NYC Top Comedy Choices for November 2019: Last Updated Wednesday 11/6

November 6, 2019

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

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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.

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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 November 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

The National Lampoon Radio HourWednesday 11/6: The National Lampoon Radio Hour ran weekly from November 1973 through December 1974. A number of its comics then moved on to Saturday Night Live, including John Belushi, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Harold Ramis, and brilliant writer Michael O’Donoghue. Decades later, you can come see NLRH resurrected as a podcast and stage show with a brand new cast of writers and performers: Jo Firestone, Maeve Higgins, Aaron Jackson, Brett Davis, Alex English, Rachel Pegram, Lorelei Ramirez, Meg Stalter, Martin Urbano, and Cole Escola: The National Lampoon Radio Hour (7:30 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; #NYCF2019)

Aparna Nancherla, Michelle Collins, and Scott Rogowsky: Jon Friedman's Wednesday 11/6: Comics share their rejected comedy material at this all-star show with Aparna Nancherla (left, abandoned by Elmo; one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Michelle Collins (middle, holding axed jokes; host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise), and Scott Rogowsky (right, dumped by umbrella; NBC’s The Voice, WB’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us; host of wildly popular trivia game app HQ Trivia), plus music from superb duo Stuckey & Murray, fab band The Defibulators, and SNL Musical Director Eli Brueggemann, all hosted by Jon Friedman (Jimmy Fallon; former writer for MTV’s Guy Code and Girl Code, YouTube series Part Timers): The Rejection Show (7:30 pm, $11, Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street; #NYCF2019)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quinta BrunsonThursday 11/7: Writer/actress/producer/comic Quinta Brunson has co-starred on HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show, the webseries Girl Who Has Never Been on a Nice Date, a bunch of Buzzfeed videos, and more—including a pilot she’s developing for CBS. Tonight you can see this red-hot rising star live on stage hosting Sam Jay (writer for Saturday Night Live; performed on Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents, Take My Wife), Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), Ayo Edebiri (Comedy Central), and Anthony Moore: Quinta Brunson + Friends (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; #NYCF2019)

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

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

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

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

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

Larry Owens and FriendsFriday 11/8: Ace comics Jo Firestone, Ana Fabrega, Sydnee Washington, Catherine Cohen, Natalie Walker, Ayo Edebiri, and James Harvey perform for host Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; feature film To Dust): Larry Owens + Friends (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; #NYCF2019)

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

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

Dancify That!Friday 11/8: A unique game show in which an oddball Internet video is screened, and then over a dozen contestants have three minutes to prepare a dance routine inspired by what everyone just experienced. It’ll all be judged by typically cool comics TBA: Dancify That! (8:00 pm, $15, The PIT Mainstage at 123 East 24th Street)

Sarah Squirm's HellTrap NightmareFriday 11/8: Sarah Squirm, who created the infamous Adult Swim video here, gifts us with a live show filled with her disturbingly gross dark comedy, plus musical guests Ana Fabrega & Lorelei Ramirez (as duo Beautiful Souls Al Fresco): Sarah Squirm’s HellTrap Nightmare (10:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; #NYCF2019)

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

Aparna Nancherla and Wyatt Cenac: Saturday 11/9: This “woke” Japanese-style game show will push to the max the problem-solving skills of stars Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Wyatt Cenac (star of HBO’s Problem Areas and TBS’ Friends of Earth; former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person, Brooklyn, and Furry Dumb Fighter; host of Night Train, Shouting at the Screen), and one other comic TBA hosted by the charming Atsuko Okatsuka (HBO’s Room 104; writer for Adult Swim’s wonderfully surreal The Eric Andre Show and Soft Focus with Jena Friedman): Let’s Go, Atsuko! (8:30 pm, $11, Chelsea Music Hall at 407 West 15th Street)

Jean Grae, Lane Moore, and Connor Ratliff: Saturday 11/9: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guests Jean Grae (left; renowned, seminal hip hop recording artist; also sharp pro comic and comedy host), Connor Ratliff (right; brilliant improvisor & character comic; The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Orange is the New Black, Broad City, The Chris Gethard Show, The President Show; co-star of legendary improv group The Stepfathers; host of The George Lucas Talk Show), and Chase Mitchell (staff writer for FOX’s What Just Happened?; former long-time staff writer for Jimmy Fallon): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street; #NYCF2019)

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

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

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

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

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

Judy Gold, Karen Chee, and Krystyna Hutchinson:

