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.
- 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!
If You Build It
Let’s See, What Else?
Bowl Cut Comedy
Gandhi, Is That You?
Lasers in the Jungle
The Warm Up
Night Train with Wyatt Cenac
Live From Outer Space
Comedy at the Knitting Factory
Ambush The Pizza Shop!
Dan + Joe + Charles Show
The Sensible Show
Comedians You Should Know
LONG ISLAND CITY/ASTORIA
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!
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.
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.