Hilarious Hits at the 2015 New York Comedy Festival

Every year, the good people behind the New York Comedy Festival seem to outdo themselves, and 2015 was no exception. Picking and choosing which shows to catch is the most difficult part of the gig, but when it all boils down, so many performances are impressive that it’s difficult to find a dud. From more than 200 comedians in over 60 venues, here are our choices for the best acts at this year’s festival.

Stand Up for Heroes
The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 10, 2015

Stand Up For Heroes has become a staple of the New York Comedy Festival — and for great reason. (That great reason is, of course, because it’s all for a great cause.) Presented in association with the Bob Woodruff Foundation, the ninth annual event included a gorgeous national anthem sung by Chris Botti as well as hilarious sets from Seth Meyers, Ray Romano, John Oliver, and Jon Stewart. Bruce Springsteen also rocked the house not just with tunes, but with some raunchy jokes, too. (Go Bruce!) The event honored returning service members, veterans, and their families, raising a lot of money through an exciting cash auction along with donations from the crowd — including Bruce Springsteen, mama Springsteen, and Harley Davidson. If you missed this year’s fantastic show, be sure to get on board next time. Trust us, it’s exceptional.

Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast
Carolines Comedy Club on November 11, 2015

The live taping of Gilbert Gottfried’s “Amazing Colossal Podcast” was co-hosted by Frank Santopadre, featured special guest Artie Lange, and all went down at Caroline Comedy Club. To say the show was hilarious would be an enormous understatement — it transcended hilarity. Gottfried and Lange’s amazing chemistry wowed the crowd with conversations and stories about Tracy Morgan, Donald Trump, Klan meetings, Hitler, Tom Cruise,  and arrests, as well as old TV and movies. They also discussed the differences between comedians being seen as offensive these days versus the old standards “back in the day.” Side note: We never knew Gilbert could do such a great Bill Cosby impression, but boy did he nail it. You can jump on Gottfried’s site and download the episode for an hour of non-stop laughter.

Kathy Griffin
Carnegie Hall on November 12, 2015

Kathy Griffin doesn’t hold back when it comes to her comedy and if you were in the house to see her “Like a Boss Tour” at Carnegie Hall during the festival, you witnessed it first hand. Filled with lots of energy, Griffin captivated the sold-out crowd with brand new material that covered dating young dudes, T-Swift, Donald Trump, sexism in stand-up, powerful kids, Caitlyn Jenner, and the Kardashians. Besides looking more gorgeous than ever, this ridiculously funny gal’s set seems to be getting better and ballsier by the day. We know we’re not alone in thinking that, thanks to the standing ovation she earned.

Bill Maher
The Theater at Madison Square Garden on November 14, 2015

Due to extra security, the antsy crowd waited for Bill Maher to take the stage for an extra 20 minutes on Saturday night. When he did appear, all was forgotten, and he was met with uproarious applause. No one was safe and no topic was off limits as Maher discussed marijuana laws, the presidential candidates, Ben Stein, ISIS, “Clock Boy” Ahmed Mohamed, boner pills, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, and the TSA. Never one to push his own agenda (just kidding), Maher also gave some suggestions to help our economy, gun control, and how not be anti-Muslim but rather to become “anti-hate.” It wouldn’t have been Maher without a touch of religion, and he gave it to the crowd with a holy wholly hysterical talk about the Pope a.k.a. “the cum police.” (Brilliant.)

Not part of the festival but honorable mention worthy…

We were awestruck when we were lucky enough to slip down to the Comedy Cellar to catch Big Jay Oakerson’s set. He delivered a complete crowd-work set fueled with a little help from fellow comic Wil Sylvince bantering from the audience. Fortunately for you New York locals, you Jay frequents comedy clubs around the city. He can also be heard on his podcast Legion of Skanks as well as alongside Dan Soder on the Bonfire. Do yourself a solid and check him out.


This Week, Have a Pizza Party With Sasheer Zamata!

This week in indie comedy kicks off with a pizza party hosted by SNL‘s Sasheer Zamata. But the freebies don’t end there: Free beer, free shots, and a whole Free Comedy Festival are on the schedule this week, all to help ease your end-of-summer wallet woes.

Wednesday, September 2:

Sasheer Zamata Pizza Party Time!
Union Hall (702 Union Street, Brooklyn), 8:30 p.m., $10

What do you do when you’re rolling in all that Saturday Night Live fame and money? Throw a great show with free pizza for everyone, of course. Saheer Zamata is doing just that, with a great group of comedians and free slices from Williamsburg Pizza. The highlight of the show is Marina Franklin, who just hit an out-of-the-park home run on Conan. (The Voice also spent a night running between different comedy clubs recently; watch that below.)

