NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2020: Last Updated Thursday 1/9

January 9, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michelle Collins 5Thursday 1/9: Michelle Collins (host of TLC’s 90 Day Live; host of SiriusXM Stars 109’s The Michelle Collins Show, 7:00-10:00 am daily; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise) performs a deliciously long stand-up club set for one night only: Michelle Collins Headlines Carolines (7:00 pm, $32.75 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

CitywideThursday 1/9: Dan Soder (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; HBO special Son of a Gary; Dudley Mafee on Showtime’s Billions; films Trainwreck, Drunk Parents; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The Standups, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, hosts with Big Jay Oakerson Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week EverComedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), Stavros Halkias (Comedy Central Stand-Up, IFC; co-host of podcast Cum Town; host of Fat Tuesdays), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentaries 25 Sets, A Universal Language, co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water and The Stand’s Frantic!), and Kim Congdon (writer for Impractical Jokers; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV; host of podcast Broad Topix) perform stand-up for host Abby Rosenquist (Fuse TV): Citywide (7:00 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Shalewa Sharpe, Daniel Simonsen, Mohanad Elshieky, and AmelitaThursday 1/9: Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?), Daniel Simonsen (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar; cast member of BBC’s House of Fools; toured with Simon Amstell), Mohanad Elshieky (Conan O’Brien; Epix’s Unprotected Sets; digital producer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee), and Amelita (“Future icon blazing through the intersection of diva pop music and comedy that some would argue does not actually exist”) perform stand-up for hosts Emily Winter (writer for NPR’s Ask Me AnotherThe New Yorker, The New York Times) & Larry Mancini (ESPN Radio; band member of The Tracys): BackFat Variety (7:00 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Anoush Froundjian: "One Woman, Under Brow"Thursday 1/9: Storyteller and cartoonist Anoush Froundjian (above right) shares memorable and moving coming of age tales from her days as an Armenian-American child and teen (for a stellar example, please click here). “The piece addresses the cultural differences between Anoush’s background and that of day-to-day, society, revealing how it has both torn down and reshaped the life of a child and now (semi) adjusted adult:: One Woman, Under Brow (7:00 pm, $11The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

David Lawson: "The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show"Thursday 1/9: 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 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)

Justin Long, Marina Franklin, and Ophira Eisenberg.jpgThursday 1/9: Justin Long (left; NBC’s EdGalaxy Quest, Going the Distance, Live Free or Die HardJay and Silent Bob Reboot, the Mac in Apple Computer commercials) and Marina Franklin (middle; staff writer for HBO’s Divorce; HBO’s Crashing, Stephen Colbert, Jay Leno, @midnight, Chappelle’s Show; Showtime’s“Women Who Kill; film Trainwreck; stand-up special Single Black Female) are the guests of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (right; one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan CoultonAsk Me Another (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Hotsy Totsy Tribute to Doctor WhoThursday 1/9: “We’ve been waiting over a year for the new season of Doctor Who, and now that it’s finally airing we are so giddy we just needed to celebrate Burlesque style. Be prepared for Cybermen, Daleks, Weeping Angels, and of course the new female Doctor who takes it upon herself to sort out fair play throughout the universe,” starring Cherry Pitz & Handsome Brad, and featuring Cubby HallLe Grand ChatonLuna LeeMatt KnifeMiranda RavenPersé Fanny, Esmé D’Avril, and Bimini CricketHotsy Totsy Burlesque Tribute to Doctor Who (8:00 pm, $15The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard Street)

MortifiedThursday 1/9: Enjoy a comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) shared by their original authors before total strangers at this popular monthly show—which is now also a six-part series titled The Mortified Guide on Netflix: Mortified (8:00 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Too Many CooksThursday 1/9: This free stand-up show with rotating hosts—tonight it’s Chanel Ali—features a great lineup of Seaton Smith (HBO’s Girls, FOX’s Mulaney, Chris Rock’s film Top FiveConan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show; album Greatest Album of the Year), Myka Fox (fearless, boundary-busting stand-up; SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), Jay Jurden (Jimmy Fallon; written for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, VutlureChristi Chiello (multi-talented rising star; Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, PBSKids, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!, co-host of Lost and Found, Battle of the Divas, and White Chocolate), Jared Freid (NBC, MTV, TruTV), and JP McDade (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle II, TruTV; writer for webseries Sports Balls): Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

The Stand 1-9-20RThursday 1/9: Stellar lineup of Dan Soder (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; HBO special Son of a Gary; Dudley Mafee on Showtime’s Billions; films Trainwreck, Drunk Parents; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Netflix’s The Standups, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, hosts with Big Jay Oakerson Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’BrienStephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week EverComedy Central Half Hour, stellar Comedy Central special Don’t Be Yourself, comedy album Still Got It; hosts podcast Tuesdays With Stories; tours with Amy Schumer), radio star Ron Bennington (host of shows Bennington and Unmasked), Michael Kosta (correspondent for The Daily Show), Corinne Fisher (with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas): Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Oh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence ProjectFriday 1/10: Great lineup of Eva Victor (Twitter comedic characters video superstar; The New Yorker), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Ego Nwodim (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust), Conner O’Malley (former staff writer/performer for Seth MeyersLouie, Broad City), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), and Dan Licata (writer for Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks To YouThe Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Ethan Beach & Josh NasserOh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence Project (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Tiff Stevenson: Friday 1/10: A solo show by Tiff Stevenson (UK-based comic/actress; numerous UK/US TV show appearances include The Office, Drunk History, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week) about which one reviewer said, “It’s jaw-droppingly remarkable how much ground she covers, how funny she is, how intelligent her attacks are:” Tiff Stevenson: Mother (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Jennifer Wright, Lane Moore, Laura Benanti, and Daniel Kibblesmith: Friday 1/10: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are Laura Benanti (Tony Award winner for Broadway musical She Loves Me; cast member of TBS’ The Detour; NBC’s The Sound of Music Live, CW’s Supergirl, CBS’ The Good Wife, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie; album Songs From My Fair Lady), and married couple Jennifer Wright (right; political Editor-at-Large for Harper’s Bazaar; The New York Times; author of numerous books including It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in HistoryWe Came First: Relationship Advice from Women Who Have Been There, and Killer Fashion: Poisonous Petticoats, Strangulating Scarves, and Other Deadly Garments Throughout History) & Daniel Kibblesmith (left; staff writer since 2015 for Stephen ColbertThe New Yorker, McSweeney’s; writer of such Marvel comic books as Loki and Black Panther vs. Deadpool; author of books How to Win at Everything and Santa’s Husband; former Humor Editor for Buzzfeed): Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $18 at the door or $19.51-$22.76 online; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street)

Evan Kaufman & Rebecca Vigil: Saturday 1/11: World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here). I highly recommend the phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical (7:00 pm; $22.32 for a seat, or $17 for standing room, online; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street. Please note this show consistently sells out, so buying in advance online is highly recommended.)

Big Debates, Lil IssueSunday 1/12: Pairs of comics face off in “passionate, high-stakes debates about absolutely unimportant, low-stakes topics,” with Larry OwensZiwe FumudohX MayoJosh SharpMarcia BelskyNatalie WalkerEva VictorPeter Smith, and Bob Vulfov hosted by Karen Chee (staff writer for Seth Meyers; The New Yorker, McSweeney’s) & Ariel Dumas (staff writer for Stephen Colbert): Big Debates, Lil Issues (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Doctors Without BoundariesSunday 1/12: Real-life ER doctors Andrés Mallipudi and Darien Sutton host “chronically over-sharing comics” Peter MuthSherm Jacobs, and Todd Montesi to tell stories of their weirdest diagnoses, and then “break down the insane history of how the medical community has treated that condition, why that condition has been stigmatized, and the real facts you should know when dealing with the condition yourself;” plus you can ask the doctors “your own embarrassing medical questions:” Doctors Without Boundaries (9:30 pm, $16.89 online or $20 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Shalewa Sharpe: Sunday 1/12: “A young woman applies for a job at an adult video store because she figures the dress code will be lax.” Shalewa Sharpe (HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Comedy Central’s The New Negroes; comedy album So, You Just Out Here?) performs a solo show “about the people who need porn and the folks brave enough to sell it to them:” Shalewa Sharpe: Don’t Reach in the Bag (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Taylor Ortega & Jay Malsky: Sunday 1/12: Highly talented & hilarious duo Taylor Ortega (HBO’s Succession, Shego in Disney Channel’s live-action Kim Possible, TruTV) & Jay Malsky (acclaimed solo shows Elaine Stritch: Still Here and Jay Malsky Slept With My Boyfriend) play “Leaeah and Jacobs, the founders and resident pastors of a church for the Instagram generation that is known for its celebrity parishioners and hot, relatable take on Christianity. Bear witness to this clearly closeted married couple’s latest fame-hungry venture: Jesus. Sing with them in praise. Become the rock upon which they build their religious empire for Christ-horny millennials:” Turnt Valley Church Club (7:00 pm, $12Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Sports For Gays (and Curious Straights): FootballMonday 1/13: Cole Steffensen (Rainbow Brigade) hosts this show about sports for people who don’t “get” sports. This month the game of Football is explained in ways that finally make sense, including the gayest moments in football history, the queer athletes that made it happen…and tons of pictures of hot jocks! In between these edutainment segments, a member of the queer community—this month Gus Constantellis—faces off against a straight person—TaTa Sherise—in a series sport-themed challenges; plus stand-up from Moroccan-Japanese comic Sarah Harvard (CBS): Sports For Gays (and Curious Straights): Football (7:00 pm; $11.59 in advance online using discount code SPORTYVIBES, or $15 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sketchy HistoryTuesday 1/21: A highly popular show that reenacts bizarre events of the past, with all sketches researched, written, and directed by award-winning journalist Malorie Cunningham (ABC News, NBC News) and Heath Harckham (Food Network), and performed by comics including Malorie, Heath, Victoria HoffmanSophia ShefnerTalia HellerIan Mather, and/or Mike NewkirkSketchy History (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

