Sure, you could stay home and watch the best stand-up comedians’ specials, or you could head out to the best comedy clubs in NYC and see some world-class performances in person. Below you’ll find our picks of the absolute best shows happening this month, from improv to open mic nights and everything in-between. Searching for more essential activities in New York? Check out the 101 very best things to do in NYC.
RECOMMENDED: Complete comedy shows in NYC guide
Best comedy shows this month
Join the very clever duo of Jed Feiman and Nehemiah Markos (The New Yorker, Funny or Die)—as they share short, never-before-seen comedy videos and quirky character pieces from NYC's top comedians and filmmakers. The hilarity of the night isn't confined to video: Several comics will also be performing stand-up. Plus, this show is going down in the beloved Greenpoint venue Brooklyn Bazaar, which is shuttering its doors next month. Seize the opportunity to hear knee-slappers all night in the epic space before it's gone.
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.