Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).
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 2018 include (with more to come soon):
Sunday 2/18 (technically, these two midnight TV specials are airing on Monday 2/19; but they’re happening Sunday night, which is what counts…): Jena Friedman has made a career of being angry. In her new Adult Swim special Soft Focus, Jena is still fueled by fury but expresses it with an almost zen-like air of ironic calmness. The tension between Jena’s placid external demeanor—as in the scene above, where she shoots the breeze with college frat boys about campus rape—and what we know she’s really feeling is often riveting. (This is epitomized in an exchange between a sex doll manufacturer who explains the difference between his products and Jena is “You fuck the doll but the doll doesn’t fuck you back,” to which Jena responds, “So it’s pretty much the same thing.” He adds, “There’s no emotional connection, really.” Jena shakes her head and repeats, “Same thing.”) The result is a darkly funny and oddly intense show that will leave you exhausted while wanting more…
…In contrast to Jena, Eric Andre has made a career of being a wild man. In his new Adult Swim special, Eric lets his hyperactively surreal persona loose on France. I don’t know anything else about this show, but Eric is always worth watching. So enjoy Jena’s Soft Focus at midnight, rest and regenerate your energies during the commercial break, and then strap yourself in at 12:15ish am for Eric Andre Does Paris (Sunday night/Monday morning at midnight, with a replay at 4:30 am, on Adult Swim)
Sunday 2/18: Todd Barry (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, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour, Netflix special Spicy Honey), Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), and Negin Farsad (author of How to Make White People Laugh) demonstrate their quick with by hilariously answering questions about what a guest scientist’s job entails at this live taping of Chris Duffy’s excellent podcast: You’re the Expert (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Sunday 2/18: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) headlines this weekly stand-up show hosted by Gianmarco Soresi (Seeso; sketch group Uncle Function; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%) & Jay Schmidt: The Last Laugh (8:00 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)
Sunday 2/18: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), Matt Rogers (co-host of the GAYme Show and the acclaimed Las Culturistas podcast), Michael Hartney (TV Land’s Throwing Shade; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots) tell jokes about not having a steady job (out of work, working freelance, working part-time, etc.) hosted by Anna Roisman (MTV, Funny or Die, Tribeca Film Festival): The Unemployed Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 2/18-Monday 2/19: John Mulaney (former writer/performer for Saturday Night Live and star of FOX sitcom Mulaney; numerous guest TV appearances; stand-up specials The Top Part, New in Town, and The Comeback Kid) is one of the finest comics of our time, and he’ll be proving that with his latest stand-up show Kid Gorgeous (I was lucky enough to catch a rehearsal). John kicks off a national tour with an NYC run through Monday at Radio City Music Hall. All shows are sold out except for Monday…and those seats are going fast. I highly recommend John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous (tickets still available for 7:00 pm Monday 2/19; $44; Radio City Music Hall at 1260 Sixth Avenue & 50th Street)
Monday 2/19: Marina Franklin (Trainwreck, Louie, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), and more TBA perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), 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)
Monday 2/19: A love letter to beloved shows such as Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, comedians Joe Rumrill and Mary Houlihan invite you to a cavalcade of original costumed characters, animations, and sketches from both real humans and puppet humans” with guests Tim Platt, Steven DeSiena, Joe Castle Baker, Angel Yao, Larry Owens, Annie Donnley, Bardia Salimi, Justin Linville, Caroline Yost, Maya Sharma, and Sebastian DiNatale: Cartoon Monsoon (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Monday 2/19: Stellar stand-up Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot) hosts comics Baratunde Thurston, Nat Towsen, Jaqi Furback, and Eudora Peterson: The Myq Kaplan Show (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Wednesday 2/21: In this character show, 45 comics—Christine Nangle, Anna Roisman, Desi Domo,Caroline Cotter, Allie Kokesh, Tim Dunn, David Bluvband, and manu more—play all 45 of our US Presidents and their true-life weird quirks, featuring lots of powdered wigs, in under an hour produced by Kate Villa & Alexandria Iona: Every President Ever: Together Again (9:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 2/22: Come celebrate the Ninth Year Anniversary of this free and gloriously oddball monthly storytelling show at the East Village’s KGB Bar, featuring such treats as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes, hosted by the wonderful Leslie Goshko (above; delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, star of The Real Housewives of Columbo). Tonight’s yarn-spinners are Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, host of The Liar Show), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy), and Catie Lazarus (The New York Times, host of Employee of the Month): Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, Free!, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)
Thursday 2/22: Sasheer Zamata (cast member for three seasons of Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, Amazon’s Transparent, TBS’ People of Earth), singing duo Friends Who Folk (Rachel Wenitsky & Ned Riseley, above right; TheNewYorker.com), Alex Harris (mentalist), Matt DeCaro (singer/songwriter), and Sydnee Washington (MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) perform perform for this show that’s a mix of stand-up, music, and magic hosted by Jenny Gorelick (Improv Anywhere; perpetual birthday gal) & Addie Weyrich (HBO’s Crashing, Hulu): Jenny’s Birthday Variety Show (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 2/22: PLEASE NOTE: This show has been CANCELED. If you purchased tickets online, you’ll be refunded automatically. Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more for this podcast recording: Kondabolu Brothers Podcast Live (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 2/22: Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There) is interviewed during a game of Jenga (as soon as the tower falls, the conversation ends), plus stand-up or storytelling by Chanel Ali, Melissa Diaz, and Savannah DesOrmeax hosted by Molly McGaughey: Everything is Falling Apart (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
