NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2019: Last Updated Sunday 11/17

November 17, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 330,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please visit my podcast, Ghosts On Drugs, by clicking here.

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications.

Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter at @hybender, and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com. (I’m also on Instagram at @hybenderny and Facebook at hybender; but honestly, you’ll be doing me the most good if you follow and retweet me on Twitter.)

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

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

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

Belinda Boxer, Alli Brown, and Meghan Radespiel: Sunday 11/17: Sketch group and stand-up trio Three Michelles—consisting of Belinda Boxer, Alli Brown, and Meghan Radespiel—perform and host NYC stand-ups TBA. To get a feel for the dark comedy of these gals, please click here and here: Three Michelles (7:00 pm, $5 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Benito Skinner & Mary Beth Barone: Sunday 11/17: Stand-up and/or music from Anna Drezen (superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters, movement, and sketch; Supervising Writer for Saturday Night Live; Editor-at-Large of Reductress; co-author of How May We Hate You and How to Win at Feminism), Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert), Sarah Dooley (author of book Are You My Uber? and music album Stupid Things), Lauren Servideo (character comic Instagram star), Emma Jayne (award-winning singer/songwriter; music album Jetlag), and Devon Walker (Comedy Central) 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)

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

Comedy Fight ClubSunday 11/17: Comics competitively roast each other, with tonight’s main bout Mark Benjamin (“Looking forward to the Senate acquitting Trump on this sham so he can get to work for the American people and ask Saudi Arabia to murder Elizabeth Warren”) vs. Shawn Gardini, all hosted by Matt Maran: Comedy Fight Club (9:00 pm, $10, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

If You Build ItSunday 11/17: Stand-ups Joe Kwaczala, Jess Salomon, Rob Cantrell, Sarah Tollemache, Glenn Moore, Kenice Mobley, and Kendall Farrell perform for host Alison Leiby (writer for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, former writer for Comedy Central’s The Opposition and The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story): If You Build It (9:30 pm, $9, UCB at SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street—take #6 subway to Bleecker Street stop)

Patrick McCartney: Sunday 11/17: Patrick McCartney (member of acclaimed theatrical improv group Centralia) performs a comedic solo show about addiction and recovery, directed by Shira Piven (HBO’s Divorce and Room 104, Amazon’s Transparent), that’s received raves from the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert (superstar author of Eat Pray Love), who wrote, “Patrick McCartney is a phenomenally gifted performer, whose work I have admired for years. But we almost lost this extraordinary artist to alcoholism and drug addiction—which would have been a tragedy on so many levels. Now McCartney has returned to the stage with a one-man show about his struggle with substance abuse. Miraculously, it manages to be simultaneously brilliant, devastating, hilarious, humble, searching, and triumphant. Go see it. It’s a beautiful piece of work:” Sinister Kid (10:30 pm, $10, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

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

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

Aaron Berg & Kerryn Feehan: Monday 11/18: 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), Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction), Olivia Grace (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle; writer for Roast of Bruce Willis; co-host of The Doug Stanhope Podcast), Shalewa Sharpe (Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast; very nearly a cast member of SNL), Francis Ellis (co-host of Oops the Podcast), Annette Mullaney (San Francisco-based comic; host of “Shame Cave”), and Chloe McGovern try 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 Mondays (10:00 pm, Free!, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 11/19: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

BKBX: Broken Box MimeTuesday 11/19: The innovative and award-winning Broken Box Mime troupe performs their finest wordless sketches & stories, mixed with fresh bits, all set to a “rip-roarin’ soundtrack:” BKBX: Quiet Riot (9:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

$5 Funnies at The StandTuesday 11/19: Stand-up from the great Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland; feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Andrew Schulz (Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, Hulu’s There’s…Johnny!, HBO’s Crashing, Netflix, MTV), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast; very nearly a cast member of SNL), Paul Virzi (FOX, Spike TV) , and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas): $5 Funnies (10:00 pm, $5 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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

Caitlin Peluffo and Mike DruckerWednesday 11/20: Mike Drucker (left; hilarious stand-up and staff writer for TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; previously staff writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show and nearly 400 episodes of NBC’s Jimmy Fallon, and contributing writer for Saturday Night Live), Caitlin Peluffo (right; Stephen Colbert), Richie Owens, and more TBA perform stand-up hosted by Emily Winter, Julia Shiplett, Carolyn Busa, and/or Ben Wasserman: Side Ponytail Comedy (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Friends and Lovers at 641 Classon Avenue)

