NYC Top Comedy Choices for March 2020: Last Updated Thursday 3/5

March 5, 2020

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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 March 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Citywide 16Thursday 3/5: Katie Boyle (co-host of podcast The Shift; host of Transplants Comedy), Molly Austin (TruTV’s Late Night Snack, Comedy Central; stand-up album Zero to New Jersey), Usama Siddiquee (Showtime’s Desus and Mero; podcast Mango Bae), Khalil Walker, and Rallo Boykins perform stand-up for Abby Rosenquist (Fuse TV): Citywide (7:00 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Jordan Klepper's Productive Existential Crisis 2Thursday 3/5: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) has had a busy few years: “Just recently he shared a falafel with the Clintons, got arrested in Georgia, and ran away to the woods to deal with the inevitability of the aging process, only to come back three days later because a rat ate his turkey sausage. He’s got some stories, and he’s working some things out. He’s doing some of that on stage with a microphone. He’s also invited some of his talented friends to share their existential dread and, you know, stand-up jokes so we can feel a bit less alone together,” with 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), Steve Waltien (staff writer for Stephen Colbert; previously writer for The Opposition; Klepper; member of world-renowned troupe The Improvised Shakespeare Co.), and Justin Tyler (Supervising Field Producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; former writer for The Opposition; co-host of stage shows Comic Book Club, Beast, and Backyard Brawl): Jordan Klepper’s Productive Existential Crisis, with Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Comedy Time Machine 3Thursday 3/5: Orli Matlow (Someecards; co-host of Aliens of Extraordinary Ability) hosts comics telling their favorite jokes about long-obsolete topics (old movies, old scandals, etc.), with guests Kate Sidley (above left; 4-time Emmy-nominated writer for Stephen Colbert; writer for 2017 Emmy Awards; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Reductress), Maya Deshmukh (HBO’s High Maintenance, TruTV’s Paid Off, musical sketch group Azn PoP!), Alex Fossella (co-host of Broadway Baby Podcast), Ray Gootz (stand-up album Go Down Swinging), Audrey Stanfield, and Gabe Nathans: Comedy Time Machine (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Stars at The Stand 3-5-20Thursday 3/5: Powerhouse comics Dulcé Sloan (correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), 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), Ron Bennington (host of radio shows Bennington and Unmasked; Kreeps With Kids tour), Ahmed Ahmed (Egyptian-American comic who was a regular on TBS’ Sullivan & Son, and appeared on such other series as ABC’s Roseanne, HBO’s Tracy Takes On, and Showtime’s Weeds, and in such hit movies as Iron Man, Swingers, Executive Decision, and his own documentary Just Like Us), and Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine) perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Too Many Cooks 15Thursday 3/5: This free stand-up show with rotating hosts—tonight it’s Samantha Ruddy (Stephen Colbert; warm-up comic for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; written for College Humor, Reductress, Someecards)—features Emmy Blotnick (brilliant and Emmy-nominated rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and in a Comedy Central Half Hour; staff writer for Stephen Colbert; comedy album Party Nights), Julia Shiplett (HBO’s Crashing, Moth Radio Hour; The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney’s; producer of Side Ponytail), Bri Pruett (Comedy Central, NPR), Mike Cannon (VH1, MTV; co-host of podcast Irish Goodbye; YouTube special Life Begins), JP McDade (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle II, TruTV; writer for webseries Sports Balls), and Norlex Belma (PBS doc The Comedy Confluence): Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Stars at The Stand 3-5-20 2Thursday 3/5: 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), Ron Bennington (host of radio shows Bennington and Unmasked; Kreeps With Kids tour), Ahmed Ahmed (Egyptian-American comic who was a regular on TBS’ Sullivan & Son, and appeared on such other series as ABC’s Roseanne, HBO’s Tracy Takes On, and Showtime’s Weeds, and in such hit movies as Iron Man, Swingers, Executive Decision, and his own documentary Just Like Us), Kim Congdon (writer for Impractical Jokers; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV; host of