NYC Comedy Calendar
Arts & Entertainment
by nycgo.com staff
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Every night, comedy clubs throughout the five boroughs host famous, soon-to-be-famous and hilarious-but-never-will-be-famous comedians performing stand-up, sketch and improv comedy. For a rundown of some upcoming headline sets—including New York Comedy Festival shows—along with popular recurring shows and classes, see below.
J. B. Smoove
August 27–29, Carolines on Broadway
J. B. Smoove, perhaps best known as Leon Black from Curb Your Enthusiasm, has appeared in films including Date Night and Mr. Deeds and is also an accomplished stand-up in his own right. For tickets, visit carolines.com.
Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival
September 18–21, various locations
Bob's Burgers star, Brooklyn resident and strange, clever man Eugene Mirman founded this event, which he described to us five years ago (where has the time gone?) as "both a parody of a comedy festival and a comedy festival." It returns once again to be enjoyed and mock itself. For tickets and a complete schedule, visit eugenemirmancomedyfestival.com.
September 26, Radio City Music Hall
Known for an observational humor style that keeps things clean, Brian Regan has fans of all ages. This show will air live on Comedy Central. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
December 12, Madison Square Garden
Though he's best known for mocking Hot Pockets, Jim Gaffigan has had a long, successful career propelled by numerous bits that don't involve microwavable dinners. Lots of them are about food, though. ("Oh, I didn't realize I was better than you," goes his description of the look on people's faces when he admits to eating at McDonald's.) Now he's also the star of The Jim Gaffigan Show on TV Land and Comedy Central. For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.
Saturdays, Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre
The coveted Saturday night slots at the UCB Theatre in Chelsea have been a reliable source of laughter for many years now. At 10:30pm, this show continues that tradition. The cast, which includes comedians with experience working on 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live, creates a scene based on secrets submitted anonymously by audience members. For tickets, visit ucbtheatre.com.
If You Build It
Sundays, 8:30pm; UCB East
This stand-up show is massively cheap ($5, with no drink minimum), so it's no wonder it usually sells out. Hosted by local comic Kara Klenk, its lineups have included boldface names like Janeane Garofalo, Colin Quinn and Sarah Silverman alongside a worthy roster of up-and-coming comedians.
Sundays, 7:30 and 9:30pm; Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre
Perhaps the most famous of all NYC improv comedy performances, this show often draws big names like Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz and others from popular movies and TV shows. The 7:30pm performance will set you back $10. If you don't mind waiting in a long line and arriving very early, the 9:30pm show is absolutely free (tickets are distributed at 8:15pm).
Sundays, 9pm; Knitting Factory
The cerebral Hannibal Buress—who's written for Saturday Night Live and made memorable appearances on 30 Rock—still drops by this free weekly stand-up showcase in Williamsburg from time to time, but Will Miles, Clark Jones and Kenny DeForest usually host these days. Make sure to call ahead and check whether the show's happening before you go; they do skip some weeks and charge admission on special occasions. Guests regularly stop by, and many of them are famous. Don't bring the kids, though—it's 21-plus.
Comedy at Beauty Bar
Sundays, Beauty Bar
This stand-up comedy showcase may not have a reputation for bringing in huge stars, but it's a good, low-pressure (read: free) option if you're in the neighborhood and looking to check out some new comics. For more info, visit thebeautybar.com.
Free Stand-up Comedy
Every Sunday; alternating Tuesdays; Three of Cups
A lounge attached to East Village restaurant Three of Cups showcases up-and-coming comics. There are shows every Sunday and every other Tuesday. While casual fans may not recognize the performers, the price is right; there's no cover and no drink minimum. Plus, you never know when you'll run into the next Rory Scovel. For more info, visit threeofcupsnyc.com.
Mondays, The Stand
This (free!) weekly show already has brough in comics like Sean Patton, Judah Friedlander and Dave Hill. For more info, visit thestandnyc.com.
Mondays, 11pm; Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre
This free stand-up showcase is hosted by Leo Allen (who's written for Saturday Night Live) and has featured sets from the likes of David Cross and Janeane Garofalo.
Mondays and Thursdays, Je'Bon Sushi
Experience the East Village's comedic Japanese game show that's full of entertaining consequences for the losers. It's guaranteed to be a one-of-a-kind outing. For more info, visit faceoffunlimited.com.
Cake Shop Comedy
Tuesdays, Cake Shop
This free weekly show has drawn the likes of Ilana Glazer, Bobcat Goldthwait and Louis C.K., and is a good choice for a weeknight out. For more info, visit cake-shop.com.
Tuesdays, UCB East
From the looks of its first lineup, which includes Michael Che (The Daily Show correspondent and Saturday Night Live writer) alongside Dan Soder and Mike Vecchione, this weekly free show could be one to keep an eye on. To make reservations, visit ucbtheatre.com.
Super Free Wednesdays
Wednesdays, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11pm; The PIT
Every Wednesday night, the improv comedy shows at The PIT are free to attend. It's a pretty attractive proposition for broke comedy fans.
Thursdays, UCB East
Previous editions of this stand-up comedy show have featured heavy hitters like Zach Galifianakis, John Mulaney, Jim Gaffigan, David Cross, Mike Birbiglia and Janeane Garofalo. For tickets, visit ucbtheatre.com.
Friday Night Sh*w
Fridays, Magnet Theater
Magnet Theater improvisers turn anonymous confessions from audience members into comedy sketches at this helpfully titled performance, which does, indeed, take place on Friday evenings. For more info, visit magnettheater.com.
Every night, Carolines on Broadway
Unlike Comedy Cellar—which offers more of a comedy sampler smorgasbord—most of the marquee shows here focus on one performer, and you can choose whom you'd like to see far in advance. For a full slate of upcoming comedians, visit carolines.com.
Comedy Cellar Stand-up
Every night, Comedy Cellar
Every night of the week, Comedy Cellar hosts shows from a rotating cast of stand-up comedians, many of them well known. The venue is a favorite of Dave Attell, and such headliners as Dave Chappelle and Jerry Seinfeld have been known to drop by from time to time. For up-to-date lineups and showtimes, visit comedycellar.com.
Comic Strip Live Stand-up
Every night, Comic Strip Live
This is another place that hosts big-name acts seven nights a week. Comedians who have graced the Upper East Side venue's stage include Jerry Seinfeld, Drew Carey, Chris Rock and Ellen DeGeneres. For a complete comedy calendar, visit comicstriplive.com.
Gotham Comedy Club Stand-up
Every night, Gotham Comedy Club
Gotham hosts stand-up shows every night of the week. The bigger names perform headline shows mostly on Friday and Saturday nights. Kids and parents, take note: the venue's occasional "Kids 'n' Comedy" show stars teenage graduates of the venue's classes, and the material is appropriate for ages 9 and up. For the full schedule of funny, visit gothamcomedyclub.com.
Laughing Devil Stand-up
Every night, Laughing Devil
This recently opened Long Island City club puts on live shows nightly, often featuring names you may know from television. For more info, visit laughingdevil.com.
The Stand Stand-up
Every night, The Stand
Every night, comedians—some of whom you may recognize from TV—perform at this Gramercy club. For the upcoming schedule, visit thestandnyc.com.
No one can teach you how to be funny, but the experienced instructors at these NYC comedy clubs can help you harness and shape the hilarity buried deep within. Here are links for those who'd like to hone their comedy skills (options include kids' classes—check the official websites and call the venues for details):