Best storytelling shows in New York City

Where to hear great storytelling as the city's gifted raconteurs spin yarns

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Moth’s StorySlam

Moth’s StorySlam Photograph: Matt Bresler

If there are indeed eight million stories in New York City, these storytelling shows represent the best way to eavesdrop on a few. These performances are often more serious than the city's best comedy shows, less fictional than the best reading series, and the eclectic themes range from music to truth-telling to butts. And whether it's your downstairs neighbor on stage or one the funniest women in NYC, the storytellers at these events offer their hearts and histories to you in displays of utter fearlessness.

The Moth StorySLAM!

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Ten stories. Three teams of judges. One winner. The outrageously popular series—and podcast—pits local yarn spinners against one another, challenging them to deliver a tale based on a specific theme.

  1. The Bitter End 126 Crosby St, between E Houston and Prince Sts, 10012
  2. Mon Dec 29
More info

The How I Learned Series

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Blaise Allysen Kearsley stuffs this hip, energetic evening of readings with writers, comics and bloggers, each of whom recounts a story tied to a specific lesson, like "How I learned it's not me, it's you (or maybe it's me)."

  1. Union Hall 702 Union St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Wed Jan 28
More info

RISK!

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Kevin Allison (formerly of the State) invites noteworthy New Yorkers to share stories that are daring in either content or the way they're told. Upcoming themes include "how bizarre" and "butts."

  1. The Bell House 149 7th St, between Second and Third Aves, 11215
  2. Fri Jan 9
More info

The Liar Show

  • Price band: 1/4

In this theatrical performance, four storytellers detail events from their lives, ranging from the merely interesting to the revelatory. The catch: One of the four is fabricating everything.

  1. Cornelia Street Café 29 Cornelia St, between Bleecker and W 4th Sts, 10014
  2. Sat Feb 7
More info

Real Characters

  • Free

Comedian Andy Ross’s monthly showcase invites writers, actors and stand-ups to read funny essays or perform their latest laugh-inducing stage creations.

  1. McNally Jackson Books 52 Prince St, between Lafayette and Mulberry Sts
  2. Thu Jan 15
More info

The Story Collider

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Erin Barker (a writer, copy editor and Moth GrandSLAM winner) and Ben Lillie (a TED contributing editor and physicist) curate this monthly roundup of science-themed stories.

  1. Under St. Marks 94 St. Marks Pl, between First Ave and Ave A
  2. Sat Jan 10
More info


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