podcast Broad Topix), Aaron Berg (Comedy Central’s This is Not Happening, documentary 25 Sets; TV series 24 Hour Rental; co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water and The Stand’s Frantic!), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), Akaash Singh, and Isabel Hagen (NYC stand-up…and also violinist who frequently plays in Broadway orchestras and bands for TV shows such as Jimmy Fallon) perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $15, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Melissa Stokoski & Larry Owens: Friday 3/6: Ashlee Simpson’s Autobiography isn’t just a smash hit debut album that sold over 5 million copies, it’s apparently a series of coded conspiracy messages about 9/11. Making this clear with her own special spin on Simpson’s music is Melissa Stokoski (TruTV; regular on John Fuselsang’s Tell Me Everythling; co-writer & co-star of Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; host of Star Fuckers), with help from guest Larry Owens (joyful, hilarious musical comic & red-hot rising star; staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust) and Fernanda Douglas (composer, singer, and musical director): The Pieces: A 9/11 Conspiracy Told Through the Music of Ashlee Simpson (10:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Marie Carter: Sunday 3/8: For Women’s History Month, Marie Carter (guide with walking tour company Boroughs of the Dead) gives this lecture “about the women who were considered witches in pre-20th century New York. Learn about NYC’s only witch trial, the witches who inhabited Broome Street (no joke), fortunetellers, and others whose supernatural practices allowed them to make money…and the men who tried to frame them:” Witches of Old New York (3:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Gemma Soldati & Amrita Dhaliwal: Sunday 3/8: Professional clowns Gemma Soldati & Amrita Dhaliwal won this year’s Best Comedy Award at the Melbourne Fringe Festival with this duo play about “two accountants working tirelessly to record the death toll…an absurd and physical jaunt brimming with audience interaction, existential phone calls, impaired dancing, and the love of a goldfish” that critics have called “a surreal, clowning, macabre wonder” and “transformative and hilarious:” The Living Room (7:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Noah and Ester Have Guests 2Sunday 3/8: Noah Gardenswartz (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour) & Ester Steinberg (Oxygen’s Funny Girls) host stand-ups Roy Wood Jr. (above left; correspondent for Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and host of This is Not Happening), Drew Michael (above right; writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central Half Hour; NBC’s The Carmichael Show), Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?), Joe Zimmerman (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), and Eman El Husseini (opens for Patton Oswalt; stand-up albums Unveiled and Handsome Daughter): Noah & Ester Have Guests (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Marie Carter: Sunday 3/8: For Women’s History Month, Marie Carter (guide with walking tour company Boroughs of the Dead) gives this lecture “about the women who were considered witches in pre-20th century New York. Learn about NYC’s only witch trial, the witches who inhabited Broome Street (no joke), fortunetellers, and others whose supernatural practices allowed them to make money…and the men who tried to frame them:” Witches of Old New York (3:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/10: Every Tuesday at 7:00, 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 (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Phoebe RobinsonWednesday 3/11: Star Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; feature films What Men Want and Netflix’s Ibiza; author of Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay and You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) performs and hosts some of her stand-up friends. This will probably be awesome and almost certainly sell out in advance: Phoebe Robinson and Friends (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Meg Stalter and her BratsThursday 3/12: Comedy dynamo Meg Stalter (National Lampoon Radio Hour, The Chris Gethard Show) performs her unique format-mocking brand of stand-up, with guests Sandy Honig (one-third of sketch group Three Busy Debras; host of Pig and The Bongo Hour), Joe Castle Baker (host of Get Reel), and RIchie Owens (Meg’s husband in this): Meg Stalter and her Brats! (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

