NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2017: Last Updated Friday 12/22/17

December 22, 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 what’s left of December include:

Gilbert GottfriedFriday 12/22 & Saturday 12/23: A one-of-a-kind treasure of a comedy star, whose scores of credits include numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Seth Meyers, @midnight, and Comedy Central Roasts—and who’s acted in the Robert DeNiro film The Comedian, such animated features as Aladdin and Lego Batman 3, Showtime’s Episodes, Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, classic documentary The Aristocrats, and new documentary Gilbert—headlines at Carolines: Gilbert Gottfried (7:30 pm, $38.25 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

BXBX: Quiet RiotFriday 12/22: Mime group BXBX performs its best wordless sketches & stories, plus some new ones, set to a dynamic soundtrack for one night only at The PIT: BXBX: Quiet Riot (8:00 pm; $15, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Meg Gillan & Lauren Sagnella: "Not for You"Friday 12/22 & Saturday 12/23: Meg Gillan & Lauren Sagnella have written & perform a play about “two girls in their mid-20s: Gwen, a realist bed hopper, and Elle, a love-lost dreamer. As they get ready for a wedding. they share stories of fuckboys, lovers, and boyfriends past…with each tale leading up to a realization of why that the person isn’t right for her:” Not for You (7:00 pm, $7, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Jamie Aderski: "Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood"Saturday 12/23: 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)

Christmas EveSunday 12/24: Most comedy venues are closed on Christmas Eve, but there are lots of stand-up laughs to be found at Comedy Cellar and The Stand.

Santa ClausMonday 12/25: Most comedy venues are closed on Christmas, but lots of stand-up laughs can still be found at Comedy Cellar and The Stand.

Hari KondaboluWednesday 12/27: Brothers Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) and Ashok Kondabolu (Dap in Das Racist) spontaneously interact with each other, sharing family stories, discussing current events, and more: The Untitled Kondabolu Brothers Project (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield (635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

The Star Wars Holiday SpecialFriday 12/29: In the wise words of media critic Cyndi Freeman: “The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, on November 17, 1978, preempting Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk. It has never been rebroadcast or officially released on home video. David Hofstede called it ‘the worst two hours of television ever.’ George Lucas has reportedly said ‘If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.‘” See it screened, dissected, and mercilessly savaged tonight by Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Brian McGuinness (Inside Amy Schumer), Wendi Sterling (Glamourpuss), and host Freddy G (NPR): Movies R Dumb: The Star Wars Holiday Special (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd 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; 150-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

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 Wednesday 12/17/14

December 17, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: James Franco & Seth Rogen are on Jimmy Fallon;
Michael Keaton is on Jimmy Kimmel;
Jason Schwartzman is on Conan O’Brien;
Betty White is Craig Ferguson;
Mike Lawrence, Alice Wetterlund, and Matt Braunger are on @midnight

John Lutz and Scott Adsit

Genius comics John Lutz and Scott Adsit make you see how incredible top improv can be as duo John & Scott

Star Wars Holiday Special

…and Cyndi Freeman & friends present a burlesque tribute to possibly the worst TV special of all time: Star Wars Holiday Special

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Mike Birbiglia’s Dream is both a reference to Mike’s hit play & film Sleepwalk With Me, and to the group of improvisors he’s gathered being a “dream team” for making up scenes springboarding off his stories. Tonight at UCB Chelsea Mike spins tales for Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher, and/or more: Mike Birbiglia’s Dream

7:00 pm ($5): “Late one night, two Southern-born gal pals fall asleep while watching Gone with the Wind and find themselves caught in a fever dream! Join them on a journey of epic proportions as they forge through their fusedGone-with-the-Wind-saturated subconscious. Part reconstruction, part deconstruction, and part pop culture nonsense” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Frankie & Sarah’s Gone with the Wind Fever Dream

7:00 pm to 11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

7:15 pm ($5): All six UCB East longform improv groups—Buchanan, Astronomy Club, Big Revival, Boombox, Witch, and Rizzo—perform for this annual Longest Lloyd Night of the Year