Akaash Singh
Carolines on Broadway (1626 Broadway), 7:30 p.m., $10 with code AKAASH online

Carolines continues to offer great weeknight shows featuring long sets from the plethora of headliners we’ve got crammed into this city. This week’s special hour comes from Akaash Singh, whose sharp tongue and sharp pop culture knowledge have had him all over MTV the past few years.


Thursday, September 3:

Everything but Country
Carolines on Broadway (1626 Broadway), 9:30 p.m., $10 with code COUNTRY

Ever since Chris Rock pointed out that women don’t care how misogynistic rap lyrics are (“if the beat’s all right, she’ll dance all night”), every young comedian has taken a stab at dissecting the message behind what’s killing the charts. This show takes that a step beyond, breaking down famous rap beefs and the music they spawned, culminating in an actual rap battle.

Laugh It Up Astoria
QED (27-16 23rd Avenue, Astoria), 9 p.m., $5

QED is a major part of the ever-growing Queens comedy boom, with a well-rounded schedule that has a little bit of everything, and so does this show: trivia, prizes, drinks, and, most importantly, stand-up from some of New York’s best. Alingon Mitra, who has been on just about every showcase for stand-up on TV, including Last Comic Standing and Conan, is joined by two feisty comedic spitfires, Leah Bonnema and Justy Dodge, for a night that’s sure to be delightful fun.

The Garage
The Standing Room (47-38 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City), 9 p.m., $5

Phil Hanley and Amber Nelson have a couple of new jokes they’d like to run by you, as do the rest of this lineup. The Garage offers a chance to get a peek into the creative process, as some of NYC’s favorites test out jokes they’ve been working on in the past month, and a few they come up with on the subway on the way over. You’ll help decide if they sink or swim on to the next show.


Friday, September 4:

Creek Cave Live
The Creek and the Cave (10-93 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City), 10 p.m., Free

Do you like British wit and surprisingly outrageous jokes from a nice chap in glasses? Then you’ll love Tom Cowell. If you prefer smart, frank observations from a hot no-nonsense broad, may I suggest Sydnee Washington. You get both of them, plus a free beer, and even a free shot for those brave enough to sit in the front row (no one will be mean to you…unless you get a little rowdy after the beer and shot), all at this free show.


Saturday, September 5:

The Bitch Seat: Therapy for Your Misspent Youth
Union Hall (702 Union Street, Brooklyn), 8 p.m., $8 in advance

Did you burn that box of embarrassing love notes and pitiful attempts at becoming the next Jackson Pollock from high school? Or does your mom still trot out VHS tapes of your sixth-grade dance recital every time you bring a new guy home? Either way, this show is for you. Liza Treyger, Giulia Rozzi, and a handful of other comedians will be revealing (and making fun of) the awkward people they once were before they became the awesome people they are today.

Free Stand Up Festival Kick Off Party
New York Comedy Club (241 East 24th Street), 5 p.m., Free

The Free Stand Up Festival is now an annual tradition highlighting the top-notch comedy available for free throughout the city all year long. The week-long collection of great comedy, absolutely free, gets a strong start with this show featuring Christian Finnegan, Mike Recine, and Doug Smith.

See You in Hell (Free Stand Up Comedy Festival Edition)
The Creek and the Cave (10-93 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City), 8 p.m., Free

Normally, a host’s job is to get the crowd ready, keep the crowd happy, and bring the crowd back after a bomb or an awkward set. In other words, the host is supposed to make the show go smoothly. Not with this show, where hosts Matt Wayne and Doug Smith do everything they can, from dance challenges to encouragement of hecklers, to put the other comedians through hell.

Sunday, September 6:

The 4th Annual Creek Awards
The Creek and the Cave (10-93 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City), 6 p.m., Free

The Creek takes a break from presenting every kind of comedy under the sun to celebrate it! With awards for everything from Best Podcast and Best Open Mic to Best Hang and Worst Day Job, this is more community celebration than cutthroat competition. Hosts Nick Turner and Joe List will lead a fun, funny, booze-fueled night that’s sure to inspire a few new categories for next year. Head to the Creek website for details.


