NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2019: Last Updated Sunday 12/1

December 1, 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:

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

Test Tube Comedy 3Sunday 12/1: Comics Shalewa Sharpe (above left; Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?) and Courtney Fearrington (above right; co-host of Thug Passion Presents) help host Raj Sivaraman (middle)—and science—determine if telling jokes related to racism deflates or promotes actual racism: Test Tube Comedy: Exploring Racist Humor (7:00 pm, just $5!, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Doug Smith: Sunday 12/1: Doug Smith (Conan O’Brien, co-host of See You In Hell) celebrates the release of his stand-up album Barely Regal by performing and hosting fellow comics Matt Wayne (Adam Devine’s House Party; co-host with Doug of See You in Hell), Alison Leiby (writer for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, former writer for Comedy Central’s The Opposition and The President Show; VICE, Triumph The Insult Comic Dog; host of It’s a Long Story), Rebecca Vigil (powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), George Gordon (co-host of The Afterlife; stand-up album Your Good Friend), and Robert Dean (Comedy Central): Doug Smith’s Album Release Party (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Gary Gulman: "The Great Depresh"Sunday 12/1: If you haven’t already seen Gary Gulman’s HBO special The Great Depresh, do. In addition to delivering his usual razor-sharp and hilarious stand-up, Gary allows himself to be exceptionally open and vulnerable about his struggles with clinical depression, making it clear it’s a disease as real and potentially deadly as any other serious illness. Creating a new show to follow this special is no small challenge—and you can help tonight by offering visceral reactions with your laughs as Gary tries out a bunch of new jokes. Also on the lineup of this safe space for stand-up development will be Jay Welch (McSweeney’s, Someecards), Paul Oddo (host of podcast ScienPaulogy), and host Nat Towsen (Esquire, VICE, College Humor): New Material Night (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

If You Build It 12-1-19Sunday 12/1: 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), brilliant and Emmy-nominated rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and in a Comedy Central Half Hour; staff writer for Stephen Colbert; comedy album Party Nights), Joe Mande (Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Ben on Modern Family; former writer for The Good Place, Parks & Recreation, Kroll Show, Delocated, Master of None; author of book Look at This F*cking Hipster, comedy album Bitchface; Netflix’s Joe Mande’s Award-Winning Comedy Special), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV; host of Celebrate! on Sirius Raw Dog 99; host of podcast Defend Your Movie; stand-up album Manual Labor Face), Petey DeAbreu (host of Petey’s World and co-host of White Chocolate), Eliot Chang (Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately, Showtime), Mike Lebovitz (HBO’s The Deuce, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing), and Sophie Buddle perform stand-up hosted by Robert Dean (Comedy Central): If You Build It (9:30 pm, $9, UCB at SubCulture, 45 Bleecker Street—take #6 subway to Bleecker Street stop)

Michelle ButeauSunday 12/1: Michelle Buteau (co-star of Netflix’s Always Be My Maybe and BET+’s “The First Wives Club; co-host of popular WNYC podcast Adulting; HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, 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, comedy album Shut Up) performs a solo stand-up show: Michelle Buteau (7:30 pm [sold out] & 10:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Comedy Fight ClubSunday 12/1: Comics competitively roast each other, with tonight’s main bout Jess Feeney (“I’m really nice till you get to know me”) vs. Jake Vevera (podcast “Too Ugly for TV”), all hosted by Matt Maran: Comedy Fight Club (10:00 pm, $10, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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

Flying LessonsMonday 12/2: If you love shadow puppetry—as I do—check out this show playing in NYC tonight only as part of a national tour (please see trailer here). The recipient of two Jim Henson Foundation grants and two years in the making, creators by Kite & Cadaver describe it as follows: “As a storm brews on the horizon, three women take refuge in an abandoned house. Their presence awakens a strange and shadowy world of memory and desire where fantasies are possible…if only for a night. This surreal, enchanting production is told entirely without words and features original music, agile scenery, and intricate shadow design:” Flying Lessons (7:00 pm, $17.35 in advance online or $18 at the door, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Douglas Widdick & Ken McGraw : "Toxic Masculinity-The Musical"Monday 12/2: Tonight is probably the last chance to see Douglas Widdick & Ken McGraw’s hour-long musical, directed by Caitlin Bitzegaio, in its original version developed for and performed at the UCBT-NY theatre. The show is about the myriad wrong ways to try to pick up women and live a bachelor lifestyle: Toxic Masculinity: The Musical (7:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