Thursday 2/22: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher and friends, this month focusing on punk rock and related pop culture (for a sneak peek video, please click here), with guests Kirk Thatcher (above left…the Bus Punk from Star Trek IV), Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), Kevin Rice (writer/producer/director of Tv’s Ghoul A Go-Go), Heather Buckley (producer for Red Shirt Pictures), Marcus Pinn (creator of Pinnland Empire), Christopher Funderburg (editor/writer for ThePinkSmoke.com), and Kate Wilkinson (Wig Wurq website “judging pop culture’s wigs from lace fronts to split ends”): Kevin Geeks Out Goes Punk! (9:30 pm, $16 [buying in advance is highly recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and ideas usually sells out], Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema at 136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford)
Thursday 2/22: Star Demetri Martin (Comedy Central’s Important Things with Demetri Margin; Trendspotting commentator on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; former writer/performer for Conan O’Brien; three hour-long comedy specials, including Netflix’s Demetri Martin Live (at the tIme); stand-up albums These Are Jokes and Standup Comedian; bestselling author of This is a Book, Point Your Face at This, and If It’s Not Funny, It’s Art) performs for one night only in Brooklyn: Demetri Martin (10:00 pm, $35, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Friday 2/23: One of the very best shows at UCB is by Jay Malsky, a super-charged & hilarious character comic who also sings beautifully. This 25-minute solo musical shows off all of Jay’s strengths, as he plays a variety of women whose boyfriends he stole. With musical direction by Jody Shelton, choreography by Zak Sommerfield, and taped vocals by David Carl & Taylor Ortega, this production establishes Jay Malsky as a vibrant rising star with a great comedy career ahead of him. If you’re in the industry and looking for fresh talent, come check this out: Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend! (7:30 pm; $12—which includes a second show, How to Write a Book: The Play; UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Friday 2/23: Highly talented hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera (9:30 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Friday 2/23: 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; author of You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) & Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up) perform stand-up and host other comics TBA: Brown TItty Hour (9:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 2/24: Comics and comedic storytellers (TBA) join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) to tell well-crafted tales of comedic adventure: Risk! (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Saturday 2/24: Hosts Mitra Jouhar & Catherine Cohen “are gals who just don’t get ‘guy stuff.’ They’ve invited comics to give them lectures on guy stuff so that they can finally fit in,” with tonight’s bearers of wisdom Josh Sharp & Aaron Jackson (Comedy Central’s The Opposition), Kelsey Caine, Drew Anderson, Fareeha Khan, and Sandy Honig: It’s a Guy Thing (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 2/24: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically sharp comics TBA: Dancify That! (10:00 pm, $18, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Saturday 2/24: Sixteen comics—including John Reynolds, Connor O’Malley, Ana Fabrega, and Matt Barats—perform characters, songs, and a variety of other comedic bits: Yardsale Comedy Night (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 2/25: The Sklar Brothers and Dan Van Kirk perform and host other comics TBA perform improv and stand-up for this recording of their podcast: Dumb People Town (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Monday 2/26: Brilliant improvisors stumble into theatre scenes of plays they’ve never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Monday 2/26: Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; CBS’ Two Broke Girls, Comedy Central’s The Opposition, IFC’s How Shit Works, MTV; co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Kenice Mobley, and more perform stand-up for this weekly Brooklyn show hosted by Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), 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)
Tuesday 2/27: Star Wars erotic fan fiction—e.g., Fifty Shades of Rey, a sexually intense retelling of Star Wars: A Force Awakens—is read with feeling by comics Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; host of Tinder Live; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), Julia Johns (writer for MTV’s Girl Code), and Jessie Bangarang Atkinson (host of Family Liquid Dinner, cast member of A Drinking Game NYC), plus “Force Off,” a Star Wars-themed audience interactive game that awards prizes, all hosted by Rob Roan: Star Wars: An Erotic Live Reading (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 2/28: Sad scientists Jo Firestone & Steven DeSiena host a throwback to grade school science fairs…but run by NYC comics. Walk the open exhibits from 7:00 to 8:15ish pm, where each participant is being tasked to prove a half-baked hypothesis of his or her choosing using disciplinary methods that might be true. There’ll be poster boards, quirky dioramas, tri-fold cardboard, flasks, lab coats, and haphazard experiments. Then at 8:30 pm awards will be presented by scholars “who are maybe at the top of their respective fields. All this and much, much more, we bet:” The Educated Guess Science Fair (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 2/28: Tabitha Vidaurri (MTV, WFMU, Funny or Die), who has read every single one of Stephen King’s 54 novels, hosts this monthly show devoted to the master of horror, with tonight’s topic The Shining: The Stephen King and I (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)
You can find the vast majority of notable NYC live comedy shows by using the links below to explore the schedules of the following top NYC comedy venues:
Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling
Upright Citizens Brigade Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12
Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Hell’s Kitchen on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12
The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 88-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20
The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10
The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20
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
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
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/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!
Carolines Comedy Club
1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.
Gotham Comedy Club
208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.
Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.
Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.
Comic Strip Live
1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.
Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.
The Standing Room
4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!
NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams
If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.
In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.
All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.
There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.
From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…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, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at email@example.com.