NYC Top Comedy Choices for March 2020: Last Updated Wednesday 3/11

March 11, 2020

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for March 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Molly Gaebe: Wednesday 3/11: Host Molly Gaebe and guest humor magazine Reductress invites female storytellers, comics, and historians to share the tales of “some of the greatest women the world has ever known, but history erased” for this live-on-stage podcast recording, with this month’s theme Hysterical—1,000 Years of Funny Women featuring Sarah Pappalardo, Shalewa Sharpe, Arti Gollapudi, Maya Deshmukh, and Kendra Singh: Nevertheless She Existed: 1,000 Years of Funny Women (7:00 pm, $20, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

UCBT I'm Cool ShowcaseWednesday 3/11: The first of two character & sketch comedy UCB Theatre showcases for industry producers, casting directors, etc. featuring over a dozen talented comics including Jason Gore (solo show Jason Gore’s Midlife Crisis) and Maude sketch group Grown Ass Women: UCBT’s I’m Cool Showcase (7:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street; Part 2 of this industry event is tomorrow night, same time & place)

The Stand 3-11-20Wednesday 3/11: Ron Bennington (host of radio shows Bennington and Unmasked; Kreeps With Kids tour), Joe List (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, James Corden, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Netflix’s The StandUps, comedy albums So Far No Good and Are You Mad at Me?), Andrew Schulz (Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, Hulu’s There’s…Johnny!, HBO’s Crashing, Netflix, MTV, co-host of podcast The Brilliant Idiots), Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; AMC’s Better Call Saul; HBO’s Crashing, Bored to Death, Down and Dirty; Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, FX’s Louie; E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine) Carmen Morales, and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas) perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Wednesday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (9:00 pm, $15, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Peach Pit Comedy 3-11-20Wednesday 3/11: The Lucas Bros (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), Chanel Ali (MTV’s Girl Code, STARZ, TruTV), Ray DeVito (The Jim Gaffigan Show, MTV; co-host of podcast The Ghole), and Savannah Deso perform stand-up for hosts Kate Robards (writer/actress) & Betsy Carroll (software engineer/rapper): Peach Pit Comedy (9:30 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

The Stand 3-11-20 2Wednesday 3/11: Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays), Francis Ellis (co-host of Oops the Podcast), Emma Willmann (Stephen Colbert, Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, @midnight; regular on WB’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Kim Congdon (writer for Impractical Jokers; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV; host of podcast Broad Topix), Jeff Leach (BBC; host of podcast Savage Snowflake and show Stand-Ups Anonymous), and Tom Cassidy perform stand-up at an elegant Union Square comedy club: Late Night Stand-Up at The Stand (11:00 pm, $15, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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

David Lawson: Thursday 3/12: Open mic walk-in storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner whose name is picked from a basket receiving 5 minutes on stage to tell a true personal tale, hosted by David Lawson (Comedy Central; solo shows include The Flyer Guy, No Oddjob, The Prequels, and The 2020 Book Report): The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show: 6th Year Anniversary! (7:00 pm, Free!, Queens’ Astoria Bookshop at 31-29 31st Street—take the N/W subway to Broadway Station)

UCBT's I'm Cool ShowcaseThursday 3/12: The second of two character & sketch comedy UCB Theatre showcases for industry producers, casting directors, etc. featuring some of UCB’s best comics performing their best material: UCBT’s I’m Cool Showcase (7:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Gilbert GottfriedThursday 3/12: A one-of-a-kind treasure of a comedy star, whose scores of credits include numerous appearances on David Letterman, Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Howard Stern, @midnight, and Comedy Central Roasts—and who’s acted in the Robert DeNiro film The Comedian, such animated features as Aladdin and Lego Batman 3, Showtime’s Episodes, Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, classic documentary The Aristocrats, and documentary Gilbert—headlines for one night only at Carolines: Gilbert Gottfried (7:30 pm, $27.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

MortifiedThursday 3/12: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ophira Eisenberg, Lane Moore, and Hari Kondabolu: Friday 3/13: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (left; one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime), Hari Kondabolu (right; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives), and Stacy London (pundit for NBC’s Today Show; former co-host of TLC’s What Not to Wear; former Senior Fashion Editor for Mademoiselle): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street)

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

Friends Who Folk & FriendsSaturday 3/14: Friends Who Folk—i.e., delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky (writer for Jimmy Fallon, freelance writer for SNL; Deputy Editor of Reductress; co-host of Mouth Time! podcast; Head Writer of The Story Pirates podcast) & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com—host guests Gabe Gonzalez (host for MTV News and ScruffApp), Rebecca O’Neal (Netflix’s Easy; Vanity Fair, Gawker, Vulture; former host of local Chicago TV show One Night Stand-Up), and Lily Marotta (HBO’s High Maintenance): Friends Who Folk & Friends (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Kids These Days sketch comedySaturday 3/14: A sketch group that’s achieved national fame via several appearances on NBC’s Bring the Funny performs new material every month at The PIT that includes stage, digital, and musical sketches: Kids These Days (8:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