The Stand 12-2-19Monday 12/2: Stand-up from 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), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, former host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive, Netflix special Double Negative), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Mike Vecchione (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Half Hour and Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern; stand-up album Muscle Confusion), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; very nearly a cast member of SNL), and Aminah Imani (host with Sydnee Washington & Marie Faustin of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; host of podcast Wine Before Nine): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Frantic 10.jpgMonday 12/2: 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), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, former host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive, Netflix special Double Negative), Mike Vecchione (Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Half Hour and Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern; stand-up album Muscle Confusion), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire; very nearly a cast member of SNL), Janelle Draper (IFC), Danny Polishchuk (co-host of podcast Fckonomics), Francis Ellis (co-host of Oops the Podcast), Joe Praino, and more try out material at this free weekly show hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) and/or Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV): Frantic Mondays (10:00 pm, Free!, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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

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

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

Jo Firestone, Adam Friedland, and Stavros Halkias: "Fat Tuesdays"Tuesday 12/3: 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), Adam Friedland (co-host of podcast Cumtown), and more 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)

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

Big Jay Oakerson: "The Worst"Tuesday 12/3: With brutal honesty, comics Ron Bennington (host of radio shows Bennington and Unmasked), Yamaneika Saunders (HBO’s Crashing, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle; stand-up album Damsel in Distress),and Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays) each shares a story of one of the worst things he or she has ever experienced, with periodic 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 Sirius XM’s The Bonfire, and podcasts Legion of Skanks and The SDR; stellar comedy special Live at Webster Hall): The Worst (9:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2017: Last Updated Saturday 12/2/17

December 2, 2017

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).

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

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

Michelle WolfTV Alert: Michelle Wolf is a rapidly rising star stand-up who’s also a star correspondent—and very best feature of—Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, and was previously a staff writer & performer for Seth Meyers. Tonight Michelle will hopefully skyrocket her career with this hour-long TV stand-up special that debuts Saturday 12/2 at 9:00 pm on HBO: Michelle Wolf: Nice Lady

Jamie Aderski: "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood"Jamie Aderski performs exceptionally honest and funny tales of what it was like for her to become a mom (for a trailer, please click here) in this popular one-woman show that’s been extended to run every Saturday night in December: Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood (Saturday 12/2, 7:00 pm; $12, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Defend Your Movie LiveTwo of the finest comics alive, Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; winner of first Comedy Central Roast Battle; staff writer for Emmy-winning Inside Amy Schumer; frequently invited lightning wit on @midnight; star of Comedy Central Snapchat series You’re Wrong with Mike Lawrence; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium) and Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of HBO’s Crashing and Netflix’s Master of None; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There), defend a movie that almost no one else loves, as does rising comic Farah Brook (popular YouTube video Kiss Me NYC, webseries Very Successful Web Series), all hosted by Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV) for this on-stage taping of Sean’s weekly podcast: Defend Your Movie Live (Saturday 12/2, 8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union 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 Chelsea
307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$12

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

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

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

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/Q 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.

The Stand
239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

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

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

Eastville Comedy Club
85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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

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

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

The Standing Room
4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 1/16/17

January 16, 2017

Jacqueline NovakJacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor, author of How to Weep in Public)…

Sean DonnellySean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Maeve Higgins (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, co-host of Cool Kids), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays), and Haywood Turnipseed performing stand-up hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train (8:00 pm; $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street, take R subway to Union Street)

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT Underground: Super Free Monday

7:00 pm ($7): “Improvisers take to the stage to compare two pizzas in a blind taste test and perform based off of which pizza is tastier” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): PIzza Deathmatch

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

7:30 pm ($7): Comedy groups Student Council and Dinosaur Jones perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

7:30 pm ($5): Improvisors who include Ronny Pascale (PIT Associate Artistic Director, co-producer of the superb Unauthorized! series and Solocom) make up plays on the spot based on audience suggestions at The PIT Mainstage: Scene Work: Improvised One Act Plays

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Mark Normand, Joe Machi, Seaton Smith, Dan Soder, Lenny Marcus, Joe List, and Chris Distefano trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a mini-play “exploring everything you love about karaoke: mediocre singing, friendship, Tsing-Tao, accidental meet cutes, homicidal Korean women, and of course your favorite 90’s jams!”: Let’s Check Out That Karaoke Spot!