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

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

Jordan Klepper's Debate Club: "Should the US Pay Reparations?"Monday 1/27: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) hosts a comedic debate about whether the US should pay reparations, with Kenice Mobley (host of podcast Love About Town, co-host of The Pasta Show), Michael Cruz Kayne (sketches on Seth Meyers and The Chris Gethard Show; HBO’s High Maintenance; former writer for @midnight and Billy on the Street; member of ace musical improv group Baby Wants Candy and UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love; co-host of monthly comedy show The Exhibition)Nelini Stamp (National Organizing Director at the Working Families Party), and Coleman Hughes (undergrad at Columbia University who’s written for The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and The National Review): Debate Club: Should the US Pay Reparations? (9:30 pm, $22.20 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

Jordan Klepper's Debate Club: "Should the US Forgive Student Loan Debt?"Tuesday 1/28: Jordan Klepper (star of docuseries Klepper; former star of Comedy Central’s The Opposition and correspondent for The Daily Show) hosts a comedic debate about whether the US should pay forgive student loan debt, with Michael Cruz Kayne (sketches on Seth Meyers and The Chris Gethard Show; HBO’s High Maintenance; former writer for @midnight and Billy on the Street; member of ace musical improv group Baby Wants Candy and UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love; co-host of monthly comedy show The Exhibition)Lou Perez (former producer for Impractical Jokers; half of sketch duo Greg and Lou), and more: Debate Club: Should the US Forgive Student Loan Debt? (9:30 pm, $22.20 online or $25 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

How I Learned In The Beginning: Origin StoriesThursday 1/30: Stellar storytellers Jo Firestone (one of the most relentlessly inventive comics in the biz; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; star of Comedy Central Stand-Up Presents special; HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Broad City; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow; live-on-stage co-host of Butterball; comedy album The Hits), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), David Heatley (The New Yorker; Qualification: A Graphic Memoir), Angel Yau (Asian American Film Thing), and Julian Fleisher (Joe’s Pub: The Naked American Songbook) tell tales about how they started out hosted by Blaise Allysen KearsleyHow I Learned In The Beginning: Origin Stories (9:30 pm, $13.71 online or $15 at the door, Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for January 2020: Last Updated Thursday 1/2

January 2, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sinbad and Caleb Elliott at CarolinesThursday 1/2-Saturday 1/4: Comedy legend Sinbad—who in addition to his acting and music is an acclaimed stand-up—performs a deliciously long club set, with an opener by Caleb Elliott (High School Musical 1–3 movie trilogy) Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: Sinbad Headlines Carolines (7:30 pm Thursday, 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm Friday-Saturday; $46.50 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Comedy Time MachineThursday 1/2: Orli Matlow (Someecards; co-host of Aliens of Extraordinary Ability) hosts comics telling their favorite jokes about long-obsolete topics (old movies, old scandals, etc.), with guests Alise Morales (News & Politics Editor of Betches; Reductress, Above Average; voice of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Showtime’s Our Cartoon President), Graham Ross Techler (The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, UCB’s Characters Welcome, Less Than Rent theatre co.), Simone Norman (The Special Without Brett Davis), Anne VIctoria Clark (Funny or Die), Nonye Brown-West (PBS, NPR), Amanda Hunt (UCB, The PIT), and Jason PiroComedy Time Machine (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Stars at The StandThursday 1/2: Stand-up from Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Jessica Kirson (HBO’s Crashing, The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Jim Florentine (Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers, Inside Amy Schumer, and @midnight; co-host 2008-2015 of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show; MTV; films Trainwreck, A Little Help; stand-up album Cringe N Purge), Ian Lara (HBO, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), and Nina Daniels (The Last O.G., Showtime’s Shameless, Maron): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Too Many CooksThursday 1/2: This free stand-up show with rotating hosts—tonight it’s Luke Touma—features Calise Hawkins (Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing@midnight, TruTV, Oxygen; writer for Comedy Central, Playboy.com), Carmen Lagala (Stephen Colert; member of sketch group All Female Reboot, co-host of Creek Bros), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Caitlin Peluffo (Stephen Colbert; co-host of podcast Beasts; co-host of Karen), and Rojo Perez (HBO Latino’s Entre Nos: Spot On, Conan O’Brien, MTV’s Decoded, TruTV): Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

The Stand 1-2-20 2Thursday 1/2: Stand-up from Laurie Kilmartin (dynamite stand-up; writer for Conan O’Brien; finalist on Last Comic StandingJimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, VH1; special 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad; author of books Dead People Suck and Sh*tty Mom), Jim Florentine (Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers, Inside Amy Schumer, and @midnight; co-host 2008-2015 of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show; MTV; films Trainwreck, A Little Help; stand-up album Cringe N Purge), Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentaries 25 Sets, A Universal Language, co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water and The Stand’s Frantic!), Lev Fer (host of the Yung Daddy podcast), and Yamaneika Saunders (HBO’s Crashing, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle; stand-up album Damsel in Distress): Late Night Stand-Up at The Stand (10:00 pm, $15 cover and no min., The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Friday 1/3: Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; superb recent HBO special The Great Depresh; notable role as stand-up in blockbuster movie Joker; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, Jay Leno; finalist on Last Comic Standing; other comedy specials include Boyish Man, In This Economy, and It’s About Time), Mohanad Elshieky (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), Kenice Mobley (host of podcast Love About Town, co-host of The Pasta Show), and Sarah Tollemache (Adam Devine’s House Party) perform stand-up at this comedy show that’s also a voter registration drive for 2020 hosted by Selena CoppockAlison KlempMatt Nedostop, and Jarret BernsteinStandup 2020 (7:30 pm, $15The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

50 First Jokes, 2020 EditionFriday 1/3: For the 14th year of this annual tradition, 50+ NYC comics will come together to each tell the first joke he or she has written in the new year. The scheduled lineup includes Emmy Blotnick, Josh Gondelman, Ashley Brooke Roberts, Christi ChielloKevin Iso, Alison LeibyShane Torres, Shalewa Sharpe, Ismael Loutfi, Jake Flores, Kate Willet, Nore Davis, Matt Koff, Tom Thakkar, Alex English, Ariel Elias…and many, many more. This lovely coming together of NYC’s stand-up comedy community is co-produced by Sachi Ezura and hosted by John F. O’Donnell50 First Jokes, 2020 Edition (7:00 pm doors, 8:00 pm show, $20The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Tracy Soren, Angela Palladino, and Julian Edward: Friday 1/3: Stand-up, stories, or characters from Zach Zimmerman (The New Yorker, McSweeney’s; album Clean Comedy), Rachel Pegram (Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV, BET; movies Don’t Think Twice and The Week Of; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour and UCB star improv group ASSSSCAT 3000), Michael Cruz Kayne (sketches on Seth Meyers and The Chris Gethard Show; HBO’s High Maintenance; former writer for @midnight and Billy on the Street; member of ace musical improv group Baby Wants Candy and UCB Saturday night improv group What I Did For Love; co-host of monthly comedy show The Exhibition)Tracy Soren (host of My Nightmare), Angela Palladino (Funny Or Die), Gwynn Ballard, and Julian Edward WilliamsWALT (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ladies Who RanchSaturday 1/4: Sketches, characters, riffs, bits, and vids from five-gal comedy group Ladies Who Ranch, consisting of Kelly CooperCaitlin Dullea,Maya SharmaCaroline Yost, and Sophie Zucker; plus an opening stand-up set from Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive): Ladies Who Ranch (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

John Reynolds and Matt BaratsSunday 1/5: John Reynolds (co-star of Search Party, cast member of Stranger Things; previously writer for The President ShowCraig Ferguson, and Celebrity Deathmatch) & Matt Barats (HBO’s High MaintenanceSeth MeyersThe New Yorker) perform duo comedy: John Reynolds & Matt Barats (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Dan St. GermainTuesday 1/7: Dan St. Germain (above; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Crashing, @midnight, This is Not Happening, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1; former staff writer for CBS’ Superior Donuts, Netflix’s The Break with Michelle Wolf, and TruTV’s Ten Things; album No Real Winners Here), Olga Namer (“Unorthodox Jewish comedian”), Justin SmithAlex Babbitt, and Stephon Bishop 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)