MortifiedThursday 3/12: 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: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ophira Eisenberg, Lane Moore, and Hari Kondabolu: Friday 3/13: 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 the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (left; 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), Hari Kondabolu (right; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives), and Stacy London (pundit for NBC’s Today Show; former co-host of TLC’s What Not to Wear; former Senior Fashion Editor for Mademoiselle): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street)

Dear Diary: Comics Read Their Weird Childhood JournalsFriday 3/13: Comics share their observations, fears, dreams, and insanities growing up by reading from their childhood diaries hosted by Maggie Lalley: Dear Diary: Comics Read Their Weird Childhood Journals (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Friends Who Folk & FriendsSaturday 3/14: 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 Gabe Gonzalez (host for MTV News and ScruffApp), Rebecca O’Neal (Netflix’s Easy; Vanity Fair, Gawker, Vulture; former host of local Chicago TV show One Night Stand-Up), and Lily Marotta (HBO’s High Maintenance): Friends Who Folk & Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jordan Klepper's Productive Existential Crisis, with FriendsSunday 3/15: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) has had a busy few years: “Just recently he shared a falafel with the Clintons, got arrested in Georgia, and ran away to the woods to deal with the inevitability of the aging process, only to come back three days later because a rat ate his turkey sausage. He’s got some stories, and he’s working some things out. He’s doing some of that on stage with a microphone. He’s also invited some of his talented friends to share their existential dread and, you know, stand-up jokes so we can feel a bit less alone together,” with guests TBA: Jordan Klepper’s Productive Existential Crisis, with Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It ComedyMonday 3/16: 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 (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 Pisces stand-ups are TBA: Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Samantha RuddyTuesday 3/17: Samantha Ruddy (above left; Stephen Colbert; warm-up comic for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; written for College Humor, Reductress, Someecards) hosts stellar stand-ups 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), Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Megan Stalter (star of webseries The Megan Stalter Show; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour), Joe Pera (star of Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks With You; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central), Napoleon Emill (Carolines’ Comedy Madness 2018 champion), and Luke Mones (Comedy Central, Inside Edition, Funny Or Die, College Humor, Howard Stern Show): Samantha Ruddy Has Guests (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/17: Every Tuesday at 7:00, 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 (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Feminist Buzzkills of ComedyTuesday 3/17: Stand-up from Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Devon Walker (Comedy Central), Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1; host of Right Now; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), and Amy Shanker hosted by Lizz Winstead (co-creator of The Daily Show) and produced by the Abortion Access Front: Feminist Buzzkills of Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stavros Halkias: Wednesday 3/18: A typically great alt comedy lineup (TBA) hosted by Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays): Pantheon with Stavros Halkias (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Frank Conniff: "Open Riff Night"Wednesday 3/18: 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. 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. At the end, whoever Frank decides is best will get to riff with him: 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)

Chris GethardThursday 3/19: 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) hosts superb comics (TBA) who have performed on his MNN cable access show Chris Gethard Presents: Chris Gethard Presents All-Stars (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Debra Messing and Emily NussbaumThursday 3/19: Debra Messing (Emmy Award-winning star role of Grace in NBC’s Will & Grace; upcoming Broadway play Birthday Candles) and Emily Nussbaum (Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic for the New Yorker; author of I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through The TV Revolution) are tonight’s guest of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan Coulton: Ask Me Another (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)

Get Reel 6Friday 3/20: Comics dub—i.e., provide a verbal soundtrack—by making up narration and dialogue on the spot for silly video and film clips, with this month’s theme Technically Speaking, starring Josh Sharp & Aaron Jackson, Julia Shiplett, Shalewa Sharpe, Mary Beth Barone, and Sam Taggart hosted by Max Wittert & Joe Castle Baker: Get Reel (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Benito Skinner & Mary Beth Barone: Friday 3/20: Stand-up and/or music from 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; comedy album The Hits), Lauren Servideo (character comic Instagram star), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), and Pat Regan (The Eric Andre Show, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Seek Treatment podcast) hosted by Benito Skinner (YouTube star) & Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive): Cruel Intentions (7:30 pm, $18, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Morgan Pielli & Lynn Bixenspan: "Relationshit"Friday 3/20: Storytellers Lindsay Goldwert (middle left; author of new book Bow Down: Lessons From Dominatrixes On How to Get Everything You Want, host of podcast Spent), Wilson McDermut (middle right; BBC America’s Crash Course in Comedy), and more TBA share tales of relationships in front of a panel of comics and bona fide therapists who then provide their professional advice, hosted by Lynn Bixenspan (far right; Comedy Central, MTV; former writer for Fuse TV) & Morgan Pielli (far left; cartoonist): Relationshit (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 3/20: Storytellers Meghan Walsh, Jared Waters, Bob Hansen, and Justin Auslaender share cringe-worthy experiences from their pasts hosted by Brendan Busee & Ron Raganella: Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy Show (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Picture This!Saturday 3/21: In this unique show, animators (TBA) spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups (TBA) 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)