Monday, September 7:

Broken Comedy (Free Comedy Festival Edition)
Bar Matchless (557 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn), 9 p.m., Free

One of Brooklyn’s original waves of hot free comedy shows, Broken gave Saturday Night Live’s Michael Che a weekly home when he was just The Next Big Thing and continues to feature comedians you’ll be thrilled you saw in such an intimate setting when everyone in America knows their name. This week is no different, with Mike Cannon, Vladimir Caamano, and Zainab Johnson all gracing the stage.

Frantic (Free Comedy Festival Edition)
The Stand (239 Third Avenue), 10 p.m., Free

This weekly “free bar show at a club” ups the ante in honor of the Free Comedy Festival this week with a lineup fit for a Saturday night. Last Comic Standing’s Joe List, America’s Got Talent’s Gary Vider, This is Not Happening’s Ari Shaffir, Mark Normand, Dan Soder, Michelle Wolf, and Derek Gaines round out this stacked show.


Hot Soup (Free Comedy Festival Edition)
Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue), 8 p.m., Free

Consistently one of the best free weeklies in town, Hot Soup boats a strong lineup, a packed house, and regular drop-ins from the likes of Colin Quinn, Louis CK, and Sarah Silverman. Hosts Mark Normand, Gary Vider, and Matt Ruby are pretty swell, too. If you haven’t gotten yourself over to the unlimited laughs and unlimited bar special at Irish Exit yet, the Free Comedy Festival is a great excuse.


This Week in Indie Comedy, Spend an Evening With the Undateable Chris D’Elia, 8/19/2015

Ever since Whitney hit the airwaves, a Chris D’Elia ticket has been a high-demand item. And with a third season of Undateable on the way, it’s a good thing Chris is doing seven shows at Carolines this weekend. But if you miss out on the few remaining tickets, there are plenty of other opportunities to see hot headliners and fresh voices all week long.

Wednesday, August 19:

Downward Spiral
Oliver’s Astoria (37-19 Broadway, Queens), 8 p.m., Free

Queens is becoming the center for independent comedy in NYC, as evidenced by the new shows in new spaces popping up on a weekly basis. The very newest of these is Downward Spiral, produced by a fearsome foursome of funny women, including comedian/producer extraordinaire Peggy O’Leary. The inaugural outing includes pre-show happy hour, 2-for-1 draft beer, and a hot lineup with Tonight Show writer Mike Drucker and the hilarious Blair Socci.

Sean Donnelly
Carolines (1626 Broadway), 7:30, $20

Carolines has a reputation as being more of a “road club in the city,” its weekends packed with headliners from around the country. But it also offers the special treat of local favorites doing a full headlining set normally only available to the lucky folks in all those other cities. And it’s hard to think of someone you’d want to spend an hour with more than Sean Donnelly, whose warmth and everyman charm never fails to delight.

Thursday, August 20:

Stand Up on the Spot
The Stand (239 Third Avenue), 8 p.m., $5 with code VOICE

Did you miss Sean Donnelly’s carefully crafted hour at Carolines last night? Then check out the exact opposite tonight, when he performs a short set based entirely on audience suggestions. He’ll be completing this awkward, hilarious, and unpredictable exercise with Christian Finnegan and Luis J. Gomez.

Center City
The Standing Room (47-38 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City), $5

This young group of comedians, originally from Philly, puts on one of the best monthly parties in the city — one that just happens also to be a comedy show. This month is sure to be an extra-big party, as it’s Center City mainstay Tom Cassidy’s birthday and the lineup includes Last Comic Standing’s Zainab Johnson.

How May We Hate You? Live!
Union Hall (702 Union Street, Brooklyn), 7:30 p.m., $8 in advance

Ever wonder what the concierge at your hotel was really thinking as he smiled and detailed the pros and cons of every single Broadway show currently playing before you shrugged and decided to just go see a movie? Well, now you can hear it told, sung, and joked about by a group of hilarious comedy and musical theater performers.

Friday, August 21:

Mike Recine Album Taping
New York Comedy Club (241 East 24th Street), 7 and 9 p.m., $19

Mike Recine embodies all the contradictions of the modern man. His comedy is animated by an old-school Jersey code of Right and Wrong, tempered by a surprising sensitivity. Whether recounting experiences with his autistic brother or predicting the things our grandchildren will call us prejudiced for, he brings a refreshing and funny perspective to unexpected and unique topics.