No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the SenateWednesday 1/8: Comedic storytellers, musicians, and/or political organizers “tell inspiring, funny, and absolutely true personal stories about turning points, and no turning back points. With special remarks from Swing Left about its 2020 strategy to flip the Senate, plus specific calls to action and ways for you to get involved in the fight for our lives. 100% ticket proceeds go directly to Swing Left’s Senate funds,” with performers Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; co-star of Super Bowl 2019 commercial, Comedy Central’s Corporate, and HBO’s Crashing; also performed on HBO’s 2 Dope Queens, Netflix’s Master of None and The Standups, TBS’ Conan O’Brien, and Comedy Central’s @Midnight and Half Hour; former writer for Seth Meyers; comedy album Just Putting It Out There), Shaina Taub (Emmy-nominated singer/songwriter who’s written songs for TV shows ranging from The TONY Awards to Julie Andrews’ Julie’s Greenroom to Sesame Street; albums Visitors and Die Happy), Paola Mendoza (activist who co-founded @WeAreSoze, @ResistanceRev, and Women’s March OG; author of Together We Rise), Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Sandi Marx (PBS, 7-time Moth StorySlam winner), and more hosted by Nicole Ferraro (founder of Art, Humanity & Action) and Liat Olenick (Indivisible Nation BK): No Turning Back: A Storytelling Show to Flip the Senate (7:30 pm, $35-$60The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Emily Flake & Ophira Eisenberg:Wednesday 1/8: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children (and guest comics who aren’t revel in their freedom), with tonight’s cruel jokesters Jenny Hagel (staff writer for Seth Meyers; iO, Second City), Iris Bahr (actress in numerous TV shows including Friends, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The King of Queens, and such films as Larry the Cable Guy and The Last Exorcism), Doogie Horner (NBC’s America’s Got Talent; author of A Die Hard ChristmasThis Might Hurt a Bit, and Home Alone Hard; stand-up album A Delicate Man), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of Sandwich, comedy album Immigrant Made), and Katie Goodman (member of Broad Comedy; YouTube hits I Didn’t F*ck It Up and Sorry Babe, You’re a Feminist) hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) and Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves): Shitshow (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Michelle Collins 5Thursday 1/9: Michelle Collins (host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise) performs a deliciously long stand-up club set for one night only: Michelle Collins Headlines Carolines (7:00 pm, $32.75 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Ask Me AnotherThursday 1/9: A guest or guests TBA (not available yet, but to be reported here pre-show) will be the focus of this NPR comedy trivia show taped live in Brooklyn hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) with music by Jonathan CoultonAsk Me Another (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Oh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence ProjectFriday 1/10: Great lineup of Eva Victor (Twitter comedic characters video superstar; The New Yorker), Dulcé Sloan (powerhouse comic and correspondent for The Daily Show; Conan O’Brien, @midnight), Ego Nwodim (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Larry Owens (staff writer for TruTV’s Paid Off; HBO’s High Maintenance; feature film To Dust), Conner O’Malley (former staff writer/performer for Seth MeyersLouie, Broad City), Taylor Garron (editor for Reductress), and Dan Licata (writer for Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks To YouThe Chris Gethard Show) hosted by Ethan Beach & Josh NasserOh, Such A HUGE Show, Oh!: A Benefit for The Innocence Project (7:30 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Tiff Stevenson: Friday 1/10: A solo show by Tiff Stevenson (UK-based comic/actress; numerous UK/US TV show appearances include The Office, Drunk History, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Mock the Week) about which one reviewer said, “It’s jaw-droppingly remarkable how much ground she covers, how funny she is, how intelligent her attacks are:” Tiff Stevenson: Mother (7:30 pm, $15, 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 Hell’s Kitchen
555 West 42nd Street; 152-seater; one of the most respected comedy showcases in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2019: Last Updated Thursday 12/26

December 26, 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 more to come soon) include:

Olivia GraceThursday 12/26: A razor-sharp roaster (watch her battle with Todd Barry here), writer for Comedy Central’s Roast of Bruce Willis, and co-host of immensely popular The Doug Stanhope Podcast performs a deliciously long stand-up set: Olivia Grace for the Hour (7:00 pm, $10, Queens LIC’s The Creek and the Cave-Upstairs at 10-93 Jackson Avenue; take 7 subway to Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue)

CitywideThursday 12/26: Nimesh Patel (exceptionally sharp stand-up; former staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars; co-host of Broken Comedy), Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, Netflix’s Master of None; host of podcast No Need for Apologies), Tim Dillon (Comedy Central, Netflix, Last Comic Standing; podcast Tim Dillon is Going to Hell), and Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentaries 25 Sets, A Universal Language, co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water and The Stand’s Frantic!) perform stand-up for host Nick Mullen (co-host of podcast Cum Town): Citywide (7:00 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Jessica Kirson and Erin MaguireThursday 12/26: Jessica Kirson (above left; HBO’s Crashing, The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Showtime, Bravo, VH1), Erin Maguire (above right; host of Dear Pod!, which looks back at advice columns from a bygone era to see if their wisdom still works), Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, America’s Got Talent), Dante Nero (Comedy Central, HBO, ABC, FOX; co-host of podcast Man School 202), and more perform stand-up for both an early and late show in Chelsea: Jessica Kirson, Erin Maguire, and More at Gotham (7:00 pm & 9:30 pm, $17 plus 2-drink min., Gotham Comedy Club at 208 West 23rd Street off Seventh Avenue)

Dave AttellThursday 12/26-Sunday 12/29: Dave Attell (one of the most respected stand-ups in the biz; Netflix’s Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell; webseries ComedyUndergroundLive.com; star of Comedy Central’s Comedy Underground, Showtime’s Dave’s Old Porn, Comedy Central’s Insomniac, and two Comedy Central specials; HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, The Daily Show) headlines through Sunday at Carolines: Dave Attell (8:00 pm Thursday, 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 8:00 pm Sunday; $43.75 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Holiday Stand-Up at The StandThursday 12/26: Stand-up from Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Ian Lara (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), Lev Fer (host of the Yung Daddy podcast), and Tim Dillon (Comedy Central, Netflix, Last Comic Standing; podcast Tim Dillon is Going to Hell): Holiday Stand-Up at The Stand (8:00 pm, $15, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Too Many CooksThursday 12/26: This free stand-up show with rotating hosts—tonight it’s JP McDade (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle II, TruTV; writer for webseries Sports Balls)—features a superb lineup of Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Jessica Kirson (HBO’s Crashing, The Tonight Show, The View, Last Comic Standing, Celebrity Apprentice, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Chanel Ali (MTV’s Girl Code, Starz, TruTV), Jake Flores (co-host of podcasts Pod Damn America and Why You Mad), Rachel McCartney (PBS), and Bryan Yang: Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Holiday Stand-Up at The StandThursday 12/26: Stand-up from Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), 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), Ian Lara (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Stand-Up, NBC’s Bring the Funny; former host of Out of Tune music app), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), and Tim Dillon (Comedy Central, Netflix, Last Comic Standing; podcast Tim Dillon is Going to Hell): Holiday Stand-Up at The Stand (10:00 pm, $15, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Cage Match: Jews vs. ChristiansThursday 12/26: In celebration of the holidays, improvised Jews battle improvised Christians for supremacy—via audience laughs and votes. Overall, history favors the Christians. But this is New York, where Jewish comics may well have the edge. There’s no telling what will happen…which is one of the great pleasures of the extravaganza that from the dawn of time has been called Cage Match: Jews vs. Christians (10:30 pm, $9, UCB Hell’s Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)

Gary DeNoia: Friday 12/27: In this one-man show, comic & impressionist Gary DeNoia plays Nicolas Cage, Vin Diesel, and other celebrities teaching children—and you—lessons through books, games, and more (directed by Desmond Thorne): Celebrities Teach Kids Sh*t (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Sharron Paul, Chanel Ali, and Hari KondaboluFriday 12/27: Hari Kondabolu (above right; fresh, sharp, rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives; co-host of Kondabolu Brothers podcast), Chanel Ali (middle; MTV’s Girl Code, Starz, TruTV), and Chris Castelli (host of Shine Box Comedy) perform stand-up hosted by Sharron Paul (left) & Calvin Cole: Cheap Date Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

That Slapstick ShowSaturday 12/28: A somewhat scholarly look at early filmed comedy shorts and animation which was thought lost until recently discovered in New Zealand, curated & hosted by Nelson Hughes and Tommy Jose Stathes: That Slapstick Show (4:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Maryann Aita: Saturday 12/28-Monday 12/30: Maryann Aita describes her one-woman show as follows: “After several disappointing visits with a gynecologist, and many failed efforts to Sex and the City it up with friends, ‘Detective’ Maryann takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on with her body and how to fix it, relying mostly on whatever she could find on Amazon.com. This is a hilarious (and just a touch sentimental) show about a woman taking charge of her own body that’s perfect for fans of Law & Order, vibrators, and vagina: My Dysfunctional Vagina (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street; running tonight, Sunday, and Monday at 7:00 pm)

