Entre Nos: Spot On, Conan O’Brien, MTV’s Decoded, TruTV), and Mark Gregory perform stand-up for stellar hosts Sydnee Washington, Marie Faustin, and Aminah Imani: Comedy Night at the Knit (9:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue; take the G/L subway to Lorimer Street-Metropolitan Avenue)

Comedy Fight ClubSunday 12/8: This weekly competitive roast battle tonight features a main bout of long-time friends Dylan Negri vs. DC Williams judged by Zac Amico, Ryan Long, Danny Polishchuk, and Chris from Brooklyn hosted by Matt Maran: Comedy Fight Club (9:00 pm; $8.13 online using code CFC, otherwise $13.13; The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

NYU's "Comic Sans" Sketch ComedySunday 12/8: New York University’s sketch comedy group Comic Sans (consisting of Graham Dunn, Pete Simmons-Hayes, Hamilton O’Toole, Simon Ong, Jenna Sherriton, Nikki Haririan, George Hajjar, Sophie Bramnick, Kyle Ryan, Elliot Ong, Lucas Kernan, Jared Kirsch, Sophia Rogers, Michael Oluokun, Behnam Ardebili, Hannah Fewel, Sara Pachauri, and/or Erin Dugan) performs its latest bits at The PIT for one night only: Comics Sans Presents: The End (9:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

If You Build ItSunday 12/8: From top left to right: 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; stand-up album 60% Joking), Pat Burtscher (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Amy Miller (Comedy Central Stand-Up, Last Comic Standing; host of podcast Who’s Your God?; stand-up album Solid Gold), Caitlin Peluffo (Stephen Colbert, co-host of Karen), host Alison Leiby (writer for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, former writer for Comedy Central’s The Opposition and The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Rebecca Vigil (powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), Pete Bladel (TruTV), and Conner McNutt perform stand-up in the East Village: If You Build It (9:30 pm, $9, UCB at SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street—take #6 subway to Bleecker Street stop)

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)

Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and MaeveMonday 12/9: Stand-up from Meg Statler, Amy Miller, Rachel Pegram, Drew Anderson, Norlex Belma, and Wendy Wroblewski, plus music from DJ Donwill, hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers) and Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; 10:00 pm afterparty at Parklife at 636 Degraw Street)

Rich Vos & Bonnie McFarlane: "Would You Bang Him?"

Monday 12/9: Married couple Rich Vos & Bonnie McFarlane host this unusual comedy game show they describe as “part stand-up, part roast, and all good harmless sexist fun. Here’s how it works: Male comedians perform stand-up for a panel of female comedians. After each set, the women decide—sometimes in graphic detail—if they would ‘bang’ him.'” The guy stand-ups tonight are Francis Ellis, Brendan Sagalow, Ryan Long, Lev Fer, and Usama Siddiquee; and the judges are Carmen Lynch, Hannah Berner, Mehran Khaghani, and Vanessa Ramos: Would You Bang Him? (8:00 pm, $20, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Frantic!Monday 12/9: Killer lineup—for any show, let alone this free one—of Erica Rhodes (star visiting from LA; HBO’s Veep, ABC’s Modern Family, FOX’s New Girl, @midnight, IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang, A Prairie Home Companion, Howard Sterm; #1 stand-up album Sad Lemon), Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland), Joe List (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The StandUps, comedy albums So Far No Good and Are You Mad at Me?), Amy Miller (Comedy Central Stand-Up, Last Comic Standing; host of podcast Who’s Your God?; stand-up album Solid Gold), Caitlin Peluffo (Stephen Colbert, co-host of Karen), and Nick Mullen (co-host of podcast Cum Town) trying out material at this free weekly show hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) and/or Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV): Frantic! (10:00 pm, Free!, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th 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)