Judy Gold, Karen Chee, and Krystyna Hutchinson: Sunday 11/10: Mothers, and nonprofit group MIMSI that “offers life-saving prenatal care to mothers in areas of the world that need it most,” are celebrated by Judy Gold (star of HBO’s At The Multiplex With Judy Gold; star of multiple stand-up specials on HBO, Comedy Central, and LOGO; former writer & producer for The Rosie O’Donnell Show, for which Judy won two Daytime Emmy Awards; Showtime’s I’m Dying Up Here; Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, The View; popular weekly podcast Kill Me Now), Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s), Krystyna Hutchinson (with comedy partner Corinne Fisher, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Chris Distefano (star of Comedy Central’s hour-long special Size 38 Waist and weekly interstitial series Stupid Questions; David Letterman, Seth Meyers, MTV2’s Guy Code), and Lucas O’Neil in this fundraiser hosted by X Mayo (The Daily Show): Another Mother’s Day (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue; #NYCF2019)

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

Comic Book ClubTuesday 11/12: Every Tuesday at 8:00 pm, comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Josh Gondelman: Wednesday 11/13: Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Katie Boyle (co-host of podcast The Shift; host of Transplants Comedy), Zain Sharif, Jared Goldstein, and Ronnie Fleming perform stand-up hosted by Emily Winter, Julia Shiplett, Carolyn Busa, and/or Ben Wasserman: Side Ponytail Comedy (8:00 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Friends and Lovers at 641 Classon Avenue)

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

Patrick McCartney: Friday 11/29: Patrick McCartney (member of acclaimed theatrical improv group Centralia) performs a comedic solo show about addiction and recovery, directed by Shira Piven (HBO’s Divorce and Room 104, Amazon’s Transparent), that’s received raves from the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert (superstar author of Eat Pray Love), who wrote, “Patrick McCartney is a phenomenally gifted performer, whose work I have admired for years. But we almost lost this extraordinary artist to alcoholism and drug addiction—which would have been a tragedy on so many levels. Now McCartney has returned to the stage with a one-man show about his struggle with substance abuse. Miraculously, it manages to be simultaneously brilliant, devastating, hilarious, humble, searching, and triumphant. Go see it. It’s a beautiful piece of work:” Sinister Kid (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for October 2019: Last Updated Friday 10/11

October 11, 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 (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop and ad-free version of this site at HyReviews.com.

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

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

Brian Posehn 11Friday 10/11: The wonderful Brian Posehn (hilarious stand-up, comedic actor, and writer; recurring roles on The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, The Sarah Silverman Program, Just Shoot Me, Mr. Show, and more; star of indie film Uncle Nick; Netflix special The Fartist; writer of Marvel Comics’ wildly popular Deadpool; author of book Forever Nerdy) graces Brooklyn with his special blend of comic book & heavy metal wit for one night only: The Great Brian Posehn (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)


Emma Vernon: Friday 10/11: Multitalented rising star Emma Vernon (hip-hop musical improvisor, stand-up, actor, writer, and romance expert) uses her exceptional matchmaking skills to bring together love applicants and have them experience their first dates live on stage…while ace improvisors instantly create the settings for those dates (e.g., a music festival, a bowling alley, under the sea). To get a feel for this long-running monthly extravaganza, please click here, and then nab tickets for In A World: The Dating Show (8:00 pm, $12 online or $15 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Cat Cohen, Lane Moore, Liz Plank, and Scott Rogowsky: Friday 10/11: 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 guest comics Scott Rogowsky (bottom row; NBC’s The Voice, WB’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us; host of wildly popular trivia game app HQ Trivia), Liz Plank (right; Senior Producer and Political Correspondent at Vox Media; author of book For the Love of Men), and Cat Cohen (left; Seth Meyers; host of podcast Seek Treatment): 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)

