Best comedy shows this month
Forget Game of Thrones, forget laundry night, forget your dayjob in the morning: Sunday nights now belong to Marie Faustin, Sydnee Washington and Aminah Imani. The trio of stand-up supremes give you looks, life and a top-tier comedy showcase every week—and there isn't even cover! Stay sharp and look fresh—you're about to witness the best night of comedy in New York.
Barrelling onto stages and into our headphones with his high cheekbones, even higher vocal register and unmistakably Long Island sensibility, sketch comedian and Las Culturistas podcast co-host Matt Rogers has proven himself to be a multihyphenate we can all adore—as if he was giving us a choice. Now, the emerging gay comedy doyen dons his tackiest sweater to sing original songs from his nonexistent comedy album. He's joined by musical cowriter Henry Koperski at the keys. Count on appearances from fellow glitterati Catherine Cohen, Bowen Yang, Larry Owens, Dave Mizzoni and Friends Who Folk.
The dashing Steven Markow brings his vast skill set—directing, podcasting, sound design, stand-up, characters and photography, to name a few—to this eclectic showcase night. Join the renaissance man as he directs a crew of performers in a live reading of a hilarious radio play.
Musical comedy sweetheart Gaby Hornig has the vocal power to command a classic stage like the Duplex, and the self-aware sense of humor to keep you laughing all night. Join him for this holiday cabaret night, featuring covers, original songs and plenty of musings on the grim conditions of your late twenties in New York. He's accompanied by Emily Olcott, Kuhoo Verma and Henry Koperski.
Twin brothers and vaudeville aficionados Max and Nicky Weinbach bring class back to the comedy scene at their monthly affair, at which stand-ups and musical performers dress up and serve their best sets.
Storytelling phenom Danny Artese gathers an all-star lineup of queer performers to talk about coming out, evolving their identities and celebrating Pride (even on its half birthday). He's joined by Elana Lancaster, David Lawson, Julie Threlkeld, Miko Cho and Rebecca Marquardt.
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. December's edition always promises a Mariah Carey-level Christmas blowout, with sets from Alexis Powell, Wanjiko Eke, Gabe Gonzalez, Daniel Lempert and Gus Constantelis.
New York's surging queer comedy scene gets its due at this epic showcase. Grab a drink at the spectacular queer bar 3 Dollar Bill, all while witnessing some of the city's fiercest drag and comedy performers go at it. The second edition boasts founder Ryan McLendon, along with Samantha Ruddy, Mini Horrorwitz, David Goldberg, Dylan Adler, Jon Wan, Veronica Garza, Elsa Waithe and Chris Murphy.
Comedians Dave Mizzoni and Matt Rogers will be the first to tell you the definitive T on Demi Lovato's vocal range, Gwen Stefani's political affiliations and which Jennifer reigns supreme: Holliday, Hudson or Lopez. They magnanimously share their wisdom with the straight men of the world at this subversive and ridiculous competition, which forces bro comics to face off on gay trivia. Stay out of their line of fire.
Poet and comedic maverick Arti Gollapudi takes aim at societal norms and body standards at her riotous monthly show. The December edition boasts Sydnee Washington, Pooja Reddy, Jeena Bloom, Alex Song, Karolena Theresa, Mary Kate Heggety and Amanda Justice.
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 "The Magic of Giving" edition, she welcomes improviser Adrian Sexton, artisan Aaron Sciandra, comedian Calvin Cato, witch Liz Pressman, musicians Lacy Rose and Tahlia Robinson.
They're taking over; get used to it. Defiantly dope comedians Jess Salomon and Sophie Santos invite their flyest queer friends to shut down Union Hall with unapologetically woman-oriented sets.
On their ferocious podcast Misandry, fireball comedians Marcia Belsky and Rae Sanni go in on the boobs, backlash and bullshit of our delightful little patriarchal terror state. For this special live edition, the pair goes all the way off, with Jaboukie Young-White, Jo Firestone, Larry Owens, Sydnee Washington and Mitra Jouhari joining in on the red-hot discourse.
Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp—the gay terrorists from Funny or Die’s Jared & Ivanka videos and The Opposition with Jordan Klepper—host their bananas variety show featuring an array of queer and honorarily gay performers. For their annual holiday spectacular—a staple of alt-comedy cheer—they blow out the Bell House with guests Jaboukie Young-White, Naomi Ekperigin, Nathan Lee Graham, Pat Regan, Amy Jo Jackson, Erin Markey and Sydnee Washington. Henry Koperski and His Straights provide musical accompaniment.
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.