Before you hit the best NYC comedy shows this month, get to know the headliners who are primed to hit big this year. Here are five of our favorite acts.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best of 2018
Every Wednesday night at the East Village’s Club Cumming, the bar is packed with gay men who fall in love—with a girl. With furs, curves and a dark sense of humor to accompany each of her original songs—like “Look at Me (Boys Never Wanted to Kiss Me)”—Cohen radiates a gee-whiz star power, Carol Kane–level charisma and enough between-song banter to make Carol Burnett blush. If anyone can bring back the TV variety show, it’s this self-made diva.
Cohen hosts Cabernet Cabaret with Henry Koperski at Club Cumming every Wednesday at 8pm; free.
Don’t say downtown is dead just yet. For surefire proof it’s alive and kicking, count on this cabaret dream-machine to provide high glamour, inscrutable yet hysterical humor and lip syncs as tragic figures—like Nancy Grace and Princess Diana—at their deranged shows at the Duplex, Slipper Room and Carolines. If they call you onto their stage imaginarium, you won’t return to your seat the same person.
Smith hosts The Bongo Hour with Sandy Honig on the first Wednesday of every month at 8pm at Slipper Room; $15, reserved seating $30.
It was inevitable that a clever voice would take Hollywood’s troubled history with race on film—like Ben Kingsley’s casting in Gandhi and last year’s “Hidden Fences” Oscars gaffe—and from it brew comedic gold. Fortunately, it’s the merciless and incisive Temple, who brought his vicious satire Hidden Fences (based on the aforementioned snafu) to stages in 2017. This year he stars in his follow-up play, The Color Urkel. What’s the Academy waiting for?
Temple brings The Color Urkel to the Tank on Feb 22 at 9:30pm and Feb 23 and 24 at 10:30pm. $7.
The chipper and charming Ike has been taking over Joe’s Pub with his delightful musical and comedy nights, at which he shares stories, sings by the piano and welcomes guests with the droll wit of David Letterman. His 2018 show Ike’s Wonderful World of Leisure promises observations on the virtues of staying chill. Be smart and share an intimate evening with the tuxedo-clad master before late-night TV executives snatch him up.
See Ufomadu at Vital Joint on January 12 and 13 at 8pm; $15.
With gigs and tours every night, a stand-up’s work is never done, and nobody hustles like this warm, self-deprecating star. You can catch her touring the country; sharing grim tales of bad dates and drunk disasters with Matteo Lane on their podcast Inside the Closet; and on her SiriusXM show The Check Spot. Later this year she appears on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Willmann’s instant ease onstage and laid-back attitude make it clear she’ll be doing this for decades to come.
Emma is at Eastville Comedy Club on January 10 and 11.