NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2020: Last Updated Sunday 1/5

January 5, 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 January 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Stand-Ups AnonymousSunday 1/5: Comics tell true tales of how drink, drugs, and/or sex addiction have ruined their lives in the past and for what they’re now grateful, with Mike CannonMehran KhaghaniCorinne FisherKrystyna HutchinsonJonas BarnesLouis Katz, and host Jeff LeachStand-Ups Anonymous (7:00 pm, $15The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Bacon Bits Brunch ShowSunday 1/5: Enjoy brunch with laughs at this comedy show that provides free bacon and $20 bottomless mimosas along with jokes from NYC stand-ups Ashley Hesseltine (co-host of podcast Girls Gotta Eat), Jeff Leach (host of podcast Savage Snowflake and show Stand-Ups Anonymous—which happens tonight at 7:00 pm in the same room), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), and Ben DeMarco hosted by Remy Kassimir (host of podcasts How Cum and We Really Love Island): Bacon Bits Brunch Show (3:00 pm, $15The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Golden Globes Watch PartySunday 1/5: Watch the Golden Globes Awards with an audience, and enjoy comedic observations and characters by NYC comics performing for you during the commercials. The show is hosted by Jenny Gorelick, with a voting explanation by Andrea Jones-Rooy, color commentary by Rachel PegramAllie CarieriGabe Gonzalez, and Miz Diamond Wigfall, and celebrity impersonations by John Everett TrowbridgeSophie Elizabeth SantosAna McCaslandAbby HeroldMicaela FaganJoey Dardano, and Jeremy MoultonGolden Globes Watch Party (6:30 pm doors, 7:00 pm show; $16.89 in advance online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

John Reynolds and Matt BaratsSunday 1/5: John Reynolds (co-star of Search Party, cast member of Stranger Things; previously writer for The President ShowCraig Ferguson, and Celebrity Deathmatch) & Matt Barats (HBO’s High MaintenanceSeth MeyersThe New Yorker) perform duo comedy: John Reynolds & Matt Barats (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Karleigh Chase: Sunday 1/5: Seven art portrait masterpieces come to life and reveal the stories behind their creation—explaining why Mona Lisa was smiling, what Frida was staring at, the cause of the desperately sad eyes of the girl with a pearl earring, and more—written & directed by Karleigh Chase, and performed by Alexa Harris (Narrator), Marlee Dater (Mona Lisa), Karleigh Chase (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Rory Lipede (Dora Maar), Rory Kelsch (American Gothic), Duvall O’Steen (Gala Dali), Juanita Castro-Ochoa (Frida Kahlo), and Maureen Toomey (Marilyn Monroe): Memoirs of a Painted Woman (8:00 pm, $12The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Sunday Night Stand-Up at The StandSunday 1/5: Sharp 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), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentaries 25 Sets, A Universal Language, co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water and The Stand’s Frantic!), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas), and Tom CassidySunday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Comedy at The KnitSunday 1/5: Casey James Salengo (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents; album Wild Country Phoenix), Alex Babbitt (HBO’s All Def Comedy), Mike Brown (TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, TruTV, MTV, Adult Swim; co-host of Comedy Outliers), Jocelyn Chia (2-time Moth StorySlam winner), and JJ Mattise (Brooklyn’s Best) perform stand-up for stellar hosts Sydnee WashingtonAminah Imani, and Marie FaustinComedy at The Knit (9:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory at 361 Metropolitan Avenue; take the G/L subway to Lorimer Street-Metropolitan Avenue)

Comedy Fight Club 11Sunday 1/5: This weekly competitive 1-on-1 roast battle tonight features a main bout of Jess Feeney (“I’m really nice till you get to know me”) vs. Chris Lamadieu (“You have the confidence of a man who doesn’t know he looks like that”) judged by Corinne FisherTrey Galyon, and Dale Cheeseman, and hosted by Matt MaranComedy Fight Club (9:00 pm; $8.13 online using code CFC, otherwise $13.13; The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

If You Build ItSunday 1/5: Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Kevin Iso (Hulu’s High Fidelity, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar and Adam Devine’s House Party), Marcia Belsky (Reductress; Handmaid’s Tale The Musical; lead singer of band Free the Mind), Mike Lebovitz (HBO’s The Deuce, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing), and Noah Savage (ESPN) perform stand-up hosted by Robert Dean (Comedy Central): If You Build It (9:30 pm, $9UCB at SubCulture45 Bleecker Street—take #6 subway to Bleecker Street stop)

Fred Firestone: Tuesday 1/7: 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. Be prepared to boo 2020 puns anything less than stellar: Punderdome 3000: New Year! (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)

