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The best comedy shows by women in NYC

The funniest women in NYC perform stand-up, sketch and improv every night. We break down the best shows by borough.
Marie Faustin, Sydnee Washington and Aminah Imani
Photograph: Courtesy Jenni Walkowiak Marie Faustin, Sydnee Washington and Aminah Imani
By David Goldberg |
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The days of schlubby male stand-ups in sweatpants complaining about their girlfriends are (hopefully) over, at least in NYC. Women-identifying, trans and nonbinary performers have taken over NYC's best comedy clubs, and we couldn't be happier. Whether you're looking for musical, sketch, stand-up or improv, we've got a show from you, from performers we adore like Sydnee Washington, Phoebe Robinson, Catherine Cohen and Justin Vivian Bond. Here's our handy guide for shows going down in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. 

The Best Shows in Manhattan

Photograph: Courtesy Jenni Walkowiak
Comedy, Sketch shows

All Female Reboot

icon-location-pin Peoples Improv Theater, Gramercy & Flatiron
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Liz Magee and her crew of very funny women give male-starring (and often overrated) movies their own spin in this hilarious and ingenious sketch show. Show up to watch some of the city's top comics rip apart beloved patriarchal films from every generation, with plenty of digs into the male buffoons of the current political and cultural era. What's not to love? 

Amanda Duarte
Photograph: Courtesy Michael Sharkey
Music, Cabaret and standards

Amanda Duarte: Staying Alive

icon-location-pin Joe's Pub at the Public Theater, East Village
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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 raw, intensely revealing new show. The writer and Dead Darlings host puts the inferno of her personal life in perspective with the great garbage fire of American discourse and sets us straight for the battles to come. Not to be missed.

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Arti Gollapudi
Photograph: Courtesy Dee Guerreros
Comedy

Arti Gollapudi: Boogie on the Brink

icon-location-pin Slipper Room, Lower East Side
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In no time, Arti Gollapudi's confrontational, empathic comedy has already made an indelible mark on the scene. Now, the stand-up superhero brings songs, stand-up, puppets and more to the Slipper Room for this special night. She's joined by fellow rising legends Tessa Skara, Tim Platt, puppet maker Ari Zeneli, Jes Tom and Larry Owens. 

Karen Chee
Photograph: Courtesy Carly Hoogendyk
Comedy

The Biodiversity Jam with Karen Chee

icon-location-pin Caveat, Lower East Side
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If you've ever found David Attenborough's narration of Planet Earth to be a bit soporific, we've got the pick-me-up you need to your nature doc proceedings. Razor sharp comedian and writer Karen Chee welcomes a diverse, highly-knowledgeable lineup of comedians to give takes on some of the most bizarre creatures of the animal kingdom. 

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Dara Katz and Betsey Kenney
Photograph: Courtesy Sandy Honig
Comedy

Done! with Betsy Kenney and Dara Katz

icon-location-pin Carolines on Broadway, Midtown West
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On their gleefully salty podcast Done, best friends Betsy Kenney and Dara Katz call out the quotidian horrors of contemporary life. They bring the roast of modern society to Carolines, where they're joined by a scorching lineup of opinionated comedians. 

Anita Flores
Photograph: Courtesy Lorena Russi
Comedy

I'm Listening LIVE: A Frasier Podcast with Anita Flores

icon-location-pin Caveat, Lower East Side
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On her podcast I'm Listening, the ever-incisive and always-funny Anita Flores explores one of the most bizarre, beloved popular sitcoms of its age: Frasier. For the first-ever live edition, she hosts a forum discussion, script reading and debate about America's favorite therapist, with help from guests John Hodgman, Larry Owens, Rebecca Shortall and Dan Chamberlain. 

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Shalewa Sharpe and Carolyn Castiglia
Photograph: Courtesy Jenni Walkowiak
Comedy

Laying It Down with Carolyn and Shalewa

icon-location-pin Madame X, Greenwich Village
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Undeniable queens Carolyn Castiglia and Shalewa Sharpe don't have time for your musty comedy basement, so they're setting up shop at the fabulously sexy Madame X. Join the two in the crushed velvet lounge for stand-up, tarot readings, burlesque and beyond. The opening edition boasts Jaboukie Young-White, Dulcé Sloan, Ted Alexandro, Sam Morrison and Lillian DeVane. 

