The Most Complete & Accurate Info on NYC's Best Live Comedy Shows—Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, Storytelling, and More, With Most Shows Free-$15—Plus Comedy Discounts, Theatre Discounts, Jokes, and Videos
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.
Last updated on Monday April 23rd 2018
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NYC Live Comedy Recommendations
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NYC Comedy Club Discounts—NO COVER on all Eastville & Broadway Comedy shows!
(Eastville Comedy, Greenwich Village Comedy, Broadway Comedy, Dangerfield's)
Massive NYC Theatre Discounts
NYC Comedy Picks for April 2018
Last updated Monday 4/23
Please note that these listings are updated frequently. The best way to be instantly notified about new show postings is to subscribe to my BestNewYorkComedy.com blog and allow for email notifications, and/or to follow me on Twitter (@hybender) or Instagram (@hybenderny).
In addition, you can use the links below to explore the schedules of all the major comedy venues in NYC; and you can find excellent live comedy recommendations weekly via The New York Times.
That said, my top NYC comedy recommendations for April 2018 (with more to come soon) include:
Monday 4/23: In one of the finest solo shows ever created about motherhood—and one of the best comedy shows in NYC—rising star Jamie Aderski shares extraordinarily honest and hair-curling tales of what it was like for her to go through pregnancy and the early months of raising her baby (for a trailer, please click here). Whether this is a cautionary tale to would-be moms or an ode to the power of love is up to you to decide. Either way, you should not miss the unforgettable Cry Baby: My (Reluctant) Journey Into Motherhood (9:30 pm; $13.71 in advance online or $15 at the door; LES' Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Monday 4/23: Liza Treyger (above; fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Horace and Pete, Chelsea Lately), Drew Michael (writer for Saturday Night Live; Comedy Central Half Hour; NBC's The Carmichael Show), Chris Thayer (Comedy Centralís Adam DeVineís House Party, VICELANDís Flophouse, TBS; has toured with Pete Holmes), and more perform for this weekly Brooklyn stand-up show guest-hosted this week by David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family): Butterboy (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn's Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Monday 4/23: Michelle Buteau (VH1's Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central's Key & Peele, FOX's Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up) & Jordan Carlos (HBO's Girls, Comedy Central's Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV's Guy Code, Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim) host this podcast taping, with guests including Saturday Night Live's Michael Che: Adulting (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn's The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Monday 4/23: Friends Who Folk (delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Nore Davis (HBO's Last Week Tonight, Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer and Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, Showtime's Boardwalk Empire, MTV), Sydnee Washington (MTV2's Vidiots, co-host of podcast The Unofficial Expert), and Cipha Sounds (Chappelle's Show, MTV, Hot 97) perform music or stand-up for this free weekly show hosted by the multi-talented Morgan Miller (sharp improvisor, sketch comic, and stand-up): Dirty Laundry (11:00 pm, Free! (make reservation here), UCB Hell's Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Monday 4/23: Adam Pally (Max Blum on ABC's Happy Endings, Dr. Peter Prentice on The Mindy Project, Donald Trump Jr. on The President Show; legendary improv group Hot Sauce), Michael Hartney (TV Land's Throwing Shade, Broadway's School of Rock; co-host of Characters Welcome), and Liz Plank (Vox, Divided States of Women) chug a couple of beers on stage and talk politics hosted by Charlie Todd & Cody Lindquist: Two Beers In (7:30 pm, $9, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)
Monday 4/23: For over nine years, under the guidance of brilliant comedy booker Jeremy Levenbach, and the extraordinary hosting of Leo Allen and Aparna Nancherla, Whiplash became NYC's best-ever free stand-up show—and one of the finest comedy showcases anywhere—attracting such star drop-ins as Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, John Oliver, Jim Gaffigan, Daniel Kitson, and pretty much any other top comic who happened to be in town and wanted to try out material. (To learn more, please click here.) Aparna recently left the show for a paid gig, co-hosting Butterball Mondays at 8:00 pm at Littlefield. Now Whiplash has followed Aparna's lead, exiting UCB to become a paid show at Union Hall, with Jeremy continuing to do the booking. It may take a while to select a new permanent host, and the lineup is almost never announced in advance; but chances are this will remain one of the top stand-up shows in the country. Come see a classic reinvent itself, now as a paid weekly event in Brooklyn: Whiplash (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn's Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Tuesday 4/24: For this taping of his Sporkful podcast, host Dan Pashman