all the best free/super cheap comedy shows in New York City, according to comedians

I’m a New York City comedian. My non-comedian friends tell me all the time how they can’t see as much stand up as they want to because “When I go to The Cellar, I spend like $50 every time!” And that annoys me because the same exact comedians perform at free shows all over NYC! And big guests like Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, and Jim Gaffigan don’t just drop in on club shows.. .they show up at some of these too.

So, I asked 50 NYC comedians which shows were the absolute best free/really cheap shows in the city. If more than one or two of them named a specific show, I added it to this list.

There are already a few lists out there about free comedy shows in NYC, but this one is the only one that.. .

  • is chosen by a bunch of comedians, not a writer/editor
  • is up-to-date.. .as of today, at least (12/27/16)
  • is this comprehensive
  • is listed by neighborhood – there’s bound to be one near you!
  • gives you such juicy links
  • has this Google Maps thing

Even though these (mostly) independent shows are free/cheap, a lot of them allow you to donate money that goes back to the performers. Please throw those comedians a few bucks if you do have the money!

CHELSEA

Whiplash

Free | Mondays @ 11 | UCB Chelsea | Link | Recent Guests: Jo Firestone, Chris Gethard, Jarrod Carmichael

EAST VILLAGE/LES

If You Build It

$6 | Sundays @ 8 | UCB East | Link | Recent Guests: Doug Smith, Brendan Eyre, Alison Leiby

Cakeshop Comedy

Free | Tuesdays @ 8:30 | Cake Shop | Link | Recent Guests: Hadiyah Robinson, Matteo Lane, Erik Bergstrom

Let’s See, What Else?

Free | Wednesdays @ 8 | Poco Bar | Link | Recent Guests: Gary Vider, Corinne Fisher, Neko White

Bowl Cut Comedy

Free | Wednesdays @ 8:45 | Beauty Bar | Link | Recent Guests: Katie Hannigan, Matt Ruby, Amber Nelson

Gandhi, Is That You?

Free | Wednesdays @ 9 | Lucky Jack’s | Link | Recent Guests: DC Benny, Tyler Fischer, Jon Laster

Lasers in the Jungle

$7 | Thursdays @ 7:30 | UCB East | Link | Recent Guests: Justy Dodge, Adam Newman, Hari Kondabolu

Nothing Important

Free | Fridays @ 8 | One and One Bar | Link | Recent Guests: Nick Vatterott, Adam Lowitt, Noah Gardenswartz

Bowery Comedy

Free | second Saturday of the month @ 6 | The Bowery Electric | Link | Recent Guests: Christi Chiello, Carmen Lynch, Andy Sandford

The Warm Up

Free | second Saturday of the month @ 7:30 | Karma Lounge | Link | Recent Guests: Nore Davis, Chloe Hilliard, Gordon Baker-Bone

GRAMERCY

Frantic!

Free | Mondays @ 10 | The Stand | Link | Recent Guests: Big Jay Oakerson, Dan Soder, Sean Patton

RoastMasters

Free | Tuesdays @ 10 | The Stand | Link | Recent Guests: Kerryn Feehan, Evan Williams, Kurt Metzger

MIDTOWN EAST

Hot Soup

Free | Tuesdays @ 8 | The Irish Exit | Link | Recent Guests: Mark Normand, Michelle Wolf, Joe List

GOWANUS/PARK SLOPE

Night Train with Wyatt Cenac

$5-8 | Mondays @ 8 | Littlefield | Link | Recent Guests: Josie Long, Daniel Simonsen, Jon Glaser

Bitches’ Brew

Free | Fridays @ 8:30 | Halyard’s | Link | Recent Guests: Judah Friedlander, Joel Kim BoosterAparna Nancherla

CROWN HEIGHTS

Side Ponytail

Free | Mondays @ 7 | Friends and Lovers | Link | Recent Guests: Alison Klemp, Chelsea Hood, Josh Gondelman

BUSHWICK

Live From Outer Space

Free | Fridays @ 9 | Cobra Club | Link | Recent Guests: Tim Dillon, Shane Torres, Mike Lawrence

WILLIAMSBURG/GREENPOINT

Comedy at the Knitting Factory

Free | Sundays @ 9 | The Knitting Factory | Link | Recent Guests: Hannibal Buress, Langston Kerman, Kenny DeForest

Broken Comedy

Free | Mondays @ 8:30 | Bar Matchless | Link | Recent Guests: Seaton SmithAlingon Mitra, Michael Che

Ambush The Pizza Shop!

Free | Tuesdays @ 8 | Two Boots Williamsburg | Link | Recent Guests: Lucas Kaiser, Ben Kronberg, Blair Socci

Dan + Joe + Charles Show

Free | Tuesdays @ 8 | NY Distilling Co. | Link | Recent Guests: Dan Licata, Joe Pera, Charles Gould

The Sensible Show

$5 | Wednesdays @ 7 | Annoyance Theater | Link | Recent Guests: Khalid Rahmaan, Will Miles, Ashley Brooke Roberts

Comedians You Should Know 

$5 | Wednesdays @ 8:30 | The Gutter | Link | Recent Guests: Mike Lebovitz, Casey James Salengo, Sean Donnelly

LONG ISLAND CITY/ASTORIA

Tyrannosaurus

Free | Tuesdays @ 8 | R’A’R Bar | Link | Recent Guests: Anthony DeVito, Sam Evans, Subhah Agarwal

Creek Bros

$5 | second Saturday of the month @ 8 | The Creek and the Cave | Link | Recent Guests: Sam Morril, Myq Kaplan, May Wilkerson

And that’s it!

But, before I go, there’s just something I feel responsible to warn you about. Normally, I hate saying anything bad about anybody and I avoid negativity at all cost. Yet, when there’s a chance to be SO negative that you’re actually making a difference, it’s time to speak up. I have to tell you.. .DEFINITELY DO NOT GO TO THIS SHOW! IT IS AWFUL!

GREENPOINT

Buttery Riffz

Free | every second Tuesday @ 9 | Tender Trap | Link | Recent Guests: as if

Whatever you do, don’t go to this one. Although not every comedian I asked had the same “favorites,” the overwhelming majority of them went out of their way (I didn’t ask them) to say how much they abhorred this particular show. When I mentioned Buttery Riffz to a comedian in conversation once, he suddenly began convulsing and foaming at the mouth. The next day he was in a coma. A friend of mine went to “support the show” a couple months back and was never seen again. COMEDIANS LOATHE THIS SHOW. “Why does it suck so much?” you ask. Some things in life you just have to take for granted: you gotta clip your toenails, God exists and there’s no such thing as evolution, and Buttery Riffz every second Tuesday at 9pm at Tender Trap is the worst comedy show of all time. Attend at your own peril.


This post was written by Stu Melton, a NYC comedian and creator of ACN. You can find him on twitter @tellsjokes.

The featured image was taken from the show Live From Outer Space at Cobra Club.

If you liked this post, please like and share below! You can also follow the blog through Twitter, Facebook, or by joining my mailing list.

Also FYI I was kidding about Buttery Riffz; it’s pretty decent. A few of the 50 comedians I talked to asked me to plug their own show, but this host specifically asked me to lambaste his. You get your wish.

1 thought on “all the best free/super cheap comedy shows in New York City, according to comedians”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *