Best comedy shows this month
Whether you're visiting town and looking for laughs or a jaded New Yorker who needs a break, you can count on Jeffrey Emerson and Jill Weiner to deliver excellent comedy at this free weekly East Village stand-up night. Look out for some of our favorite all-star performers to hit up the low-key show.
If you think about it, history is a bit like a word in a Rick Ross rhyme: It tends to repeat itself. That’s not the only thing history and rap have in common at this hilarious show, inspired by that other hip-hop musical. Hip-hop improv group North Coast invites audience members to suggest a favorite historical figure—be it Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Bea Arthur or beyond—then performs a fully improvised and factually accurate musical based on that person’s life.
The city's best comics bring their stand-up, sketches, improv and more to Kings County during this week-long annual fest. This year's fest includes Las Culturistas: "I Don't Think So Honey" Live at Brooklyn Bazaar; Backfat Variety at Union Hall; and shows from HBO, Kevin McDonald, Joe Pera and many others. With a lineup this stacked, the only downside is not being able to catch everything. Head to bkcomedyfestival.com and let the agonizing begin.
It’s a free comedy show...with crêpes. Need we say more? Fumi Abe and Michael Nguyen bring together some of the city’s most diverse and reliably solid lineups every month at this sweet show. August's edition is a banger, with Emily Winter, Thiago Macklin, Joyelle Johnson, Alingon Mitra and Ismael Loufti the stage.
The deadly duo of Irene Merrow and Amanda Hurley have decided to reclaim comedy from the hands of the mediocrity. At their fierce new show, they assemble a defiantly diverse lineup to blast open the paradigm and make you laugh in the process. For the inaugural edition, they're joined by Julia Schiplett, Clare O'Kane, Justy Dodge, SallyAnn Hall, Hattie Hayes and Calvin Cato.
Yes Gawd! At his monthly queer comedy throwdown, pop-culture maven Bobby Hankinson hosts some of his favorite queer comedians and performers for songs, sketches and stories. On September 21, Hankinson brings Eman El-Husseini, Jess Salomon and Addie Weyrich to the party.
How apt for Ben Wasserman and Brantley Brice's sweet new stand-up show to go down at Friends & Lovers, as their room will most certainly be packed with their best buddies. Join the two adorable whackjobs as they welcome funny friends Carmen Lagala, Jes Tom, Eudora Peterson, Adam Wade, Sam Taggart and Maria Wojciechowski to chill on stage.
Satan's Alley may sound like an apt description for our present political circumstances, but it's also the name of the fictional musical in the lurid, outrageous Saturday Night Fever sequel Staying Alive. And, 35 years later, it's the inspiration for Amanda Duarte's scorching new show about personal and political reawakening. The writer and Dead Darlings host puts the inferno of her personal life in perspective with the great garbage fire of American discourse at this dark engagement, which features fellow no-bullshit intellectuals The Gay Agenda, Becca Blackwell, Jenn Harris and Matthew Cleaver. While dishing out her singular opinions on Trump, Twitter and Tony Manero, she'll invoke the Bee-Gees to set us straight for the battles to come. Not to be missed.
If you're like us and can't stop crushing for comics Chelsea Davison and Asher Perlman, hit up their delightful free showcase at Pacific Standard, which features upbeat banter and plenty of excellent guests on the lineup. For the September edition, they welcome Sean Donnelly, Katie Hannigan, Lorelei Ramirez, Friends Who Folk, Joon Chung and Steve Waltien to the stage.
At this over-the-top night of laughs, Kelsey Caine and Carmen Lagala ditch stagnant, self-indulgent stand-up for a dose of life-affirming puppetry. Joining the two goofballs for deliriously fun felt antics are stand-up pros Liza Treyger, Steven Castillo, Martin Urbano and Sam Evans.
Leading a new generation of well-adjusted, no-drama comedians in NYC's golden age are Jenny Gorelick and Addie Weyrich, two theater goons with hearts of gold and a bastion of dance moves. At this bonkers monthly birthday party, the frighteningly upbeat goofballs go all out with songs, costumes, schticks and guests from the worlds of stand-up, musical comedy and drag. For the game night edition, they're joined by Mary Beth Barone, Ms. Golden Delicious, Milly Tamarez, X Mayo, Britanick and Marie Faustin.