CentraliaSaturday 3/14: Acclaimed groundbreaking improvisors Patrick McCartney, Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott make up scenes that often have a theatrical quality: Centralia (8:00 pm; $15, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 3/14: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour to make up scenes, songs, and witty wordplay: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th 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 (via ace tech booth operator Christine Pynn), then asks his talented cast of improvisers—Sean Reidy, Connor McClure, B. J. Thorne, Josh Krebs, Kaitlin Fontana, Sam Jackel, Tim Mele, Ali Gordon, Jordan Hirsch, Alyson Cripps, Táhlia Robinson, and/or Alyssa Lott—to complete the scene: Gas Station Horror (10:30 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

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

Character? I Hardly Know’erSunday 3/15: Seven comics—Matt Brooks, Woody Fu, Mary Nepi, Lynsey Burnell, Nathan Pearson, Delaney Sweet, and Lauren Garniet—each performs original solo characers in this showcase: Character? I Hardly Know’er (10:00 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It ComedyMonday 3/16: This show is about “the science of astrology, which is very real and definitely not fake. Each month, hosts Melissa Stokoski, Karolena Theresa, and Brian Bahe (all Virgos) along with resident Astrologist Lizzie Martinez (Taurus) welcome a lineup of comedians all born under the current zodiac.” This month’s group of Pisces stand-ups are TBA: Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Samantha RuddyTuesday 3/17: Samantha Ruddy (above left; Stephen Colbert; warm-up comic for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; written for College Humor, Reductress, Someecards) hosts stellar stand-ups Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow; live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; comedy album The Hits), Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Megan Stalter (star of webseries The Megan Stalter Show; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour), Joe Pera (star of Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks With You; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central), Napoleon Emill (Carolines’ Comedy Madness 2018 champion), and Luke Mones (Comedy Central, Inside Edition, Funny Or Die, College Humor, Howard Stern Show): Samantha Ruddy Has Guests (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/17: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

Seth Herzog: Tuesday 3/17: Sal Vulcano (co-star of TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), Tim Dillon (Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, Last Comic Standing; podcast The Tim Dillon Show), 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; co-host of podcast Blank Check), 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), and more perform stand-up and/or music hosted by Seth Herzog (above; long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1): Sweet (9:00 pm, $16.80 online [all tickets sold via DICE app], Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street)

Stavros Halkias:

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

Frank Conniff: Wednesday 3/18: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic; author of How to Write Cheesy Movies) hosts an open mic for MST3K-style riffing on film clips of awful movies. Sign-up is open to all, and riffing happens in randomly assigned groups of three, with no advance knowledge of what’s going to be screened. At the end, whoever Frank decides is best will get to riff with him: Frank Conniff’s Open Riff Night (9:00 pm, $5 to riff or $8 to just watch, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

The PIT's 9th Annual ImprovFest: Improv FestivaleThursday 3/19-Saturday 3/21: The PIT’s 9th Annual NYC Improvfest is a showcase for over 70 improv groups performing Thursday-Saturday at all three PIT theatres. Most shows feature one or two groups and cost $5-$15: The PIT’s 9th Annual ImprovFest: Improv Festivale (Thursday 6:00 pm-Midnight; Friday 6:00 pm-1:00 am; Saturday 2:00 pm-12:30 am; prices range from free to $15 per show; running at all three PIT theatres, i.e., The PIT Mainstage (Striker) and PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Chris GethardThursday 3/19: Chris Gethard (star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; producer of fresh comedy webseries Chris Gethard Presents) hosts superb comics (TBA) who have performed on his MNN cable access show Chris Gethard Presents: Chris Gethard Presents All-Stars (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Debra Messing and Emily NussbaumThursday 3/19: Debra Messing (Emmy Award-winning star role of Grace in NBC’s Will & Grace; upcoming Broadway play Birthday Candles) and Emily Nussbaum (Pulitzer Prize-winning TV critic for the New Yorker; author of I Like To Watch: Arguing My Way Through The TV Revolution) are tonight’s guest of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan Coulton: Ask Me Another (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

Benito Skinner & Mary Beth Barone: Friday 3/20: Stand-up and/or music from Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow; comedy album The Hits), Lauren Servideo (character comic Instagram star), Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; co-host of podcast Wine Before Nine), and Pat Regan (The Eric Andre Show, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Seek Treatment podcast) hosted by Benito Skinner (YouTube star) & Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive): Cruel Intentions (7:30 pm, $18, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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

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

Picture This!Saturday 3/21: In this unique show, animators (TBA) spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups (TBA) to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance (regular on SiriusXM’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central Radio): Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 3/21: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour to make up scenes, songs, and witty wordplay: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