…and in the second other of this double bill, sketch comedy that aims to have you “laughing until blood pours out of your throat and eyes and you die and you go to hell and you’re like ‘god damn that was worth it!’ to Satan and he’ll be like ‘Yeah, I know, I was there, it was dope’:” O.S.F.U.G. The Fast Fuckin’ Sketch Show

8:00 pm ($5): Character comics performing bits at UCB East hosted by Frank Garcia-Hejl & Justin Tyler: Characters Welcome

8:00 pm ($5): Musical improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) from group Good Catch

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($6): Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000) hosts as “Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl showing weird/crappy old cartoons in between sets,” with guests Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Justin Herman, and Irene Bremis at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue). Described by Patton Oswalt as “like a kid’s show done in Bosnia,” it’s Frank Conniff’s Cartoon Dump

8:30 pm ($5): Comics play a variety of short improv games at The PIT Mainstage: Short Form Improv Make Em Up Hour

9:00 pm ($7): A play written by A.J. Ditty and inspired by events in the life of Willy Appelman, who co-stars at The Magnet theatre: Rubiella: A Ghost Story

9:30 ($7): House sketch groups The Foundation and Choir try out new material at UCB Chelsea for Maude Night

9:30 pm ($7): Improv group Astronomy Club—which includes Keisha Zollar and Jonathan Braylock—gets race-related stories from the audience and a guest monologist, and then makes up scenes based on those tales at the UCB East theatre: Astronomy Club: Let’s Talk About Race, Baby!

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up scenes with the lights turned off, using everyday objects to add layers of sound—like a radio play created on the spot—at The PIT Mainstage: Improv in the Dark

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Nikki Glaser (host of Comedy Central’s Not Safe; former co-host of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Roy Wood Jr. (correspondent for The Daily Show; David Letterman, HBO’S Def Comedy Jam, TBS’ Sullivan & Son, Comedy Central), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Ron Bennington (host of radio shows Bennington and Unmasked), Vladimir Caamano (CW), and more performing for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

10:30 pm ($7): Improv from underrepresented voices at The Magnet theatre: Mixtape: Diversity Improv

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): A gay-themed variety show at the UCB East theatre hosted by Timothy Dunn: Queerball

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE; reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Whiplash

Monday Open Mics & Jams

4:30 pm-7:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 5-6 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer who shows up time on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jacob Lie & Stu Melton: Raining Buckets

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by John Field: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea (307 West 26th Street): 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10

Upright Citizens Brigade East (153 East 3rd Street): 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10

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; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10

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

The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer): 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10

The Creek and the Cave (Queens’ Long Island City): 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free

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

Littlefield (622 Degraw 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/Q 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.

The Stand (239 Third Avenue): Recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!

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

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

Eastville Comedy Club (85 East 4th Street): Strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.

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

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

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

The Standing Room (4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club): No drink min.—support this policy!

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 6/1/15

June 1, 2015

For more discounted NYC shows, please click here

Sean Donnelly

Stand-ups Sean Donnelly…

Phil Hanley

…and Phil Hanley each practice 30-minute stand-up sets for their upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour specials

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 to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—which include group Jean Pool at 7:25 pm featuring the spectacular David Carl, Becky Krause, and Tracy Mull—at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): World-class storyteller Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of monthly storytelling extravaganza The Adam Wade Show and cast member of The Nights of Our Lives; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here) hosts a show at The Magnet that’s “like watching the characters ofThe Wonder Years and Freaks & Geeks all grown up and telling coming-of-age tales of love, lost, regret, and redemption,” with guest storytellers Tristan Thom, Kelly Tierney, and Anna Timmins DeGregory: Adam Wade’sWhatever Happened to the Nerds?