Ziwe Fumudoh: "Pop Show"Wednesday 12/11: 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 Joyelle Nicole, Natalie Walker, Rachel Pegram, and Max Wittert to perform pop songs, preceded by comedic presentations: Pop Show (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Amanda Giobbi & Ariel Gitlins: "We Love You: A Fucking Positive Comedy Show"Wednesday 12/11: Alise Morales (News & Politics Editor of Betches; Reductress, Above Average), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade, Broadway’s School of Rock, ; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Natasha Vaynblat (Comedy Central, Funny or Die, McSweeney’s, Reductress; ace improv group What I Did For Love) perform comedy for hosts Amanda Giobbi & Ariel Gitlins (above), who ask you to “join us as we welcome some people we love to do some comedy they love and that we think you’ll love too:” We Love You: A Fucking Positive Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union 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)

MortifiedThursday 12/12: 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)

Friends Who Folk & FriendsSaturday 12/14: 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 Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow; live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; comedy album The Hits), Max Wittert (HBO’s High Maintenance), and Francesca D’Uva: Friends Who Folk & Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Book Club: "Nothing Fancy"Saturday 12/14: Blythe Roberson (bottom left; The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s; author of How to Date Men When You Hate Men) & Colin Stokes (bottom right; Associate Cartoon Editor at The New Yorker; The Onion, GQ) select a book, and then each guest comic uses it as a springboard for a set that might provide insights about the work but, more typically, have almost nothing to do with the book. If you actually love the book—which this month is cookbook Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman—you may find this a painful experience; but if you love snark, come. Plus this month’s comics are stellar: Jo Firestone (top right; 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), Karen Chee (top left; staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Fran Hoepfner (The Onion, Vulture, ClickHole, Maxim), and Dash Turner (improvisor): Book Club—A Comedy Show: Nothing Fancy (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Eliot Glazer's "Haunting Renditions"Sunday 12/15: “Eliot Glazer, a classically trained vocalist-turned-comedian, takes some of pop music’s most infamous songs and turns them into highbrow, sweeping ballads. Like a twisted version of MTV Unplugged, Austin City Limits, or VH1 Storytellers, it’s an intimate night of bad music made good,” with an incredible lineup of singing Saturday Night Live cast members: Melissa Villaseñor (force-of-nature voiceover artist who’s performed characters for Family Guy, Scooby Doo, and many other shows; also a brilliant illustrator and moving singer/songwriter whose first music album is Dreamer), Cecily Strong (left), and Ego Nwodim (right); plus iconic fashion designer Isaac Mizrath!: Haunting Renditions (7:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sean McLoughlinSunday 12/15: UK-based comic Sean McLoughlin (Comedy Central, Viceland; co-hosts the podcast Sean & Eliot Read The Bible; album Support Act) performs an hour of stand-up in Brooklyn for one night only: Sean McLoughlin (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It ComedyMonday 12/16: This 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 Sagittarius stand-ups include Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), and Jes Tom (Reductress): Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Josh Gondelman, Lane Moore, Hari Kondabolu, and Frank Conniff: "Tinder Live"Saturday 12/21: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guests Josh Gondelman (left; 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; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Hari Kondabolu (top right; 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), and Frank Conniff (bottom right; TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic) : Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Chris GethardTuesday 12/31: Chris Gethard (star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; producer of fresh comedy webseries Chris Gethard Presents) and a bunch of his friends TBA perform comedy on New Year’s Eve. Come for just the show, running from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, or buy a “Party Package” that includes drinks, music and dancing post-show to celebrate 2020: Pregame with Gethard and Friends (7:00 pm; $15 for 2-hour show only, $35 for “Party Package” that also includes food/drinks at Parklife and a Littlefield afterparty; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett 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.

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 December 2019: Last Updated Saturday 12/7

December 7, 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:

Wil Sylvince

Saturday 12/7: Wil Sylvince (HBO’s Crashing and Def Comedy Jam, Comedy Central’s Chappelle’s Show, Showtime, film Top Five; has toured with D.L. Hughley, Damon Wayans, Katt Williams) performs a deliciously long stand-up set on an intimate Comedy Cellar stage: Wil Sylvince (6:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Picture This!Saturday 12/7: In this unique show, animators—including Dan Pinto & Gabe Pinto—spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups Dave Hill, Allison Leiby, Shalewa Sharpe, Wendi Starling, and Mike Feeney to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance (regular on SiriusXM’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central Radio): Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stars at The StandSaturday 12/7: Outstanding lineup of 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), 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), Marina Franklin (staff writer for HBO’s Divorce; HBO’s Crashing, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, @midnight, Chappelle’s Show; film Trainwreck; stand-up special Single Black Female), 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), Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV2, FX), and movie & TV star Janeane Garofalo: Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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)