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

Baby Wants Candy musical improvSaturday 3/21: A top musical improv troupe that has wowed audiences around the world with its skill at making up an hour-long musical moment by moment. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure, by ace improvisors TBA, plus stellar improv musicians who are typically Dan Reitz (keyboards) & Sarah Mullins (drums/percussion). Come see why this show won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event: Baby Wants Candy (10:30 pm, $14, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Rachel FeinsteinSunday 3/22: Red-hot stand-up Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View, Adult Swim; films include Trainwreck and Top Five) performs a deliciously long set at an intimate venue: Rachel Feinstein (5:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

The Crush ProjectSunday 3/22: Every month, Emma Shoemaker interviews a guest who she once had a crush on. They’ll discuss the crush, and Emma will try to figure out if it was/is mutual. “We’ll be silly, we’ll be vulnerable and if we’re lucky we might even get closure:” The Crush Project (6:00 pm, $9, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Jack Blankenship: Sunday 3/22: One of the top highlights of last year’s Solocom was Jack Blankenship sharing how he used his ability to make an extreme face to become a world-famous Internet meme. Jack’s charming, down-to-earth style and sly sense of humor make for a delightful time, and this show is happily recommended: Jack Blankenship: A Funeral for My Face (8:00 pm, $9, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/24: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

Getting Uncomfortable with Willem Brian SmithWednesday 3/25: A live-on-stage recording of Willem Brian Smith’s podcast interviewing fellow comics about uncomfortable topics such as mental illness: Getting Uncomfortable with Willem Brian Smith (7:00 pm, $9, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

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

SkyRats Comedy: Wednesday 3/25: An untold episode of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone created on the spot by improv group SkyRats Comedy: Another Dimension (8:00 pm, $11, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

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

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

Jack Blankenship: Thursday 3/26: Adrian Frimpong & Scott Hercman (NBC’s Bring the Funny) host an eclectic group of weird and hopefully hilarious talents—including Jack Blankenship (“the Face” above) playing a melodica out of his nose: Adrian & Scott Present Showcase Night (8:00 pm, $11, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Madeline Mahoney & Matt Stango: Thursday 3/26: Madeline Mahoney & Matt Stango produce and host this bracket-based competition of scripted shows. Six teams each perform the first 10 minutes of its mini-play, and audience applause then determines which shows will be allowed to move on to subsequent rounds. Tonight kicks off this 2020 competition running for eight episodes on Thursdays-Saturdays through May 2nd: Show of Shows (9:00 pm; $15.25 online or $16 at the door; The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Straw Man CollectiveThursday 3/26: A sketch group that’s done some notable work, such as this video sung & co-starring Larry Owens, performs and hosts sketch, music, and stand-up: Straw Man Collective (9:00 pm, $11, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Michael Galligan: Thursday 3/26: Character comic Michael Galligan performs a solo show as “beefcake bodybuilder and empathy expert Tortle Tolini, who will give the Tortle Talk to change your life. Armed with the wisdom of Brené Brown, his signature Vulnerability Juice™, and only 2% body fat, there’s no chance Tortle will fail. Especially since his dad’s got front row seats:” Tortle Sheds No Tears (9:30 pm, $11, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

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

Unfinished BusinessThursday 3/26: This storytelling show created by PIT owner Ali Faranakian is based on the following concept: “We all have unfinished business. Sometimes it’s a person to whom you should have said, ‘I love you,’ or a second grade teacher who told you, ‘You can’t sing!,’ or a cancer that took a loved one’s ’s life. We talk to those people, places, or things and settle the score. Our top performers have a cathartic experience, and we invite the audience to do the same:” Unfinished Business (11:00 pm, $11, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

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

Madeline Mahoney & Matt Stango: Friday 3/27: Madeline Mahoney & Matt Stango produce and host this bracket-based competition of scripted shows. Six teams each perform the first 10 minutes of its mini-play, and audience applause then determines which shows will be allowed to move on to subsequent rounds. Tonight is Round #2 of this competition running for eight episodes on Thursdays-Saturdays through May 2nd: Show of Shows (8:00 pm; $15.25 online or $16 at the door; The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Sherrod SmallFriday 3/27: Sherrod Small (Jimmy Kimmel, A&E’s Black & White, TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1; co-host of podcast Race Wars) headlines for one night only at Carolines: Sherrod Small (9:30 pm, $24.50 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

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

Dancify That!Saturday 3/28: 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. The winners of each round are then selected by typically cool comic judges (TBA): Dancify That! (7:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Ben Tomassetti & Kevin C. Hill: Saturday 3/28: A solo show by Sarah Ann Houghton (host of Scrapped Comedy, head writer & director of PIT house sketch group The Ruse) that sold out its debut at last year’s Solocom (for a video teaser, please click here) and describes itself as “a short tragicomedy of a single woman’s uninhibited imagination:” Sex, Robots, and Mysterious Shadows (7:00 pm, $13, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

