The New York Comedy Festival starts tonight, and there is a dizzying array of shows to catch each night. It’s like most nights in New York City- there’s always at least ten opportunities to watch comedy in the city on any given night, and often far more. This year at the NYCF there are anywhere from 15 to 25 shows you can catch each day. Lots of choices, but other than the festivals dozen or so topline headliners, most of the talent is young, young young. Missing from most of the lineups are the established comics who regularly populate the rosters at most other festivals around the country. Instead, the NY Comedy Fest chose shows for the week that primarily put the spotlight on the next wave, many of whom you may not know…yet. It’s a great chance to explore past those you already know and find some new favorites to follow.
Our picks for Monday November 5, the opening night of the festival include a world class show at a world class theater, hidden gems and everything in between. There are 15 shows to choose from but our top picks for Monday night start with Cipha Sounds hosting truTV Presents LaffMobb’s Laugh Tracks featuring live standup comedy paired with unique video recreations of original jokes at New York City’s famous Comedy Cellar Village Underground. That’s at 8pm. Then later, at 10pm, we’re really excited about Christi Chielo and Petey Deabreau Present White Chocolate. Christi and Petey, two of the most fun and funny young comics we know had a baby, and that baby is this show. Expect a wild party featuring the best comics in NYC at one of NYC’s favorite venues, Union Hall. If you can’t get in to either show, there are so many other great choices. We’re big fans of Shalewa Sharpe, she’s at the Creek and the Cave, and Sydnee Washington and Marie Faustin are at Union Hall, and of course Stand Up for Heroes is at the Madison Square Garden Theater and features performances by Jimmy Carr, Eric Church, Jim Gaffigan, Seth Meyers, Bruce Springsteen and Jon Stewart.
Tuesday is Bill Burr night on our list. Head to the Paley Center for a screening of Bill Burr’s Netflix animated series F is for Family at 7pm. Bill Burr will be there to talk about the series, and watch it with you. How often does that happen? Don’t miss the GodDamn Comedy Jam at 9pm at the Warsaw in Brooklyn. Bill Burr, Nikki Glaser, Josh Adam Meyers, Sal Vulcano, Big Jay Oakerson, and Luis J. Gomez are performing with the greatest band in comedy. If you don’t know what the GDCJ is, then its probably your first time on our site. It’s a loud-as-fuck comedy party with stand up, singing, a live band, and always with a packed house. We also love Jess Salomon who is taping her album at New York Comedy Club, and if you speak Spanish or are really eager to learn in a hurry, Jesus Trejo, Francisco Ramos, and Fabrizio Copano will be at Gotham Comedy Club for the NYCF’s first non-English-speaking show.
There are twenty three chances to see NYCF comedy on Wednesday night. Get outside and get some fresh air on Tim Dillon’s Real NYC Bus Tour. It’s comedy on a bus and not only is it a great comedy show, it’s the only time you won’t be bored on a New York City bus tour. Tim is a former NYC tour guide, and he will lead a double decker bus through Manhattan, talking about all the things that make New York fun, along with some friends you already know. It’s a unique experience that begins at 59th street Columbus Circle- arrive at 7:00 pm. Our other early night pick takes you across the river to the Creek and the Cave in Long Island City, where one of the New York’s absolute greatest is performing. If you want to laugh as loud and hard as you can, (and without being outside in the cold) go see Jessica Kirson headlining at 8pm. Of course Bill Burr is playing the Garden, and you don’t need us to tell you that he’s worth checking out. And we highly recommend you try to be in four places at once so you can also see Chris Gethard’s Beautiful/Anonymous at Sony Hall at 7:30.
Thursday brings another twenty three shows and these shows are the toughest to choose from. At 7pm, Bert Kreischer is Still Shirtless at Town Hall, and his last special is one of the funniest of the year. Also at 7pm, one of our favorite New Yorkers, Matteo Lane, is at New York Comedy Club’s midtown location with friends Christi Chiello, Marie Fausten, Sydnee Washington and Evan Williams. New Yorkers don’t get the chance to go see Joey CoCo Diaz very often, he’ll be at Gotham Comedy Club at 7:30. Yamaneika Saunders is bringing Rantin and Ravin at Stand Up NY at 8pm. We’ll see anything with Yammie, but this everything goes panel conversation sounds like a future tv show. Or it should be. Later, go to the Fat Black Pussycat at 10:30 for Derek Gaines and Monroe Martin’s “No Need for Apologies” podcast recording live. It should be as unforgettable as Derek and Monroe.
Friday you can choose from twenty seven New York Comedy Festival Shows. Jo Koy and Anthony Jeselnik are both headlining, at the Beacon Theater and Town Hall, two shows each. Those are tough shows to beat. If you want to see some younger talent, Joel Kim Booster brings the Joy Fuck Club to the Bell House with a slate of great Asian comedians discussing everything from the struggle of being Asian in Emma Stone’s Hollywood to what it’s like being hot, Asian and actually very rich. The hot pick for Saturday- go to Sony Hall to see Running Late with Scott Rogowsky at 11pm. You know and love him from HQ but long before he was getting that show on the road, he was bringing his twist to the traditional late night talk show complete with a house band (his friends), sidekick (his dad) and a celebrity guest some of you may have heard of, John Oliver.
On Saturday our favorite shows start early. Ron Bennington is hosting a panel at 2pm called That’s Offensive! Can Comedy Survive the New Sensitivity? with some of our favorite people: Big Jay Oakerson, Yamaneika Saunders, Ari Shaffir and Liza Treyger. As soon as that ends, stick around Times Square for New York’s Funniest Stand Up Competition Finals at Carolines on Broadway at 4:30. Every single year, we find our new favorite comedians at this Caroline’s curated best of the up and comers show. Of all the lists all year long that attempt to predict the next best thing, this one hits the mark most often. This year, come see Jason Scoop, Pedro Gonzalez, Quan Wiggins, Kate Willett, Mikey Garcia, Josh Johnson, Ismael Loutifi, Stavros Halkias, Hannah Boone, Eagle Witt, Ryan Donahue, and Nathan Macintosh. That should give you just enough time to get over to the Theater at Madison Square Garden for Jim Jefferies: The Night Talker Tour at 7pm. Jefferies is one of the best of the best and he’s not in New York that often.
Save your Sunday for two shows that are bound to be brilliant. Unfortunately, you will have to be twins to enjoy them both because they’re both at 8pm. Ari Shaffir, Shooter Live Table Read takes over the Bell House. In 1998, Ari Shaffir wrote a screenplay in college. His first and only movie script he ever wrote. It was… not good. It was about a man who gets the power of speed from He-Man and now wants to play college basketball. Uch. The script for “Shooter” has been mocked on podcasts for years. And now, for the first time ever, the script will be heard. Ari, along with Danish and Oneill, will be performing a live table read of “Shooter” along with some of their comedian friends. It will be a read and a mock-a-long. Ari promises that it’s not quite as bad as “The Room” but says it’s not much better, either. Your other half can head to the New York Comedy Club for the 88 Show, a late night variety show that Avery Pearson (from the GodDamn Comedy Jam) hosts on the keys. Special guests Big Jay Oakerson, Dulce Sloan, Yamaneika and Josh Adam Meyers create original comedy songs with Avery and perform them live surrounded by a cast of motley show staff (Scout Durwood, Sandy Danto, Michael Glazer), creating an immersive experience for the audience. It’s a sold-out monthly staple at The Hollywood Improv and we’re predicting that this edition in NYC will be one of the best shows of the fest.
For all dates, tickets, details and more, go to nycomedyfestival.com.