Dan St. GermainTuesday 1/7: Dan St. Germain (above; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Crashing, @midnight, This is Not Happening, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1; former staff writer for CBS’ Superior Donuts, Netflix’s The Break with Michelle Wolf, and TruTV’s Ten Things; album No Real Winners Here), Olga Namer (“Unorthodox Jewish comedian”), Justin SmithAlex Babbitt, and Stephon Bishop perform stand-up hosted by Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV; album You Guys Are Dope) representing both well-known and less-known comics considered worthy of your attention by comedy blog Stellar Underground (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the SenateWednesday 1/8: Comedic storytellers, musicians, and/or political organizers “tell inspiring, funny, and absolutely true personal stories about turning points, and no turning back points. With special remarks from Swing Left about its 2020 strategy to flip the Senate, plus specific calls to action and ways for you to get involved in the fight for our lives. 100% ticket proceeds go directly to Swing Left’s Senate funds,” with performers Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 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), Shaina Taub (Emmy-nominated singer/songwriter who’s written songs for TV shows ranging from The TONY Awards to Julie Andrews’ Julie’s Greenroom to Sesame Street; albums Visitors and Die Happy), Paola Mendoza (activist who co-founded @WeAreSoze, @ResistanceRev, and Women’s March OG; author of Together We Rise), Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Sandi Marx (PBS, 7-time Moth StorySlam winner), and more hosted by Nicole Ferraro (founder of Art, Humanity & Action) and Liat Olenick (Indivisible Nation BK): No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the Senate (7:30 pm, $35-$60The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Emily Flake & Ophira Eisenberg:Wednesday 1/8: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children (and guest comics who aren’t revel in their freedom), with tonight’s cruel jokesters Jenny Hagel (staff writer for Seth Meyers; iO, Second City), Iris Bahr (actress in numerous TV shows including Friends, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The King of Queens, and such films as Larry the Cable Guy and The Last Exorcism), Doogie Horner (NBC’s America’s Got Talent; author of A Die Hard ChristmasThis Might Hurt a Bit, and Home Alone Hard; stand-up album A Delicate Man), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), and Katie Goodman (member of Broad Comedy; YouTube hits I Didn’t F*ck It Up and Sorry Babe, You’re a Feminist) hosted by 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) and Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves): Shitshow (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Michelle Collins 5Thursday 1/9: Michelle Collins (host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise) performs a deliciously long stand-up club set for one night only: Michelle Collins Headlines Carolines (7:00 pm, $32.75 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Shalewa Sharpe, Daniel Simonsen, Mohanad Elshieky, and AmelitaThursday 1/9: Stand-ups Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?), Daniel Simonsen (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar; cast member of BBC’s House of Fools; toured with Simon Amstell), Mohanad Elshieky (Conan O’Brien; Epix’s Unprotected Sets; digital producer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), and Amelita (“Future icon blazing through the intersection of diva pop music and comedy that some would argue does not actually exist”) perform for hosts Emily Winter (writer for NPR’s Ask Me AnotherThe New Yorker, The New York Times) & Larry Mancini (ESPN Radio; band member of The Tracys): BackFat Variety (7:00 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ask Me AnotherThursday 1/9: A guest or guests TBA (not available yet, but to be reported here pre-show) will be the focus 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 CoultonAsk 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)

MortifiedThursday 1/9: 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)

Oh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence ProjectFriday 1/10: Great lineup of Eva Victor (Twitter comedic characters video superstar; The New Yorker), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Ego Nwodim (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust), Conner O’Malley (former staff writer/performer for Seth MeyersLouie, Broad City), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), and Dan Licata (writer for Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks To YouThe Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Ethan Beach & Josh NasserOh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence Project (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)

Tiff Stevenson: Friday 1/10: A solo show by Tiff Stevenson (UK-based 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, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jennifer Wright, Lane Moore, Laura Benanti, and Daniel Kibblesmith: Friday 1/10: 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 Laura Benanti (Tony Award winner for Broadway musical She Loves Me; cast member of TBS’ The Detour; NBC’s The Sound of Music Live, CW’s Supergirl, CBS’ The Good Wife, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie; album Songs From My Fair Lady), and married couple Jennifer Wright (right; political Editor-at-Large for Harper’s Bazaar; The New York Times; author of numerous books including It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in HistoryWe Came First: Relationship Advice from Women Who Have Been There, and Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History) & Daniel Kibblesmith (left; staff writer since 2015 for Stephen ColbertThe New Yorker, McSweeney’s; writer of such Marvel comic books as Loki and Black Panther vs. Deadpool; author of books How to Win at Everything and Santa’s Husband; former Humor Editor for Buzzfeed): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: "Your Love, Our Musical"Saturday 1/11: World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $22.32 for a seat, or $17 for standing room, online; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street. Please note this show consistently sells out, so buying in advance online is highly recommended.)

Doctors Without BoundariesSunday 1/12: Real-life ER doctors Andrés Mallipudi and Darien Sutton host “chronically over-sharing comics” Peter MuthSherm Jacobs, and Todd Montesi to tell stories of their weirdest diagnoses, and then “break down the insane history of how the medical community has treated that condition, why that condition has been stigmatized, and the real facts you should know when dealing with the condition yourself;” plus you can ask the doctors “your own embarrassing medical questions:” Doctors Without Boundaries (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Shalewa Sharpe: "Don't Reach in the Bag"Sunday 1/12: “A young woman applies for a job at an adult video store because she figures the dress code will be lax.” Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?) performs a solo show “about the people who need porn and the folks brave enough to sell it to them:” Shalewa Sharpe: Don’t Reach in the Bag (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Taylor Ortega & Jay Malsky: "Turnt Valley Church Club"Sunday 1/12: Highly talented & hilarious duo Taylor Ortega (HBO’s Succession, Shego in Disney Channel’s live-action Kim Possible, TruTV) & Jay Malsky (acclaimed solo shows Elaine Stritch: Still Here and Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) play “Leaeah and Jacobs, the founders and resident pastors of a church for the Instagram generation that is known for its celebrity parishioners and hot, relatable take on Christianity. Bear witness to this clearly closeted married couple’s latest fame-hungry venture: Jesus. Sing with them in praise. Become the rock upon which they build their religious empire for Christ-horny millennials:” Turnt Valley Church Club (7:00 pm, $12Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2020: Last Updated Friday 1/3

January 3, 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 January 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Friday 1/3: 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), Mohanad Elshieky (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), Kenice Mobley (host of podcast Love About Town, co-host of The Pasta Show), and Sarah Tollemache (Adam Devine’s House Party; co-host of Vadge podcast) 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)

Chris Claremont and Alan SepinwallFriday 1/3: Seminal comic book writer Chris Claremont (revived X-Men and turned them into some of Marvel’s most prized crown jewels, forming the basis of the hit X-Men and Wolverine movie franchises), Alan Sepinwall (chief TV critic for Rolling Stone; co-author of TV (The Book): Two Experts Pick the Greatest American Shows of All Time), and Caroline Martin (member of Netflix sketch group Astronomy Club) are the guests of brilliant improvisor & character comic Connor Ratliff (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 (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) “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)

SinbadFriday 1/3-Saturday 1/4: Sinbad—who in addition to being a movie and TV star is an acclaimed stand-up, with two Comedy Central specials and four HBO specials—continues his headlining NYC run, with an opening set by Caleb Elliott (High School Musical 1–3 movie trilogy) tonight and Saturday: Sinbad Does Carolines (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm Friday-Saturday; $46.50 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Artie LangeFriday 1/3-Saturday 1/4: “When I encountered rich people for the first time, I discovered that not only do they holiday in places that are hard to find on a map, but that they use the names of seasons as verbs. When they asked me, ‘Where did you summer and winter growing up?’ I would usually say, ‘As a child? The same place I springed and autumned.'” A veteran comic headlines in Chelsea tonight and Saturday, with opening sets by Russ Meneve (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing) and Alli Breen (Sirius XM): Artie Lange at Gotham Comedy (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm Friday-Saturday, $35 plus 2-drink min., Gotham Comedy Club at 208 West 23rd Street off Seventh Avenue)