Aminah Imani 2Saturday 12/28: Aminah Imani (co-host of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; host of podcast Wine Before Nine) performs a deliciously long stand-up set, with openers her Comedy at The Knit co-hosts Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots; co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) and Marie Faustin (MTV’s Girl Code and Vidiots; co-host of 99.5 FM’s Tall Tales in the Big City; the other co-host of The Unofficial Expert): Aminah Imani with Sydnee & Marie (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Katie BoyleSaturday 12/28: Seven comics who weren’t born here perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to NYC, produced and/or hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above; from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Ben Tomassetti & Kevin C. Hill: Saturday 12/28: Ben Tomassetti & Kevin C. Hill play rock duo Tips Moncrief & Gary Van Patten, a band named Jeez “known for its pedestrian ‘hits’ in the 80’s such as ‘Teen Crocodile,’ ’96 Olympics in Cincinatti,’ and ‘Talk to Me (You Dirty Dirty Dirty Computer).’ The guys are hitting the road again in support of a Greatest Hits album—as bands do. Tonight they discuss their songs Storyteller’s style—or at least that’s what their tour manager told them they were doing. Come see your oddball uncle’s second favorite band:” Jeez! The “Greatest Hits of 1979-1992” Tour (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

Repeater's Top 10 Countdown of 2019Sunday 12/29: Evan Forde Barden & Patrick Cartelli, who host music podcast Repeater, recap the year by inviting some of their favorite comics to make their case for the best song of 2019. “After the arguments have been made, Evan and Pat will mercilessly rank their selections.” Purchase tickets in advance online to be entered to win vinyl from Astoria’s HiFi Records & Cafe: Repeater’s Top 10 Countdown of 2019 (7:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Naomi Ekperigin & Andy Beckerman: Sunday 12/29: This charming show puts comics who are duos behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together,with tonight’s close friends and/or couples TBA hosted by lovers Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour; staff writer for NBC’s Great News; former writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, host of podcast Beginnings): Couples Therapy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Sam Taggart, Marcia Belsky, and Drew Anderson: Sunday 12/29: Comics Nick Naney (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central), Sandy Honig (one-third of sketch group Three Busy Debras; host of Pig and The Bongo Hour), and Annie Donley (Chris Gethard Presents; host of Poppin’ Off) perform for this monthly stand-up showcase named after Stevie Nicks and hosted by Marcia Belsky, Sam Taggart, and Drew Anderson: Stevie (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

Hot & Fun New Year's EveTuesday 12/31: Heating up your New Year’s Eve with comedy are Rachel Pegram (Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV, BET; movies Don’t Think Twice and The Week Of; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour and UCB star improv group ASSSSCAT 3000), Jared Goldstein (ABC’s Modern Family, SNL, Starz, TNT), Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive), and Junior Mint hosted by Jenny Gorelick (host of Jenny’s Birthday Party, co-host of First Impressions) and Zach Teague (TruTV): Hot & Fun New Year’s Eve (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Creatures of the NightTuesday 12/31: Ring in the New Year’s Eve with a night of drag, burlesque, comedy, singing, dance, and more hosted by Ellipsis Queen: Creatures Of The Night (11:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

SinbadThursday 1/2-Saturday 1/4: Comedy legend Sinbad—who in addition to his acting and music is an acclaimed stand-up—performs a deliciously long club set Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: Sinbad Headlines Carolines (8:00 pm Thursday, 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 8:00 pm Sunday; $46.50 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Michelle Collins 5Thursday 1/9: Michelle Collins (host of TLC’s 90 Day Live and Sirius XM’s The Michelle Collins Show; former co-host of ABC’s The View and Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise) performs a deliciously long stand-up club set for one night only: Michelle Collins Headlines Carolines (7:00 pm, $32.75 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams

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

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

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

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

Special Thanks to Mindy and Anya

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

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for December 2019: Last Updated Thursday 12/19

December 19, 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 more to come soon) include:

Molly Gaebe & Kylie Holloway: "Nevertheless She Existed-Female Spies"Thursday 12/19: Hosts Molly Gaebe & Kylie Holloway invite female storytellers, comics, and historians to share the tales of “some of the greatest women the world has ever known, but history erased” for this live-on-stage podcast recording, with this week’s theme Female Spies tackled by guests the fabulous Tallie Medel (above left; Cocoon Central Dance Team), Anna Cain Bianco (above right; FringeNYC), Junior Mint, and Solange Azor: Nevertheless She Existed: The Spy Who Inspired Me (5:30 pm for an all-gals networking discussion of how the podcast is made, 6:30 pm for a happy half-hour, and 7:00 pm for show; $17 online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Shane Gillis & Abby Rosenquist: Thursday 12/19: Starting with the leftmost window: 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), Luis J. Gomez (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Guy Code, TruTV; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Countdown and podcast Legion of Skanks), Ahamed Weinberg (Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, HBO’s Insecure, IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show, Hulu, TruTV), Chanel Ali (MTV’s Girl Code, Starz, TruTV), Andrew Casertano, and Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour) perform stand-up for hosts Shane Gillis (co-host of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, frequent guest on Sirius XM’s The Bonfire) & Abby Rosenquist (Fuse TV): Citywide (7:00 pm, $10 cover and no min., The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

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

Johnathan Appel & Zach Lennon-Simon: Thursday 12/19: This show’s goal is to, for one hour, make you a little happier through niceness. It features “some very nice performers who all say very nice things” via stand-up, storytelling, satire, and/or music. Regular very nice segments between each very nice act include ‘Super Easy Trivia,’ ‘Unironic Dad Jokes,’ and ‘Happy Headlines.’ It’s all hosted by Johnathan Appel (writer for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and PIT sketch group Boogiemanja; Producer & Teaching Artist for Story Pirates; host of Some Fun Lines, the only open mic for satire & humor writing) & Zach Lennon-Simon (writer/director/editor of documentary Shakertown Road; cinematographer for documentary The Dark Side of Disney). Isn’t that nice?: Very Nice People Saying Very Nice Things (7:30 pm, $7, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

There's No Debating ThisThursday 12/19: 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), Nimesh Patel (exceptionally sharp stand-up; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central, TruTV; written for Chris Rock hosting the 2016 Oscars; co-host of Broken Comedy), 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), Monroe Martin (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, finalist on Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, Netflix’s Master of None; host of podcast No Need for Apologies), Tim Dillon (Comedy Central, Netflix, Last Comic Standing; podcast Tim Dillon is Going to Hell), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentaries 25 Sets, A Universal Language, co-host of CompoundMedia.com’s In Hot Water and The Stand’s Frantic!), and Mehran Khaghani (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, MTV, IFC, TruTV; co-hosts Sirius XM’s Paid or Pain): There’s No Debating This (8:00 pm, $15, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Democratic Presidential Debate 6: December 2019Thursday 12/19: Come join a comedy-loving group watch seven Democratic Presidential candidates debate for the sixth, and last, time this year, moderated in LA by the PBS Newshour and Politico, and enhanced in Queens NYC by the lightning-quick wit of host Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic) and other comics TBA: Democratic Debate Watch Party: PBS/Politico Edition (9:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Too Many CooksThursday 12/19: This free stand-up show with rotating hosts—tonight it’s Chanel Ali (MTV’s Girl Code, Starz, TruTV)—features Sean Patton (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, This Week at the Comedy Cellar, Inside Amy Schumer, @midnight, This Is Not Happening, The Meltdown; VH1, TruTV, IFC, Viceland), Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Presents special; co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; author of You’re Better Than Me), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Kate Willett (Comedy Central’s The Jim Jeffries Show and This Is Not Happening; VICE’s Flophouse, Netflix’s Comedy Lineup; comedy album Glass Gutter), Petey DeAbreu (host of Petey’s World and co-host of White Chocolate), Samantha Ruddy (Stephen Colbert; warm-up comic for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; written for College Humor, Reductress, Someecards), JP McDade (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle II, TruTV; writer for webseries Sports Balls), and more: Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Risk 12-19-19.jpgThursday 12/19: Comedic storytellers Melanie Hamlett (above left; stellar storyteller briefly back in NYC for the holidays), Rory Scholl (above, right of Melanie; Chicago City Limits, The Moth, BTK Band; co-host of QED show Two-Prov), Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), and Jenna K join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State; owner of The Story Studio) at what’s typically one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk! (9:30 pm, $15, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

There's No Debating ThisThursday 12/19: 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), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), Nina Daniels (The Last O.G., Showtime’s Shameless, Maron), Corinne Fisher (with comedy partner Krystyna Hutchinson, host of popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and author of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr), Tim Dillon (Comedy Central, Netflix, Last Comic Standing; podcast Tim Dillon is Going to Hell), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas): There’s No Debating This (10:00 pm, $15, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