Nikki Glaser, Subhah Agarwal, and MoreSaturday 12/7: Stand-up from 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), Kristen Toomey (#1 on iTunes stand-up album Mother. F*cker.), 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), Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas), and Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW): Laurie Kilmartin, Kristen Toomey, and More (9:00 pm & 11:00 pm, $20 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Ben Asher: "Double Plus Good Comedy"Saturday 12/7: 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), Eman El Husseini (opens for Patton Oswalt; stand-up albums Unveiled and Handsome Daughter), Ray Gootz (stand-up album Go Down Swinging), and Misho Shakur (“America’s top-rated Syrian Refugee Comedian”) perform extra-long stand-up sets hosted by Ben Asher: Double Plus Good Comedy (9:00 pm, $5 suggested contribution or $1 for students, but paying is optional; Brooklyn’s Cherry Tree Bar at 65 Fourth Avenue; take 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R subway to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center)

Dan Soder HBO Special: "Son of a Gary"Saturday 12/7: Dan Soder is a popular actor (Dudley Mafee on Showtime’s Billions) and radio host (SiriusXM 95’s The Bonfire with co-host Big Jay Oakerson). But on top of all that, Dan is one of the very finest stand-up comics alive—and he’ll be letting the world know it at 10:00 pm via his first hour-long special, Son of a Gary, on HBO. Whether you tune in live or stream at your leisure, don’t miss it.

Stars at The StandSaturday 12/7: Great lineup of stand-ups 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), 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), Marina Franklin (staff writer for HBO’s Divorce; HBO’s Crashing, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, @midnight, Chappelle’s Show; film Trainwreck; stand-up special Single Black Female), 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), Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV2, FX), and 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): Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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 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 December 2019: Last Updated Thursday 12/5

December 5, 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:

The 2nd Annual Janelle James Comedy FestivalThursday 12/5-Saturday 12/7: Janelle James (staff writer for Showtime’s Black Monday; Seth Meyers, HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, Comedy Central’s @midnight; has toured with Amy Schumer and Chris Rock) produces this second annual comedy mini-festival, consisting of three Bell House shows happening tonight, Friday, and Saturday. You can see any individual show for $20, or go all in on the fest with a 3-night festival pass for $55. Tonight’s event features Ilana Glazer, Abi Sanchez, Kristen Toomey, Daniel Simonsen, and Chloé Hilliard and is titled Comedians That Don’t Owe Me Money. It’s likely to be a fun, high-energy way to kick off The 2nd Annual Janelle James Comedy Festival (Thursday-Saturday, 8:00 pm, $20-$55, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling ShowThursday 12/5: Open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner whose name is picked from a basket receiving 5 minutes on stage to share something that happened in his or her life, hosted by David Lawson (Comedy Central; solo storytelling shows include The Flyer Guy, No Oddjob, The Prequels; and The 2020 Book Report): The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show (7:00 pm, Free!, Astoria Bookshop at 31-29 31st Street)

Dan PerlmanThursday 12/5: Dan Perlman (cast member of MTV’s Vidiots; co-writer, co-director, and co-star of series Flatbush Misdemeanors; written for Lewis Black and Roy Wood Jr.) records a stand-up album via early and late shows. Come share your joy and have your laugh immortalized at Dan Perlman Album Recording (7:30 pm and 10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Francis Ellis & Ashley Hesseltine: "Stay Humble"Thursday 12/5: Francis Ellis (Senior Editor of BroBible.com, co-host of Oops the Podcast) and Ashley Hesseltine (founder of BrosBeingBasic, co-host of podcast Girls Gotta Eat) tell jokes and stories for this monthly show: Stay Humble (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

The Roast of HistoryThursday 12/5: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comicss Manolo Moreno (Dr. Gameshow, Comedy Central), Kady Ruth Ashcraft (IFC, Reductress), MK Doherty (MTV, TruTV), and Juliet Prather (MTV) roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention hosted by Matt Strickland (Comedy Central): 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)