50 First Jokes, 2020 EditionFriday 1/3: For the 14th year of this annual tradition, 50+ NYC comics will come together to each tell the first joke he or she has written in the new year. The scheduled lineup includes Emmy Blotnick, Josh Gondelman, Ashley Brooke Roberts, Christi ChielloKevin Iso, Alison LeibyShane Torres, Shalewa Sharpe, Ismael Loutfi, Jake Flores, Kate Willet, Nore Davis, Matt Koff, Tom Thakkar, Alex English, Ariel Elias…and many, many more. This lovely coming together of NYC’s stand-up comedy community is hosted by John F. O’Donnell50 First Jokes, 2020 Edition (7:00 pm doors, 8:00 pm show, $20The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

The Stand 1-3-20Friday 1/3: Powerhouse lineup of Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin QuinnComedy Central PresentsOpie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; new album When I Saw Hamilton), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; recent interview on Artie Lange’s Halfway House), Yamaneika Saunders (HBO’s Crashing, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle; stand-up album Damsel in Distress), and Lev Fer (host of the Yung Daddy podcast): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Friday Night Stand-Up at The StandFriday 1/3: Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Corinne Fisher (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), Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr), Charles Engle (co-host of podcast Please Send Nudes), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas) perform in an intimate club venue: Friday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (9:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Tracy Soren, Angela Palladino, and Julian Edward: Friday 1/3: Stand-up, stories, or characters from Zach Zimmerman (The New Yorker, McSweeney’s; album Clean Comedy), Rachel Pegram (Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV, BET; movies Don’t Think Twice and The Week Of; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour and UCB star improv group ASSSSCAT 3000), Michael Cruz Kayne (sketches on Seth Meyers and The Chris Gethard Show; HBO’s High Maintenance; former writer for @midnight and Billy on the Street; member of ace musical improv group Baby Wants Candy and UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love; co-host of monthly comedy show The Exhibition), and Gwynn Ballard perform for hosts Tracy Soren (host of My Nightmare), Julian Edward Williams, and Angela Palladino (Funny Or Die): WALT (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stars at The StandFriday 1/3: Stars Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin QuinnComedy Central PresentsOpie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; new album When I Saw Hamilton), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; recent interview on Artie Lange’s Halfway House), Yamaneika Saunders (HBO’s Crashing, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle; stand-up album Damsel in Distress), and Lev Fer (host of the Yung Daddy podcast) perform late night stand-up in Union Square: Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $25 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

The Stand 1-3-20 5Friday 1/3: Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV, FX) hosts stand-ups Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, animated webseries Damaged, comedy album Mind Over Melee), Corinne Fisher (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), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Lev Fer (host of the Yung Daddy podcast), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas), and Geno Bisconte (frequent guest on The Artie Lange Show, The Howard Stern Show): Late Night Stand-Up and Afterparty at The Stand (11:00 pm; $20 cover and no min.—includes afterparty; The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

SinbadSaturday 1/4: Tonight’s the last chance to catch Sinbad—who in addition to being a movie and TV star was designated by Comedy Central as one of the top 100 stand-ups of all time—perform a deliciously long club set at Carolines, with an opener by Caleb Elliott (High School Musical 1–3 movie trilogy): Sinbad at Carolines (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm; $46.50 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Artie Lange
Saturday 1/4: 
A veteran comic—who is now hosting the podcast Halfway House—headlines in Chelsea for one last night, with opening sets by Russ Meneve (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing) and Alli Breen (Sirius XM): Artie Lange at Gotham Comedy (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm, $35 plus 2-drink min., Gotham Comedy Club at 208 West 23rd Street off Seventh Avenue)

Chrissie Mayr: "Wet Spot" LiveSaturday 1/4: Chrissie Mayr (NBC’s America’s Got Talent, FOX, The Chris Gethard ShowWendy Williams; host of Comedy at Stonewall) hosts this live-on-stage recording of her advice podcast about sex, love, and relationships, with tonight’s guests Kevin Brennan (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Carson Daly; star of HBO special One Night Stand; former writer for SNL; co-host of podcast Misery Loves Company), Mehran Khaghani (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, MTV, IFC, TruTV; co-hosts Sirius XM’s Paid or Pain), and Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic), plus the show’s announcer Mike Figs (host of Arthur Avenue’s Bronx Beerhall show Figs in the Hall): Chrissie Mayr: Wet Spot Live (7:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Karleigh Chase: "Memoirs of a Painted Woman"

Saturday 1/4-Sunday 1/5: Seven art portrait masterpieces come to life and reveal the stories behind their creation—explaining why Mona Lisa was smiling, what Frida was staring at, the cause of the desperately sad eyes of the girl with a pearl earring, and more—written & directed by Karleigh Chase, and performed by Alexa Harris (Narrator), Marlee Dater (Mona Lisa), Karleigh Chase (Girl with a Pearl Earring), Rory Lipede (Dora Maar), Rory Kelsch (American Gothic), Duvall O’Steen (Gala Dali), Juanita Castro-Ochoa (Frida Kahlo), and Maureen Toomey (Marilyn Monroe): Memoirs of a Painted Woman (8:00 pm, $12The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 1/4: 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)

Ladies Who RanchSaturday 1/4: Sketches, characters, riffs, bits, and vids from five-gal comedy group Ladies Who Ranch, consisting of Kelly CooperCaitlin Dullea,Maya SharmaCaroline Yost, and Sophie Zucker; plus an opening stand-up set from Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive): Ladies Who Ranch (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

John Reynolds and Matt BaratsSunday 1/5: John Reynolds (co-star of Search Party, cast member of Stranger Things; previously writer for The President ShowCraig Ferguson, and Celebrity Deathmatch) & Matt Barats (HBO’s High MaintenanceSeth MeyersThe New Yorker) perform duo comedy: John Reynolds & Matt Barats (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Fred Firestone: "Punderdome 3000"Tuesday 1/7: 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. Be prepared to boo 2020 puns anything less than stellar: Punderdome 3000: New Year! (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)

