11 Totally Underground Sketch and Improv Comedy Shows in New York City Great for a First Date

All images by Grant Lindahl

Earlier this week we posted 11 Stand Up Comedy Shows with a twist to shine a spotlight on some of the smaller but still terrific stand up comedy shows in New York City.  But stand up isn’t the only place to find great comedy, there are also top notch sketch and improv shows happening every where.  Writer and Illustrator Grant Lindahl selected 11 great sketch and improv shows for you to check out in New York City.

Groundhog Date


Friday 8pm, February 19th – March 11th
Annoyance Theatre
367 Bedford Ave Brooklyn

What if you could fix that one thing that destroyed your relationship? Groundhog Date is an interactive comedy show involving a couple on the verge of a breakup. The scene is repeated in five minute loops, where each loop changes based on the audiences suggestions. If you are a fan of live action role play, DND, and sleep no more then this is a show for you. Created by Prescott Gadd (Second City).  Staring: Mitra Jouhari (Samantha Bee) Anthony Oberbeck (IFC), James Folta (McSweeneys)

Why should I go?

It’s the perfect group date show in Williamsburg. Unlike most interactive shows you can choose to be very active or sit back and enjoy the action. The one thing that the audience has yet to atempt in the last couple of shows is make the sittuation worse. The audience is always trying to keep the couple together, I want to see the audience experment with some really weird ideas.

Tickets are $10 each: https://theannoyancenewyork.com/events/event/groundhog-date/

The Educated Guess Science Fair


Wednesday Feb 24th at 7pm exhibit, 9pm show
622 Degraw St Brooklyn

From the minds of Jo Firestone (Comedy Central) & Steven Desena (Mean Dean) comes one of the most unique happenings of the year so far. It’s literally a science fair but instead of 5th graders its 60 comedians creating Dioramas, Volcano’s, and animal bone charts! At the end of the show around 9pm Jo and Steven will be presenting the Golden Atom award to the best science project! There will also be some performances during the award ceremoney. Walk around the fair, learn about and then check out the show!

Why should I go?

 The last time I talked to Steven he said that they were given a hard no to having fire, sorry pyro maniacs its going to be a flame free fest. Other than that set back it should be a weird night filled with Dinosaurs, Magic, Beakers, Reaganomics, Logans Run, maybe a science reading room? 

Tickets $5: http://www.littlefieldnyc.com/event/1041285-educated-guess-science-fair-brooklyn/


Cartoon Monsoon


Starting in April, First Friday of every month at 8pm
Annoyance Theatre
367 Bedford Ave Brooklyn

Joe Rumrill (Human Cartoon) & Mary Houlihan (SFSketchfest) plucked Big Birds feathers, traded Pee Wee a desk lamp for Couchy, and inherited the magic flute. The show is a fun filled adventure filled with puppets, characters, and in between the sketches the cast screens cartoons submitted by artists. The show crafts complex narratives that are nastalgic and surreal.

Why should I go?

My favorite show is the Mighty Boosh, this show is the Brooklyn equivalent. Back in July a cartoon of mine was screened at this show. Little did I know that the show would feature a guy in a giant rat costume and a streetwise orange puppet named “Puppet”. If you want to experience the polar opposite of standup in Times Square then Cartoon Monsoon is the underground fix you need.

Tickets $5: Get Info https://www.facebook.com/events/165293557177983/

Art School Acid Dropout 


Last Sunday of the month at 10pm
The Creek & The Cave
10-93 Jackson Ave, Long Island City Queens

Skip the MoMa bring your parents to this trippy art scene where cool katz and day trippers create the future. At this comedy drink and draw, the audience is given paper and crayons to draw on the table and are encouraged to illustrate the entire show. The first 25 attendies are given a hand made silk screen poster that doubles as a board game to be played in an avaunt guard comedy show. Standup and sketch performers collide with professional artists in a late night trip. Past performers and artist include Erik Bergstrom (The New Yorker) and Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing). Prizes are given at random throughout the show; past prizes have included a shrunken head, dumpster paintings, and an assortment of tiny fake baby hands. It’s a chaotic mess of drawing, drinking, story telling, avant garde!

Why should I go?

When first hosting this show the audience was confused, seven months later they are still confused. If you want to give your out of town guest an authentic New York experience then head to where the strange lives. You do not need to be a great artist all levels are encouraged. It’s a fun way to unwind and let your mind wrinkle.

Info: It’s FREE! http://www.timeout.com/newyork/comedy/art-school-acid-dropout


Michael Jordans Steakhouse 


Saturdays at 9:30pm
Annoyance Theatre
367 Bedford Ave Brooklyn

Created by Connor O’Malley (Late Night with Seth Meyers). A comedy show where highly trained improvisers set the comedy rule book on fire and pee out the flame. The show is usually opened with a poem written by comedian Joe Pera (How to Make it in the USA). The show is a long form improv show that hits a fast pace and ends with another poem by Joe Pera.

Why should I go?

Don’t go, not even if there is a fire! Psyche! You should go I just wanted you to feel like a bad kid breaking the rules at MJ’s Steakhouse. As a person who truly hated improv in every form, this show has changed my ways and taught me how to love again. It’s quality improv from a new theatre in Williamsburg on a Saturday night.