Ali Levin
Photograph: Courtesy Jonathan J. Loncle
Comedy

Melania's Day Off

icon-location-pin The Duplex, West Village
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Ali Levin gives the First Lady some much-needed razzle dazzle at this wild cabaret variety show. She'll go all out with songs, videos and sketches to sympathize with the Oval Office's most misunderstood character. Come for the White House shade, stay for Levin's go-for-broke performance. She's joined by pianist Paolo C. Perez and Jillian Green. 

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Things to do, Performances

Never Sleep Alone

icon-location-pin Joe's Pub at the Public Theater, East Village
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Learn how to make love like a legend at this mesmerizing musical comedy/TED Talk hybrid, led by maverick author/"sexual evangelist" Dr. Alex Schiller (the alter ego of the brilliant Roslyn Hart). Through a series of hilarious and consent-affirming gauntlets, the good doctor will shake audience members out of romantic complacency. Live band performances of sexy songs will get you and your table of strangers feeling curious. And If you're not ready to face your fears of flirting onstage, be sure to select a "voyeur" ticket. But if you're ready to go big, the "participant" option will make you feel like you can breathe fire. Be sure to bring your A-game for a lit, highly-charged afterparty, and grab a copy of the real-life Never Sleep Alone book for life-changing tips on loving yourself so that everyone will want you. 

"Roast of Your 15 Year Old Self" by Alise Morales
Bridget Badore
Comedy

The Roast of Your 15 Year-Old Self

icon-location-pin Carolines on Broadway, Midtown West
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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. She invites an all-star lineup for a cathartic night at Carolines, including Michelle Collins, Kristen Bartlett, Nimesh Patel, X Mayo and Josh Sharp. 

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Art by Max Wittert
Comedy

So Fashionating: Live

icon-location-pin Caveat, Lower East Side
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Ruby McCollister and Max Wittert—two of the most original mavericks on the comedy scene—let loose with an Absolutely Fabulous-level fantasy at the Brooklyn Comedy Collective. They welcome a lineup of fellow femmebots for runway walks, costume changes and high-glamour satire on the main stage. 

X Mayo and Shenovia Large
Photograph: Courtesy Rafael Rautha, Dayane Ohira
Comedy

Unsung Heroes of...

It's 2018 and late night comedy is somehow still populated with a bunch of straight white dudes in suits. Fortunately, the intrepid duo of X Mayo and Shenovia Large have arrived to blow up the game with this hilarious tour through comedy's great POC icons. Sit down and hush your mouth: School is in session!

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Andrea Coleman
Photograph: Courtesy Mindy Tucker
Comedy

Wack or Woke? Andrea Coleman Judges the Law

icon-location-pin The Tank, Midtown West
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Real-life lawyer Andrea Coleman cleans up the messes of the supreme court at this hilarious show. Along with comedians Carly Ann Filbin, Wanjiko Eke and Kenice Mobley, she'll parse through some of the nation's most outrageous laws, tear into the white dudes on the bench and give you a real legal education. 

Photograph: Courtesy Arin Sangurai
Comedy

Who Made The Potato Salad?

The unstoppable showcase presents you with a brand new musical comedy spectacular written, produced and performed in one day entirely by performers of color. Count on a stellar show, with bites, brews and music going all night. 

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Rebecca Vigil, Evan Kaufman
Photograph: Courtesy Alex Schaefer
Comedy, Improv

Your Love, Our Musical!

icon-location-pin Caveat, Lower East Side
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As musical comedians, Rebecca Vigil and Evan Kaufman have played just about every room in NYC, and at their beloved monthly show, they play your heartstrings. Watch as the manically inventive duo interviews a couple in the audience about how they met, then spins their love story into an epic, totally-improvised musical extravaganza. 