Switch n' Play's Family ValuesSaturday 3/21: A subversive and award-winning Brooklyn drag & burlesque collective performs a tribute to The Addams Family, exploring “the queer resonance of America’s most iconic and beloved spooky family…emphasizing themes of resistance, the celebration of difference, and the power of chosen family,” with Switch n’ Play members Divina GranSparkle, K.James, Miss Malice, Nyx Nocturne, Vigor Mortis, and Zoe Ziegfeld, plus guest artists West Dakota, Fem Appeal, Hystée Lauder, MiscAllaneous and DomTop, all promising you “an evening of performances that will ready you for a queer revolution that is creepy, spooky, kooky, and altogether ooky:” Switch n’ Play’s Family Values (8:00 pm, $23-$31—which includes post-show dance party; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Gastor Almonte & Jess Salomon: Saturday 3/21: Stand-ups TBA perform by sandwiching new jokes in between time-tested opening and closing material for hosts Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy, comedy album Immigrant Made) & Jess Salomon (former UN war crimes attorney turned comic; Jimmy Fallon, CBS, Sirius XM): Sandwich (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Rachel FeinsteinSunday 3/22: Red-hot stand-up 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, Adult Swim; films include Trainwreck and Top Five) performs a deliciously long set at an intimate venue: Rachel Feinstein (5:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Tiff Stevenson: Sunday 3/22: A solo show by Tiff Stevenson (UK comic/actress; numerous UK/US TV show appearances include The Office, Drunk History, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week) about which one reviewer said, “It’s jaw-droppingly remarkable how much ground she covers, how funny she is, how intelligent her attacks are:” Tiff Stevenson: Mother (7:30 pm, $11.55-$15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Phoebe RobinsonWednesday 3/23: Star Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White Guys; Seth Meyers, Conan O’Brien, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code; feature films What Men Want and Netflix’s Ibiza; author of Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay and You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) performs and hosts some of her stand-up friends. This will probably be awesome and almost certainly sell out in advance: Phoebe Robinson and Friends (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/24: Every Tuesday at 7:00, 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 (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Sam Taggart, Marcia Belsky, and Drew Anderson: Tuesday 3/24: Comics TBA perform for this monthly stand-up showcase named after Stevie Nicks and hosted by Marcia Belsky, Sam Taggart, and Drew Anderson: Stevie (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Bardia Salimi: Wednesday 3/25: Bardia Salimi (Stephen Colbert, CBS’ Madam Secretary, TBS’ Search Party, Comedy Central, MTV) spearheads a sketch show about the Presidential race featuring Annie Donley, Drennen Quinn, Carmen Christopher, Brian Fiddyment, and Tony Zaret, and with an opening set by Mike Hanford: Bardia Salimi: Race To The Nut House (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

One Liner MadnessThursday 3/26: In this quick-paced show, 64 comics each perform a one-line joke for the sake of winning audience laughs and applause (for samples, please click here). This bracket-style competition is designed to produce a single champion in under two hours, hosted by Emily Winter and Larry Mancini: The 5th Annual One Liner Madness (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Ziwe Fumudoh: Thursday 3/26: Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero, and previously for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe) hosts an extravaganza of jokes, song, and dance with stellar comics TBA performing pop songs preceded by comedic presentations: Pop Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

John Reynolds and Matt BaratsThursday 3/26: John Reynolds (co-star of Search Party, cast member of Stranger Things; previously writer for The President Show, Craig Ferguson, and Celebrity Deathmatch) & Matt Barats (HBO’s High Maintenance, Seth Meyers, The New Yorker) perform duo comedy: John Reynolds & Matt Barats (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Aminah Imani, Sydnee Washington, Marie Faustin, and Neko WhiteFriday 3/27: Stellar talents Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin (above middle; co-hosts of podcast The Unofficial Expert and popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit) host this showcase of stand-up by Neko White (right; MTV, TruTV, Vice; Carolines’ March Madness 2016 champion) and Aminah Imani (left; producer of this show; host with Sydnee & Marie of Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine): Just Run It: Neko White & Aminah Imani Hosted by Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin (7:30 pm, $11.55-$15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Critical Mass with Taylor Garron & FriendsFriday 3/27: Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress) hosts an evening of comics “who all have roots in beautiful, historic Massachusetts,” including Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Kyle Harris (writer for NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me), and Julia Claire (NPR, Nerdist): Critical Mass with Taylor Garron & Friends (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin: Saturday 3/28: Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin (co-hosts of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit) host this live-on-stage recording of their podcast that tests stand-ups (TBA) on their masterful knowledge of an intriguing subject (also TBA): The Unofficial Expert Live (7:30 pm; $11.55-$15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street; part of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival)