Podcast StarsFriday 12/20: Stand-up from audio comedy masters Corinne Fisher & Krystyna Hutchinson (hosts of wildly popular Guys We Fucked podcast & stage show, and authors of F*CKED: Being Sexually Explorative and Self-Confident in a World That’s Screwed), Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; Comedy Central and Netflix specials; films Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty), Rosebud Baker (Comedy Central; co-host with Corinne of podcast Two Less Lonely Girls; also a notable podcast guest here and here), and Hannah Berner (cast of Bravo’s Summer House; host of podcast Berning In Hell): Podcast Stars (7:00 pm, $20, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Mark Vigeant's Friday 12/20: The world of Influencers is explored by host Mark Vigeant (Funny Or Die, Prairie Home Companion) with Sally Burtnick (comic who tried to become an influencer in one month), Tim Jeffreys (Influencer Expert & Marketing Director at Fohr), and working influencers Eva Goicochea (founder and CEO of Maude), Lauren Caruso (Managing Editor of the Zoe Report), Angelique Miles (fitness influencer), YanYi (fashion & lifestyle blogger), and Nicole Loher (runner & fitness Influencer): Internet Explorers: Influencers (7:00 pm; $12, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

The Scientists: Friday 12/20: Lectures and/or stand-up in some way related to this month’s theme Rats from Ariel Dumas (Head Writer for Late Show with Stephen Colbert), Usama Siddiquee (Showtime’s Desus and Mero), Jessica Henderson (co-creator of webseries Growing Down), and more TBA hosted by Blythe Roberson (The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s; author of book How to Date Men When You Hate Men) & Madelyn Freed (ace improvisor & computer programmer): The Scientists (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Lynn Bixenspan & Morgan Pielli: Friday 12/20: Storytellers TBA share tales of relationships in front of a panel of comics and bona fide therapists who then provide their professional advice, hosted by Lynn Bixenspan (Comedy Central, MTV; former writer for Fuse TV) & Morgan Pielli (cartoonist): Relationshit (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

The Stand 12-20-19Friday 12/20: Stand-up by Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; Comedy Central and Netflix specials; films Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; Comedy Central Presents; Opie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), 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), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of Frantic), and more: Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $25, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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

Friday Night Stand-Up at The StandFriday 12/20: Stand-up by Nikki Glaser (host of You Up on SiriusXM; star of former Comedy Central series Not Safe; Comedy Central and Netflix specials; films Trainwreck and I Feel Pretty), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Rosebud Baker (Comedy Central; co-host with Corinne Fisher of podcast Two Less Lonely Girls), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), Paul Virzi (hour-long special I’ll Say This, currently streaming on Comedy Central; TruTV, FOX; host of podcast The Virzi Effect; stand-up album Night at The Stand, which hit #1 on iTunes; tours with Bill Burr), Charles Engle (co-host of podcast Please Send Nudes), and more: Friday Night Stand-Up at The Stand (9:00 pm, $20, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

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

Sloan Brettholtz & Julie Tran: Friday 12/20: Comedy duo Sloan Brettholtz & Julie Tran perform dark and silly sketches they’re written for the holidays: Dark With a Chance of Stupid (9:30 pm, $12, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy ShowFriday 12/20: Storytellers TBA share cringe-worthy experiences from their pasts hosted by Brendan Busee & Ron Raganella: Shame!: The Not-So-Honorable Comedy Show (9:30 pm, $8, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Lorelei Ramirez, Amy Zimmer, and Sam Taggart: "New Material from Decaying Minds"Friday 12/20: New material from wonderfully innovative comics Lorelei Ramirez, Clare O’Kane, Becca O Neal, Amy Zimmer, Alex English, Edy Modica, Sam Taggart, and Jordan Temple: New Material from Decaying Minds (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Stars at The StandFriday 12/20: Stand-up by 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), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; Comedy Central Presents; Opie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; new album When I Saw Hamilton), Rachel Feinstein (HBO’s Crashing, Amazon’s Red Oaks, Netflix’s The Standups, Comedy Central special Only Whores Wear Purple; finalist on Last Comic Standing; Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, Inside Amy Schumer, The View; films include Trainwreck and Top Five), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), Tim Dillon (Comedy Central, Netflix, Last Comic Standing; podcast Tim Dillon is Going to Hell), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas), and more: Stars at The Stand (10:00 pm, $25, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

The Star Wars Holiday SpecialFriday 12/20: 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), Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; webseries KCK; host of Let’s Say You’re Right), Rory Scholl (Chicago City Limits, The Moth, BTK Band; co-host of QED show Two-Prov), and Derek Humphrey (ABC, MTV, host of podcast Derek Mansplains It All) hosted by Chris Gersbeck (host of Casual Sets, Soft Core!, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic; producer of numerous comedy shows): Movies R Dumb: The Star Wars Holiday Special (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Late Night Stand-Up at The StandFriday 12/20: Stand-up by Luis J. Gomez (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Guy Code, TruTV; co-host of Sirius XM’s The Countdown and podcast Legion of Skanks), Rosebud Baker (Comedy Central; co-host with Corinne Fisher of podcast Two Less Lonely Girls), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Crystal Marie (Jane the Virgin, Real Husbands of Hollywood, Quality Problems), Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV2, FX), Vladimir Caamaño (Jimmy Kimmel, CW), Mo Vida, Richie Redding (toured with Katt Williams), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; co-host of podcast History Hyenas): Late Night Stand-Up at The Stand (11:00 pm, $20, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Desiree Burch: "Desiree's Coming Early"Friday 12/20: Veteran NYC comic turned Londoner Desiree Burch (Netflix’s Flinch, Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Live from the BBC, New York Neo-Futurists) describes her award-winning solo show as follows: “Have you ever been caught in a loop? Does the arc of history bend toward justice or chaos? What if it’s just a massive spiral we are all stuck in, being sucked back into the void? How do we escape the narratives that determine our lives in spite of our drives? And how does a black girl with an expensive education and a faltering sense of self-confidence cross an actual desert to reconcile her first-world problems with the cracks she’s had to climb through in order to even have them? I dunno…some dancing, drugs, and a quest for d*ck? Have you ever been caught in a loop?…At a moment in history where societal progress has swung back around to authoritarianism and regression, Desiree embarks on a journey of mythically ridiculous proportions into the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, to figure out how she, and all of us, have gotten here, and how we might turn the dial and alter the course for those of us still to come.” There are just two performances with tickets left, tonight and Monday: Desiree’s Coming Early (11:00 pm; $23.75 using code BESTLIFE online, otherwise $39 at the door; Soho Playhouse at 15 Vandam Street; take the C/E subway to Spring Street or 1 subway to Houston Street)

Podcast StarsSaturday 12/21: Stand-up from audio comedy vets Hannah Berner (cast of Bravo’s Summer House; host of podcast Berning In Hell), Kim Congdon (writer for Impractical Jokers; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV; host of podcast/YouTube series Broad Topix), Kerryn Feehan (Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike TV; co-host of free Monday stand-up showcase Frantic; frequent guest on podcasts Keith and The Girl, Guys we Fucked, Myka Fox and Friends, and more), Ashley Hesseltine (co-host of podcast Girls Gotta Eat), and Remy Kassimir (host of Sunday stand-up show Bacon Bits Brunch; co-host of podcasts How Cum and We Really Love Island): Podcast Stars (7:00 pm, $20, The Stand Upstairs at 116 East 16th Street)

Johnathan Appel and Marina di Marzo 2Saturday 12/21: Indie character group Poughkeepsie—which consists of Johnathan Appel (above left; writer for The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, and PIT sketch group Boogiemanja; Producer & Teaching Artist for Story Pirates; host of Some Fun Lines, the only open mic for satire & humor writing), Marina di Marzo (above right; Producer for CNN’s Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter; previously Associate Producer for MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber), Hugh Hobbs, Rafael Rautha, Kevin Necciai, Mary Nepi, Julia Ogilvie, and Kathleen Cameron—performs brand new characters every month to surprise and delight you: Poughkeepsie’s Character Showcase (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Chanukahstravaganza 2.jpgSaturday 12/21: The Christmas season can get a bit lonely for Jews. So Jewish hosts Lana Schwartz (The New Yorker, Vulture; author of Build Your Own Romantic Comedy) & Ilana Michelle Rubin (webseries deada$$ and Pluto Girl; host of music podcast The Bop Pad) have called on Jewish NYC comics to come gather for this show celebrating “the Miracle of Lights: Chanukah. Hannukah. Hanukah. However you choose to spell it. There will be songs, there will be laughter, there will be surprises, and you know there will be snacks,” with Emmy Blotnick, Josh Gondelman, Naomi Ekperigin, Alison Leiby, Matt Koff, Anna Roisman, Jess Salomon, Charles Gould, Charlie Bardey, and Yaari Nadav Tal: The Fourth Annual Chanukahstravaganza: Brighter Than Ever (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Beth StelllingSaturday 12/21: Beth Stelling (Jimmy Kimmel, Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately; Comedy Central’s Half Hour, @midnight, Corporate, and High Court; Netflix special The Standups 1.5; Amazon’s Red Oaks; written for HBO’s Crashing, Comedy Central’s Another Period, and Hulu’s I Love You America with Sara Silverman) performs a solo stand-up show in Brooklyn: Beth Stelling (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Rob Paravonian's Saturday 12/21: Music, comedy, and more from performers TBA hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 15 million people on YouTube, please click here): The Odd Rock Comedy Hour (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