The Best Shows in Brooklyn

Michelle Buteau, Jordan Carlos
Photograph: Courtesy Gijs van der Most
Comedy, Stand-up

#ADULTING with Michelle Buteau and Jordan Carlos

icon-location-pin Union Hall, Park Slope
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Prize gem of New Jersey Michelle Buteau and witty wonder Jordan Carlos invite their funniest buddies to give questionable advice on being a grown-up. 

Naomi Karavani
Photograph: Courtesy Mindy Tucker
Comedy, Stand-up

Bitches Brew

Halyard's brings you jokes from a bunch of very funny ladies at this free show brought to you by Naomi Karavani, Melissa Stokoski, Shelby Taylor and Erica Spera. 

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Marie Faustin, Sydnee Washington and Aminah Imani
Photograph: Courtesy Jenni Walkowiak
Comedy

Comedy at the Knitting Factory

icon-location-pin Knitting Factory, Williamsburg
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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. 

Jenny Gorelick, Addie Weyrich
Photograph: Courtesy Mindy Tucker
Comedy

Jenny's Birthday Variety Show

icon-location-pin Union Hall, Park Slope
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Like a hilarious retrograde amnesiac, Jenny Gorelick thinks it's her birthday...every month. Celebrate with the chipper performer, co-host Addie Weyrich and an excellent lineup of comedians at this frighteningly-upbeat show featuring pizza, pajamas and live music. 

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Comedy, Stand-up

Ladies Who Ranch

We have good news. NYC's supreme sixsome of silliness—Kelly Cooper, Caitlin Dullea, Rachel Kaly, Maya Sharma, Caroline Yost and Sophie Zucker—are holding court monthly at the always-lit Brooklyn Comedy Collective. This month, the power posse throws a party chock-full of demented sketches, songs and sets, with an opening set from Meaghan Strickland. What's not to love? 

Sophie Santos and Jess Salomon
Photograph: Courtesy Mindy Tucker
Comedy

The Lesbian Agenda

They're taking over. Get used to it. Ferocious comedians Jess Salomon and Sophie Santos invite their fiercest queer friends to shut down Union Hall with unapologetic woman-oriented sets. 

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Peter Valenti, Sam Campbell and Simone Leitner
Photograph: Courtesy Mindy Tucker
LGBT

Open Flame

icon-location-pin Littlefield, Gowanus
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Every Monday, Sam Campbell, Simone Leitner and Peter Valenti host a joyous queer open mic night at Mood Ring. Whether you're looking to share your material or just join the party, you're guaranteed to have a blast. To celebrate one year of comedy and community, the trio throws a wild showcase and dance bash at Littlefied. 

Fareeha Khan
Photograph: Courtesy Arin Sang-urai
Comedy

OutCasts: A Comedy Show About Outcasts

We defy you to not gush over Fareeha Khan. The always-game, razor-sharp stand-up invites an diverse array of performers to join her at Union Hall and share stories and sets of feeling excluded, isolated and on the margins. 

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Ziwe Fumudoh
Photograph: Courtesy Mindy Tucker
Comedy

Pop Show

What part of Ziwe Fumudoh doesn't read superstar to you? The highly cerebral performance dynamo lives out a full pop fantasy at this monthly bash, at which comedy favorites perform their own twisted bops. This month, she's joined by an untouchable lineup, which includes Sudi Green, Anna Drezen, Janelle James, Mo Fry Pasic, Sydnee Washington, Jenny Gorelick, Ayo Edebiri and Jeb Roberts.

Julia Shiplett, Ben Wasserman, Emily Winter and Carolyn Busa
Photograph: Courtesy Jenni Walkowiak
Comedy, Stand-up

Side Ponytail

icon-location-pin Friends and Lovers, Crown Heights
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This free weekly getdown from Carolyn Busa, Julia Shiplett, Ben Wasserman and Emily Winter is a reliable night for solid laughs and surprise stars in Crown Heights. 

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NIR ARIELI
Comedy

Speak American

Israeli stand-up Noa Osheroff welcomes comedians who come from a vast range of backgrounds to share their experiences making it in America (and in the NYC comedy scene) at this darling monthly show. 

