Need a book or screenplay? Hire me. To learn about my writing services, please visit BookProposal.net.
Do you like cross-genre stories (fantasy/comedy, SF/comedy, fantasy/horror, etc.)? Please enjoy my new 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 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 November 2018 (with more to come soon) include:
Saturday 11/10: Sabrina Jalees (irresistible dynamo stand-up and red-hot rising star who could make reading a grocery list hilarious; staff writer for TBS’ Search Party and FOX’s upcoming Hanging On; Netflix’s Comedy Lineup, Central’s Nightly Show and Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV’s Failosophy, Amazon’s Transparent; host of My Sexy Podcast) returns to us for NYCF to perform this solo show. Sabrina is one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve greatly missed her since her move to LA, so I’m especially looking forward to this: New York Comedy Festival Presents: Sabrina Jalees (8:30 pm; sold out of seats, but if you’re okay with standing you might get in via the stand-by line; $15; UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)
Saturday 11/10: Comics write scripts for famous movies and TV series they’ve heard of but have never seen, and then other comics act out those scripts on stage, with tonight’s performers Jean Grae (famed rapper and comic) and Lane Moore (HBO’s Girls, MTV, VH1; author of new bestselling book How to be Alone; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s; host of smash hit show Tinder Live), plus scores played by Tommy McNamara, all hosted by Kyle Ayers (Fuse’s Uproarious; written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times): Never Seen It (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)Saturday 11/10: Sabrina Jalees (irresistible dynamo stand-up and red-hot rising star who could make reading a grocery list hilarious; Comedy Central’s Nightly Show and Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV’s Failosophy, host of My Sexy Podcast) returns to us for NYCF to perform this solo show. Sabrina is one of my all-time favorites, and I’ve greatly missed her since her move to LA, so I’m especially looking forward to this: New York Comedy Festival Presents: Sabrina Jalees (8:30 pm, $15, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)
Saturday 11/10: Do you miss seeing improv and sketch at the legendary UCB Chelsea theatre? Then you should know it’s back…but under new management. Boston’s Improv Asylum is branching out to NYC, and it’s taken over the magical comedy basement under a Gristedes. Come reunite with this beloved venue, and enjoy a talented troupe of comics—which includes spectacular rising star Dana Shulman (third from right; host of Student Driver, half of wonderful improv duo Ouiser and Clairee, improv group Poor Melissa; winner of the 2017 PIT Teacher of the Year Award): Improv Asylum Main Stage Show (7:30 pm, $15, Improv Asylum at 307 West 26th Street)
Saturday 11/10: The wonderful Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up album Physical Whisper) hosts this game show that rewards comics who “brighten the lives of the audience,” with guests Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents; comedy albums No Kidding, Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot; podcasts Broccoli and Ice Cream), Julia Claire (NPR), and Joyelle Nicole (Comedy Cellar): Make My Day: A Comedy Game Show (10:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Monday 11/5-Sunday 11/11: Hundreds of comics perform in the annual New York Comedy Festival on November 5-11 in dozens of venues all over NYC. For the complete list of shows and to buy tickets, please click New York Comedy Festival 2018
Monday 11/12: This weekly stand-up show’s hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk) celebrate their One Year Anniversary with guests Jacqueline Novak, Janelle James, Joel Kim Booster, Violet Gray, and more: Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 11/13: Emmy Blotnick (brilliant rising star stand-up who’s performed on Stephen Colbert and stars in an upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour; writer for Stephen Colbert; Head Writer for Comedy Central’s The President Show; former writer for Comedy Central’s @midnight, Roast of Rob Lowe, and Not Safe with Nikki Glaser; MTV, VH1), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Matthew Matthew Broussard (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Damien Lemon (host of TruTV’s Comedy Knockout; Comedy Central Half Hour; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), and Marc Theobald (Chappelle’s Show) perform stand-up hosted by Jordan Carlos: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 11/15-Sunday 11/18: It’s the sixth year of this annual 4-day PIT festival devoted to over 100 new comedic solo shows. (The fest was originally created by Peter Michael Marino & co-produced by Ronny Pascale, both giants in PIT history, but they’ve moved on to let others curate & run the extravaganza.) The only requirements for any production are that it’s a one-person show that’s funny and has never been performed in public before. The types of entertainment are therefore wide-ranging, encompassing sketch, characters, storytelling, stand-up, cabaret, music, dance, puppetry, magic, clowning, multimedia, and more. I’ll be posting much more about this festival as we get closer to the starting date: Solocom 2018 ($10 per show (no word so far about an all-you-can-watch pass option, but I’m keeping an eye out); The PIT Upstairs, Downstairs, and Attic Theatres at 123 East 24th Street and The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)
Sunday 11/18: Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated and TruTV’s Jon Glaser Loves Gear; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien) tries out new stand-up material. Be a part of Jon’s process at Jon Glaser: Come See If This Works Or Not (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Monday 11/19: The wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (above; one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime), Beth Stelling (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central; comedy album Sweet Beth), Dan Wilbur (author of How Not to Read; website Better Book Titles; writer for The Onion, College Humor, McSweeney’s), Mamoudou N’Diaye (MTV’s Decoded), and Jess Salomon (former war crimes lawyer; host of Dirty Laundry) perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Monday 11/19: 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 people 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. Tonight’s special edition pits college improv group members from Columbia, NYU, and Fordham vs. corporate execs from Google, OKCupid, and West Wing Writers vs. former Punderdome champions: Punderdome 3000 (8:00 pm, $20, Chelsea’s Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th Street)
Monday 11/26: Dulcé Sloan (above; powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Joe Rumrill (The Chris Gethard Show; co-host of Cartoon Monsoon), Jacob Williams (America’s Got Talent), Sara Hennessey (comedy albums They Know Too Much and Trouble in Paradise), and Negin Farsad perform stand-up for stellar hosts Jo Firestone (staff writer for Jimmy Fallon, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Aparna Nancherla (co-star of HBO’s Crashing, Netflix’s Master of None, and Comedy Central’s Corporate), and/or Maeve Higgins (Maeve in America, co-host of Nat Geo’s Star Talk): Butterboy with Jo, Aparna, and Maeve (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Wednesday 11/28: The sultry Karen Chee (above; Stephen Colbert, The New Yorker, The New York Times, McSweeney’s), Ryan Beck, and Benito Skinner get drunk and present comedic dissertations about sex, with science judge Dr. Zhana Vrangalova PhD and hosts Joanna Rothkopf (Deputy Editor of Esquire), Shannon Odell (neuroscience PhD student at Weill Cornell), and Jordan Mendoza (once played doctor in webseries): Drunk Science Presents Sex (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
You can find the vast majority of notable NYC live comedy shows by using the links below to explore the schedules of the following top NYC comedy venues:
Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling
Upright Citizens Brigade Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12
Upright Citizens Brigade East
153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Hell’s Kitchen 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
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
702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
635 Sackett Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20
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
117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.
130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.
239 Third Avenue—moving to Union Square this summer; 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
moving to Brooklyn in June 2018, please stay tuned; 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.
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.
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 reason by emailing me at email@example.com.