Solocom 2019Thursday 11/21-Sunday 11/24: It’s the 7th year of this annual 4-day PIT festival devoted to over 100 new comedic solo shows. (The fest was originally created by Peter Michael Marino & Toby Knops and co-produced by Ronny Pascale, all giants in PIT history, but they’ve moved on to let others curate & run the extravaganza.) The only requirements for any production are it’s a one-person show that’s funny and has never been performed in public before. The types of entertainment are therefore wide-ranging, encompassing sketch, characters, storytelling, stand-up, cabaret, music, dance, puppetry, magic, clowning, multimedia, and more. Based on nothing other than a quick skim of the performers involved, shows that appear especially promising include Carolyn Bergier and Cole Steffensen (Thursday 7:00 at UG), Micaela Blei (Thursday 11 at UG), Regan Sims and Matt Zambrano (Friday 7:00 at Striker), Jack Blankenship and Rachael Burke (Friday 9:30 at Loft), Adrien Pellerin and Adrian Sexton (Saturday 7:30 at UG), Lagina Hill and Anoush Froundjian (Saturday 8:00 at Striker), Sarah Morgan Ashey and Dillon Geyselaers (Saturday 8:30 at UG), Angela Cobb (Saturday 10:30 at Striker), Abby Feldman (Sunday 4:30 at Striker), and Andi Lee Carter (Sunday 8:00 at Loft): Solocom 2019 ($12 per show, or $30 for an all-you-can-see festival pass (a fantastic deal for a vibrant, fun festival with scores of shows): The PIT Mainstage (Striker) and PIT Underground (UG) at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

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

Charlyne Yi and Casey TrelaSaturday 11/23: Charlyne Yi (FOX’s House; voiceover for Steven Universe, We Bare Bears, Summer Camp Island; winner of the prestigious Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award) performs comedy, music, and/or magic, and hosts guests including Casey Trela (singer/songwriter): Charlyne Yi Variety Show (5:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Gastor Almonte & Jess Salomon: Saturday 11/23: Stand-ups sandwich new jokes they’re trying out in between reliably time-tested opening and closing material, with tonight’s guests 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), 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), Marie Faustin (co-host of 99.5 FM’s Tall Tales in the Big City and podcast The Unofficial Expert; former host of Oxygen’s Very Real Talk; MTV’s Girl Code and Vidiots), and Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life, Moth GrandSlam Champion, comedy album & show And I Am Not Lying) performing 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 lawyer turned comic; Jimmy Fallon, CBS, Sirius XM): Sandwich (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Langston KermanSunday 11/24: Langston Kerman (Comedy Central Half Hour; cast member of ABC’s Bless This Mess, HBO’s Insecure, and Comedy Central’s South Side; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars) performs a solo stand-up show: Langston Kerman for the Hour (5:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 11/26: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Patrick McCartney: Friday 11/29: Patrick McCartney (member of acclaimed theatrical improv group Centralia) performs a comedic solo show about addiction and recovery, directed by Shira Piven (HBO’s Divorce and Room 104, Amazon’s Transparent), that’s received raves from the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert (superstar author of Eat Pray Love), who wrote, “Patrick McCartney is a phenomenally gifted performer, whose work I have admired for years. But we almost lost this extraordinary artist to alcoholism and drug addiction—which would have been a tragedy on so many levels. Now McCartney has returned to the stage with a one-man show about his struggle with substance abuse. Miraculously, it manages to be simultaneously brilliant, devastating, hilarious, humble, searching, and triumphant. Go see it. It’s a beautiful piece of work:” Sinister Kid (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

BKBX: Broken Box MimeTuesday 11/26: The innovative and award-winning Broken Box Mime troupe performs their finest wordless sketches & stories, mixed with fresh bits, all set to a “rip-roarin’ soundtrack:” BKBX: Quiet Riot (9:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $20 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