Tickets $5:  https://theannoyancenewyork.com/events/event/michael-jordans-steakhouse/


Wonder Island


Thursday February 25th at 9pm
Cantina Royale
58 North 3rd St Brooklyn

A comedy show that takes place on an actual tropical island. Actually its just a giant sized pop up book, but thats still pretty rad. The show is a tribute to oddball comedy classics. Past acts have included Nick Vatterot (Comedy Central) and Carmen Christopher (IFC). What makes this show unique is between the standup acts Host Ari Zenelli (The Brillberg Brothers) & Jon Schoss (Late Night Snack) interact with a large cast of characters that live on wonder island. The show is DJed by god, there is a boy being hunted by a man, and the occassional giant bird appears.

Why should I go?

One of the best tropical island themed comedy shows in the continental upper eastern united states. This show is filled with bits that don’t have any punchlines but they don’t really care. Get submerged in island culture with a tropical drink, cool videos, and interactive art installations complementing quality standup.

Tickets are Free!

Dark Down Deep Down Dark 

depp dark

Saturday March 12 through 26th at 8pm
Annoyance Theatre
367 Bedford Ave Brooklyn

A deadly collapse traps you and the other miners deep and dark, down beneath the surface of the earth. You’re darker than deep and downer than dark. Almost no hope of rescue. Wear comfortable shoes in this interactive comedy show that will make you wonder what have I gotten myself into?

Why should I go?

To laugh in complete darkness is somewhat freeing. The show has moments of light from the jokes and the flashlights provided. This show feels like you are attending a haunted house that isn’t scary and a funhouse that isn’t lame.

 Tickets $10:  https://theannoyancenewyork.com/events/event/dark-down-deep-down-dark/


The Special Without Brett Davis 


Wednesday Nights
Manhattan Public Access
537 W 59th Street, between 10th and 11th

The Special without Brett Davis is a live weekly public access variety show that brings new, different, terrible hosts each week, all of them NOT comedian Brett Davis who died in the first episode. There are special guests, great bands, the best names in NYC underground comedy and wildly different episodes every Wednesday night.

Why should I go?

Brett Davis (Andy Kaufman Award) crafts an experimental show from beyond the grave. Originally the spot was taken by the Chris Gethard show but Davis now calls it home and refuses to leave. Stop by the studio every Wednesday night and watch a live tapings as the insanity unfolds and folds again.

Info FREE:  https://www.facebook.com/thespecialwithoutbrettdavis/?fref=ts

Show Tell Show


February 20th at 8pm
Over the Eight
594 Union Ave, Brooklyn

The audience is invited to bring stuff to show and tell. Most interesting thing wins twenty bucks. Standup comedians to follow. Do you have some cool junk you picked up at a tag sale? What about that thing you found on the subway? Turn it into some laughs and cash on this Saturday night show.

Why should I go?

A great way to show off something cool and make new friends. Sometimes the standups make jokes about the cool stuff you bring in. I have this retainer I found on the subway that I have been itching to show off it even has a tooth still attached!

Info: Free:  https://www.facebook.com/events/444559845744965/

Roomie Raiders 


First Wed of the month at 8pm
The Creek & The Cave
10-93 Jackson Ave, Long Island City Queens

Game show where roommates compete in trivia challenges similar to the dating game but for roommates. The show is hosted by actuall roommates Tim Unkenholz and Joe Welkie.

Why should I go?

Great way to prove that roommates should live together forever. Fun trivia and its free so you can save money to eventually get your own place.

Info: Free:  http://creeklic.com/events/roomie-raiders-5/


Distant Cousins


Every Saturday at 7pm
Annoyance Theatre
367 Bedford Ave Brooklyn

Sweet sweet Jazz is thrown right in your face at Distant Cousins. This improvisational comedy troupe teams up with actual Jazz musicians to combine Jazz with comedic scenes.

Why should I go?

Do you like the bass lines played on Seinfeld? This is an entire show filled with bass lines. Snap your fingers and laugh with your face hole you hip happening Jazz cat.

Tickets $5: https://theannoyancenewyork.com/events/event/the-annoyance-presents-improv-saturday/

Read more comedy news.

The following two tabs change content below.
Grant Lindahl is a Comedian and Illustrator based in NYC. He has created posters and cartoons for (NBC,SEESO,Barnes & Noble, Moleskine, Comedy Underground, The Annoyance Theatre). Come see his interactive art themed comedy show Art School Acid Dropout every last Sunday of the month 10pm at the Creek and the Cave LIC Queens. For posters and live drawing requests please contact him at: grantlindahl at gmail.com View his other works at: grantdraws.com/
Grant Lindahl
Grant Lindahl
Grant Lindahl is a Comedian and Illustrator based in NYC. He has created posters and cartoons for (NBC,SEESO,Barnes & Noble, Moleskine, Comedy Underground, The Annoyance Theatre). Come see his interactive art themed comedy show Art School Acid Dropout every last Sunday of the month 10pm at the Creek and the Cave LIC Queens. For posters and live drawing requests please contact him at: grantlindahl at gmail.com View his other works at: grantdraws.com/