Saturday, August 22:

Virgin Sacrifice
Drom (85 Avenue A), 1:45 p.m., $18

Even if you’ve been to a show so bad you were left wondering, “Was that his first time?” you probably haven’t actually watched an absolute comedy virgin tell their first joke…until now. This Los Angeles favorite is in town for five shows as part of FringeNYC, including a Saturday-afternoon event that will throw a statistician into the comedy volcano. Don’t worry, there are three seasoned veterans on hand to ensure you get some laughs in, no matter what else happens.

The Comedienne Project
Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place), 8:45 p.m., $18

“Ugh, girl comedians only talk about sex and their periods” is something that, unfortunately, a lot of people still think. With the Comedienne Project, performers Corinne Fisher and Katie Hannigan and director Ted Alexandro present a performance that says, “In your face!” to that stereotype, with long sets featuring material about anything and everything else.

Sunday, August 23:

Chris D’Elia
Carolines (1626 Broadway), 7:30 p.m., $42

Chris D’Elia is one of the most consistently enjoyable comedians working today. His high energy can infect any crowd as he builds entire pocket universes of absurdity with jokes, act-outs, and voices. If you don’t worry you’re laughing so hard you can’t breathe at least twice during the hour, you might want to get both your eyes and ears checked.

20 & Out (The Broccoli Murder, the DiCaprio Dance, and Other Stories From My Twenty Years as an NYC Cop)
Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place), 8:45 p.m., $18

Criminals are dumb, and real-life cop-turned-comedian Mark Demayo has twenty years’ worth of hilarious stories to back that up. Add in love, marriage, and raising children and you get a great experience that straddles the line between a one-man show and a stand-up special.

Comedy at the Knitting Factory: Brooklyn Comedy Festival Kickoff
The Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn), 9 p.m., $5 in advance

It’s fitting that this stalwart of Brooklyn comedy is kicking off the 2015 Brooklyn Comedy Festival. The always strong show has a fittingly killer lineup for this special event, with Michelle Buteau, Yamaneika Saunders, Jon Laster, and John Early.

Monday, August 24:

Open Door Comedy
Open Door Gastropub (110 John Street), 8 p.m., Free

Before he was a Daily Show correspondent, Hasan Minhaj performed stand-up and sketch around the globe. Tonight, catch Hasan without the green screen, along with an incredible lineup including Tom Cowell, Boris Khaykin, Jeffrey Joseph, and Aparna Nancherla.

Tuesday, August 25:

Union Hall (702 Union Street, Brooklyn), 8 p.m., $10

Joe Zimmerman likes getting deep…right onstage in front of everybody. Each month, he invites some of his favorite comedians to perform stand-up sets that go beyond the superficial, then to sit down with Joe for a ridiculously deep conversation. This month, anxiety-ridden Joe List is in the hot seat, which is sure to bring out a combination of laughing-at and laughing-with.

The RoastMasters!
The Stand (239 Third Avenue), 10 p.m., Free

You know how when your parents got divorced, it meant twice as many toys and trips to get ice cream and pizza? Well, that’s what’s happening with L.A.’s original Roast Battle, and NYC is the kid who gets to benefit from dual custody. While one half of this East Coast Hydra is a stripped-down, gritty version at New York Comedy Club that harks back to the show’s L.A. origins, the RoastMasters will bring the circus — fresh from the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival — to the Stand. Comedy super-couple Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane will be on hand to dole out judgment as pairs of comics dish out verbal violence in an effort to grab the brass ring of this tournament-style series.


Join the Cult of Tom Segura This Week

Even though Tom Segura has two albums, a Netflix special, and a top comedy podcast, he still feels like everyone’s little hidden gem of a comic. Segura’s just one of the many cult-favorite comedians on tap this week for you to discover.

Wednesday, July 15:

Blaria Live!
Union Hall (702 Union Street, Brooklyn), 8 p.m., $10

Powerhouse Phoebe Robinson and The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams are the duo behind the snarky, smartass mini-empire known as Blaria (Black Daria). Every month they bring a stacked lineup to Union Hall, and this time around they’ve supersized it to include Los Angeles visitor, Metalocalypse’s Brendon Small, and Aussie comic Scott Dooley. Two of New York’s most hilarious comics — Yamaneika Saunders and Sarah Tollemache — round out the bill.

The Front Room
The Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn), 8:30 p.m., Free

This free companion to the better-known Sunday show packs in the same great punch for none of the cost, plus it’s a great spot to discover hot new comics who haven’t burst onto the collective conscious just yet. Of course, it’s still got a stiff shot of high-caliber talent. This week it’s Gary Vider and Mike Cannon.