My Hometown 2.jpgFriday 11/29: Native New Yorkers Ilana Michelle Rubin & Lana Schwartz invite comics who came here from somewhere else to talk about their home towns, with tonight’s guests the great Aparna Nancherla (above), Arti Gollapudi, Chrissy Shackelford, Sam Saulsbury, and Corie Johnson: My Hometown (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Guy MontgomeryFriday 11/29: New Zealand comic Guy Montgomery (co-host of the popular podcast The Worst Ideo of All Time) performs a solo stand-up show about friendship (see above) for one night only in Brooklyn: Guy Montgomery: I’m Friends With These People (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Michelle ButeauSunday 12/1: Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and High Maintenance, Netflix’s Russian Doll, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Amazon’s The Tick, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight; films Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great; comedy album Shut Up) performs a deliciously long stand-up set: Michelle Buteau (7:30 pm (sold out) & 10:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Punderdome 3000 Tuesday 12/3: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 audience members (a dozen sign-ups and six returning champions) fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd: Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early—doors open at 7:00—to nab a seat, or plan on standing)

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

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

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

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

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

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10

The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

The Magnet
254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Bell House
149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/W to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

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

The Stand
116 East 16th Street; Club closest to competing with Comedy Cellar, featuring top stand-ups on a main stage and upstairs stage; no drink min.—support this policy!

Carolines Comedy Club
1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.

Gotham Comedy Club
208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.

Eastville Comedy Club
487 Atlantic Avenue (near the Barclays Center); only comedy club in Brooklyn; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; some shows have 2-drink min., but many don’t

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

Comic Strip Live
1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

Stand Up NY
236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan’s The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC’s The Creek and Astoria Queens’ QED.

In addition, at the East Village’s UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.

All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.

There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

Special thanks to comedy photographers supreme Anya Garrett and Mindy Tucker for creating so many of the stellar photos that grace this site…and the sites of hundreds of NYC comics.

Contact Hy

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible Best New York Comedy (and HyReviews.com). He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for October 2019: Last Updated Friday 10/18

October 18, 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 October 2019 (with more to come soon) include:

Bad Pitches: Halloween TV Special EditionFriday 10/18: Comics TBA pitch the worst ideas for Halloween TV specials they can think of, only to have them nickel-and-dimed by a panel of TV exec judges, in this monthly show hosted by Ned Ehrbar: Bad Pitches: Halloween TV Special Edition (8:30 pm, Free!, Crystal Lake Brooklyn at 647 Grand Street; take L subway to Brooklyn’s Lorimer Street or Graham Avenue)

Sarah Rose Siskind's "Drug Test: Sex on Acid"Friday 10/18: Experts and comics have a frank and taboo-free discussion of drugs, this month focused on Sex & Psychedelics, hosted by Sarah Rose Siskind (comedy writer for NatGeo’s StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson): Drug Test: Sex on Acid (7:00 pm, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sinister KidFriday 10/18: Patrick McCartney (member of acclaimed theatrical improv group Centralia) performs a comedic solo show about addiction and recovery, directed by Shira Piven (HBO’s Divorce and Room 104, Amazon’s Transparent), that’s received raves from the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert (superstar author of Eat Pray Love), who wrote, “Patrick McCartney is a phenomenally gifted performer, whose work I have admired for years. But we almost lost this extraordinary artist to alcoholism and drug addiction—which would have been a tragedy on so many levels. Now McCartney has returned to the stage with a one-man show about his struggle with substance abuse. Miraculously, it manages to be simultaneously brilliant, devastating, hilarious, humble, searching, and triumphant. Go see it. It’s a beautiful piece of work:” Sinister Kid (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Chanel AliFriday 10/18: Exceptionally charming stand-up Chanel Ali (MTV’s Girl Code; opens for Michael Che and Marc Maron; for a delightful sample, please click here) performs a deliciously long set in an intimate comedy club room: An Hour with Chanel Ali (9:00 pm, $20, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Adult Sex Ed: Halloween EditionFriday 10/18: Comics Taylor Ortega, Keisha Zollar & Andrew Kimler, and Maya Deshmukh celebrate the upcoming dark holidays by wearing silly costumes and discussing sex-related material that scares us, hosted by Dani Faith Leonard: Adult Sex Ed (9:30 pm; $17 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Picture This!Saturday 10/19: In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups Rosebud Baker, Dee Nasty, Rebecca O’Neal, Chanel Ali, and Doug Smith 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 Samantha Ruddy: Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Christina Galston, Joyelle Johnson, and Jo FirestoneSaturday 10/19: TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, 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; comedy album The Hits), Joyelle Johnson (top middle; Seth Meyers, HBO’s Crashing, TruTV; former writer for Broad City), and Christina Glaston (top left; co-host of NYC Blunt Club podcast) perform stand-up 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 lawyer 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)