Christi ChielloFriday 10/11: Two stand-ups each perform a deliciously long 30-minute set, with tonight’s headliners rising star Christi Chiello (above; Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, PBSKids, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!, co-host of Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate; opens for Chris Gethard) and Mary Beth Barone (Comedy Central, Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive), all hosted by Gavin Matts (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central): The Half Hours: Christi Chiello and Mary Beth Barone (9:00 pm, $12, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Terrorbird sketch comedyFriday 10/11: Surreal sketch group Terrorbird performs a new oddball series of scenes designed to unsettle and delight you: Terrorbird (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Found Footage FestivalSaturday 10/12: Hilariously oddball amateur VHS videos discovered & curated by Joe Pickett (The Onion) & Nick Prueher (The Colbert Report), with this year’s finds including the 1987 Miss Junior America Wisconsin pageant, a mysterious tape labeled “bonion sergery,” home movies taken at a Canadian hose factory, and a fitness video called Jugglercise: The Found Footage Festival Volume 9 (8:00 pm; $17, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Carly Ann FilbinSaturday 10/12: Carly Ann Filbin (luminous & delightful sketch comic/comedic actress/writer; on-camera correspondent for Cosmopolitan.com; host of Let Me Break You Up: An Anti-Dating Game Show) explains this comedic game show as follows: “Romance today isn’t what it used to be—swiping, clicking, dick-picing. It’s time we went retro with an old fashioned IRL dating show! Millennials choose their hottie based on how well they answer questions like ‘If you wanted morning sex, how would you initiate it?’, all while I make fun of them because, well, why not? Let’s make some love connections or, at the very least, a one-night stand to talk about at brunch:” Young Hot Sluts: A Matchmaking Show (8:00 pm; $15 at the door or $14.30 online; Brooklyn’s C’mon Everybody at 325 Franklin Avenue—take the G subway to Classon Avenue)

Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin: Saturday 10/12: Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin (above) host this live-on-stage taping of their podcast that tests comics on their exceptional knowledge, with tonight’s topic Flirting, and the experts Mary Beth Barone and Jay Jurden: The UnOfficial Expert Live (10:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Krystyna Hutchinson and Corinne Fisher: Sunday 10/13: Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson (authors of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed) record their wildly popular Guys We Fucked: The Anti Slut-Shaming Podcast live on stage: Guys We F*cked (7:00 pm; $22.32 in advance online or $24 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Killy DwyerSunday 10/13: Comedic singer/songwriter Killy Dwyer is taking a break from NYC: “October marks my 25th year here in the Big Apple, and what a fuckin’ ride! I’d compare it to the Coney Island Cyclone: fun, but painful, you don’t really go anywhere, and you can only take so much. So we’re heading west for awhile! A year?! Who knows. We need a change of venue, baby! This evening is part retrospective, part new material, lot’s of special guests who SCREAM NYC to me, and an after-party not soon to be forgotten,” with scheduled comics including Lauren Maul, Mike Milazzo, Jackson Sturkey, Dan Ricker, David Turner Jr., Joe Crow, and Ryan Sourdoe: Goodbye NY! A Killy Dwyer Farewell Show (8:00 pm doors, 8:30 pm show; no cover but 2-drink min., with cheapest options $8 each, so figure on spending at least $16 plus tip; KGB Bar’s upstairs Red Room at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

Bonus FeatureMonday 10/14: A sketch show springboarding off the “bonus feature” content of beloved movie DVDs auditions for a spot on the UCB schedule, written by Alex Field, directed by Eric Feurer, and starring Claire Burns, Alex Field, Tim Girrbach, Eliza Kingsbury, Xave A Flave. and Michael Stevens: The Bonus Features (6:00 pm, $7, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street; on a double-bill with another Spank audition show, Branded Content Reloaded: The Feminine Mystique)

Emily Flake's Monday 10/14: Emily Flake is a brilliant writer/cartoonist whose work appears in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and more. She’s also the author of cartoon books These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves and Mama Tried—and now, the just-released That Was Awkward: The Art and Etiquette of the Awkward Hug. Emily will be celebrating her new book with guests 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; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper, author of book Nice Try) and Shalewa Sharpe (Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; comedy album So You Just Out Here?): Emily Flake’s That Was Awkward Book Release Celebration (7:30 pm, Free!, Brooklyn’s Books Are Magic at 225 Smith Street; take the F/G subway to Bergen Street)

West Wing Writers: Tuesday 10/15: Members of the West Wing Writers group (which includes former Presidential speechwriters) 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; $12; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Writers' Room: A Stand-Up ShowTuesday 10/15: Stellar writers of late-night comedy TV shows perform stand-up, with 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), 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), Jourdain Fisher (writer for The Tonight Show), and Randall Otis (writer for The Daily Show) hosted by Matt Goldich (staff writer for Seth Meyers; Comedy Central, VH1): The Writers’ Room: A Stand-Up Show (8:00 pm; normally $13 with no min., but free following these instructions [support this special by optionally buying food or drinks]; Brooklyn’s Eastville Comedy Club at 487 Atlantic Avenue—take 2/3/4/5/B/D/N/Q/R subway to Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 10/15: 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)