The Lemonade Stand Variety Show
The Stand (239 Third Avenue), 10 p.m., $5 with code LEMONS online

A lot of variety shows aren’t much more than, “Here’s a regular stand-up and then here’s a stand-up who strums a guitar while he tells jokes!” The newly revamped Lemonade Stand is aiming for a true multimedia experience: music, musical comedy, live sketches, and (of course) stand-up, all with a summer-camp talent show feel. Folk comedy group Summer and Eve, Guy Code’s Chris DiStefano and comedy’s greatest opera singer, Matteo Lane, lead the pack of talent on tap for the evening.

* * *

Thursday, July 16:

Howard Kremer
The Bell House (149 7th Street, Brooklyn), 9 p.m., $15

Howard Kremer is an incredibly prolific comedian, podcaster, and rapper. Yes, rapper. In addition to his many odes to “Summah,” he has released three comedy rap albums as Dragon Boy Suede. His podcast, Who Charted?, and annual Summahfest at Meltdown Comics in L.A. are feverishly beloved institutions of alt comedy, and his live appearances are always memorable and truly unique experiences.

Stand-Up on the Spot
The Stand (239 Third Avenue), 8 p.m., $15

This bicoastal show celebrates its East Coast anniversary this month with a stellar lineup of comedians forced to riff and joke on topics thrown out by audience members on the spot. Strong writers Dan Soder and Mike Vecchione complement the pleasantly unpredictable Sean Patton and the night’s emcee, Judah Friedlander.

Stuck Between Stations
Pacific Standard (82 Fourth Avenue, Brooklyn), 7:45 p.m., Free

The delightful Josh Gondelman (Last Week Tonight, Modern Seinfeld) heads up an all-around strong lineup of great local talent, including Jason Saenz, Maria Heinegg, and Christi Chiello. No gimmicks, just great comedy.

QED (27-16 23rd Avenue, Astoria), 7:30 p.m., $5

This multidisciplinary show asks stand-ups and improvisers to create scenes and songs based on visual art, while that artist works to create a new piece based on the performances in front of him. Guest artist Matt Larsen’s graffiti-inspired work is the center of this artistic circle of life.

* * *

Friday, July 17:

Tom Segura
The Bell House (149 7th Street, Brooklyn), 8:30 p.m., $20

Tom Segura is the kind of comedian thousands and thousands of people consider their own. He’s developed a cult following thanks to his popular podcast, Your Mom’s House, and frequent appearances on The Joe Rogan Experience and other Deathsquad network shows. And he has even stronger comedy chops, with two albums and a Netflix special under his belt. Now’s your chance to “discover” this comedy beast for yourself.

Kaytlin Bailey
Kaytlin Bailey

The Naked Show
The Creek and The Cave (10-93 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City), 11:59 p.m., $20

While many comedians bare their souls in their acts, it’s become increasingly popular for them to bare their bodies as well. Maybe it’s because we get cooped up and covered in sweaters all winter, or maybe we’re all just a bunch of pervs, but there is a boom of naked and nearly naked comedy shows in the city. Catch the original, where you can even disrobe in your seat if you like, hosted by Kaytlin Bailey.

Zebra Cake
The Beauty Bar (231 East 14th Street), 8:30 p.m., Free

You’d think offering gorgeous manicures and sexy drinks would be plenty to handle for one small venue, but the Beauty Bar also plays host to a regular rotation of music and comedy shows, including Zebra Cake on Fridays. It’s a fun, free way to get a little taste of the Brooklyn comedy spirit in kitschy retro Manhattan style. This week’s lineup features indie hotshots Ryan Beck and Evan Williams.

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Saturday, July 18:

Warp Drive Presents Dave Hill & Friends
Union Hall (702 Union Street, Brooklyn), 8 p.m., $8

Los Angeles–based Stu Jenkins and Alex Dezen are Warp Drive, a band that’s part music, part sci-fi, and part comedy, with a dash of the indescribable. So they are a natural fit with the comedy/musical/weird brilliance that is Dave Hill. Throw in Aparna Nancherla, Noah Gardenswartz, and Amber Nelson and you have one heckuva fantastic show that’s sure to pack in everything you’ve ever dreamed of and a few things that would never even cross your mind.