interviews Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Comedy Central Presents; fascinating TruTV documentary The Problem with Apu) about the foods Hari grew up eating in Queens, the items Apu from The Simpsons offers at the Kwik-E-Mart, why you shouldn't talk to Indian-Americans about Indian food, and the time Hari mistook a papaya for a mango (expect a lot of stories about mangoes): Sporkful Live with Hari Kondabolu (8:00 pm, $20, Brooklyn's The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Wednesday 4/25: Jean Grae & John Hodgman have written topics on a carnival wheel. In this show they spin the wheel and then chat about whatever subject they land on, along with a surprise guest. What else do you need to know?: Jean and John (8:00 pm, $15, The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Wednesday 4/25: Sharp storytellers TBA, who typically include Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 20-time StorySlam Champion; album The Human Comedy; for a sampling of Adam's award-winning tales, please click here), tell comedic tales on a montly theme TBA for this live podast taping hosted by the wonderful David Martin: The Nights of Our Lives (8:00 pm, $9, UCB Hell's Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Wednesday 4/25: Brilliantly innovative comic Anthony Atamanuik (star of Comedy Central hit The President Show; Trump vs. Bernie, 30 Rock, Conan O'Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo) plays oddball characters in a mix of sketch and improv, helped by cast members and guests TBA, in the revival of this show that used to run weekly at UCB East: The Tony Show: Resurrection (11:00 pm, $7, UCB Hell's Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Thursday 4/26: A glorious collection of hilarious film & TV clips and lectures by mass media experts hosted by super-fan Kevin Maher (Emmy-nominated writer whose work has appeared on HBO, Comedy Central, and AMC; former host of AMC's The Sci-Fi Dept.) and guest co-host Tenebrous Kate (host of the Bad Books For Bad People podcast), this month focusing on mad science (for a trailer, please click here), with scheduled guests Richard Harland Smith (acclaimed writer for Turner Classic Movies blog, Video Watchdog magazine, and numerous movie DVD audio commentaries), Kristen Sollee (author of book Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive), John Cribbs (Head Writer of cinema website ThePinkSmoke.com), and Becky Munich (author of The Occult Activity Books; Associate Art Director of Little, Brown and Company's Books for Young Readers): Kevin Geeks Out About Mad Science (7:45 pm; $15—buying in advance is recommended, as this show crammed with rich imagery and fascinating ideas often sells out; Brooklyn's Alamo Drafthouse Cinema at 445 Albee Square West—take the 2/3 subway to Hoyt Street)
Thursday 4/26: Gina Yashere (above; correspondent for The Daily Show; HBO's Crashing, Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately, @midnight, Showtime 1-hour special Skinny Bitch), Dave Hill (above; one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; @midnight, Inside Amy Schumer, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, This American Life; host for HBO and Cinemax; host of WFMU's The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake; books Tasteful Nudes and Dave Hill Doesn't Live Here Anymore; comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Liza Treyger (fresh, fierce, fearless stand-up; Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, Horace and Pete, Chelsea Lately), Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; HBO's Girls, FOX's Mulaney, Chris Rock's film Top Five, Conan O'Brien, Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Nightly Show), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Harris Stanton (SNL, BET; opened for Tracey Morgan), and more perform stand-up hosted by Michelle Collins (former co-host ABC's The View; co-host of ABC's Bachelor in Paradise: After Paradise and UCB stand-up show Magic Mich XXL) for this show raising funds for cooperation: Comedy Co-Op (7:30 pm, $15, Brooklyn's Littlefield at 635 Sackett Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Thursday 4/26: Comics play historical figures who give lectures on odd topics: DED Talks: TED Talks From Dead People (7:30 pm; $11.59 in advance online or $15 at the door; LES' Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Thursday 4/26: Comics and comedic storytellers TBA join pioneering sketch comic and storyteller Kevin Allison (The State) 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)
Saturday 4/28: Friends Who Folk (delightful singing duo Rachel Wenitsky & Ned Riseley; TheNewYorker.com), Nate Dendy (magician; Penn & Teller: Fool Us Himself), and Dylan Marron (actor; Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast) perform songs, magic, or characters, then enthusiastically endorse some product they love...which will be handed out to lucky members of the audience! Hosted by the wonderful Chris Duffy (staff writer for NatGeo Explorer, host of You're the Expert), who makes this promise for one audience member per show: You Get A Spoon (4:00 pm; $13.71 online, $15 at the door; LES' Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street—take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Saturday 4/28: Storytelling, catharsis, and laughter as over a dozen comics who identify