Dan St. GermainTuesday 1/7: Dan St. Germain (above; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Crashing, @midnight, This is Not Happening, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1; former staff writer for CBS’ Superior Donuts, Netflix’s The Break with Michelle Wolf, and TruTV’s Ten Things; album No Real Winners Here), Olga Namer (“Unorthodox Jewish comedian”), Justin SmithAlex Babbitt, and Stephon Bishop perform stand-up hosted by Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV; album You Guys Are Dope) representing both well-known and less-known comics considered worthy of your attention by comedy blog Stellar Underground (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the SenateWednesday 1/8: Comedic storytellers, musicians, and/or political organizers “tell inspiring, funny, and absolutely true personal stories about turning points, and no turning back points. With special remarks from Swing Left about its 2020 strategy to flip the Senate, plus specific calls to action and ways for you to get involved in the fight for our lives. 100% ticket proceeds go directly to Swing Left’s Senate funds,” with performers Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 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), Shaina Taub (Emmy-nominated singer/songwriter who’s written songs for TV shows ranging from The TONY Awards to Julie Andrews’ Julie’s Greenroom to Sesame Street; albums Visitors and Die Happy), Paola Mendoza (activist who co-founded @WeAreSoze, @ResistanceRev, and Women’s March OG; author of Together We Rise), Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Sandi Marx (PBS, 7-time Moth StorySlam winner), and more hosted by Nicole Ferraro (founder of Art, Humanity & Action) and Liat Olenick (Indivisible Nation BK): No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the Senate (7:30 pm, $35-$60The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Emily Flake & Ophira Eisenberg:Wednesday 1/8: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children (and guest comics who aren’t revel in their freedom), with tonight’s cruel jokesters Jenny Hagel (staff writer for Seth Meyers; iO, Second City), Iris Bahr (actress in numerous TV shows including Friends, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The King of Queens, and such films as Larry the Cable Guy and The Last Exorcism), Doogie Horner (NBC’s America’s Got Talent; author of A Die Hard ChristmasThis Might Hurt a Bit, and Home Alone Hard; stand-up album A Delicate Man), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), and Katie Goodman (member of Broad Comedy; YouTube hits I Didn’t F*ck It Up and Sorry Babe, You’re a Feminist) hosted by 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) and Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves): Shitshow (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Michelle Collins 5Thursday 1/9: Michelle Collins (host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise) performs a deliciously long stand-up club set for one night only: Michelle Collins Headlines Carolines (7:00 pm, $32.75 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Ask Me AnotherThursday 1/9: A guest or guests TBA (not available yet, but to be reported here pre-show) will be the focus 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 CoultonAsk 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)

MortifiedThursday 1/9: 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)

Oh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence ProjectFriday 1/10: Great lineup of Eva Victor (Twitter comedic characters video superstar; The New Yorker), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Ego Nwodim (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust), Conner O’Malley (former staff writer/performer for Seth MeyersLouie, Broad City), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), and Dan Licata (writer for Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks To YouThe Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Ethan Beach & Josh NasserOh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence Project (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)

Tiff Stevenson: Friday 1/10: A solo show by Tiff Stevenson (UK-based 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, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jennifer Wright, Lane Moore, Laura Benanti, and Daniel Kibblesmith: "Tinder Live"Saturday 1/10: 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 Laura Benanti (Tony Award winner for Broadway musical She Loves Me; cast member of TBS’ The Detour; NBC’s The Sound of Music Live, CW’s Supergirl, CBS’ The Good Wife, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie; album Songs From My Fair Lady), and married couple Jennifer Wright (right; political Editor-at-Large for Harper’s Bazaar; The New York Times; author of numerous books including It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in HistoryWe Came First: Relationship Advice from Women Who Have Been There, and Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History) & Daniel Kibblesmith (left; staff writer since 2015 for Stephen ColbertThe New Yorker, McSweeney’s; writer of such Marvel comic books as Loki and Black Panther vs. Deadpool; author of books How to Win at Everything and Santa’s Husband; former Humor Editor for Buzzfeed): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


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

December 11, 2019

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

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

Pop Show 11Wednesday 12/11: Ziwe Fumudoh (writer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero, and previously for The Rundown with Robin Thede; host of hilarious webseries Baited with Ziwe) invites comics Natalie Walker, Rachel Pegram, Jes Tom, Max Wittert, and Walter Kelly to perform pop songs, preceded by comedic presentations: Pop Show (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrea Jones-Rooy
Thursday 12/12:
Andrea Jones-Rooy, who is a Professor and Director of Undergraduate Study at the NYU Center for Data Science—and also a fire-wielding circus performer—uses decades of data-driven political research to “help us understand what our political structures are actually doing, why, and how (and whether) to change them. We explore such questions as ‘What does majority rule even mean, and what are the consequences of it? Are we actually getting more polarized? Why, despite the historical records in the midterm election, do so many candidates and leaders still look the same?”: Political Circus: Why Democracy is F*cked and What to Do About It (7:00 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Characters Welcome: Characters Welcome: "Leather Father"Thursday 12/12: One of the best innovations of UCBT-NY Artistic Director Michael Hartney was creating a new category of house teams (beyond those for improv and sketch) devoted to talented comedic character actors. Tonight one of those two groups, Leather FatherJason Gore, Cameron McCall, Alex Otis, Xavier Padin, Nathan Pearson, Elena Skopetos, Graham Techler, and Nichole Yannetty—perform original characters or impersonations directed & hosted by Michael Hartney, Eric Feurer, and/or Sarah Parsons: Characters Welcome: Leather Father (7:30 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Michael Ian Black 10Thursday 12/12: Comedy icon Michael Ian Black has acted in over a dozen movies, including Wet Hot American Summer; and in scores of TV series—including Netflix’s Insatiable, Comedy Central’s Another Period and The Jim Gaffigan Show, and such classics as seminal MTV sketch series The State and NBC’s Ed. He’s also the author of over a dozen books, including the 2016 bestseller A Child’s First Book of Trump. And on top of all that, he enjoys performing stand-up…which is what he’s doing tonight: Michael Ian Black Does Brooklyn (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