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

Rachel sketchSaturday 3/28: Sketch comedy from an all-gal group consisting of Micaela Fagan, Sam Speedy, Serah Bennet, and Becca Marcus (for sample videos, please click here): Rachel Sketch (7:00 pm, $13, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

North Coast hip-hop improvSaturday 3/28: Every Saturday night, a highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour to make up scenes, songs, and witty wordplay: North Coast (9:00 pm, $15, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Ben Tomassetti & Kevin C. Hill: Saturday 3/28: 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 (9:30 pm, $13, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Jonathan Cohall & Christine Kim: Saturday 3/28: Stand-up from comics TBA (above left was last month’s lineup) hosted by Jonathan Cohall & Christine Kim: Street Cred Comedy (10:30 pm; $13—which includes free street food; The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

Johnathan Appel and Marina di Marzo 3Sunday 3/29: 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 NYC 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, $9, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

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

Maggie Lalley & Jillian Vitko: Sunday 3/29: In this unique spin on musical improv, comedy duo Maggie Lalley & Jillian Vitko ask the audience to suggest a location, a victim, and a crime, and then make up a musical that tells the story of that felony complete with singing, dancing, and murder: True Crime: The Musical (7:30 pm, $9, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

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

Comic Book ClubTuesday 3/31: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Maryann Aita: Tuesday 3/31: Maryann Aita describes her one-woman show as follows: “After several disappointing visits with a gynecologist, and many failed efforts to Sex and the City it up with friends, ‘Detective’ Maryann takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on with her body and how to fix it, relying mostly on whatever she could find on Amazon.com. This is a hilarious (and just a touch sentimental) show about a woman taking charge of her own body that’s perfect for fans of Law & Order, vibrators, and vagina: My Dysfunctional Vagina (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

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

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

Madeline Mahoney & Matt Stango: Thursday 4/2: Madeline Mahoney & Matt Stango produce and host this bracket-based competition of scripted shows. Six teams each perform the first 10 minutes of its mini-play, and audience applause then determines which shows will be allowed to move on to subsequent rounds. Tonight is Round #3 of this competition running for eight episodes on Thursdays-Saturdays through May 2nd: Show of Shows (9:00 pm; $15.25 online or $16 at the door; The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Ophira EisenbergSunday 4/5: The wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) is recording a new stand-up album titled High Brow, Low Brow—with the help of your energy and joy. Come have your laughs immortalized at either the early or late show—and for a huge discount if you use code CANADA: Ophira Eisenberg Comedy Album Recording (7:00 pm and 9:15 pm; $13.26 online using discount code CANADA plus $18 beverage min.; New York Comedy Club at 241 East 24th Street between Second & Third Avenues)

Tim DillonThursday 6/11-Saturday 6/13: Tim Dillon (Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The Comedy Lineup, Last Comic Standing; podcast The Tim Dillon Show) is a hilarious comic with a hard edge (see his video canvassing for Bernie Sanders here), and he’s headlining tonight through Saturday at Carolines: Tim Dillon (7:00 pm Thursday, 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm Friday-Saturday; $27.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2020: Last Updated Tuesday 2/11

February 11, 2020

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 340,000 print copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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

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

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

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

That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for February 2020 (with much more to come soon) include:

Northern Discomfort 5Tuesday 2/11: Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week EverComedy 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), John Fugelsang (host of Sirius XM Insight 121 talk show Tell Me Everything; former host of America’s Funniest Home Videos), Chrissie Mayr (NBC’s America’s Got Talent, FOX, The Chris Gethard ShowWendy Williams; host of Wet Spot podcast; co-host of long-running LGBT stage show Comedy at Stonewall), and Mike Cannon (VH1, MTV; co-host of podcast “Irish Goodbye;” YouTube special “Life Begins”) perform stand-up for hosts Ray DeVito (The Jim Gaffigan Show, MTV; co-host of podcast The Ghole) & Josh Carter (Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Jim Gaffigan Show): Northern Discomfort (7:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 2/11: Every Tuesday at 7:00, comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Fat Tuesdays Tuesday 2/11: Celebrate the 31st birthday of Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays) with stellar stand-up by Robert Kelly (Kreeps With Kids, Louie, Trainwreck, HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, CBS, two Comedy Central specials, YKWD podcast), 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), RobertKelly (@HBO , @Showtime , @KreepsWithKids ), Yamaneika Saunders (Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s Crashing, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle; stand-up album Damsel in Distress), and Petey DeAbreu (Comedy Central): Fat Tuesdays (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