Katie Boyle, Lucie Pohl, and Norlex BelmaSaturday 3/28: Seven comics who weren’t born here—tentatively including this show’s charming producer Katie Boyle (above left; from Ireland; co-host of podcast The Shift), Lucie Pohl (above middle; from Germany; voice of Mercy in Overwatch and Harmony in Red Dwarf XI; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), and Norlex Belma (above right; from Pittsburgh; PBS doc The Comedy Confluence)—perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to NYC: Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Comedians You Should KnowSunday 3/29: Stand-ups TBA produced by Saurin Choksi, David Drake, Mike Lebovitz, and Jeff Steinbrunner: Comedians You Should Know (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Josh Nasser: Sunday 3/29: Josh Nasser hosts stand-up Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously writer for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe; host of Pop Show), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), Gabe Gonzalez (host for MTV News and ScruffApp), and more TBA: A Show for the People (7:30 pm; $11.55-$15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street; part of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival)

This Crowd Loves You: A Salute to Sunday 3/29: Stand-up Steve Whalen, who passed away last month at age 33, is celebrated by nearly three dozen comics including Aparna Nancherla, Jo Firestone, Emmy Blotnick, Josh Gondelman, Brett Davis, and many more: This Crowd Loves You: A Salute to “Mr. Jokes” Steve Whalen (8:00 pm, $7, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/31: Every Tuesday at 7:00, 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 (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Maryann Aita: "My Dysfunctional Vagina"Tuesday 3/31: 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 (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Andrew MichaanTuesday 3/31:Andrew Michaan is a comedian from Los Angeles who has done lots of comedy festivals and made stuff with Netflix, Comedy Central, TruTV, Instagram, Twitter, and Yelp. He co-hosts the popular podcast Podcast But Outside. He’s doing one long set in NY (this show), and he’s inviting some of his colleagues to perform as well,” with Joe Pera and more TBA: Andrew Michaan and Colleagues (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street; part of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival)

Supermodels of the 1990sTuesday 3/31: Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes, stand-up album Seen Better Days) hosts a show dedicated to Naomi, Christy, Elle, Claudia, Niki, and other supermodels from the 1990s, with storytelling by Sarah Hartshorne (America’s Next Top Model Cycle 9), a quiz show letting you show off your model knowledge, and a live re-enactment of George Michael’s music video Freedom 90. Get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day and come to” Supermodels of the 1990s: Tribute & Quiz Show (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Ophira EisenbergSunday 4/5: 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) is recording a new stand-up album titled High Brow, Low Brow—with the help of your energy and joy. Come have your laughs immortalized at either the early or late show—and for a huge discount if you use code CANADA: Ophira Eisenberg Comedy Album Recording (7:00 pm and 9:15 pm; $13.26 online using discount code CANADA plus $18 beverage min.; New York Comedy Club at 241 East 24th Street between Second & Third Avenues)

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 February 2020: Last Updated Saturday 2/22

February 22, 2020

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 340,000 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 February 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Katie Boyle, Lucie Pohl, and Norlex BelmaSaturday 2/22: Seven comics who weren’t born here—including this show’s charming producer Katie Boyle (above left; from Ireland; co-host of podcast The Shift), Lucie Pohl (above middle; from Germany; voice of Mercy in Overwatch and Harmony in Red Dwarf XI; Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), and Norlex Belma (above right; from Pittsburgh; PBS doc The Comedy Confluence)—perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to NYC: Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Pete LeeSaturday 2/22: Last chance to enjoy Pete Lee (Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s Half Hour, Roast Battle, This Week at the Comedy Cellar; TruTV, VH1) performing a deliciously long stand-up set at an iconic comedy club: Pete Lee Headlines at Carolines (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm Saturday$27.25 cover plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