The Stand 12-21-19Saturday 12/21: Stand-up by 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), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; Comedy Central Presents; Opie & Anthony radio show, co-host of My Wife Hates Me podcast; new album When I Saw Hamilton), Derek Gaines (Jaybird on The Last O.G.; NBC’s Will & Grace; former host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show) , Yamaneika Saunders (HBO’s Crashing, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Roast Battle; stand-up album Damsel in Distress), @Yamaneika (@HBO, @NBC, CC), Josh Wesson (Comedy Central, MTV2, FX), and Tim Dillon (Comedy Central, Netflix, Last Comic Standing; podcast Tim Dillon is Going to Hell): Stars at The Stand (8:00 pm, $25, The Stand Mainstage at 116 East 16th Street)

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

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

Emmy Blotnick, Josh Gondelman, Usama Siddiquee, and Sydnee WashingtonSaturday 12/21: Great lineup of Emmy Blotnick (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), Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; author of book Nice Try; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Usama Siddiquee (Showtime’s Desus and Mero), and Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots; host with Marie Faustin of podcast The Unofficial Expert; host with Marie Faustin & Aminah Imani of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit) performing stand-up by sandwiching new jokes in between time-tested opening and closing material for hosts Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, host of Stoops2Stages, co-host of I’m Dead Comedy, comedy album Immigrant Made) & Jess Salomon (former UN war crimes attorney turned comic; Jimmy Fallon, CBS, Sirius XM): Sandwich (10:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

Jessy Morner-Ritt: Sunday 12/22: In the near future—2021—Joy (Jessy Morner-Ritt) is the only who still cares about upholding Bed and Breakfast culture. This immersive comedy show features air mattresses and pillow mints; stand-up from Rachel Kaly, Celeste Yim; and host Jessy Morner-Ritt, and performances from Ana McCasland and Rajat Suresh: Joy’s Bed and Breakfast (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

How to Meditate with Andrew SteinerSunday 12/22: An autobiographical show by Andrew Steiner (host of the podcast True K) about his studying meditation with Zen masters at a temple in Japan—and especially his experiences with Shodo Harada Roshi, sometimes called the Nuclear Reactor of Zen: How To Meditate: Jokes, Burlesque, and Guided Meditation (8:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Desiree Burch: "Desiree's Coming Early"Monday 12/23: Veteran NYC comic turned Londoner Desiree Burch (Netflix’s Flinch, Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, Live from the BBC, New York Neo-Futurists) describes her award-winning solo show as follows: “Have you ever been caught in a loop? Does the arc of history bend toward justice or chaos? What if it’s just a massive spiral we are all stuck in, being sucked back into the void? How do we escape the narratives that determine our lives in spite of our drives? And how does a black girl with an expensive education and a faltering sense of self-confidence cross an actual desert to reconcile her first-world problems with the cracks she’s had to climb through in order to even have them? I dunno…some dancing, drugs, and a quest for d*ck? Have you ever been caught in a loop?…At a moment in history where societal progress has swung back around to authoritarianism and regression, Desiree embarks on a journey of mythically ridiculous proportions into the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, to figure out how she, and all of us, have gotten here, and how we might turn the dial and alter the course for those of us still to come.” Tonight is the final performance of this Soho run: Desiree’s Coming Early (9:00 pm; $23.75 using code BESTLIFE online, otherwise $39 at the door; Soho Playhouse at 15 Vandam Street; take the C/E subway to Spring Street or 1 subway to Houston Street)

Dave AttellThursday 12/26-Sunday 12/29: Dave Attell (one of the most respected stand-ups in the biz; Netflix’s Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross & Dave Attell; webseries ComedyUndergroundLive.com; star of Comedy Central’s Comedy Underground, Showtime’s Dave’s Old Porn, Comedy Central’s Insomniac, and two Comedy Central specials; HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, The Daily Show) headlines through Sunday at Carolines: Dave Attell (8:00 pm Thursday, 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm Friday-Saturday, 8:00 pm Sunday; $43.75 plus 2-drink min.; Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway, between 49th and 50th Streets)

Gary DeNoia: Friday 12/27: In this one-man show, comic & impressionist Gary DeNoia plays Nicolas Cage, Vin Diesel, and other celebrities teaching children—and you—lessons through books, games, and more (directed by Desmond Thorne): Celebrities Teach Kids Sh*t (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Sharron Paul, Chanel Ali, and Hari KondaboluFriday 12/27: Hari Kondabolu (above right; fresh, sharp, rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu; Netflix special Warn Your Relatives; co-host of Kondabolu Brothers podcast), Chanel Ali (middle; MTV’s Girl Code, Starz, TruTV), and Chris Castelli (host of Shine Box Comedy) perform stand-up hosted by Sharron Paul (left) & Calvin Cole: Cheap Date Comedy Show (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

That Slapstick ShowSaturday 12/28: A somewhat scholarly look at early filmed comedy shorts and animation which was thought lost until recently discovered in New Zealand, curated & hosted by Nelson Hughes and Tommy Jose Stathes: That Slapstick Show (4:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Maryann Aita: Saturday 12/28-Monday 12/30: Maryann Aita describes her one-woman show as follows: “After several disappointing visits with a gynecologist, and many failed efforts to Sex and the City it up with friends, ‘Detective’ Maryann takes it upon herself to figure out what’s going on with her body and how to fix it, relying mostly on whatever she could find on Amazon.com. This is a hilarious (and just a touch sentimental) show about a woman taking charge of her own body that’s perfect for fans of Law & Order, vibrators, and vagina: My Dysfunctional Vagina (7:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street; running tonight, Sunday, and Monday at 7:00 pm)

Aminah Imani 2Saturday 12/28: Aminah Imani (co-host of highly popular weekly Brooklyn stand-up showcase Comedy at The Knit; host of podcast Wine Before Nine) performs a deliciously long stand-up set, with openers her Comedy at The Knit co-hosts Sydnee Washington (Conan O’Brien, MTV2’s Vidiots; co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert) and Marie Faustin (MTV’s Girl Code and Vidiots; co-host of 99.5 FM’s Tall Tales in the Big City; the other co-host of The Unofficial Expert): Aminah Imani with Sydnee & Marie (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Katie BoyleSaturday 12/28: Seven comics who weren’t born here perform stand-up that might include material about where they came from and the journey that led them to NYC, produced and/or hosted by the charming Katie Boyle (above; from Ireland): Transplants (7:30 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Ben Tomassetti & Kevin C. Hill: Saturday 12/28: Ben Tomassetti & Kevin C. Hill play rock duo Tips Moncrief & Gary Van Patten, a band named Jeez “known for its pedestrian ‘hits’ in the 80’s such as ‘Teen Crocodile,’ ’96 Olympics in Cincinatti,’ and ‘Talk to Me (You Dirty Dirty Dirty Computer).’ The guys are hitting the road again in support of a Greatest Hits album—as bands do. Tonight they discuss their songs Storyteller’s style—or at least that’s what their tour manager told them they were doing. Come see your oddball uncle’s second favorite band:” Jeez! The “Greatest Hits of 1979-1992” Tour (8:00 pm, $12, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

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

Repeater's Top 10 Countdown of 2019Sunday 12/29: Evan Forde Barden & Patrick Cartelli, who host music podcast Repeater, recap the year by inviting some of their favorite comics to make their case for the best song of 2019. “After the arguments have been made, Evan and Pat will mercilessly rank their selections.” Purchase tickets in advance online to be entered to win vinyl from Astoria’s HiFi Records & Cafe: Repeater’s Top 10 Countdown of 2019 (7:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Naomi Ekperigin & Andy Beckerman: Sunday 12/29: This charming show puts comics who are duos behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together,with tonight’s close friends and/or couples TBA hosted by lovers Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour; staff writer for NBC’s Great News; former writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, host of podcast Beginnings): Couples Therapy (7:30 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)

Sam Taggart, Marcia Belsky, and Drew Anderson: Sunday 12/29: Comics Nick Naney (Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central), Sandy Honig (one-third of sketch group Three Busy Debras; host of Pig and The Bongo Hour), and Annie Donley (Chris Gethard Presents; host of Poppin’ Off) perform for this monthly stand-up showcase named after Stevie Nicks and hosted by Marcia Belsky, Sam Taggart, and Drew Anderson: Stevie (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