Molly Gaebe: Thursday 10/17: Host Molly Gaebe 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 Women in the Horror Genre tackled by guests TBA: Nevertheless She Existed: Horror Queens (7:00 pm, $17 online or $20 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

Picture This!Saturday 10/19: In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of stand-ups Rosebud Baker, Dee Nasty, Rebecca O’Neal, Chanel Ali, and Doug Smith to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics don’t know what the animators will draw and the animators don’t know how the comics will react. Produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Samantha Ruddy: Picture This! (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

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

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

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

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

Sarah Squirm's HellTrap NightmareFriday 11/8: Sarah Squirm, who created the infamous Adult Swim video here, gifts us with a live show filled with her disturbingly gross dark comedy, plus musical guests Ana Fabrega & Lorelei Ramirez (as duo Beautiful Souls Al Fresco): Sarah Squirm’s HellTrap Nightmare (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

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.

From comedy & rock goddess Lane Moore (host of smash hit Tinder Live; author of How to be Alone; lead singer of Brooklyn band It Was Romance): Hy Bender lives and breathes comedy. He knows what he’s talking about. Listen.

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 eason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 9/20/12

September 20, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Paul Noth

New Yorker cartoonists Paul Noth (above and below)…

Paul Noth

…Christopher Weyant, and Drew Dernavich are interviewed at “Running Late with Scott Rogowsky”…

Dave Hill

…Dave Hill performs on Tom Shillue’s “Funny Story”…

The Monkees - Head

…and a classic 1968 Monkees film is dissected at “Head”

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Veteran musical improvisors at The PIT mix with novices on-stage at Pitch

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen one receiving three minutes at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Corby Haas

6:30 pm ($5): Two shows I know nothing about—We Don’t Have Money to Pay Our Rent and Our First Orgy—audition for a spot on the schedule of the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage. At $2.50 per show, it’s hard to go wrong with Spank

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Blowout show with comedic authors Jonathan Ames (creator of HBO’s Bored to Death; author of Wake Up, Sir), Chris Gethard (brilliant improvisor and comedic storyteller; star of Comedy Central sitcom Big Lake and Manhattan Cable Access’ The Chris Gethard ShowThe Stepfathers, The Nights of Our Lives, author of new bestseller A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York), and Todd Hanson (long-time head writer of The Onion) performing at Brooklyn’s Public Assembly (70th North 6th Street, by the L subway’s Bedford Avenue stop), plus free books from Forbidden Planet, and sketches from Moon regulars Camille Harris, Jordan Clifford, Tim Skinner, and Tim Whitney, and hosts Nat Towsen & Bob Walles: The Moon Show: Tribute to Books

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Davy and Peter Rothbart, the owners of Found Magazine, are touring the country to celebrate the mag’s 10th Anniversary. Join them for their one-night-only show at UCB East as they tell stories, sing, and show you cool stuff they’ve discovered: My Heart Is An Idiot: Found Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Tour

7:00 pm ($8): Improv troupe Maybe Sherman makes up scenes involving mobsters at The PITupstairs theatre: MafiaProv

7:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill atThe PIT downstairs lounge: Hot Diner and THEM

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with improv troupe Junior Varsity to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm: A comedy force of nature—tough, smart, honest, hilarious—who is one of the very finest stand-ups ever (for video samples, please click here) performs tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club. All performances are sold out, but you can try for a stand-by line: Bill Burr

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($18 at the door or $21.95 online): “The trippiest psychedelic cult film of all time,” Head, written by Jack Nicholson and starring The Monkees, is screened at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street, between Second and Third Avenues) and then dissected by Kurt Loder (The Good, the Bad and the Godawful), Julie Klausner (razor-sharp comic & storyteller; host of How Was Your Week podcast; author of I Don’t Care About Your Band), Monkees historian Eric Lefcowitz (Monkee Business: The Revolutionary Made-For-TV Band), music journalist Rob Sheffield (Rolling Stone), and “other special guests:” Night of the Living: Head

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10, which includes a free beer): Star storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller) gathers top comics to tell funny stories at the Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th Street), with tonight’s guests Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, The Dave Hill Explosion, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, champion rapper; new book Tasteful Nudes), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VHI, documentary Metaphysical GraffitiHigh Times), and Garrett Oliver: Tom Shillue’s Funny Story