Stars at The StandSaturday 2/22: A Comedy Central and social media star, 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), Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, CW), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), and TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square club: Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th StreetPLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT.)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 2/22: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Saturday Night Stand-Up at The StandSaturday 2/22: Stand-up from Corinne Fisher (NBC, FOX; with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), 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), Dante Nero (Comedy Central, HBO, ABC, FOX; co-host of podcast Man School 202), Francis Ellis (co-host of Oops the Podcast), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), and Scott Chaplain (Comedy Central Roast Battle): Saturday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (9:00 pm & 11:00 pm$25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Taylor Garron amd Blythe Roberson: "How to Date Men When You Hate Men"Saturday 2/22: Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s; author of book How to Date Men When You Hate Men; co-host of The Scientists and Book Club), and more at this event “like The Muppet Show with fewer puppets & more destruction of property:” Lo-Fi NYC (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stars at The StandSaturday 2/22: Comedy giants 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), 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), Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show) and Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, CW) perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square club: Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Comedians You Should KnowSunday 2/23: 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), Nathan Macintosh (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), Carmen Lagala (Stephen Colert; member of sketch group All Female Reboot, co-host of Creek Bros), and Damon Sumner (co-host of podcast Forth and Ten) perform stand-up hosted by Mike Lebovitz (HBO’s The Deuce, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing): Comedians You Should Know (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Gay Gulman and Nat Towsen: Sunday 2/23: Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; superb recent HBO special The Great Depresh; notable role as stand-up in blockbuster movie Joker; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno; finalist on Last Comic Standing; other comedy specials include Boyish Man, In This Economy, and It’s About Time) and more TBA 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, $12The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Chemical X: The Powerpuff Girls Improv ShowTuesday 2/25: Improvisors who are fans of the Cartoon Network make up scenes on the spot about adorable super-powered trio PowerPuff GirlsChemical X: The Powerpuff Girls Improv Show (7:00 pm, $9The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 2/25: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Artie Brennan & Anthony Giordano: Thursday 2/27: Artie Brennan, Anthony Giordano and friends create comedy chaos with this acclaimed show that “places you into the audience at a live taping of a fictional TV show overflowing with weird characters, interactive games, mysteries, puppets, prizes, and so much more. You have never experienced anything like it:” Super Crazy Fun Time Variety Game Show Hour (7:00 pm, $11The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

How Not to Fall for a ScamThursday 2/27-Saturday 2/29: A solo play written & performed by Monte D. Monteleagre self-described as follows: “The Puppeteer and his two sock puppet friends, Calvin and Sir Flops-A-Lot, have teamed up to put on a family-friendly play to educate children on the dangers of falling for a check scam. Except Sir Flops-A-Lot doesn’t know his lines. And the puppets aren’t getting paid. And the puppeteer might have turned their box shelter into this stage:” How Not to Fall for a Scam (7:00 pm, $13The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Characters WelcomeThursday 2/27: Talented comedic writer/actors—who may include Desi DomoElena SkopetosChrissy ShackelfordAntonia Lassar, and/or many more—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael HartneyEric Feurer, and/or Sarah ParsonsCharacters Welcome (7:30 pm, $7UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Natalie Cuomo: Friday 2/28: Natalie Cuomo (Carolines, SirusXM) hosts superb stand-ups Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Leah Bonnema (Stephen Colbert, VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), and Chloe LaBranche (host of The Chlo Show pod, Weep at The Stand): That Time of The Month Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $13The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

ational Treasure RemasteredSaturday 2/29: A play based on this premise: “Before Disney announced it would be making National Treasure 3, a strapped-for-cash Nicolas Cage tried to digitally remaster National Treasure on his own. He had to rely on outside funding to make the project happen, and was crushed when Disney threatened to sue if Cage released the film to theaters. Luckily for you, we’ve obtained the final cut of the film:” National Treasure Remastered (9:00 pm, $13The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

North Coast 9Saturday 2/29: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 2/29: top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by ace improvisors TBA, plus stellar improv musicians who are typically Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/3: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th 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 February 2020: Last Updated Friday 2/7

February 7, 2020

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 340,000 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 February 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