The Lesbian AgendaTuesday 2/11: Sydnee Washington (Comedy Central, MTV2’s Vidiots; host with Marie Faustin of podcast The Unofficial Expert; host with Marie Faustin & Aminah Imani of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit), Mila Myles (Vogue), Jessica Henderson (webseries Growing Down), and Wanjiko Eke perform stand-up in Brooklyn: The Lesbian Agenda (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Movies R Dumb: "The Mummy's Curse"Tuesday 2/11: 1944 Universal Pictures movie The Mummy’s Curse, starring Lon Chaney and featuring such dialogue as “The Mummy’s on the loose! He’s dancin’ with the Devil!” will be screened, dissected, and mercilessly savaged by Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Brian McGuinness (Inside Amy Schumer, co-host of Retro BitsPlayable Characters podcast), Matt Reiser (co-host of Hacks on Drac podcast). and Nick Nicosia hosted by Chris Gersbeck (host of Casual Sets, Soft Core!, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic; producer of numerous comedy shows): Movies R Dumb: The Mummy’s Curse (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

n PhoenixTuesday 2/11: Corinne Fisher (“Holy shit, Joaquin Phoenix just won the Oscar for playing my ex-boyfriend in The Joker“) & Joe DeRosa (HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul; stand-up album The Depression Auction) team up for this comedic political podcast that runs every Tuesday and concludes with a town hall-style Q&A with the audience: Without A Country Podcast— Live! (9:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

5 Dollar Funnies 3Tuesday 2/11: This inexpensive show features world-class stand-ups Mark Normand (Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week EverComedy 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), Andrew Schulz (Amazon’s Sneaky Pete, Hulu’s There’s…Johnny!, HBO’s Crashing, Netflix, MTV, co-host of podcast The Brilliant Idiots), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Shane Gillis (Comedy Central, co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), 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 Scott Chaplain (Comedy Central Roast Battle): $5 Funnies (10:00 pm, $5 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th 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 Tuesday 1/14

January 14, 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:

Erica Rhodes: "Sad Lemon"Among the very finest comedy albums of 2019 is Sad Lemon, providing sharp stand-up that’s both wise and hilarious, and that Erica Rhodes delivers with graceful perfection. Please check out the sample above, and then listen here.

Mike BirbigliaTuesday 1/14 & Tuesday 1/21: The great Mike Birbiglia (writer/star of hit Broadway show & Netflix special The New One; writer/director/star of feature films Don’t Think Twice and Sleepwalk with Me; actor in numerous films and TV shows, including TrainwreckInside Amy Schumer, and Orange is the New Black; multiple appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy FallonJimmy Kimmel, etc.; three Comedy Central specials; comedy CDs Two Drink Mike and My Secret Public Journal—Live) plays around with new material in the West Village: Mike Birbiglia: Working It Out (9:00 pm on 1/14 & 1/21; $27-$37, depending on seat location; Lucille Lortel Theatre at 121 Christopher Street; take #1 subway to Christopher Street)

Ray DeVito & Josh Carter: "Northern Discomfort"Tuesday 1/14: 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, hosts with Big Jay Oakerson Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), TV & movie star Janeane GarofaloCorinne 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), and Damien Lemon (host of TruTV’s Comedy KnockoutComedy Central Half Hour; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court) perform stand-up for hosts Ray DeVito (The Jim Gaffigan Show, MTV; co-host of podcast The Ghole) & Josh Carter (Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Jim Gaffigan Show): Northern Discomfort (7:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Colin QuinnTuesday 1/14: Every Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:00 pm, a beloved Broadway, TV, and film star (Trainwreck, Sandy Wexler, Drunk Parents), and star of Netflix specials Red State Blue State, The New York Story, and Unconstitutional, tries out new material in an intimate club for his next mass media solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Alex Zalben, Pete LePage, and Justin Tyler: "Comic Book Club"Tuesday 1/14: Every Tuesday—at new time of 7:00 pm—comics creators join super-hosts Alex ZalbenJustin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (7:00 pm, Free!The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Stavros Halkias: "Fat Tuesdays"Tuesday 1/14: 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, hosts with Big Jay Oakerson Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots; host with Marie Faustin of podcast The Unofficial Expert; host with Marie Faustin & Aminah Imani of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit), and Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing,, Comedy Central, VH1, Netflix; co-host of podcast Vadge) perform stand-up for host Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC, co-host of podcast Cum Town): Fat Tuesdays (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Movies R Dumb: Tuesday 1/14: The 1989 TV movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk introduces David Banner to Matt Murdock, who tries to help David beat a robbery frameup in both his day job of attorney and his nighttime role as superhero Daredevil, battling kingpin Wilson Fisk. Spoiler alert: There never is an actual trial of The Hulk, so the title is a blatant lie. These and other cinematic crimes will likely be pointed out as this film is screened, dissected, and mercilessly savaged by Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Jenn Wehrung (BBC; co-producer of Soft Core!), Brian McGuinness (Inside Amy Schumer, co-host of Retro BitsPlayable Characters podcast), and Aaron Zarabi hosted by Chris Gersbeck (host of Casual Sets, Soft Core!, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic; producer of numerous comedy shows): Movies R Dumb: The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Corinne Fisher and Joe DeRosa: "Without a Country"Tuesday 1/14: Corinne Fisher (with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed) and Joe DeRosa (razor-sharp stand-up; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central Presents and Comedy Central Half Hour specials, HBO’s Bored to Death and Down and Dirty, FX’s Louie, AMC’s Better Call Saul, E!’s Chelsea Lately, stand-up album The Depression Auction) team up for this podcast which runs every Tuesday at 9:30 pm at The Stand. They describe it as follows: “Covering the latest controversial headlines, pulling stories about each from the most opposing outlets, and discussing the much-needed middle ground amidst the madness. Each episode is taped in front of a live audience, town hall-style, with attendees having the chance to chime in during the closing Q&A segment. NDA’s are also distributed so folks know a lot of what happens in the room stays in the room. That’s not a play to put the kibosh on reviews or post-show Twitter talk, it’s a means to make the audience feel comfortable expressing, sharing, and, most importantly, freely experiencing the moment. No snooping journalists looking over your shoulder here. No loud-mouth media outlets telling you what to think. No emotionally-charged editorials being tossed at you from your smart phone. Just two liberals gone rogue, hosting a podcast, and trying to have some fun with you in the interest of unbiased news, common sense, and nuance. In other words: everyone is welcome and no one will be canceled:” Without A Country Podcast— Live! (9:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