Baron Vaughn & Open Mike Eagle: Friday 12/6-Saturday 12/7: Day #2 of the Janelle James Comedy Festival features Baron Vaughn & Open Mike Eagle (hosts of Comedy Central’s The New Negroes) hosting stellar comics Kevin Iso, Yassir Lester, Hadiyah Robinson, Jannelle James, and more: A Black Ass Show (8:00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Modern WhitneyFriday 12/6: Comics Ari Durnell, Rachel Sennott, Bradley Sinanan, and Kylie Holloway 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)

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, $25, 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 December 2019: Last Updated Wednesday 12/4

December 4, 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:

Chanel AliWednesday 12/4: Chanel Ali (MTV’s Girl Code, Starz, TruTV) records a comedy album via early and late shows. Come lend your joy and get your laughs immortalized at Chanel Ali Stand-Up Album Recording (7:00 pm and 9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Daniel Kitson: Wednesday 12/4-Thursday 12/19: UK-based brilliant writer/performer/lightning-wit Daniel Kitson is back in NYC, and tonight kicks off a two-week run of his new solo show titled Keep playing in Brooklyn. I don’t know to what extent it’s comedic vs. dramatic, but a fair bet is it’s a tasty blend. Barring something going awry, I’ll be seeing it tomorrow. If it sort-of qualifies as a comedy show, I’ll report on it here. Either way, it’s always wonderful to see Daniel Kitson, and on that basis alone I recommend you nab tickets—which, per Daniel’s policy of high accessibility, are an affordable $25 across the board: Daniel Kitson: Keep (8:00, $25, Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse at 45 Water Street; take the F subway to York Street, or the A/C to High Street-Brooklyn Bridge, or the 2/3 to Clark Street)

Sweethearts of ComedyWednesday 12/4: Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow; live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; comedy album The Hits), Clare O’Kane (Comedy Central Half Hour, Amazon’s Budding Prospects, Viceland’s Flophouse, webseries Semi-Famous; former writer for SpongeBob SquarePants; stand-up album Let It Be), Megan Stalter (star of webseries The Megan Stalter Show; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), and Joe Castle Baker (host of monthly Williamsburg show Get Reel) perform stand-up for Tim Platt (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central, Sesame Street; member of The Story Pirates and Cartoon Monsoon; host of podcast Hampton High) & Drew Anderson (McSweeney’s, Reductress; co-host of Stevie): Sweethearts of Comedy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stars at The StandWednesday 12/4: Great lineup of Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Erica Rhodes (HBO’s Veep, ABC’s Modern Family, FOX’s New Girl, @midnight, IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang, A Prairie Home Companion, Howard Sterm; #1 stand-up album Sad Lemon), Andrew Schulz (Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, Hulu’s There’s…Johnny!, HBO’s Crashing, Netflix, MTV, co-host of podcast The Brilliant Idiots), Michael Kosta (correspondent for The Daily Show), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Sal Vulcano (co-star of TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of Frantic): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Maria DeCotis, Jeff Simmermon, Rojo Perez, Dina Hashem: Wednesday 12/4: The luminous Maria DeCotis (above left; Comedy Central, Mike Birbiglia’s The New One, champion improv group The Sister Wives), Dina Hashem (right; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Stand-Up and Roast Battle), Jeff Simmermon (middle top; NPR’s This American Life, Moth GrandSlam Champion, comedy album & show And I Am Not Lying), Rojo Perez (middle bottom; HBO’s Entre Nos: Spot On, Conan O’Brien, MTV’s Decoded, TruTV), Maddy Smith (MTV’s Wild N Out), Will Abeles (stand-up album Regrets of My Father), and Lindsay Boling perform stand-up hosted by Ahri Findling: Hey! It’s a Comedy Show (8:00 pm, $5 [includes one free beer—make free online reservation and then pay at door], Brooklyn’s Silver Light Tavern at 689 Lorimer Street; take L subway to Lorimer Street)