The George Lucas Talk Show 15Friday 2/7: Brian Stack (genius writer/comic for Stephen Colbert, former long-time writer for Conan O’Brien), Keiko Agena (gal-pal Lane Kim on Gilmore Girls; Dr. Edrisa Tanaka on FOX’s Prodigal Son), and David Ehrlich (film critic for IndieWire) are the guests of brilliant improvisor & character comic Connor Ratliff (right; Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselStephen Colbert, John Oliver, Comedy Central, TBS, TruTV), who transforms into “filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host!” He’s joined by talk show sidekick Griffin Newman (left; brilliant character/improv comic; Arthur on Amazon’s The Tick, Jared Kushner on Showtime’s Our Cartoon President, HBO, CBS, MTV, TBS; feature films Draft Day, Fort Tilden, Night Moves) playing Toydarian junk dealer Watto “as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema:” The George Lucas Talk Show (7:30 pm, $14UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Whiplash 4Friday 2/7: Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Samantha Ruddy (Stephen Colbert; warm-up comic and digital producer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; written for College HumorReductress, Someecards), Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell), and more perform stand-up for host Shalewa Sharpe (Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?): Whiplash (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Standup 2020 4Friday 2/7: Jes Tom (sharp, fresh rising star; Reductress; show Cold Brew), Peter Grosz (Comedy Central’s The President Show and Inside Amy Schumer, HBO’s Veep; former writer for Seth Meyers and The Colbert Report; star of over 100 Sonic fast-food commercials), Norlex Belma (PBS doc The Comedy Confluence), and TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo perform stand-up at this comedy show that’s also a voter registration drive for 2020 hosted by Selena CoppockAlison KlempMatt Nedostop, and Jarret BernsteinStandup 2020 (7:30 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Nat Towsen & Darren Solomon: "Powerpoint Roulette"Friday 2/7: Comics Kenice Mobley (left; host of podcast Love About Town, co-host of The Pasta Show), Adam Mamawala (right; Comedy Central, MTV, BET; freelance contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; stand-up album One of the Good Ones), Maya Deshmukh (top right; HBO’s High Maintenance, TruTV’s Paid Off, musical sketch group Azn PoP!), and Jeremy Bent (bottom right; co-star of science fiction improv podcast Mission to Zyxx), andeach try to improvise a coherent presentation based on a set of Powerpoint slides they’ve never seen before. All slides are taken from actual presentations given at business meetings and classrooms, but put together in bizarre arrangements: “How do you move from a slide depicting the annual increase in fertilizer production in Turkmenistan to a slide analyzing gender dynamics in Frasier? We don’t know either, but we intend to find out. Plus an actual scientist, Professor Natalia Reagan (anthropologist and “monkey chaser”), will have her actual, legit presentation ‘improved’ by one of the guest improvisers.” Hosted by Nat Towsen (Esquire, VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety) and Darren Solomon (In Bb 2.0; Creative Director of Quiet City Music+Sound)with music from Eileen HanleyPowerpoint Roulette (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Stars at The Stand 2-7-20Friday 2/7: Ace stand-up from Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy SchumerThe View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Marina Franklin (staff writer for HBO’s Divorce; HBO’s Crashing, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, @midnight, Chappelle’s Show; Showtime’s“Women Who Kill; film Trainwreck; stand-up special Single Black Female), Mike Vecchione (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Half Hour and Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern; stand-up album Muscle Confusion), Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), and Lev Fer (Showtime; host of the Yung Daddy podcast): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm and 10:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

The Stand 2-7-20Friday 2/7: Corinne Fisher (NBC, FOX; with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Mike Vecchione (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Half Hour and Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern; stand-up album Muscle Confusion), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Aaron Berg (documentary 25 Sets; TV series 24 Hour Rental; co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water and The Stand’s Frantic!), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic!), and Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW) perform stand-up in an intimate club space at Union Square: Friday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (9:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Late Night Gold 2-7-20Friday 2/7: Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX) hosts Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), Hannah Berner (cast of Bravo’s Summer House; host of podcast Berning In Hell), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Tyler Fischer (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Stephen Colbert, NBC’s America’s Got Talent, HQ Trivia), Rallo Boykins, and Kris Atkins performing late night stand-up—plus a post-show party with music by DJ WeegeeLate Night Gold at The Stand (11:00 pm, $20The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street; includes afterparty!)

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 Monday 12/9

December 9, 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:

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)

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)

Legion of SkanksMonday 12/9: 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) and Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), @Derek1Gaines (@WillAndGrace) join hosts Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcast The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall; Netflix’s The Degenerates), Luis J. Gomez (special Luis J. Gomez Presents Luis J. Gomez), and Dave Smith (FOX; host of podcast Part of the Problem) to “discuss the skankier sides of life, love, and stand-up comedy” for this free weekly podcast taping: Legion of Skanks (9:30 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs 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)

Sherrod SmallMonday 12/9: Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, NBC’s Showtime at the Apollo, Comedy Central, VH1; co-host of podcast Race Wars) performs a deliciously long stand-up set in an intimate West Village club: Sherrod Small (10:30 pm, $20 plus 2-item food/drink min., Comedy Cellar’s Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd 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: 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)

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: 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 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: 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.