as survivors of sexual assault, harassment and, in one case, a lawsuit for speaking out against an alleged rapist share their experiences. This show will be filmed as part of a documentary: Rape Jokes by Survivors (7:00 pm, $12, LES' Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Saturday 4/28: In this unique show, animators spontaneously bring the jokes of guest stand-ups (TBA) to visual life with lightning speed & wit. Part of the fun is that the comics donít know what the animators will draw and the animators donít know how the comics will react. Produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Ian Fidance: Picture This! (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn's Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Saturday 4/28: Stellar comics share their love for the weirdest animals on the planet, with tonight's zoologists Josh Gondelman (Emmy & Peabody Award-winning writer/producer for HBO's phenom Last Week Tonight with John Oliver; Conan O'Brien, The New Yorker; stand-up comedy album Physical Whisper), Ariel Dumas (writer for Stephen Colbert), Bowen Yang (Comedy Central's Broad City; co-host of podcast & stage show Las Culturistas), Larry Owens, Conier Mandt, and X Mayo hosted by Karen Chee (The New Yorker, McSweeney's): The Biodiversity Jam (9:30 pm, $12, LES' Caveat at 21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street)
Saturday 4/28: NYC comics TBA perform stand-up or sketch hosted by the fabulous Christi Chiello (Comedy Central's Roast Battle, MTV's Girl Code, TruTV, stellar Ars Nova show It's Christi, B*tch!; unforgettably observed the woman in the photo on the wall of the Union Hall stage looks like Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire) & Petey Deabreu (host of Petey's World): White Chocolate (10:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn's Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Sunday 4/29: In this stage version of their podcast Dead Meet, Jaime Lutz & Maggie Widdoes play mediums who talk to ghosts...performed by ace comics Keisha Zollar (HBO's Divorce, Orange Is the New Black, MTV; writer for The Opposition with Jordan Klepper; ace improv trio Doppelganger, sketch group Astronomy Club), James Dwyer (Master of None; co-star of UCB's A Big Dumb Thing), and Nicole Silverberg (writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, Editor-at-Large for Reductress): Dead Meet (Live Show) (8:00 pm; $10, Brooklyn's Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street)
Monday 4/30: Some of the most brilliant improvisors alive (TBA) stumble into theatre scenes of plays they've never seen—performed by superb Broadway, TV, and/or film stars—and make up their dialogue while the actors commit to staying in character and on book. The result is amazingly fun, hosted by actor/director Stephen Ruddy: Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $9, UCB Hell's Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Monday 4/30: Whiplash, which was NYC's best-ever free stand-up show, has moved to Union Hall (where it's now $10, but hopefully will continue to be transcendently great). Taking its Mondays-at-11:00 pm time slot at the UCB mainstage is a new show that sounds a great deal like UCB's much-missed School Night, which packed as many as a dozen guests into 75 minutes performing stand-up, characters, sketch, improv, and occasionally acts that defied categorization. The level of talent varied wildly; but for some, like me, that was part of the laid-back fun. If you care to support experimentation, and can patiently wait for periodic magical surprises, consider giving this new showcase a chance in the hope that, like School Night, it becomes a uniquely organic rollercoaster ride. Hosted by the multi-talented Morgan Miller (sharp improvisor, sketch comic, and stand-up), it's time to reveal the Dirty Laundry (11:00 pm, Free! (make reservation here), UCB Hell's Kitchen at 555 West 42nd Street)
Tuesday 5/1: David Cross (comedy legend; Mr. Show, Arrested Development, Modern Family) tries out new stand-up material in Brooklyn: David Cross: Still Shooting the Shit, Still Seeing What Sticks (8:00 pm, $15, Brooklyn's The Bell House at 149 7th Street; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)
Tuesday 5/1: This African-American stand-up show features Dillon Stevenson (writer for HBO's Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas), Abbi Crutchfield (Broad City, MTV, VH1, Witsream), Jordan Carlos (cast member of Netflix's Friends From College; HBO's 2 Dope Queens and Girls, Comedy Central's Broad City and The Nightly Show, Showtime, MTV's Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1, Adult Swim), Shalewa Sharpe (Keith and the Girl; comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), and Chris Lamberth (AXS TV) hosted by Brandon Collins: Don't Think Once (7:30 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
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
Caveat (21-A Clinton Street; take F/J/M/Z subway to Delancey Street/Essex Street); 100-seat theatre; shows $10-$25
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
QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard): 40-seat theatre; shows free-$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
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
(117 MacDougal Street): Among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.