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): In this special show, stand-ups take suggestions from the audience and make up an entirely new set on the spot, with tonight’s brave comics Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Jen Kirkman (HBO, VH1, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central’s Drunk History, staff writer for NBC’s Perfect Couples, author or I Can Barely Take Care of Myself), Michelle Wolf (rising star; staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), 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), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Jordan Carlos (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, Adult Swim), Casey Balsham, and Paul Virzi performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Robby Slowik: Stand-Up on the Spot with Judah Friedlander, Jen Kirkman, Michelle Wolf, Dan St. Germain, Damien Lemon, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): “The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, on November 17, 1978, preempting Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk. It has never been rebroadcast or officially released on home video. David Hofstede called it ‘the worst two hours of television ever.’ George Lucas has reportedly said ‘If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.’ Join us and find out why Cherry Pitz is obsessed with it!” in this burlesque tribute accompanied by clips of the show at at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Cherry Pitz (a.k.a. sharp storyteller Cyndi Freeman): Hotsy Totsy Burlesque’s tribute to The 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): One of the finest comedic storytelling shows in the country, in which writer/performers Adam Wade, Josh Sharp, Anna Roisman, David Bluvband, and wonderful host Dave Martin tell tales that are brutally honest and hilarious on this month’s theme Religion at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Nights of Our Lives

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A Christmas sketch show from Natasha Vaynblat (improv group What I Did For Love, sketch group Absolutely, one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Joanna Bradley, John Zachary Townsend, Frank Garcia Hejl, Allison Brown, and Michael Wolf, plus improv and more at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sarah Heveron-Smith & Joe Cilio: The Sarah and Joe Christmas Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Nick DiPaolo, Lenny Marcus, and Mike Yard (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Ryan Hamilton, Keith Alberstadt, Jessica Kirson, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 9:00 show; Nick Griffin, Gregg Rogell, Judy Gold, and Jessica Kirson at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Paul Mecurio, Kurt Metzger, Big Jay Oakerson, Joe List, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 11:30 show, with all of the three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except the 9:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Joe Zimmerman, Phil Hanley, Mick Diflo, April Bo Dy, Cory Jarvis, Sarah Hartshorne, and Joe Gerics performing stand-up at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Sooyah Jun: Train Wreck Stand-Up

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing in this monthly show that “puts comics inside of a video game that plays itself” and offers prizes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Steven DeSiena & Stephen Whalen: You and the Screen

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Marina Franklin (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, VH1), Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Brooks Wheelan (Saturday Night Live), Greg Warren (Comedy Central Presents), David Foster (MTV’s Boiling Points), Meg Cupernall (The Dr. Oz Show), Doug Key, and Sean Gabbert performing at this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5; sold out of seats, but you can probably get in via the standby line if you’re okay with standing): Scott Adsit (cast member of 30 Rock, and co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel) teams up with fellow 30 Rock actor John Lutz (who previously spent six years as a staff writer for Saturday Night Live, and currently writes for Seth Meyers) to form a breathtakingly 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

9:30 pm ($5): Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer,MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Josh Carter, and Scotland Green performing stand-up at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Griffin Newman and/or Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), 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), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), Carole Montgomery (Comedy Central, ABC’s Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Oprah, Showtime, MTV, VH1, A&E), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), and Jaqi Furback performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Mike Finoia: Nick DiPaolo, Dan St. Germain, Sam Morril, and More

[FREE] 10:00 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

11:00 pm ($5): 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. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a monthly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible, hosted by Gary Richardson: School Night

Wednesday 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 at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors:Magnet Improv Mixer

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “Everyone who attends this show will have a chance to perform improv on the UCB stage! Put your name in the Bucket of Truth, then jam with UCB students, performers, and faculty. The show isn’t over until everyone has had a chance to perform, all in a fun, supportive environment! All experience levels welcome!” at UCB East hosted by improv group Higgins: The Longest Improv Jam of the Year

[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

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with its 90 minutes split evenly among the comics who throw their names into a bucket, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Eagle Witt: Amateur Night At The Mercury

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore & Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

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)

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.