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

Hot & Fun New Year's EveTuesday 12/31: Heating up your New Year’s Eve with comedy are Rachel Pegram (Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Alternatino, MTV, BET; movies Don’t Think Twice and The Week Of; member of National Lampoon Radio Hour and UCB star improv group ASSSSCAT 3000), Jared Goldstein (ABC’s Modern Family, SNL, Starz, TNT), Mary Beth Barone (Viceland; host of podcast Mildly Offensive), and Junior Mint hosted by Jenny Gorelick (host of Jenny’s Birthday Party, co-host of First Impressions) and Zach Teague (TruTV): Hot & Fun New Year’s Eve (7:30 pm, $12, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Creatures of the NightTuesday 12/31: Ring in the New Year’s Eve with a night of drag, burlesque, comedy, singing, dance, and more hosted by Ellipsis Queen: Creatures Of The Night (11:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th 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 June 2019: Last Updated Thursday 6/20

June 20, 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 305,000 copies to date, and an interview book with legendary author Neil Gaiman that hit #240 on Amazon.com. I’ve also written five Dummies books and a Complete Idiot’s Guide. I cover comedy as a labor of love. But if you need help with a book, let’s chat, because there’s no one better at ghostwriting, editing, and/or coaching. To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop 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 June 2019 (with more to come soon) include:

Terrence McNally on 2019 Tony AwardsIf you missed famed playwright Terrence McNally’s Lifetime Achievement speech at the June 9th Tony Awards—because CBS chose to broadcast commercials in its place—please consider taking five minutes to watch it online. Although McNally is speaking about theatre, his comments apply to all arts, very much including comedy. Here are some of the highlights:

The 80-year-old playwright of such classics as Master Class and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune came out with breathing tubes in his nose, and began, “Lifetime Achievement? Not a moment too soon…”

He then shared that after his first play “crashed and burned,” John Steinbeck told him “to get right back on the horse. If you ain’t been throwed, you ain’t rode.”

McNally said writing plays are important because “Theatre changes hearts. That secret place where we all truly live.”

He related that his parents’ lives were changed by Death of a Salesman. After seeing it, “my father quit his job at General Foods and struck out on his own.”

He also expressed pride when “something I wrote softened the hearts of parents who had banished their son or daughter from their lives when they came out to them as gay or lesbian.”

And he said of the writing profession, “It’s a club with open admissions. The only dues are your heart, your soul, your mind, and your guts. All of you.”

McNally added, “What we do matters. The world needs artists more than ever to remind us what kindness, truth, and beauty are.”

You can watch the entire speech at https://youtube.com/watch?v=EE8YRnGauYw.

And also keep an eye out for Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life, a superb documentary that recently started airing on PBS stations as part of the American Masters series.

Too Many CooksThursday 6/20: 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), Christi Chiello (Comedy Central’s Roast Battle, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV, PBSKids, stellar solo show It’s Christi, B*tch!, co-host of Battle of the Divas and White Chocolate), and more perform stand-up for this free weekly LES show hosted tonight by J.P. McDade: Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!, Lucky Jack’s Pub at 129 Orchard Street between Rivington & Delancey Streets)

Howard the DuckFriday 6/21: Decades before every Marvel movie was an instant classic came 1986 box office and critical disaster Howard the Duck, executive produced by no less than George Lucas. Costing $37 million, the movie made just $15 million domestically; plus it won four Golden Raspberry awards, for Worst Screenplay, Worst New Star, Worst Visual Effects, and Worst Picture. Tonight it’ll be screened and mercilessly skewered by comics Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic; author of How to Write Cheesy Movies and 25 MST3K Films That Changed My Life In No Way Whatsoever), Kat Burdick (Moth Grandslam champion; host of Let’s Say You’re Right; webseries KCK), Laura Merli (host of How to be Less Awkward podcast), and Colin Fitzgerald (Cosmic Castoff). Their cruelty will be contrasted by exceptionally kind host Chris Gersbeck (co-host of Soft Core!, which is essentially a porn version of this show, Casual Sets, and Bunk Bed Time Open Mic): Movies R Dumb: Howard the Duck (11:00 pm, $10, Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell at 27-16 23rd Avenue)

Jessica Creane: Saturday 6/22: This solo production, which debuted at last year’s FringeNYC and is now enjoying a monthly revival at LES’ Caveat, starts out pretending to be a scientific lecture about and demonstration of chaos theory.
But it’s really a highly interactive show that uses comedy and thoughtfully structured game-play for nudging audiences to explore their wishes and desires, push past boundaries, connect with everyone around them, and be open to anything.
It’s all courtesy of writer/performer Jessica Ellen Creane, who cycles between faux-shyly giving illustrated talks about such things as fractals, love, and velociraptors, making herself fearlessly vulnerable, and improvising quick-witted responses to audience choices. For example, when Creane asked me to name a goal, I replied, “writing and selling a movie.” She immediately gave me the best pep talk I’ve ever had, stating beyond doubt that I’d succeed. In gratitude, I added, “I’ll cast you in it.” Without missing a beat, and fully committing to her scientist character (wearing thick black-frame glasses with no lenses), Creane tossed off, “I’m not good at acting” before moving on to help someone else. That she even thought of that line demonstrates what a superb actress Creane is…and how completely she performs in the moment.
Because this show relies so deeply on interaction, each edition will be different based on the decisions made by you and your fellow audience members. Along the same lines, how much you enjoy it, and genuinely get out of it, will depend heavily on what you bring to it.
For me, it was a **** (out of 4) show. If you come experience this—and you should—I hope you have a wonderful time too; and that it moves you closer to your dreams.
Chaos Theory (9:30, $27.63 in advance online or $30 at the door, LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Raanan HershbergSunday 6/23: Exceptionally sharp, inventive, and funny stand-up Raanan Hershberg (HBO’s Crashing, TruTV; superb FringeNYC 2018 solo show Off the Grid) records his second comedy album, with the aid of your laughter, 7:00 pm and 9:15 pm. Help Raanan create a great show and get your vocal joy immortalized at Raanan Hershberg’s Album Recording (7:00 pm & 9:15 pm; $13.26 online using discount code RAANAN [otherwise $30.90], plus two-drink min.; New York Comedy Club at 241 East 24th Street between Second & Third Avenues)

Tessa Skara: Rock GoddessSunday 6/23: “Part comedy special and part rock concert” from Tessa Skara (Pop Roulette) and her band, which Tessa describes as “kind of like if a stand-up special was made by Stevie Nicks, if Stevie Nicks was a messy queer millennial,” featuring Marcia Belsky (band Free the Mind): Tessa Skara: Rock Goddess (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Sex and the City: The MovieSunday 6/23: Two men have been watching 2008’s Sex and the City: The Movie twice a week for six months. See them review it live at The Worst Idea of All Time: Endlessly Sex and the City—The Movie (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Liza TreygerTuesday 6/25: Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, This Is Not Happening, @midnight, Horace and Pete, Chelsea Lately) performs a long set in an intimate setting, with several other talented stand-ups as openers: Liza Treger Tells It Like It Is (7:00 pm, $10 plus 2-item food/drink min., The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge at 130 West 3rd Street)

/Friends Who Folk and Melissa VillaseñorWednesday 6/26: Friends Who Folk (delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com) host this show, with stellar guests Melissa Villaseñor (Emmy-winning star cast member of Saturday Night Live; force-of-nature voiceover artist who’s performed characters for Family Guy, Scooby Doo, and many other shows), Rachel Wenitsky (freelance writer for SNL; Deputy Editor of Reductress; co-host of Mouth Time! podcast; Head Writer of The Story Pirates podcast), Franchesca Ramsey (YouTube star with over 29 million views; host of MTV’s Decoded; The Nightly Show), Rachel Joravsky (member of The Story Pirates; founder of sketch production company Damn Lady Laugh), and Rachel Kaly (host of Ellen Degenerous is the Only Ally): Friends Who Folk (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Emily Flake & Ophira Eisenberg:Sunday 6/30: Comics who are parents vent by telling mean stories about their children (and guest comics who aren’t revel in their freedom), with tonight’s cruel jokesters Beth Newell (co-founder and editor of Reductress; written for The New Yorker, The Onion, McSweeney’s; host of We Knows Parenting podcast), Kate Tellers (staff host and writer for The Moth; host of I’m Still Here podcast about making art after having children), Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet), Abby Sher (author of Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying (Among Other Things) and Breaking Free: True Stories of Girls Who Escaped Modern Slavery; The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Elle), Hollie Harper (playwright & filmmaker; solo show American Candy), and Raquel D’Apice (Bust Magazine), hosted by the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another,” author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy,” comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) and Emily Flake (star cartoonist for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Time, Forbes, etc.; author of books Mama Tried, Lulu Eightball, and These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves): Shitshow (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 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.

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.

The Stand
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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.