If you can’t hate yourself, how in the hell are you going to hate somebody else? Comedians exorcise their shame over their teen years through scorching receipts of the hair, music and bad kissing that once defined them. Alise Morales—NYC’s loveliest roastmaster—welcomes Jesse Roth, Dave Mizzoni, Jes Tom, Michael Kayne and Larry Owens to take deep, dark looks into their high school diaries.
Angelic gonzo comedian Kelton launches his new podcast series, which delves into astrology, past lives, psychic connection and all things that stretch our faith and imagination towards something greater. For this launch party, he welcomes Pat Regan, Catherine Cohen and professional medium Asa Hoffman to take the stage and help preview the new series.
Improv master Philip Markle invites you to indulge in blissful inanity at this loony variety hour, featuring strange tales, visceral humor and plenty of dance breaks. This time, he's joined by Meg Reilly, Sophie Zucker, Jo Firestone and Brian Rady.
Best buddies Yotam Tubul and Lisa Franklin take the reins at Le Poisson Rouge every month for this delightful stand-up show, which gives seasoned pros and new acts equal time to shine.
Chris Daniels and Kofi Thomas get down at a Bushwick arts space at this delightful monthly shindig. Drinks are included with your ticket, but be sure to BYOB to keep the party going long after the sets end. Brendan Eyre and Marie Faustin join in on the good times.
Hit the best NYC comedy clubs
Since 2004, the four partners behind Cringe Humor (cringehumor.net)—a blog turned event production company and talent management agency—have capitalized on an expanding audience for audacious comedy. After producing popular stand-up shows for years, it’s only fitting that they cofounded a venue in which to promote their favorite comics—think bawdy, raw and dark acts like Jim Norton and Dave Attell. This bi-level Gramercy spot, which opened last month, is already going full tilt, offering cocktails and embellished comfort food upstairs while shows take place seven nights a week in its long, narrow basement. The snug 75-seat room places the audience of frat guys and young professionals in close proximity to the performers, and they get pumped when one of their idols (Dane Cook, for instance) drops by.
Al Martin, the longtime owner of both the New York Comedy Club and Broadway Comedy Club, follows the same basic tenets in his new room—an intimate basement space below an Indian restaurant—as in his other ventures. Though a few pillars in the 60-seat room interfere with sight lines, the pub grub, extensive cocktail selection and long list of stars who just might do a spot while passing through town are drawing crowds every night. Regulars include staples Christian Finnegan, Marina Franklin and Tom Shillue.
The atmosphere in this spot—not to be confused with the space’s previous occupant, the Tribeca Comedy Club—is a congenial one. Its brick walls and makeshift stage remind you that you’re in a basement, but the doting waitstaff, haute Italian menu from Brick NYC upstairs and roomy layout will please fans of creature comforts, or those too claustrophobic for the likes of the Comedy Cellar. Adam Strauss, the owner-booker and a burgeoning comic himself, makes sure that his programming is packed with next-wave talent (young, funny stars such as Sara Schaefer, Dan St. Germain and Kevin Barnett) while also saving stage time for himself.
Last December, working comic Steve Hofstetter and business partner Jacob Morvay opened their shoebox of a club on a charming strip of Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City. Since then, the pair have been able to draw big talent—smart, outspoken acts like Todd Barry and Ted Alexandro—away from Manhattan five to seven nights a week; he’s also created some ambitious projects such as the She-Devil Comedy Festival, a stand-up competition for ladies from across the country, happening Thursday 25 through Sunday 28. The club, a 15-minute ride from Times Square, features a winning Mexican-American menu, cocktails named after comedy legends and 14 beers on tap. Though the only thing that separates club from bar in this long, narrow room is a curtain, the clear views of the stage and friendly vibe make the place a cozy and relaxed alternative to some of Manhattan’s stuffier venues.