MortifiedThursday 12/12: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show—which is now also a six-part series titled The Mortified Guide on Netflix: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

Friends Who Folk & FriendsSaturday 12/14: Friends Who Folk—i.e., delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky (writer for Jimmy Fallon, freelance writer for SNL; Deputy Editor of Reductress; co-host of Mouth Time! podcast; Head Writer of The Story Pirates podcast) & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com—host guests Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow; live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; comedy album The Hits), Max Wittert (HBO’s High Maintenance), and Francesca D’Uva: Friends Who Folk & Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

North Coast 4Saturday 12/14: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

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

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

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

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

Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It ComedyMonday 12/16: This show is about “the science of astrology, which is very real and definitely not fake. Each month, hosts Melissa Stokoski, Karolena Theresa, and Brian Bahe (famously all Virgos) along with resident Astrologist Lizzie Martinez (Taurus) welcome a lineup of comedians all born under the current zodiac.” This month’s group of Sagittarius stand-ups include Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust), Alex English (writer for BET’s The Rundown with Robin Thede), and Jes Tom (Reductress): Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (7:30 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

Comic Book ClubTuesday 12/17: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Josh Gondelman, Lane Moore, Hari Kondabolu, and Frank Conniff: Saturday 12/21: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guests Josh Gondelman (left; one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Hari Kondabolu (top right; fresh, sharp, rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives; co-host of Kondabolu Brothers podcast), and Frank Conniff (bottom right; TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic) : Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 12/21: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

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

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

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

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

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 12/28: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2019: Last Updated 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2019: Last Updated Saturday 11/30

November 30, 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 more to come soon) include:

Joe Mande Definitely Has Friends 2.jpgSaturday 11/30: Joe Mande (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Ben on Modern Family; former writer for The Good Place, Parks & Recreation, Kroll Show, Delocated, Master of None; author of book Look at This F*cking Hipster, comedy album Bitchface; Netflix’s Joe Mande’s Award-Winning Comedy Special) performs in Brooklyn as part of his national tour, along with friends and/or business acquaintances Chris Gethard (comedy genius; HBO special Career Suicide, star of TruTV’s The Chris Gethard Show, host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People), Guy Montgomery (New Zealand comic; co-host of the popular podcast The Worst Idea of All Time), and Ayo Edebiri (Comedy Central, The New Yorker): Joe Mande Definitely Has Friends (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)

Andy KindlerSaturday 11/30: A stand-up veteran who once said, “When did I start comedy? I came out of the womb and did 10 minutes” performs an early and late solo show in Brooklyn for one night only: Andy Kindler: Live and Loaded (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Stand 11-30-19Saturday 11/30: Stand-up from Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), 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), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, former host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive, Netflix special Double Negative), Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV2, FX), Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Presents special; co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; author of You’re Better Than Me), and Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm & 10:00 pm, $25, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Shane Torres and Ophira EisenbergSaturday 11/30: The wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (above right; 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), Shane Torres (above left; fresh, hilarious stand-up; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Presents and Comedy Cellar, IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang, stand-up album Established 1981), Michael Cruz Kayne (sketches on Seth Meyers and The Chris Gethard Show; HBO’s High Maintenance; former writer for @midnight and Billy on the Street; member of ace musical improv group Baby Wants Candy and UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love; co-host of monthly comedy show The Exhibition), and Lizzie Martinez (co-host of Star F*ckers) 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)

Big Jay Oakerson and Nikki GlaserFriday 11/29: Big Jay Oakerson (left; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; Comedy Central and Netflix specials; films Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty), Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Presents special; co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; author of You’re Better Than Me), Ian Lara (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Emma Willmann (Stephen Colbert, Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, @midnight; regular on WB’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), and Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW): Big Jay Oakerson, Nikki Glaser, Bonnie McFarlane, and More (9:00 pm & 11:00 pm, $20, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Ruby Karp, Rachel Pegram, and The Lucas Bros.Saturday 11/30: The charming Ruby Karp (left) hosts The Lucas Brothers (right; Jimmy Fallon, 22 Jump Street, Netflix’s The Lucas Bros: On Drugs and Lady Dynamite, FOX’s Lucas Bros Moving Company and Arrested Development, HBO’s Crashing), Rachel Pegram (middle; Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV, BET; movies Don’t Think Twice and The Week Of; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour and UCB star improv group ASSSSCAT 3000), Samantha Ruddy (Stephen Colbert; warm-up comic for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; written for College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), and Matt Bachus (co-host of podcast Hold My Bread) performing stand-up: We Hope You Have Fun (Midnight, $9, UCB at SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street—take #6 subway to Bleecker Street stop)

Midnight at The StandSaturday 11/30: Superb late-night stand-up from Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; Comedy Central and Netflix specials; films Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty), Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, former host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive, Netflix special Double Negative), Luis J. Gomez (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Last Comic Standing, TruTV; co-host of podcast Legion of Skanks), Emma Willmann (Stephen Colbert, Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, @midnight; regular on WB’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Lawrence DeLoach (CBS Sports Network; host of lifestyle podcast Sup?), and more: Midnight at The Stand (Midnight, $20, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Rage Blooms Within Me: An Anger Open MicSunday 12/1: There are open mics for stand-up, storytelling, poetry, and music. And now there’s also an open mic devoted to a particular emotion: rage. Come get stuff off your chest for just $5 (notably cheaper than therapy) at host Jennifer Harmon’s Rage Blooms Within Me (3:00 pm, $5, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Test Tube Comedy: Exploring Racist HumorSunday 12/1: Comics Shalewa Sharpe (Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?) and Courtney Fearrington (co-host of Thug Passion Presents) help host Raj Sivaraman—and science—determine if telling jokes related to racism deflates or promotes actual racism: Test Tube Comedy: Exploring Racist Humor (7:00 pm, just $5!, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Doug Smith: "Barely Regal"Sunday 12/1: Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell) celebrates the release of his stand-up album Barely Regal by performing and hosting fellow comics Matt Wayne (Adam Devine’s House Party; co-host with Doug of See You in Hell), Alison Leiby (writer for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, former writer for Comedy Central’s The Opposition and The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Rebecca Vigil (powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), George Gordon (co-host of The Afterlife; stand-up album Your Good Friend), and Robert Dean (Comedy Central): Doug Smith’s Album Release Party (7:30 pm, $10, 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)

Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher: Monday 12/2: Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson (authors of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed) record their wildly popular Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast live on stage: Guys We F*cked (6:00 pm; $22.32 in advance online or $24 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sam Dingman: Tuesday 12/3: Family Ghosts is a podcast that “investigates the true story behind a mysterious figure whose legend has followed a family for generations. Grandmothers who were secretly jewel smugglers, uncles who led double lives, siblings who vanished without a trace, and other specters who cast shadows over family members in ways that might not be immediately obvious. We’re all formed in part by our familial collections of secrets, intrigues, and myths. Engaging with each others’ legends can help us see each others’ realities more clearly.” Host Sam Dingman (Moth GrandSlam Champion) celebrates the kickoff of Season Three with this live-on-stage edition: Family Ghosts Live (7:00 pm; $15; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Douglas Widdick & Ken McGraw : "Toxic Masculinity-The Musical"Tuesday 12/3: Tonight is probably the last chance to see Douglas Widdick & Ken McGraw’s hour-long musical, directed by Caitlin Bitzegaio, in its original version developed for and performed at the UCBT-NY theatre. The show is about the myriad wrong ways to try to pick up women and live a bachelor lifestyle: Toxic Masculinity: The Musical (7:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street; #NYCF2019)

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)

The Lucas Bros.Tuesday 12/3: The Lucas Brothers (above; Jimmy Fallon, 22 Jump Street, FOX’s Lucas Bros Moving Company, Arrested Development), Matthew Broussard (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Sam Morrison (writer for Bravo’s Blind Date), Ja-Ron Young, and Brian Enck perform stand-up hosted by Nore Davis (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime’s Boardwalk Empire, MTV; album You Guys Are Dope) representing both well-known and less-known comics considered worthy of your attention by comedy blog Stellar Underground (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Tracy Soren: "My Nightmare"Tuesday 12/3: Stand-ups and/or storytellers Ben Hargrave, Tim Keck, Laura Zabolotsky, Maritza Montañez, Brian Allen Mitchell, Amanda Van Nostrand, and Shenuque Tissera”share what scares the sh*t out of them,” with tonight’s guests Ben Hargrave, Tim Keck, Laura Zabolotsky, Maritza Montañez, Brian Allen Mitchell, Amanda Van Nostrand, and Shenuque Tissera, all hosted by Tracy Soren: My Nightmare (8:30 pm, $6, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

The Nerds and the BeesTuesday 12/3: Gabe Gonzalez (Scruff, MTV News) and Steve Dean (dating industry consultant & relationship coach) will choose audience members with dating woes and use data to transform their lives by helping them find who they’re looking for. “Along the way we’ll hear some crazy stories, learn insane truths about the dating industry, and meet some new people:” The Nerds & the Bees (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

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 November 2019: Last Updated Wednesday 11/6

November 6, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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; #NYCF2019)

Aparna Nancherla, Michelle Collins, and Scott Rogowsky: Jon Friedman's Wednesday 11/6: Comics share their rejected comedy material at this all-star show with Aparna Nancherla (left, abandoned by Elmo; one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 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), Michelle Collins (middle, holding axed jokes; host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise), and Scott Rogowsky (right, dumped by umbrella; NBC’s The Voice, WB’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us; host of wildly popular trivia game app HQ Trivia), plus music from superb duo Stuckey & Murray, fab band The Defibulators, and SNL Musical Director Eli Brueggemann, all hosted by Jon Friedman (Jimmy Fallon; former writer for MTV’s Guy Code and Girl Code, YouTube series Part Timers): The Rejection Show (7:30 pm, $11, Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street; #NYCF2019)

Colin O'Brien & Michael Wolf: Wednesday 11/6: “Do you ever leave a comedy show saying ‘Hmm, that was pretty funny but not enough reading’? Literati is a night of comics in character performing hilarious readings—sometimes while wearing wigs,” with tonight’s small army of guests John Reynolds (Stranger Things, Search Party), Lorelei Ramirez (Adult Swim, VICE), Clare O’Kane (VICE, Comedy Central Half Hour), Josh Sharp (The Opposition, At Home w/Amy Sedaris), Monique Moses (Netflix, Comedy Central), Sydnee Washington (The Unofficial Expert Podcast), Natasha Vaynblat (Comedy Central), Meg Stalter (National Lampoon Comedy Hour), Alex Song (HBO, Netflix, Tonight Show), Branson Reese (Cartoon Network), Becky Chicoine & Sam Reece (Comedy Central’s Shop Talk), Rollie Williams (An Inconvenient Talk Show), Mark Vigeant (Internet Explorers), and Carmen Christopher (The Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About Books and the Idiots Who Write Them (7:00 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street; #NYCF2019)

Industry StandardWednesday 11/6: Barry Katz is a long-time TV comedy producer (Last Comic Standing, Whitney, Tourgasm) and has managed such giants as Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, Tracy Morgan, and Whitney Cummings. Tonight he interviews a top comic about what it takes to have a successful career for this live version of his podcast: Industry Standard (7:00 pm, $15, The Stand at 116 East 16th Street #NYCF2019)

Colin QuinnWednesday 11/6: A Broadway, TV, and film star who once said, “There’s no way to predict what is good or bad. You just do what you think is funny, and either it works or you’re finished” tries out new material tonight and tomorrow in an intimate club for his next mass media solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Mekki LeeperWednesday 11/6: Mekki Leeper is an LA-based stand-up who grew up in a Muslim-Christian home, has appeared on James Corden (please see his January 2019 set here), wrote & directed the Comedy Central digital series Resolutions, and stars in the Comedy Central digital special Control Room—and he’s performing a solo stand-up show tonight in Brooklyn as part of #NYCF: Mekki Leeper (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street; #NYCF2019)