Jamie Loftus: Sunday 10/20: The multitalented Jamie Loftus (writer for Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken and Chelsea Handler; animator for Comedy Central; co-host of podcast The Bechdel Cast) performs her acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe Festival solo show about “a toxic corporate feminist who is teaching all fellow girlbosses how to use technology to steal data for fun, profit, and #feminism:” Boss Whom Is Girl (5:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Amy Zimmer and Spike Einbinder: Tuesday 10/22: Amy Zimmer (The New Yorker) & Spike Einbinder (above) provide “elaborate slapstick psycho-thrillers in this dizzying array of vignettes showcasing the most romantic, obsessive, and eccentric duos you never knew you wanted, and definitely didn’t know you needed,” with guests Ana Fabrega (breakout star of HBO’s Los Espookys; Am Home with Amy Sedaris, Portlandia, The Jim Gaffigan Show, The Chris Gethard Show) and Cole Escola (At Home with Amy Sedaris, Difficult People): Together At Last (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ophira Eisenberg & Adira Amram: Wednesday 10/23: Two exceptionally appealing comics, 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, comedy album Bangs!) and Adira Amram (spectacular comedic singer & dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens), perform and host Joyelle Johnson (Seth Meyers, HBO’s Crashing, TruTV; former writer for Broad City), Becky Yamamoto (Web series Uninspired), and Matthew Holtzclaw (magician who Rolling Stone called “unforgettable”): Ophira & Adira (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Fareeha Khan: Thursday 10/24: Fareeha Khan (MTV, The ‘Sup Show) invites comics to “share what feeling like an outcast means to them,” with Sara Hennessey (Canadian TV star/writer of such series as Terrific Women; comedy albums They Know Too Much and Trouble in Saradise), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), Marcia Belsky (Reductress; Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; lead singer of band Free the Mind), Martin Urbano (Jimmy Kimmel), and Okay Kaya: Outcast (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Karen Chee & Ariel Dumas: Friday 10/25: Pairs of comics face off in “passionate, high-stakes debates about absolutely unimportant, low-stakes topics,” with Asher Perlman, Jes Tom, Steve Waltien, Shane O’Neill, and Heben Nigatu hosted by Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) & Ariel Dumas (staff writer for Stephen Colbert): Big Debates, Lil Issues (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kaiju Big BattelSaturday 10/26: A modern conflict of epic proportions. Evil villains, menacing alien beasts, and giant, city-crushing monsters threaten to destroy the planet. Who will save the helpless humans from total ruin? The Heroes, of course; plus a few privileged audience members getting in on the action, as they try to contain danger within the three-roped arena of Kaiju Big Battel (6:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Sydnee Washington: Saturday 10/26: Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) performs a new solo show, with Eudora Peterson opening: Sydnee Washington: My Favorite Open Book Of Beautiful Garbage (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Friends Who Folk & FriendsSaturday 10/26: 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 Larry Owens, Jes Tom, Amelia Bande, David Sidorov, Hannah Hiaasen, and Dan Chamberlain: Friends Who Folk & Friends (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The 12th Annual Schtick or TreatMonday 10/28: For the 12th year of this fabulous annual event, scores of NYC comics get a couple of minutes each to do a set as a famous comedian (e.g., Amy Schumer, George Carlin, Jimmy Fallon, Rodney Dangerfield, Joan Rivers…the possibilities are endless) hosted by Mark Normand & Matt Ruby. For highlights of last year’s show, please click here, and then nab tickets to The 12th Annual Schtick or Treat (8:00 pm; $16.41 online or $12 at the door (if it doesn’t sell out in advance, which it often does); Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue—take the G subway to Metropolitan Avenue or L subway to Lorimer Street)