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Leah Bonnema (VH1, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel) tries out new material every night this week at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Leah Bonnema

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Phoebe Robinson (Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Totally Biased, co-host of Blaria Live), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Vladimir Caamano (NBC), Kareem Green (BET’s Comic View), and Robyn Schall performing stand-up for this monthly show at Brooklyn’s The Paper Box (17 Meadow Street) hosted & produced by sisters Kerry Overfab Coddett & Krystal Coddett: Brooklyn, Stand Up

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Sketch group OSFUG screens its sketch comedy TV pilot, accompanied by live performances, at Videology(308 Bedford Avenue): OSFUG Sketch Pilot Screening

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Colin Quinn, Kurt Metzger, Ari Shaffir, Ryan Hamilton, Greer Barnes, Marina Franklin, Keith Alberstadt, Carmen Lynch, Big Jay Oakerson, Pete Davidson, Sam Morril, and Sean Donnelly, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups Phil Hanley (Seth Meyers, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central, host of Chemistry) and Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, MTV) each perform 30-minute sets in preparation for the taping of their Comedy Central Half Hour specials at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Phil Hanley and Sean Donnelly

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.79 online): Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer forSNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Emily Heller (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, FX’s Totally Biased), Mary Radzinski, Rajan Desai, and Drennon Davis performing stand-up, plus DJ Donwill, at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train: Dan St. Germain, Mike Drucker, Emily Heller, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 ($5; includes free comic books from Forbidden Planet): Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live), Michael Kupperman (The New Yorker, TV Funhouse), Ashley Bez (TV Land’s Younger), and Luxor (owner of Paracelso) performing and/or being interviewed at UCB East hosted by Nat Townsen: Downtown Variety Hour

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000) hosts as “Moodsy, the Clinically Depressed Owl showing weird/crappy old cartoons in between sets,” with tonight’s guests including Myka Fox and Tiana Miller at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue). Described by Patton Oswalt as “like a kid’s show done in Bosnia,” it’s Frank Conniff’s Cartoon Dump

8:00 pm ($8): Storytellers gather in hopes of being randomly selected to tell tales and compete for judging panel approval at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) hosted by Peter Aguero (Conan O’Brien, Moth GrandSlam Champion, The BTK Band): The Moth StorySlam

8:00 pm (no cover, 1-item food or drink min.): NYC stand-ups Teresa & Doug Wyckoff, Joe Alfano, Jacob Williams, Rojo Perez, Sydnee Washington, and Casey James Salengo performing at The Village Lantern Downstairs Club (167 Bleecker Street) hosted by Khalid A. Rahmaan and/or LeClerc Andre: Unarmed and Dangerous Comedy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($7): A sketch show on the theme running with superb comics Tami Sagher, Rachel Hamilton, Melanie Hoopes, and Jean Villepique performing at The Magnet theatre: Bummers Presents Running

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($8): Chris Gethard (comedy genius; Broad City, Conan O’Brien, The Office, IFC; star of Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York, plus My Comedy Album) seamlessly blends stand-up and storytelling in a way that creates a deep, poignant, and hilarious experience. In this show Chris achieves a new maturity to his already stellar career with a beautifully honest look at his experiences with mental illness and suicide that reaches exceptional heights at Brooklyn’s Union Hall plus opening music from Mikey Erg: Chris Gethard: Career Suicide

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch groups try out new material: the daring, out-of-the-box brilliant, and hysterical Legs for Days (stellar performers Livia Scott, Ann Carr, Dan Chamberlain, Sean Hart, Kristen Acimovic, and Joel Weidl, plus exceptionally superb writers) and Roanoke: Maude Night: Legs For Days andRoanoke

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phil Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Guy Branum (head writer/performer on G4’s X-Play; regular panelist on Chelsea Lately), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Gibran Saleem (sharp young stand-up; MTV), Frank Liotti, Jeff Lawrence, Kevin Ryan, Chris Scopo, Ry Doon, and Ry Doonand performing stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays: Dan St. Germain, Guy Branum, Monroe Martin, and More

10:15 pm ($7): Duo improv from teams The Clomp, New Lovers, The Toots, Dubbadee, Stellar Death, and hostMegaLou (Megan Gray & Louis Kornfeld) at The Magnet theatre: The Duo Show

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea typically hosted by the wonderful Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; Comedy Central’s Meltdown, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing): Whiplash

Monday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at theStand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage—and also allows everyone play Bingo!—at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Julia Lundy & Veronica Elizabeth: Bingo Open Mic

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village:Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Kat Toledo and/or Alan Shain: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

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

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; shows free-$10; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seat main theatre, bar area for open mics; shows free-$10)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$20)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-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.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

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

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

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

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

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

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

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

 From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.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, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 8/8/12

August 8, 2012

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.
For comprehensive coverage of FringeNYC 2012, please click here.