$5 Funnies at The StandTuesday 1/14: Stand-up from greats Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week EverComedy 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), 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), 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), Nina Daniels (Showtime’s Shameless, TBS’ The Last O.G., Maron), Derek Gaines (NBC’s Will & Grace; Jaybird on The Last O.G.; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas): $5 Funnies (10:00 pm, $5 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Molly Gaebe & Kylie Holloway: Wednesday 1/15: Hosts Molly Gaebe & Kylie Holloway invite female storytellers, comics, and historians to share the tales of “some of the greatest women the world has ever known, but history erased” for this live-on-stage podcast recording, with this week’s theme Heroines of Reproductive Rights (in partnership with Abortion Access Front) articulated by guests Lizz Winstead (Comedy Central Presents, The Daily Show, Air America), Sarah Hartshorne (HBO’s Vice, Netflix’s Explained, former contestant on America’s Next Top Model), Jaye McBride (writer for Abortion Access Front), Arti Gollapudi (host of Yourself, Your Body)Onika McLean (Bravo; co-host of podcast Violently Funny; host of Cosmic Comedy), and Brittany Brave (TBS, MTV; the other co-host of podcast Violently Funny): Nevertheless She Existed: Boss of Her Body (7:00 pm; $16.89 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Colin QuinnWednesday 1/15: Every Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:00 pm, a beloved Broadway, TV, and film star (Trainwreck, Sandy Wexler, Drunk Parents), and star of Netflix specials Red State Blue State, The New York Story, and Unconstitutional, tries out new material in an intimate club for his next mass media solo show: Colin Quinn (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., West Village’s The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

Pantheon with Stavros HalkiasWednesday 1/15: Great alt comedy lineup of Larry Owens (joyful, hilarious musical comic; staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust), Lorelei Ramirez (fresh, explosively brilliant comic; Adult Swim, VICE), Meg Stalter (innovative comic pushing at formats; National Lampoon Comedy Hour, The Chris Gethard Show), Steven Castillo (writer for Saturday Night LiveSteezus), and Dan Licata (writer for Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks To YouThe Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays): Pantheon with Stavros Halkias (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ben Leary & Kendall Payne: Wednesday 1/15: Professional meme creators and @NetflixIsAJoke writers Ben Leary & Kendall Payne scour the Net every day for the latest viral trends and deep cut content. In this monthly talk show, they share their expert knowledge with you via visual round-ups, as well as provide you with stand-up comedy and interviews with guests TBA: Extremely Online (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

hoebe Robinson and Special GuestsThursday 1/16: Phoebe Robinson (co-star of HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; host of podcast Sooo Many White GuysSeth Meyers, Conan O’BrienBroad City, MTV’s Girl Code; feature films What Men Want and Netflix’s Ibiza; author of Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay and You Can’t Touch My Hair and Other Things I Still Have to Explain) performs and hosts “special guests” to raise funds for the reelection of her brother, Ohio State Representative Phil Robinson (above left): Phoebe Robinson and Special Guests (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)

