If you’re broke and in need of a laugh, you’ve got an embarrassment of riches when it comes to comedy in NYC. On any given night, you can hit up some of NYC’s best comedy clubs to see sets from the city’s best rising comedians, along with well-established names. Check out our rundown of free shows in town, which will satisfy die-hard fans of improv comedy and even clue you in budding comics in on the best open-mic nights in town.
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Best free comedy shows in NYC
Jeffrey Emerson, Jill Weiner and Brian Moran host this weekly night of stellar stand-up featuring a diverse range of comedians, including known names like Matteo Lane and Farah Brook and newcomers like Menuhin Hart and Melissa Diaz. The May 15 edition features Sally Ann Hall, Chanel Ali, Ryan Mulholland, Ethan Hall, Cres Hernandez and Sonja Savanovic.
Writer and comedian Emily Winter and musicians John Payne and Larry Mancini (of the punk band the Tracys) host this monthly variety comedy show featuring acts from Late Night with Seth Meyers, Inside Amy Schumer, The Onion, Vice and MTV. This month features Joel Kim Booster, Josh Johnson, Lucie Steiner, Matt Reimann and Sam Zee.
One and One hosts this local talent showcase every Friday, with Phil Stamato, Daniel Raderstrong and Fume Abe wrangling acts from across town to headline the bill. Past guests have included Myq Kaplan, Shane Torres and Aparna Nancherla. After the show, performers get the weekend started by joining the audience for a lively afterparty. This week features Brooklyn fan-favorites Alingon Mitra, Anna Drezen, Sonia Denis and Nick Vatterott.
Have a laugh and a dance at this free comedy show in the East Village. For this installment, hosts Ayanna Dookie and Mike Brown welcome Seaton Smith, Chloe Hilliard, Dave Lester, Jon Laster and Thug Passion to the stage. Stick around after their sets to boogie to selections from live DJs, and be sure to R.S.V.P. online for the chance to win free booze.
Dive deep into the absurd with hosts Lorelei Ramirez, Tim Platt and Peter Mills Weiss at this night of improvised short plays. The lineup features Karolena Theresa, Moreno Monolo, Jennifer Vanilla and one of our faves, Difficult People’s ridiculously talented sketch madman Cole Escola. Count on this madcap bunch to deliver material that is as surreal as it is hilarious.