Elena SkopetosWednesday 11/6: Representing some of UCB-New York’s best scripted comedy for the New York Comedy Festival is this double-bill. First up is a mini-play written and co-starring Elena Skopetos titled Impressing My Dad, and then Maude house group The Foundation reprises its favorite sketches: The Best of UCBT-NY (9:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street; #NYCF2019)

Behind the BitWednesday 11/6: Stand-ups tell their darkest and most personal jokes, and then sit down for an intimate conversation with Crystal Marie about the real-life experiences that inspired them, answering such questions as “When and how did you give yourself permission to talk about your trauma?”, featuring guests Chris Redd (cast member of Saturday Night Live; NBC’s Will & Grace, Netflix’s Disjointed, movie Popstar: Never Stop Stopping), Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; Comedy Central and Netflix specials; films Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Andrew Schulz (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy), Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, America’s Got Talent), Petey DeAbreu (host of Petey’s World and co-host of White Chocolate), and Moses Storm (Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing): Behind the Bit (9:00 pm, $20 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street; #NYCF2019)

Adam Cayton-Holland: Wednesday 11/6: A solo show about losing a sister to suicide, quitting stand-up, and eventually finding joy in comedy again, loosely based on the 2018 memoir Tragedy Plus Time: Adam Cayton-Holland: Happy Place (10:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street; #NYCF2019)

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)

Norm MacdonaldThursday 11/7-Sunday 11/10: Hilarious, quick-witted Norm MacDonald both gets in trouble and is beloved for not being afraid to make waves. For example, way back in 1997 Norm got the biggest laugh ever out of Conan O’Brien when he began by declaring that if Carrot Top is the star of the new movie of another guest, a good title for the film would be “Box Office Poison.” Conan then asked the guest for the actual title, and she responded Chairman of the Board. Conan turned to Norm and said, “Do something with that, you freak.” Without missing a beat, Norm replied, “I bet Board is spelled B-O-R-E-D.” Conan, and the audience, went into hysterics. (Also famed is Norm’s moth story.) Norm was a popular cast member of Saturday Night Live for five seasons and the anchor of Weekend Update for three seasons. He was also a regular on several network sitcoms, and even starred in his own ABC sitcom The Norm Show, which ran for three seasons. More recently, Norm is the voice of Yaphit on The Orville and hosts the Netflix interview program Norm Macdonald Has a Show. Norm is also one of the most acclaimed stand-ups in the biz, and well worth catching. He’s headlining Thursday through Sunday as part of the New York Comedy Festival: Norm Macdonald (8:00 pm & 10:30 pm, $57.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway; #NYCF2019)

Quinta BrunsonThursday 11/7: Writer/actress/producer/comic Quinta Brunson has co-starred on HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show, the webseries Girl Who Has Never Been on a Nice Date, a bunch of Buzzfeed videos, and more—including a pilot she’s developing for CBS. Tonight you can see this red-hot rising star live on stage hosting Sam Jay (writer for Saturday Night Live; performed on Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents, Take My Wife), Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), Ayo Edebiri (Comedy Central), and Anthony Moore: Quinta Brunson + Friends (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; #NYCF2019)

UCBT Character ShowcaseThursday 11/7: Superb UCB character comics—including such rising stars as Desi Domo and Michael Cruz Kayne—perform some of their best solo bits for the New York Comedy Festival: UCBT Character Showcase (7:30 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street; #NYCF2019)

The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling ShowThursday 11/7: Open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner whose name is picked from a basket receiving 5 minutes on stage to share something that happened in his or her life (and that’s interesting enough to make the audience feel okay about missing tonight’s debate), hosted by David Lawson (fresh, sharp, edgy storyteller; The Flyer Guy): The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show (7:00 pm, Free!, Astoria Bookshop at 31-29 31st Street)

Douglas Widdick & Ken McGraw : Thursday 11/7: Douglas Widdick & Ken McGraw perform an hour-long musical, directed by Caitlin Bitzegaio, on the many very wrong ways to pick up women and live a bachelor lifestyle: Toxic Masculinity: The Musical (9:00 pm, $12, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street; #NYCF2019)

Big Jay Oakerson: Thursday 11/7: With brutal honesty, top comics Dan Soder (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Dudley Mafee on Showtime’s Billions; films Trainwreck, Drunk Parents; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The Standups, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, upcoming HBO special; hosts with Big Jay Oakerson Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Robert Kelly (Louie, Trainwreck, HBO, CBS, two Comedy Central specials, YKWD podcast), and Lynne Koplitz (star of stand-up specials Hormonal Beast on Netflix and a Comedy Central Presents; HBO’s Crashing; upcoming Judd Apatow movie Staten Island; Joan Know’s Best, IFC’s Z Rock, host of WB’s Life & Style, Chris Rock movie Top Five) each shares a story of one of the worst things he or she has ever experienced, with periodioc questions and other interjections from host Big Jay Oakerson (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Louie, Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC; co-host of podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall): The Worst (9:00 pm, $20 cover and no min., The Stand at 116 East 16th Street)

David Lawson: Friday 11/8: Superb storyteller David Lawson (Comedy Central; solo shows include The Flyer Guy, No Oddjob, The Prequels; host of The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show) performs a one-man show “standing onstage judging people who are seeking The White House in 2020. The only qualification David has? He’s read their books:” David Lawson’s 2020 Book Report (7:00 pm; $13.72 online using code 8YEARS; The Kraine Theatre at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Larry Owens and FriendsFriday 11/8: Ace comics Jo Firestone, Ana Fabrega, Sydnee Washington, Catherine Cohen, Natalie Walker, Ayo Edebiri, and James Harvey perform for host Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust): Larry Owens + Friends (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; #NYCF2019)

Rape Jokes by SurvivorsFriday 11/8: Storytelling, catharsis, and laughter as comics who identify as survivors of sexual assault or harassment share their experiences, featuring Amber Rollo, Wendi Starling, Arti Gollapudi, Irene Fagan Merrow, Rebecca O’Neal, and Dylan Adler hosted by Kelly Bachman (filmmaker/comic; recent op-ed in The New York Times). This show will be filmed as part of a documentary: Rape Jokes by Survivors (7:30 pm, $17, UCB at SubCulture at 45 Bleecker Street—take #6 subway to Bleecker Street stop; #NYCF201)