Comedy

Tessa Skara: High Notes

icon-location-pin Cloud City, Williamsburg
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Tessa Skara takes leave of her duties as intergalactic hard rock superstar and rockets down to Brooklyn for this banging queer variety show. Blast off to life-affirming musical comedy from Skara's well-curated assembly of stars. This month's lineup is quite a banger, with Cole Escola, Steven Phillips-Horst, Milly Tea, Francesca D'Uva, David Perez and Lily Marotta tearing up the stage. Geronimo!   

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ThatShitRay
Photograph: Courtesy Bridget Badore
Comedy, Stand-up

ThatShitRay

Best buddies and very funny power duo Rachel Pegram and Rachel Joravsky return with another glorious tag-team show, this time at Union Hall. They're joined by Ana Fabrega, Sudi Green and Katie Hartman, with all proceeds benefitting Make the Road NY. You will laugh. You will dance. You will leave with two new comedy crushes. 

Anya Volz
Photograph: Courtesy Mindy Tucker
Comedy

Thirst Trap with Anya Volz

icon-location-pin Caveat, Lower East Side
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At this brand-new showcase, the razor-sharp Anya Volz presides over a changing lineup of the city's finest acts, with DJ Max Ogle setting the scene. Volz crashes through Caveat in March with Joe Zimmerman, Rebecca O'Neal, Joe Kwaczala and Jeena Bloom. Tickets benefit the Third Wave Fund. 

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Tinder: Live with Lane Moore
Photograph: Courtesy Michael Robe
Comedy, Improv

Tinder Live! with Lane Moore

At this popular and critically-acclaimed (or should we say, Super Liked?) show, host Lane Moore navigates Tinder onstage, messaging with help from other star comedians and writers. For this edition, Josh Gondelman, Jamilah Lemieux and Heben Nigatu assist Moore in her pursuit of love (by which we mean cringe-worthy moments and big laughs).

Pete DeAbreu and Christi Chiello
Tucker Mitchell
Comedy

White Chocolate

icon-location-pin Union Hall, Park Slope
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What could be better than the batshit buddy comedy duo of Pete DeAbreu and Christi Chiello? The wild pair host this excellent night of laughs at Union Hall, with their favorite funny friends joining in on the action. To celebrate three years of getting lit in Park Slope, they throw a jumbo-sized party with Rosebud Baker, Evan Williams, Mary Beth Barone, Paris Sashay, Rob Haze and hype man David Rey Martinez. 

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Arti Gollapudi
Photograph: Courtesy Dee Guerreros
Comedy

Yourself, Your Body

Poet and comedic maverick Arti Gollapudi takes aim at societal norms and body standards at her riotous monthly show. This time, the Handmaid's Tale: The Musical star is joined by Nore Davis, Milly Tamarez, Sophie Santos and Lena Einbinder for hilarious and creative sets and stories on self-image.   

The Best Shows in Queens

Comedy, Storytelling

Jenna & Aileen Think You're Great

Come through, queens! If your dreary day needs a shot of sunshine, look to the joyous duo of Jenna Marucci and Aileen Clark for a reliably good time at this monthly storytelling show. Each edition features a host of hilarious guests speaking to a new theme, like "Whitney Houston's National Anthem" or the Linda Belcher–inspired “Pass the Cranberry Sauce.” 

Comedy, Stand-up

MOIST

All hail Abby Feldman, the intrepid stand-up who doles out advice from her bathtub on her addicting podcast and video series MOIST. 

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Comedy

Truth Serum

The hilarious Zoe Yellen turns her late night talk show into a wild, boozy comedy get down, with drinking games, sketches and stand-up every month.  

Anita Flores
Photograph: Courtesy Lorena Russi
Comedy

The best comedy shows in NYC this week

Want to be in the cult of comedy? These get-downs at comedy clubs in NYC feature some of the city’s best and most diverse comedians taking the stage and doing what they do best. So whether you’re into regular open-mic nights or insane sketch comedy, we’ve got you covered. Some of the best NYC comedy podcast stars are known to make surprise appearances at these shows, so keep your eyes open…

More to explore

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