Best comedy shows this month
The first holiday in a season of forced family bonding can bring out some raw feelings, especially for New Yorkers not visiting their families. Stand-up powerhouses Joel Kim Booster and Sonia Dennis welcome you to scorch away your seasonal depression at this boozy hour of no-bullshit sets. The relentless duo welcomes fellow former Chicagoan Rebecca O’Neal to go off with them onstage and light up your long holiday weekend.
It’s a free comedy night...with dessert. 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.
Wickedly funny web goon Mark Vigeant invites you into a world of gut-busting HTML nonsense as he builds a bizarre website for his favorite funny guests. At the October Hackers edition, he's joined by Marcia Belsky, Larry Owens and Michael Cruz Kayne.
The witchiest women of NYC's comedy scene gather to cast spells, talk hexes and share magical secrets at this monthly show. Host Lauren Maul welcomes her favorite funny sorceresses to unleash all hell on the PIT. For November's "Love Magic" edition, she invites Debbie Allen to exhibit new tools of the craft from Cult Party; David Goldberg to run down his astrological dating history; Ivan Lett to share poems and stories; and music from Michael Harren. Count on potions and crystals to send you laughing off into the demimonde.
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 star of Con Air, National Treasure and Moonstruck (as played by the very funny Gary DeNoia) presents the most manic, menacing and hilariously twisted sex ed class you'd ever care to see.
Anything goes at this variety show, at which demented characters, strange songs and nonsensical stand-up sets abound. Artist, video maker, surreal stand-up and indefatigably chill host Lorelei Ramirez reigns over the dark tidings, with comedy, video and music performances that you won't soon forget. For the November edition, the A Woman's Smile podcast co-host is joined by Devon Walker, Cole Escola and Alexandra Tartasky.
Confident, fashionable and undeniably funny, Paris Sashay has been clobbering stand-up stages around the country for years. The self-titled Eve of Comedy makes Carolines into her own kingdom for this special showcase, featuring original sets and special guests. Count on lightning quick observations on dating women, making money and looking good from one of the original stunt queens of stand-up.
Very campy hexes abound at this redoubtable night of free comedy, consecrated in honor of supreme witch Stevie Nicks. Witches of Bushwick Drew Anderson, Sam Taggart and Marcia Belsky summon their funniest friends to cast wickedly funny sets. For November's dark autumnal harvest, they're joined by Josh Gondelman, Kate Willett, Jay Jurden, Sarah Squirm, Jon Wan and Andres Govea.
Trust master hosts Alex Babbitt and Quan Wiggins to curate a superb lineup of high-power comics at this killer roundup. For the November edition, they welcome Jatty Robinson, Vince James, Norah Tahya and musical guest Amber Lee to the Westside stage.
At this cleansing rite of mortification, Alise Morales welcomes comedians and performers to look back on the hairstyles, songs and MySpace profiles that defined their teen years. For the World's Worst Teen pageant, she invites an all-star lineup to compete in celebratory shame before judges Pat Wise, Mamoudou N'Diaye and Carly Ann Filbin. Competing for the title are Bailey Edwards, Kady Ruth Ashcraft, Colby Smith, Matt Strickland, Milly Tamarez, Danny Groh and Chris Burns.
Fearless UCB vet, Let Me Break You Up host and Single Blonde Failure webseries star Carly Ann Filbin invites you to her heartbreaking and hilarious storytelling hour. She looks back on the formative—and often damaging—relationships that defined her sharp sense of humor.
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.