Sean Donnelly

Sean Donnelly headlines for one night only at Carolines…

John Lutz

…and improv genius John Lutz (above) performs with fellow genius Scott Adsit as John & Scott

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 to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre for PIT Super Free Wednesday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing four minutes per comic, with “15 people chosen randomly through e-mail, and five walk-ins; and a guaranteed spot to anyone who performs in character as a famous explorer” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Comedic Exploration Club of Long Island City, West

7:00 pm-12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Magnet house troupes The Party Lions, Silver Fox, Featherweight, Brick, The Wrath, Chet Watkins, Leviathan, and Horses performing improv, followed by a free audience interactive show with Silver Fox at 11:30 pm: The Magnet’s Megawatt

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($5 if you use code BREAKOUT, plus 2-drink min.) One of the nicest guys in comedy—who has hosted more shows around NYC than almost anyone—headlines tonight, with openers Giulia Rozzi, Matt Wayne, and Dennis Rooney, for one night only at the Carolines Comedy Club: Sean Donnelly

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features troupes Kinsey and Hoops: Lloyd Night

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Scott Adsit (cast member of 30 Rock, and co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel) teaming up with fellow 30 Rock actor John Lutz (who previously spent six years as a staff writer for Saturday Night Live) to form a super-smart and hilarious star improv duo that’s become one of the very best attractions at UCB Chelsea and should not be missed: John & Scott

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Several delightful female comics are on tonight’s lineup: Calise Hawkins, Phoebe Robinson, Bridgid Ryan, Meg Ferrill, Rae Sanni, and Jim Tews, all performing at the Niagra Bar (112 Avenue A & 7th Street) for this biweekly show hosted by Charla Lauriston: Fun Comedy Good Times Why Not?!

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

8:00 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): JC Coccoli (Key & Peele; looks great in a hat), Nimesh Patel (co-host of Broken Comedy), Team Submarine, Jay Nog (Rooftop Comedy), Meghan Hanley, and Craig Mahoney performing at McSwiggan’s (393 Second Avenue off 23rd Street) hosted by Selena Coppock, Dan Cartwright, and Emily Epstein: Connotation

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Neil Casey & Anthony Atamanuik, both genius members of Death by Roo Roo, perform the jaw-dropping feat of making up an entire feature film at UCB East as The Two-Man Movie

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5 if you say “Cherry Bomb,” otherwise $8): Stand-up Adam Lash, solo sketch from Andrew Drinnan, and group sketch from Heady Tonic, The Preservation Society, Desperate Times, and the Wrestling Team performing at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by Naomi Ekperigin.: August Sketch Block

9:00 pm ($5): Mindy Raf (brilliant comedic singer/songwriter; VH1, College Humor, YA novelist; often performs as alter ego Leibya Rogers), Mark Normand (hilarious stand-up; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), and Michael Che (Comedy Central) performing at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Leah Bonnema & Jessimae Peluso: The K-Hole Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer created Broad City as a Web series, which was then picked up for development as a TV series for FX…and is also a monthly stage show at UCB Chelsea. Tonight’s theme is Musical Revue, so expect singing and dancing in this “delicately crafted hour of fun:” Broad City Live

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: As many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; and this is often one of the most amazing comedy shows in town. (Tonight’s scheduled guests include Bridey Elliot and Becky Yamamoto; for the full lineup, please click here.) Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house troupe Grandma’s Ashes: The Improv Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 12/11/10

December 11, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Sean Donnelly will struggle to stay awake as he hosts a free and spectacular all-night comedy marathon featuring over 25 superb NYC stand-ups (Sean Patton, Matt McCarthy, and many more) at "Lil' Seany Boy is Up All Night"

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:

7:00 pm ($8): Jessica Marasco and Becky Flaum performing two-gal sketch comedy as Geek Dreams

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisors Anthony King, Christina Gausas, Becky Drysdale, and more—including writers & performers from 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show—plus a rotating cast of stellar visitors, all joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: A wild all-night comedy showcase that mixes laughs with insomnia, as Sean Donnelly struggles to stay awake hosting over 25 superb NYC stand-ups including Sean Patton, Victor Varnado, Matt McCarthy, Jared Logan, Mike Lawrence, Liz Miele, Julian McCullough, Pat Dixon, Pat Stango, Nick Turner, Mark Normand, Mike Recine, and many more performing at The Creek in Queens’ Long Island City for Lil’ Seany Boy is Up All Night

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($46.50 & 2-drink min.): A comedy superstar headlining tonight and Sunday at Carolines: D.L. Hughley

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—and the Cage Match Champion for two years in a row!—genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

9:00 pm ($7): Organic & energetic improv by the four guys of 4 Track!