The PUN-ch UpThursday 1/16: Skilled punsters Sam CorbinTim DonnellyJerzy GwiazdowskiAlly Spier, and Nikolai Vanyo will show off their word expertise by punching up news headlines, tightening movie titles, merging words to create new terms, taking etymological deep-dives, and playing a variety of other word games: The PUN-ch Up (9:30 pm, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Get Reel 2Friday 1/17: Comics dub—i.e., provide a verbal soundtrack—by making up narration and dialogue on the spot for silly video and film clips, with this month’s theme Technically Speaking, starring Josh Sharp & Aaron JacksonJulia ShiplettShalewa SharpeMary Beth Barone, and Sam Taggart hosted by Max Wittert & Joe Castle BakerGet Reel (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Nick Thune & Damien Jurado: Friday 1/17: Famed musical comic Nick Thune (albums Thick NoonFolk Hero, and Good Guy) ]and lengenary musician Damian Jurado team up to create an odd blend of laughs and melancholy: Nick Thune & Damien Jurado: Sad Music, Sad Comedy (9:00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Picture This!Saturday 1/18: In this unique show, animators—Erik Bergstrom (!), Bryan Brinkman, Dan Pinto, Rachel Gitlevich, Patrick Hosmer, Cat Baldwin, and Alex Pierre—spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups Erik Bergstrom (tackled by one of the other animators), Christi ChielloPetey DeAbreuAndrew Collin, and Talib Babb to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance (regular on SiriusXM’s You Up? with Nikki Glaser, Comedy Central Radio): Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Anthony DeVito: "My Dad Isn't Danny DeVito"Sunday 1/19: Anthony DeVito (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central Half Hour, This American Life, House of Cards) performs a solo show about discovering a family secret. “Weaved throughout is a conversation about childhood, Italian masculinity, and gender norms. Come see an evening of vulnerable storytelling from one of NYC’s most moderately successful stand-ups:” My Dad Isn’t Danny DeVito (7:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sarah Rose Siskind's Sunday 1/19: “Since the dawn of mankind, humans have tried to get high in one way or another. Why? Altered states of consciousness can be profoundly dangerous or dangerously profound. Knowledge makes the difference. We welcome a panel of experts and comedians to discuss how these drugs work.” More specifically, tonight’s focus is on drug economics: “When the black market turns rainbow, what are we gonna do? How do we keep the good parts of an underground community? How do we protect against the bad parts of a legal economy? How do we keep the deal in drug deal?” Plus a post-show hour of networking: Drug Test: Psychedelic Economics & Networking Hour (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jordan Klepper's Debate Club: Monday 1/20: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) hosts a comedic debate about whether we should break up big tech, with Kelly Bachman (CNN, The New York Times, Glamour), Adam Green (co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Progressive Change Institute), and Peter Suderman (Managing Editor of Reason.comThe New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Politico): Debate Club: Should We Break Up Big Tech? (7:00 pm, $22.20 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Star F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It ComedyMonday 1/20: This show is about “the science of astrology, which is very real and definitely not fake. Each month, hosts Melissa StokoskiKarolena 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 Capricorn stand-ups are 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), Joe Castle Baker (host of Get Reel), Zubi Ahmed (Bengali-American Muslim stand-up; co-host of Kutti Gang), Eliza Hurwitz, and Solange AzorStar F*ckers: Astrology, But Make It Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Serious MattersTuesday 1/21: Helping to solve some “serious problem” (TBA) via PowerPoint, essays, music, and/or videos are guests 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), Mia Jackson (Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer), and Adam Mamawala (Comedy Central, MTV, BET; freelance contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update; stand-up album One of the Good Ones) plus hosts Kevin McCaffrey (former warm-up comic for David Letterman; TruTV; co-host of podcast Sex and the Cidiots; stand-up album Nice & Drunk) and and Emmy-winning writer/producers Brock Mahan (Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj) and Josiah Madigan (Head Writer of HQ Trivia): Serious Matters (7:00 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Feminist Buzzkills of ComedyTuesday 1/21: Stand-up from Alison Leiby (writer for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, former writer for Comedy Central’s The Opposition and The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls; author of bestselling How to Be Alone; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; host of hit monthly stage show Tinder Live; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s), April Boddy (writer for iHeartRadio, previously for Buzzfeed), and Drexton Clemons hosted by Jaye McBride (writer for Abortion Access Front): Feminist Buzzkills of Comedy (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sketchy HistoryTuesday 1/21: 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 HoffmanSophia ShefnerTalia HellerIan Mather, and/or Mike NewkirkSketchy History (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Ben SinclairWednesday 1/22: Ben Sinclair (co-creator, co-director, and co-star of HBO’s High Maintenance) is the guest of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan 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)

