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Judah Friedlander Bombshelter Comedy
Photograph: courtesy Bombshelter Comedy

The best free stand-up comedy shows in NYC

You don't have to pay anything to get a good laugh in NYC.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
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Everything costs a whole lot these days in NYC, but thankfully, there are some things money can't buy like a good old belly laugh. Usually, we have to shell out cash to take in a comedy show, but NYC has a fair share of great stand-up comedy shows that cost nothing to attend.

Going to the best comedy clubs in NYC is fun because you'll see big names and enjoy some of the best comedy you'll ever hear, but there are smaller venues that host free stand-up, where up-and-coming comics work out their jokes. It's places like these that you could hear the next Amy Poehler, Jim Gaffigan or Trixie Mattel.

Below, we've rounded up the best free stand-up comedy shows in NYC.

RECOMMENDED: Our guide to comedy in NYC

Free stand-up shows in NYC

Every week, Janet Hyde and Mary Cella host stand-up comedians at Bed-Stuy's Tip Top Bar & Grill. After a short break, they're back this week with a celebratory show featuring some of their favorite comedians, such as Billy Prinsell (Comedy Central), Khalid Rahmaan (Conan), Natasha Vaynblat (The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon) and Subhah Agarwal (HBO's Westworld)! This is an indoor show so you must show proof of vaccination to enter the bar. Come for the laughs, stay for the $3 PBRs at Tip-Top Bar & Grill.

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Enjoy stand-up from up-and-coming comics in a speakeasy art gallery below an Italian restaurant (Serafina at 98 Rivington St.) every other Tuesday. Critical Darlings, hosted by Emma Vernon and Pooja Reddy, has featured comedians like Ilana Glazer, Allison Leiby, Katie Hannigan, Leah Bonnema, Andre D Thompson, Pedro Gonzalez, Jes Tom, Fumi Abe, Mary Beth Barone, Gastor Almonte, Kate Willett and others. 

LAf DAnce SAloon
  • Comedy
  • Stand-up
  • Williamsburg

Whether you're visiting town and looking for laughs or a jaded New Yorker who needs a break, you can count on Jeffrey Emerson and Jill Weiner to deliver excellent comedy at this free weekly Williamsburg stand-up night. Join a wide range of diverse, accomplished comedians many of whom you've seen on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Conan, Comedy Central and Late Night with Stephen Colbert for a night of comedic revelry!

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Wet Cash is a weekly free standup show at Stars Café (247 Wilson Avenue, Brooklyn) with free beer that features the best comedians in the country, most of whom you've seen on TV. Plus, at the end of the night, one lucky audience member will win drippy wet dollar bills. There's a suggested $10 donation, but all the proceeds from the show go to Stars’ charitable mission of getting books to kids in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Comedians, new and experienced, can sign up to work out their material at this show, but the audience gets to decide how funny their jokes are by shouting “bell” if the joke makes them laugh. Whoever gets the most bell rings wins a cash prize donated by the audience. Seating for the show starts at 5pm and the show starts at 6pm on Mondays at Harlem Nights Bar. Please show your ID, vax card and a negative COVID test (optional) to the bar staff or security. Also, please wear a mask when arriving to the venue. Pre-donations can be made.

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Ambush Comedy is a weekly standup comedy show at Two Boots Pizza (558 Driggs Ave, Brooklyn) featuring Josh Johnson (Comedy Central's The Daily Show), Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central), and Brittany Cardwell (Drule) who host stacked lineups of top comics from NYC and beyond! It takes place every Wednesday at 7:30pm. Free beer is given out until 8pm and reserving a ticket enters you into a pizza raffle!

Almost Therapy, hosted by Corinne Britti and Katherine Freel, happens at Pete's Candy Store every first Monday of the month and features a variety of comedic and musical acts followed by an audience-driven Q&A with a professional in the field of mental health or mindfulness. Past comics have performed on SNL, HBO, Vice, and more.

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Join Nora and Paige as they run through all the moments that have prompted them to say "sounds great" both genuinely and sarcastically, and hear from audience members sharing their own candid "sounds great" encounters. Sounds Great provides a truly unique lineup of comics, featuring a mix of both rising and established performers, with a priority on queer and diverse points of view. As a bonus; audience members are given a chance to share their own "sounds great" moments, and will double as the show’s unofficial social media photographers, armed with disposable cameras passed out by the hosts. The show takes place at Our Wicked Lady (153 Morgan Ave.).

Discover more comedy shows in NYC

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