9:30 pm ($10): “A cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics,” following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub: Political Subversities

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($15 both online and at the door using discount codeSBWC, otherwise $20): This top musical improv troupe 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 the “choreography” are invented on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award last year for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event by catching tonight’s edition of Baby Wants Candy

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): An all-star improv troupe led by brilliant UCBT artistic director Anthony King: Reuben Williams

10:30 pm ($5): Vibrant improv from Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney (Statues of Liberty) and Leslie Korein as comedy trio Trike

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “It’s going to be a Festival of Fights as UCBW MegaStars do battle in Eight Crazy Matches at this annual holiday season spectacular!” Featuring Jay Leno vs. Conan O’Brien, Old Man Winter vs. Beach Cop, Holy Ghost vs. God with special referee Jesus Christ, Helen Keller vs. Annie The Miracle Worker Sullivan, and much much more. As crazy as professional wrestling is, this show takes things to a whole other level. Physical sketch comedy to the extreme, it’s UCBW: Hanukkaos

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 5/15/10

May 15, 2010

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.

Sean Patton

Red-hot rising star Sean Patton (above), Kumail Nanjiani, Matt McCarthy, and many more celebrate Sean Donnelly's birthday tonight at Lil' Seany Boy

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:

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A musical about “a pious Pope framed for a crime he didn’t commit…betrayal, Holy War, foot-stompin’ musical numbers” and everything else it takes “to entertain the Hell right out of you” in Pope: The Musical

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Genius improvisor Christina Gausas and friends she originally made in Chicago—which include writers & performers from 30 Rock, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show—plus a rotating cast of stellar visitors, all joyously declaring Let’s Have a Ball

7:30 pm (no cover, 1-item min.): A small army of superb stand-ups celebrating host Sean Donnelly’s birthday—Sean Patton (red-hot rising star; killer set on Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, VH1), Kumail Nanjiani (David LettermanSaturday Night Live, The Colbert ReportJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central), Matt McCarthy (Comedy Central, AMC, Verizon FIOS guy, Front Page Films), Blaine Perry & Pat Stango, Phoebe Robinson, Nick Turner, Steve Bossous, Rory Scovel, and Nick Cobb—performing in Ochi’s Lounge at Lil’ Seany Boy

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($33.48 online if you use code VIPMAY, plus 2-item minimum): A stand-up who’s performed frequently on Conan O’Brien and David Letterman, and who’s performed a Comedy Central Presents half-hour special and numerous Comedy Central Roasts, headlining tonight through Saturday at the elegant Comix Comedy Club: Greg Geraldo

8:00 pm ($5): Will Nunziata and Jerry Miller performing a two-man sketch show designed as a love letter to the dystopian films of the 70s, 80s, and 90s:” Dystopia Gardens

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—and the Cage Match Champion for two years in a row!—genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

9:00 pm ($5): Organic & energetic improv by the four guys of 4 Track!

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:30 pm ($15 both online and at the door using discount codePISANO, otherwise $20): A Chicago-based troupe that’s wowed audiences around the world with their skill at creating a completely improvised hour-long musical. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment; even the song lyrics and the “choreography” are made up on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award last August for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event at the magical Baby Wants Candy

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, quick-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): An all-star improv troupe led by brilliant UCBT artistic director Anthony King: Reuben Williams

10:30 pm ($5): Vibrant improv from Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney (Statues of Liberty) and Leslie Korein as comedy trio Trike

Midnight ($5): John Flynn, Jon Gabrus, Pam Murphy, Bill Grandberg, and more risk seeing a whole lot of dicks as they interact with the newest Web sensation at Chatroulette Live!

For full details, please visit HyReviews.com.