(130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar's larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.
(239 Third Avenue): Recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!
Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway): Focuses on the world's top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.
Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street): Headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.
Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street): Strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.
Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street): Convenient if Comedy Cellar's sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.
Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st): Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.
Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway): Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.
The Standing Room (4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club): No drink min.—support this policy!
NYC Stand-Up Open Mics & Improv Jams
If you want stage time, you can find one or more stand-up open mics virtually any night at Manhattan's The PIT, Eastville Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY Comedy Club, and at Queens LIC's The Creek and Astoria Queens' QED.
In addition, at the East Village's UCB East you can typically find a stand-up open mic Thursdays at 6:00 pm, an improv jam Wednesdays at 11:15 pm, and a rare bring-your-own-group improv/sketch open stage Sundays at 11:00 pm. And in Chelsea, The Magnet offers an improv jam on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm, and a rare musical improv jam on Tuesdays at 6:00 pm.
All of the venues above typically provide you the stage time either for free or for $5.
There are also numerous other open mics throughout the city. For a more comprehensive list, please visit FreeMicsNYC.
Other Cool Stuff
NYC Comedy Picks from previous weeks
Mike Lawrence Career Interview (TMCPB.com Podcast)
Myq Kaplan Career Interview (TMCPB.com Podcast)
Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Discounted via Goldstar; Click Images to See Deals
HyReviews.com Favorite Jokes
HyReviews.com Favorite Videos
Submissions to Hy as Editor of Ghosts on Drugs
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Special Freebies & Discounts for HyReviews.com Insiders
Almost all the recommendations and discounts HyReviews.com provides
on this site. However, occasionally I may feel an offer is so special that it merits extra attention.
Also, sometimes comedy clubs, theatres, and others contact me with offers that they
don't want on a searchable Web page but that they're happy to provide to my readers.
If you'd like to take advantage of such opportunities, please provide your name and email address, and once in a while you'll receive a notice directly from me about cool deals.
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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.
Please check out these New York City theatre sections of HyReviews.com:
Hy on Theatre Discounts: See Great Shows for as Little as $4
FringeNYC 2016 Coverage
Please also check out these New York City comedy sections of HyReviews.com:
Comedy Club Discounts
HyReviews.com Comedy Video Picks
Previous NYC Comedy Picks
Top NYC Comedy Venues
Other Notable Comedy Sites
For a comprehensive list of links to all the sections
(including ancient ones), please see the Site Index below, or click here.
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HyReviews.com Legacy Site Index
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Comedy Club Discounts
If you'd enjoy an elegant evening at an NYC comedy club
but also want to save some money, please click here.
You can get free tickets for all shows at the Eastville Comedy Club,
free tickets to most shows at the Broadway Comedy Club, and
free & 50% discount ticket offers for Dangerfield's Comedy Club.
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Top NYC Comedy Venues
The following are the primary theatres hosting notable NYC comedy shows:
Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
Upright Citizens Brigade East
The Peoples Improv Theater
The Creek and the Cave (Queens LIC)
Union Hall (Brooklyn)
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Notable Comedy Sites
I'm trying to keep this section super-concise,
but If a top site isn't listed that you think oughta be,
please drop me a note and I'll take a close look.
(in alphabetical order):
Comedy Central Insider
The Comic's Comic
(in alphabetical order):
Comedy Central Video Clips
Funny or Die
YouTube Comedy Videos
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Hy's Other Websites
Ghosts on Drugs Fiction Anthology: GhostsOnDrugs.com
Book Service: BookProposal.net
Screenplay Service: HyOnYourScript.com
Cross-Genre Short Story Anthology: Ghosts On Drugs
The Millennial Career Playbook Podcast: TMCPB.com
Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, provide feedback on my cross-genre short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me to develop your book or screenplay (please visit BookProposal.net or HyOnYourScript.com), or for any other reason by emailing me at email@example.com.
History will be kind to me,
for I intend to write it.
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Copyright © 2018 Hy Bender