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a delightful dark musical about the rich consuming the poor—literally. Witty songs from Brian Glidewell, Marcy Jarreau, and Kevin Carter, a uniformly strong cast (Megan Maes, Aaron Jackson, Michael Martin, Katie Schorr, Dan Hodapp, Brian Glidewell, and Stephanie Streisand), and sharp direction from Christopher Gladysz and Lauren Conlin Adams make this 30-minute surreal parody of Newsies a winner as a UCBT comedy, and recommended. That said, right now the story is paper-thin and the characters cardboard. While the latter is turned into an asset (e.g., a leg-injured character is hilariously named “Cripply”), I’m hoping the creators consider making all the elements deeper and more nuanced, and expanding the production to a 90-minute legit theatre length. Meanwhile, enjoy this remarkably compact version that delivers a quick, sharp punch to the gut you’re likely to remember: Newsadoozies: A Man-Eating Musical

…and in the other half of this double-bill, Mamrie Hart is a rising star who somehow manages to be razor-sharp and immensely warm & accessible at the same time—and is always worth catching. Mamrie and her superb comedy partner Stephen Soroka tonight perform puns, wild facial expressions, dance, rock trivia, audience pranks, murder reenactments, and more as sketch duoBoF: Friends Without Benefits

8:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill atThe PIT downstairs lounge: The East Side Orphan Riot and Harvey

8:00 pm ($8): A monthly variety show that “features longform puppet improv, collaborations with special guests, choose-your-own-adventures, give-aways, and more” at The PIT upstairs theatre:An Existential Sing-Along

8:00 pm ($5; includes free beer): A charming monthly comedy variety show, tonight featuring Jeffrey Joseph (stand-up), Charla Lauriston (storyteller), Youth Group (improv troupe), and more performing at ABC No Rio (156 Rivington Street, between Suffolk and Clinton) hosted by Bridgid Ryan and her improv/sketch troupe Chester (Bridgid Ryan, Sunita Mani, Bryan Rucker, Zack Willis, Caitlin Steitzer, and Adam Jacobson): Don’t You Find Us Charming?

8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes The Boss, Hello Laser, Brick, and Junior Varsity performing improv for two hours, followed at 10:00 pm by Neil McNamara directing Deep Dish (long-form improv interspersed with character monologues), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challengecomponent): The Magnet’s Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “A stand-up comedy showcase and baking competition—come to eat or come to compete” at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Cody Hess & Jessica Gross: Cookies!

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Terrific NYC stand-ups (the lineup is typically announced around 3:00 pm; for an update, please click here) performing on this free weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language

9:00 pm ($5): Reid Faylor (co-host of hilarious Creek show Underbelly), Matt Ruby (MTV; co-host ofHot Soup and We’re All Friends Here, blog Sandpaper Suit), Katie Compa, and George Gordon performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover & Emily Heller: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10 at the door, $11.34 in advance online): New Yorker cartoonists Paul Noth, Christopher Weyant, and Drew Dernavich share their work and insider stories about the legendary magazine with host Scott Rogowsky (writer for The Onion) at The PIT upstairs theatre, plus interviews with portrait painter Jonathan Blum and storyteller Andy Ross: Running Late with Scott Rogowsky

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The Emmy-winning writers of The Colbert Report gather on the UCB West stage to perform an all-improvised show at Seize the Mustard

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge, produced by Dan Hodapp & Micah Sherman: The Scene

[FREE] 9:30 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by stand-up Zach Broussard and improv troupe Priest & the Beekeeper: Pig Pile

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv troupe Good Dad, comprised of such superstars as Neil Casey, Fran Gillespie, and Jon Gabrus, outplayed The Improvised Play last week, scoring 77-48 for its 8th consecutive win. Tonight Good Dad plans to kill with kindness UCB East group What I Did for Love, as these two teams compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Two iO Chicago improv veterans, Alex Eilhauer & Marla Caceres, repeat a scene multiple times, “twisting and re-envisioning it until they squeeze out every last drop of hilarity from it” for one night only at The PIT downstairs lounge: Alex Eilhauer & Marla Caceres: Endlessly Repeating Improv

11:00 pm ($5): A showcase of NYC stand-ups not yet represented by a manager or agent (i.e., fresh meat) at UCB East hosted by Luke Thayer & Nick Cobb: Unmanageable Stand-Ups

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