The Sister WivesWednesday 12/4: The Sister Wives is an improv group that’s a UCB Cage Match champion, and is comprised of Maria DeCotis (front; racing over from Brooklyn show directly above), Felicia Blum, Emily Bradshaw, Molly Brown, Emily Evans, Eileen Hanley, and Lauren Schiebly. Tonight the team hosts female comics in “a variety slumber party for a night of gossip, pillow fights, and maybe even drawing penises on each other’s faces:” Sister Wives Slumber Party (9:30 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

The Stand 12-4-19 2Wednesday 12/4: Strong lineup of Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, creator & former host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive, Netflix special Double Negative), Andrew Schulz (Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, Hulu’s There’s…Johnny!, HBO’s Crashing, Netflix, MTV, co-host of podcast The Brilliant Idiots), Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; Comedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV2, FX), Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr), Sal Vulcano (co-star of TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and Amy Miller (Last Comic Standing; host of podcast Who’s Your God?; stand-up album Solid Gold): Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Why Your Train is F*cked: Service ChangesThursday 12/5: This monthly comedic show about the MTA tonight deals with one of the most frustrating aspects of the NYC transit system: service changes. “We’ve all been there. You’re about to head out for Saturday brunch in Queens when you think, Wait, is the R running this weekend? What’s up with the Q26? Can I even get to where I need to go? So what are service changes even about, and who decides we need them? This month we dive into the forces driving these nuisances: issues with weather, signals, track, even holidays.” Helping untangle it all wil be guest Stephanie Burgos-Veras, a native New Yorker and Campaign Manager of the Riders Alliance, plus hosts Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked: Service Changes (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)

The 2nd Annual Janelle James Comedy FestivalThursday 12/5-Saturday 12/7: Janelle James (staff writer for Showtime’s Black Monday; Seth Meyers, HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, Comedy Central’s @midnight; has toured with Amy Schumer and Chris Rock) produces this second annual comedy mini-festival, consisting of three Bell House shows happening tonight, Friday, and Saturday. You can see any individual show for $20, or go all in on the fest with a 3-night festival pass for $55. Tonight’s event features Ilana Glazer, Abi Sanchez, Kristen Toomey, Daniel Simonsen, and Chloé Hilliard and is titled Comedians That Don’t Owe Me Money. It’s likely to be a fun, high-energy way to kick off The 2nd Annual Janelle James Comedy Festival (Thursday-Saturday, 8:00 pm, $20-$55, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling ShowThursday 12/5: Open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner whose name is picked from a basket receiving 5 minutes on stage to share something that happened in his or her life, hosted by David Lawson (Comedy Central; solo storytelling shows include The Flyer Guy, No Oddjob, The Prequels; and The 2020 Book Report): The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show (7:00 pm, Free!, Astoria Bookshop at 31-29 31st Street)

Dan PerlmanThursday 12/5: Dan Perlman (cast member of MTV’s Vidiots; co-writer, co-director, and co-star of series Flatbush Misdemeanors; written for Lewis Black and Roy Wood Jr.) records a stand-up album via early and late shows. Come share your joy and have your laugh immortalized at Dan Perlman Album Recording (7:30 pm and 10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Roast of HistoryThursday 12/5: Because there isn’t enough strife pitting the living against each other, comicss Manolo Moreno (Dr. Gameshow, Comedy Central), Kady Ruth Ashcraft (IFC, Reductress), MK Doherty (MTV, TruTV), and Juliet Prather (MTV) roast long-past historical figures and events, ranging from Rasputin to The Beat Generation to The 1968 Democratic Convention hosted by Matt Strickland (Comedy Central): 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)

Baron Vaughn & Open Mike Eagle: Friday 12/6-Saturday 12/7: Day #2 of the Janelle James Comedy Festival features Baron Vaughn & Open Mike Eagle (hosts of Comedy Central’s The New Negroes) hosting stellar comics Kevin Iso, Yassir Lester, Hadiyah Robinson, Jannelle James, and more: A Black Ass Show (8:00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Modern WhitneyFriday 12/6: Comics Ari Durnell, Rachel Sennott, Bradley Sinanan, and Kylie Holloway 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)

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, $25, 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.