Why Your Train is F*cked: The G TrainThursday 1/23: This monthly comedic show about the MTA is usually full of compaints, but tonight sings the praises of…the G Train! “The New York Times said it best in 2016, with an article titled, ‘Once Mocked, the G Train Is Now Cool. Kind Of.’ Honestly, we think the G line kicks ass and is massively misunderstood. The trains may be short, but their hearts are large. So we’re going to spend an hour and a half telling you why The Little Light Green Line That Could really can,” hosted by Meg Pierson (TEDx, Alchemy Comedy) and Justin Williams (Comedy Central; host of Death Comedy Jam): Why Your Train is F*cked: The G Train (7:00 pm; $16.89 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Risk!Thursday 1/23: Comedic storytellers TBA join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State; owner of The Story Studio) at what’s typically one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk! (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sim Yan Ying: Friday 1/24-Sunday 1/26: This solo show is described as follows: “”In my four years of living in New York, I’ve only ever swiped right on white men.’ In this semi-autobiographical stand-up drama, Sim Yan Ying takes a bitingly honest look at white worship, postcolonial baggage, and politically correct culture. She tears apart her escapades with white men in New York and delves into her experiences growing up in Singapore, throwing into question how and why we are sometimes complicit in the very things we outwardly reject:” I Love White Men (7:00 pm, $22, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Internet Explorers-AmazonFriday 1/24: “Amazon is a crazy big corporation. So big, in fact, it’s hard to even wrap your head around it. Web hosting, groceries, streaming video, home surveillance, holiday gifts…you can get almost anything from Jeff Bezos’ mega-company…” The online store & Web services company that changed the world, Amazon.com, is explored by host Mark Vigeant (Funny Or Die, Prairie Home Companion) with Kashmir Hill (The New York Times), Dhruv Mehrotra (Gizmodo), Caroline Haskins (Buzzfeed News), Samantha Reece (Head Writer of Buzzfeed’s BTW) and Rollie Williams (host of An Inconvenient Talk Show), plus music by Darren WilliamsInternet Explorers: Amazon.com (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Great Moments in Weed History LiveFriday 1/24: This popular podcast by Abdullah Saeed & David Bienenstock (above right) “blazes joints, cracks jokes, and explores the people, places, and events that make up the complex and fascinating 10,000+ year past of weed and weed culture, from Barack Obama’s time in the Choom Gang, to an exclusive first-hand account of how the Hollywood sign briefly became the Hollyweed sign,” tonight with guest Ben Sinclair (above left; co-creator, co-director, and co-star of HBO’s High Maintenance): Great Moments in Weed History Live (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; part of the Brooklyn Podcast Festival)

Thank You For Coming OutSaturday 1/25: Candid conversations about coming out with a diverse array of LGBTQ+ persons (TBA) for a podcast sponsored by Gay City News, the largest LGBT newspaper in the country: Thank You For Coming Out (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jordan Klepper's Debate Club: Monday 1/27: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) hosts a comedic debate about whether the US should pay reparations, with Kenice Mobley (host of podcast Love About Town, co-host of The Pasta Show), 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)Nelini Stamp (National Organizing Director at the Working Families Party), and Coleman Hughes (undergrad at Columbia University who’s written for The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and The National Review): Debate Club: Should the US Pay Reparations? (9:30 pm, $22.20 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

An Evening of Humorous Readings 3Tuesday 1/28: Readings of short humor pieces by sharp writers & comics TBA, plus hosts Brian AnglerLuke Burns, and James Folta (all writers for The New Yorker and McSweeney’s)An Evening of Humorous Readings (7:00 pm—arrive at 6:30 to hang out a bit with the guests, $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Jordan Klepper's Debate Club: Tuesday 1/28: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) hosts a comedic debate about whether the US should pay forgive student loan debt, with 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)Lou Perez (former producer for Impractical Jokers; half of sketch duo Greg and Lou), and more: Debate Club: Should the US Forgive Student Loan Debt? (9:30 pm, $22.20 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

How I Learned In The Beginning: Origin StoriesThursday 1/30: Stellar storytellers 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), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), David Heatley (The New Yorker; Qualification: A Graphic Memoir), Angel Yau (Asian American Film Thing), and Julian Fleisher (Joe’s Pub: The Naked American Songbook) tell tales about how they started out hosted by Blaise Allysen KearsleyHow I Learned In The Beginning: Origin Stories (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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2019: Last Updated Tuesday 12/10

December 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chandler Dean: Tuesday 12/10: Members of the West Wing Writers group (which includes former Presidential speechwriters) will break down their favorite speeches, give behind-the-scenes looks at the speech drafting process, and even lead you in crafting your own keynote speech, all hosted by Chandler Dean (McSweeney’s): SpeakEasy (7:00 pm; $15; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

Comic Book ClubTuesday 12/10: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

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

Northern DiscomfortTuesday 12/10: Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; Comedy Central and Netflix specials; films Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty), Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Ian Lara (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Ray DeVito (The Jim Gaffigan Show, MTV; co-host of The Ghole Podcast) and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas) perform stand-up for host Josh Carter (Comedy Central’s Broad City and The Jim Gaffigan Show): Northern Discomfort (9:30 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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