Baron Vaughn & Open Mike Eagle: Friday 11/8: Baron Vaughn (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, co-host of Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; Tom Servo in the Netflix reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000; cast member of Netflix’s Grace and Frankie and USA’s Fairly Legal; films Cloverfield, Black Dynamite, and his own documentary Fatherless) and Open Mike Eagle (stand-up and hip-hop artist; Adult Swim; co-host with Baron of The New Negroes) perform and host other notable stand-ups in this stage version of their Comedy Central showcase: The New Negroes Live (8:00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street; #NYCF2019)

Dancify That!Friday 11/8: 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 cool comics TBA: Dancify That! (8:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

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 (10:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; #NYCF2019)

Rosebud BakerFriday 11/8: A solo stand-up show self-described as “fiercely personal, remorselessly dark, morally bankrupt comedy” from a comic who’s performed on Comedy Central and Amazon Prime: Rosebud Baker (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street; #NYCF2019)

Aparna Nancherla and Wyatt Cenac: Saturday 11/9: This “woke” Japanese-style game show will push to the max the problem-solving skills of stars Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 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), Wyatt Cenac (star of HBO’s Problem Areas and TBS’ Friends of Earth; former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person, Brooklyn, and Furry Dumb Fighter; host of Night Train, Shouting at the Screen), and one other comic TBA hosted by the charming Atsuko Okatsuka (HBO’s Room 104; writer for Adult Swim’s wonderfully surreal The Eric Andre Show and Soft Focus with Jena Friedman): Let’s Go, Atsuko! (8:30 pm, $11, Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street)

Jean Grae, Lane Moore, and Connor Ratliff: Saturday 11/9: 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 Jean Grae (left; renowned, seminal hip hop recording artist; also sharp pro comic and comedy host), Connor Ratliff (right; brilliant improvisor & character comic; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Orange is the New Black, Broad City, The Chris Gethard Show, The President Show; co-star of legendary improv group The Stepfathers; host of The George Lucas Talk Show), and Chase Mitchell (staff writer for FOX’s What Just Happened?; former long-time staff writer for Jimmy Fallon): 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; #NYCF2019)

Beef and BroccoliSaturday 11/9: Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made) hosts a Brooklyn-style long-form storytelling show (guests TBA) that, like a good meal, will safisfy and sustain you: Beef & Broccoli (8:30 pm, $20 cover and no min., The Stand at 116 East 16th Street; #NYCF2019)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 11/9: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street; #NYCF2019)

Kevin Smith & Jason Mewes: Saturday 11/9: Director, writer, actor, and national treasure Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Comic Book Men, Jay and Silent Bob) and Jason Mewes (co-star of the View Askewniverse; host of popular and long-running podcast Jay & Silent Bob Get Old) perform a storytelling and Q&A show—which I’ll be attending—promoting their just-released latest movie Jay and Silent Bob Reboot: The Jay and Silent Bob Reboot Roadshow (9:45 pm, BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center at 99 Chambers Street; take the 1/2/3 subway to Chambers Street; #NYCF2019. PLEASE NOTE: This show has SOLD OUT.)

Ophira Eisenberg: Sunday 11/10: Each of us endures a lot more, and is far tougher, than is apparent from surface appearances. And that refers to not only emotional and spiritual hardships, but permanent bodily mementos. In this show, Ophira Eisenberg (one of the very finest storytellers in the country; NBC’s The Today Show, CBS’ The Late Late Show, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!; for a sampling of Ophira’s remarkably deep comedic tales, please click here) reveals “I have a lot of scars. And I don’t mean metaphorical ones, I’m talking actual physical scars. I’m actually covered in them. They stem from incidents throughout my life, from putting my finger into a meat grinder at age 4 to surviving a near-fatal car crash. This show is about my scars, filled with both comedic and tragic stories, and how to accept these patterns etched in my skin day after day after day.” Opening for Ophira during this 90-minute show are storytellers Michaela Murphy (recommended by The New Yorker) and Mike Albo (writer for The New Yorker, The New York Times, New York Magazine; author of novels Homito and The Underminer): Ophira Eisenberg: How to Get Rid of Scars (2:00 pm; $17.96 in advance online using code 8YEARS; The Kraine Theatre at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

If You Build ItSunday 11/10: Amazing lineup of some of the finest comics in the biz—Judah Friedlander, Aparna Nancherla, Mark Normand, Alison Leiby, and Peter Grosz—performing stand-up hosted by Robert Dean: If You Build It (9:30 pm, $12, UCB at SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street—take #6 subway to Bleecker Street stop; #NYCF2019)

Judy Gold, Karen Chee, and Krystyna Hutchinson:

Judy Gold, Karen Chee, and Krystyna Hutchinson: Sunday 11/10: Mothers, and nonprofit group MIMSI that “offers life-saving prenatal care to mothers in areas of the world that need it most,” are celebrated by Judy Gold (star of HBO’s At The Multiplex With Judy Gold; star of multiple stand-up specials on HBO, Comedy Central, and LOGO; former writer & producer for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, for which Judy won two Daytime Emmy Awards; Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here; Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, The View; popular weekly podcast Kill Me Now), Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Chris Distefano (star of Comedy Central’s hour-long special Size 38 Waist and weekly interstitial series Stupid Questions; David Letterman, Seth Meyers, MTV2’s Guy Code), and Lucas O’Neil in this fundraiser hosted by X Mayo (The Daily Show): Another Mother’s Day (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; #NYCF2019)

Roastmasters NYC Tournament 2019Sunday 11/10: It’s the final night of the annual Roastmasters Tournament, with comics who survived the first two brutal evenings facing off to determine the competition’s champion for 2019, with judges TBA, all hosted by master insulter Kim Congdon: Roastmasters NYC Tournament 2019 (10:00 pm, $10, The Stand at 116 East 16th Street #NYCF2019)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 11/12: 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)

Josh Gondelman: Wednesday 11/13: 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), Katie Boyle (co-host of podcast The Shift; host of Transplants Comedy), Zain Sharif, Jared Goldstein, and Ronnie Fleming 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)

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)

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 (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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 (7:30 pm (sold out) & 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.