First ImpressionsMonday 10/28: Seven comics—Desi Domo, Rachel Pegram, Tim Platt, Jes Tom, Thomas Whittington, Zach Teague, and Donald Chang—and one audience member compete to win the hearts of celebrity single Aparna Nancherla (Aparna is actually in a relationship, but suspend your disbelief) for this 1990’s-style dating game show hosted by Taylor Ortega, John Everett Trowbridge, Jenny Gorelick, and Jonathan Yoni Lotan: First Impressions: The 90’s Dating Game Show (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stevie PresentsTuesday 10/29: Fine lineup of Jo Firestone, Karen Chee, Clare O’Kane, Rachel Pegram, and Larry Owens performing stand-up for hosts Sam Taggart and Pat Regan: Stevie Presents (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Where Do You Get Off?: A Show for Petty PeopleTuesday Tuesday 10/29: Hosts Austin Bernhardt (writer for Comedy Central, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) & Megan Meadows (Reductress) “invite you and your worst impulses to a night of gripes, games, and non-scary audience participation,” featuring petty complaints from 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), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), Mary Cella (Comedy Central, The New Yorker, The New York Times), Nicole Boyce (Comedy Central, The New Yorker), and Brian Bahe (Vulture): Where Do You Get Off?: A Show for Petty People (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Murder Mystery PartyWednesday 10/30: Enjoy a blend of stand-up, sketch, music, and murder with Caroline Portu & Marty Miller, Avra Friedman, Alex Boyce, John Everett Trowbridge, Michael Kayne, Maya Deshmukh, and Milly Tamarez hosted by Jenny Gorelick: Jenny’s Birthday: Murder Mystery Party! (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

BackFat Variety Presents: Comedians with Ghost StoriesThursday 10/31: Stand-ups share true personal stories about supernatural experiences, with Adam Mamawala (Comedy Central, MTV, BET; stand-up album One of the Good Ones), Pranav Behari (co-host of Mango Bae podcast), Maria Wojciechowski (editor at Comedywire), Srilatha Rajamani, and Jericho Davidson hosted by Emily Winter (writer for NPR’s Ask Me Another; The New Yorker, The New York Times) and Larry Mancini (ESPN radio; band member of The Tracys): BackFat Variety Presents: Comedians with Ghost Stories (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Punderdome 3000: Halloween SpecialTuesday 11/5: A raucous monthly pun competition hosted by Fred Firestone (co-author with Jo Firestone of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), with 18 audience members (a dozen sign-ups and six returning champions) fiercely competing for wordplay dominance—and the chance to become an instant star based on verbal cleverness, and the ability to drum up the most applause from a packed and loudly cheering crowd. This special Halloween edition also features a spooky Pun-Costume competition: Punderdome 3000: Halloween Special (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street—take R subway to Union Street; show up early—doors open at 7:00—to nab a seat, or plan on standing)

The National Lampoon Radio HourWednesday 11/6: The National Lampoon Radio Hour ran weekly from November 1973 through December 1974. A number of its comics then moved on to Saturday Night Live, including John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, and brilliant writer Michael O’Donoghue. Decades later, you can come see NLRH resurrected as a podcast and stage show with a brand new cast of writers and performers: Jo Firestone, Maeve Higgins, Aaron Jackson, Brett Davis, Alex English, Rachel Pegram, Lorelei Ramirez, Meg Stalter, Martin Urbano, and Cole Escola: The National Lampoon Radio Hour (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Eric Dittelman: Wednesday 11/6: Mind reader Eric Dittelman (America’s Got Talent, Ellen) hosts professional magicians testing out new acts—including comedic bits—for this long-running free monthly show: Amazeballs (10:00 pm, Free!, The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC at 10-93 Jackson Avenue; take 7 subway to Vernon Boulevard–Jackson Avenue)

Sarah Squirm's HellTrap NightmareFriday 11/8: Sarah Squirm, who created the infamous Adult Swim video here, gifts us with a live show filled with her disturbingly gross dark comedy, plus musical guests Ana Fabrega & Lorelei Ramirez (as duo Beautiful Souls Al Fresco): Sarah Squirm’s HellTrap Nightmare (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)

Michelle Buteau 8Sunday 12/1: Michelle Buteau (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens and High Maintenance, Netflix’s Russian Doll, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, Amazon’s The Tick, VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight; films Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great; comedy album Shut Up) performs a deliciously long stand-up set: Michelle Buteau (9:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

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

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

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

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

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10

The PIT Loft
154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; the third of The PIT theatres, located separately on the West side, hosts a wide range of comedy, but is especially effective as a home for intimate solo and/or theatrical shows; free-$20

The Magnet
254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10

The Creek and the Cave
Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all weeknight shows free; weekend shows free-$10

Union Hall
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Littlefield
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20

Bell House
149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/W to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.

Village Underground
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.

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.