Washington is a madhouse and Hollywood is just as complacent as ever, which means that many of today's big issues are hashed out in the comedy arena—a supposed bastion of free expression that more often devolves into an animus house for straight men. But NYC is, once again, at the center of a massive shift towards inclusive, smart, relevant comedy that is actually funny. Here are five acts at the vanguard of the new comedy institution.
Crashing into Brooklyn’s low-key alt-comedy stages comes this fire-breathing maverick. Edebiri never delivers a stale, canned set—it feels like she is actively, giddily processing the horror of city life in real time, and we get the privilege of joining in on the Lyft lines and her CityMD visits. A perfect tour guide for the apocalypse.
“driving ms daisy” crawled so “crash” could walk so “the blindside” could run so “three billboards” could fly so “green book” could teleport to my house and double back handspring on my neck and make sure at least one of those white savior movies comes out a year and ruin my life— Ayo Edebiri (@ayoedebiri) January 7, 2019
Have the THOTs become self-aware... and funny? Beneath the thirst traps of this personal trainer by day beats the heart of a stand-up by night. Jurden’s classic joke construction almost makes you forget the intersectionality of his comedy: growing up queer in Mississippi and falling in love with a white man, for example. Not a product of any one scene but his own creation, Jurden kills with any crowd.
Ken and Ryu porn exists.— Jay Jurden (@JayJurden) January 5, 2019
We all knew but I'm just saying it.
Like Gloria Steinem reporting undercover from the Playboy Club, Rachel Sennott has gone deep into the fuckboy underworld and lived to tell the tale. Her act is a perfect millennial triple punch: self-aware selfies on Instagram, frank Twitter reports of their subsequent DM responses and a cathartic reading of the whole shebang on stage. A sex comic for the “Cat Person” age, Sennott brings a new cunning to the dating game.
Have never had a 3-way but when I do it’s gonna be handmaids style— Rachel Sennott (@Rachel_Sennott) January 8, 2019
Why wax nostalgic about New York’s artistic queer history when we can embrace our current hellscape of Wells Fargo Pride floats and Amazon land grabs? Talk Hole—a.k.a. Eric Schwartau and Steven Phillips-Horst—leads the charge into gay corporatized oblivion with full-blown activations, like their recent G.A.P.E. (Gift Activating People Experience) at the Oculus. We fear for what new forms of upsetting satire they’ll invent in 2019, but it’s certain to be totally sponsored.
Me carrying 9/11 references to the corporate activation pic.twitter.com/fo0Fee3bTb— Steven P-H (@gossipbabies) December 6, 2018
In 2018, Zimmerman dazzled Times Square tourists as an evangelical Christian magician, tried his stand-up hour on a sex-cam site and performed a show while enjoying a vibrator that was remote-controlled by a drag queen. It would be enough to watch the gleeful daredevil throw every type of noodle at the wall without much of a plan, but Zimmerman knows what he’s doing, with honest stories and committed crowd work. See him before he raises the stakes—and the admission price—for his inventive comedy gambits.
Do who you love— Zach Zimmerman (@zzdoublezz) January 3, 2019
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.