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for June 2019: Last Updated Thursday 6/6

June 6, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com and has sold over 305,000 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. Alternatively, if you know someone who should have a book, please refer him or her to me; for a year, you’ll get 10% of all revenue I receive from the referral (e.g., if the client pays me $50,000, you’ll get $5,000). To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop 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 June 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

How I Learned to Live in New YorkThursday 6/6: Storytellers Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime), 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), Mike Albo, Rosebud Baker, and Dodai Stewart tell tales about managing to successfully reside in the Big Apple, hosted by Blaise Allysen Kearsley: How I Learned to Live in New York (9:30 pm, $7.45 in advance online or $10 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

Too Many CooksThursday 6/6: Josh Gondelman (one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Kate Willett (Comedy Central’s The Jim Jeffries Show and This Is Not Happening; VICE’s Flophouse, Netflix’s Comedy Lineup; comedy album Glass Gutter), Subhah Agarwal (writer for Comedy Central’s The Jim Jefferies Show; TruTV, Fusion), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour), Xazmin Garza, J.P. McDade, and Chanel Ali perform stand-up for this free weekly LES show hosted tonight by Jordan Temple: Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!, Lucky Jack’s Pub at 129 Orchard Street between Rivington & Delancey Streets)

The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling ShowThursday 6/6: Open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner whose name is picked from a basket receiving 5 minutes on stage, hosted by David Lawson (fresh, sharp, edgy storyteller; The Flyer Guy): The Astoria Bookshop Storytelling Show (7:00 pm, Free!, Astoria Bookshop at 31-29 31st Street)

Akilah Hughes, Lane Moore, and Jes Tom: "Tinder Live with Lane Moore"Friday 6/7: A show celebrating the app that redefined online dating, with the lovely and quick-witted Lane Moore (above middle; author of superb bestselling book How to Be Alone; HBO’s Girls; Sex & Relationship Editor of Cosmo; writer for The Onion, McSweeney’s) going on a live Tinder safari for guys while a packed audience watches her every choice with fascination. Offering comments and suggestions are guest comics Akilah Hughes (above left; HBO’s Pod Save America, MTV, VH1, Fusion; upcoming book Obviously), Jes Tom (above right; Reductress), and Mychal Denzel Smith (author of 2016 book Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man’s Education). This show usually sells out, so I highly recommend nabbing tickets in advance online for Tinder Live (8:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Ophira Eisenberg & Adira Amram: "Ophira & Adira"Wednesday 6/12: Two exceptionally appealing comics, Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!) and Adira Amram (spectacular comedic singer & dancer; HBO, Funny or Die; album Hot Jams for Teens), perform and host Josh Gondelman (above; one of the sharpest comics in the country; writer/producer for Showtime’s Desus & Mero; previously Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO’s phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O’Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up albums Dancing On a Weeknight and Physical Whisper), Kendra Cunningham (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The Tyra Banks Show, Law & Order), and Matthew Holtzclaw (magician who Rolling Stone called “unforgettable”): Ophira & Adira (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)

Erin Hall's Album Release ShowThursday 6/13: The delightful Erin Hall has for years been one of the finest comedic musicians in NYC under the name Erin and Her Cello, performing silly, sly songs while nestling a large instrument between her legs. Tonight Erin celebrates the release of her third studio album, this time of mostly serious songs (though I bet there’s lots of playful wit throughout) titled Great Blue. Opening for Erin will be the Lars Jacobsen Trio, who are part of her band. Listen to one of Erin’s catchy new songs, titled “Taxi,” via YouTube by clicking here (and the live pre-album version here), and then nab tickets for Erin Hall’s Album Release Show (7:00 pm; $20, plus 1-drink min. if you sit on a bar stool or stand, or 2-drink min. if you sit at a table; Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2 at 196 Allen Street, near the F subway’s Second Avenue stop)

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.

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.

The Stand
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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.

Contact Hy

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

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

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


NYC Top Comedy Choices for February 2019: Last Updated Wednesday 2/6

February 6, 2019

I’m one of the finest ghostwriters in the country; my 20+ books include two New York Times bestsellers, a phenom megaseller that hit #16 on Amazon.com, and 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. Alternatively, if you know someone who should have a book, please refer him or her to me; for a year, you’ll get 10% of all revenue I receive from the referral (e.g., if the client pays me $50,000, you’ll get $5,000). To learn more about my services, please visit BookProposal.net and then email me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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

Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to this BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications. Other ways to keep up are to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny), and/or to visit the desktop 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 February 2019 (with much more to come soon) include:

"Too Many Cooks" with Chris GethardWednesday 2/6: Chris Gethard (comedy genius, above; star of HBO 90-minute special Career Suicide; star of TruTV’s & Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; co-star of Mike Birbiglia film Don’t Think Twice; host of Webby-winning podcast Beautiful Stories From Anonymous People; The Office, Comedy Central, IFC; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York), Tommy McNamara, Ashley Austin Morris, Gordon Baker-Bone, Nate Fridson, and Wanjiko Eke perform stand-up for this free weekly LES show produced by Luisa Díez, and hosted by Samantha Ruddy, Luke Touma, JP McDade, Jordan Temple, and/or Dina Hashem: Too Many Cooks (9:00 pm, Free!, Lucky Jack’s Pub at 129 Orchard Street between Rivington & Delancey Streets)

The Liar Show: First Show at CaveatWednesday 2/6: Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who chooses correctly gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s superb yarn-spinners are the wonderful Ophira Eisenberg (one of the finest comedic storytellers and stand-ups in the country; host of weekly NPR/WNYC show Ask Me Another, author of bestselling book Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy, comedy album Bangs!; NBC, CBS, Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime), Colin Wilhm (The Jinx, Friday Night Stories), Mike Brown (TBS’ Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, TruTV, MTV, Adult Swim; co-host of Comedy Outliers), and Martin Dockery (five-time Moth GrandSlam finalist). Come let these storytellers and host Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion) attempt to mislead you for the first edition of this long-running show at its new home of Caveat (after 42 years, the Cornelia Street Cafe closed in January): The Liar Show (9:30 pm; $17 in advance online or $20 at the door; LES’ Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)

33 Reasons Why You Couldn't Make It To This ShowWednesday 2/6: A comic explores all the reasons his friends have given for why they couldn’t attend his performance. So you can either see this or live this: 33 Reasons Why You Couldn’t Make It To This Show (7:00 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

The Heirs of HogwartsFriday 2/8 (also 2/15 & 2/22): Improvisors create new tales of Hogwarts on the spot based on an audience suggestion: The Heirs of Hogwarts (6:00 pm, $15, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Mike Zakarian: "Christ Kid: A Journey Through Snow Camp"Saturday 2/9: Mike Zakarian performs a one-man autobiographical show about being “a cool Christian teen in New England looking forward every year to an event called Snow Camp:” Christ Kid: A Journey Through Snow Camp (7:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

North CoastSaturday 2/9 (also 2/16 & 2/23): A highly talented freestyle rapping long form improv group takes the stage for an hour: North Coast (9:00 pm, $12, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th Street)

Comic Book ClubTuesday 2/12 (also 2/19 & 2/26): Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture, with giveaways of comics and gift certificates: Comic Book Club (8:00 pm, Free!, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

The NotebookSaturday 2/16: Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate infamous 2004 tearjerker The Notebook, with each comic using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie just once. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in The Notebook but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story:” The Notebook…Entirely From Memory (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Uncle FunctionThursday 2/21: Six comedic actors, including Gianmarco Soresi (ABC’s Deception; acclaimed FringeNYC play <50%), perform sketch in this acclaimed group: Uncle Function (8:00 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Terrorbird 3Thursday 2/21: Surreal sketch group Terrorbird performs its oddball version of a Disney feature film: “The brave Princess Heckena and her marketably adorable sidekick Bonesy journey upwards through the kingdom of Heck for a musical adventure we’re contractually obligated to say the whole family will enjoy. Will Heckena make it to the mortal world and finally achieve her playfully ironic dream of ice skating? Or will she marry Caligula and spend the rest of her life presiding over the eternal torment of the dang-ed?”: Terrorbird: Heck—Follow Your Nightmares (9:30 pm, $10, The PIT Mainstage (Striker) at 123 East 24th Street)

Jeff Ronan &amp; Matt Bovee: "The Movie Idiot's Guide to the Oscars"Saturday 2/23: Sketch comedy duo Jeff Ronan & Matt Bovee reenact all 50+ movies nominated for Oscars this year in under an hour: The Movie Idiot’s Guide to the Oscars (9:00 pm, $10, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

Destiny Mabry &amp; Jamie Aderski: "Celibate and Pregnant"Thursday 2/28: Jamie Aderski (exceptionally honest & funny storyteller; stellar solo show Cry Baby) is pregnant, while Destiny Mabry (abuse conqueror; host of Triumphs, Tampons, and Tears) is single and often sexless. Both share memorable tales blending storytelling and stand-up: Celibate and Pregnant (7:30 pm, $8, The PIT Underground at 123 East 24th 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

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.

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.

The Stand
Lost its space, aiming to move to Union Square sometime in 2019: competitor to Comedy Cellar; 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.

Contact Hy

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

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

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