The Blue Show
The Creek and the Cave (10-93 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City), 11:59 p.m., Free

Aaron Berg’s fledgling comedy experiment takes comedians who normally work on the cleaner side of the ledger and forces them to bring out the darker and dirtier stuff they usually keep hidden. You never know if you’re going to be surprised to find out what lurks in the hearts of the normally cute and comforting, or if you’ll just get to watch someone awkwardly stammer through their first dirty jokes since the junior high playground. Casey Balsham, Chrissie Mayr, and Monroe Martin are the ones looking to get their mouth washed out with soap this month.

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Sunday, July 19:

Mike Lawrence
Carolines on Broadway (1626 Broadway), 7:30 p.m., $20

Fresh off his first pilgrimage to Comic-Con in San Diego, Mike Lawrence will be doing a rare in-city headlining set. Though you can catch him around town doing shorter showcase sets most weeks, it’s worth the splurge to get a full hour of Mike’s often darkly personal pop-culture observations.

Colin Quinn: The New York Story
The Cherry Lane Theatre (38 Commerce Street), 3 p.m., $76

While it’s definitely expensive compared to a free bar show, Colin Quinn’s sharp and hilarious observations on society and culture are priceless, so $76 is a relative steal. Directed by Jerry Seinfeld, Quinn’s latest one-man show is all about what makes our city wonderful and terrible at the same time. It runs through August 16, with many of the dates already sold out (this Sunday’s matinee still has seats available as of this writing), so grab your tickets quickly!

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Monday, July 20:

Chris Gethard: Career Suicide
Union Hall (702 Union Street, Brooklyn), 9 p.m., $8

Chris Gethard is best known as the host of long-running cable access/Web show (now airing on Fusion) The Chris Gethard Show, which is a wild and engaging mix of high-concept and lowbrow humor that feels like it’s perpetually wobbling on a tightrope in the most enjoyable way possible. Fans of Gethard’s uncompromising ethics when it comes to the show will love how he brings the same vibe to his hour, which covers suicide, alcoholism, and “all the other funniest parts of life.”

Night Train
Littlefield (622 Degraw Street, Brooklyn), 8 p.m., $8

Guest host Jean Grae takes the helm of Wyatt Cenac’s long-running comedy showcase this week, with an incredible crew on board for the ride. The show features New York’s favorite wandering crazyman, Sean Patton, late-night scribe extraordinaire Matt Goldich, and Broad City’s Naomi Ekperigin.

* * *

Tuesday, July 21:

Adam Wade
Adam Wade

Adam Wade Album Recording
The Bell House (149 7th Street, Brooklyn), 8:30 p.m., $12

Storyteller Adam Wade has won The Moth’s GrandSLAM a staggering twenty times, so you know he can spin a good yarn. He’ll be spitting his best of the best as he records his debut album tonight, so why not grab a beer and settle into a chair and enjoy it?

Northern Discomfort
The Stand (239 Third Avenue), 8 p.m., $5 with code VILLAGEVOICE online

Look, I’m going to feature a show with Jessica Kirson on it every single week until each and every New Yorker has gone and fallen in love with her for themselves. Because she’s incredible, but just hasn’t received the kind of wide exposure that allows whole demographics to fall in love with her all at once. But I promise if you check her out, you’ll walk away a fan for life.



Rob Delaney, who won Comedy Central’s 2012 Best Twitter award, is considered to be one of the funniest people in 140 characters. A recent example: “I would buy a car if, in the commercial, a nice lady said, ‘There’s a lot of power under the hood,’ then pointed at her clit.” During the recent presidential election, the dirty jokester wrote: “I was considering voting for @MittRomney, but then I remembered I ENTERED THE WORLD THROUGH A VAGINA” (which was then retweeted about 10,000 times). Happily, he’s even funnier when given a
few more words to work with. Catch him tonight at this four-night run at Carolines.

Thu., June 6, 8 p.m.; Fri., June 7, 8 & 10:30 p.m.; Sat., June 8, 8 & 10:30 p.m.; Sun., June 9, 8 p.m., 2013



For most rookie Saturday Night Live cast members it takes a couple of seasons to warm up and build three-dimensional characters. But for Jay Pharoah, it was during his debut season that audiences instantly recognized and fell in love with his characters. The 25-year-old comedian (and the youngest cast member) is terrific at impersonations that include 50 Cent, Chris Rock, and, of course, his spot-on President Obama. Without Lorne Michaels around tonight, who knows what Pharoah might pull out of his bag of tricks.

Thu., May 30, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., May 31, 7:30 & 10:30 p.m.; Sat., June 1, 8 & 10:30 p.m., 2013



Rising comedian John Mulaney may be a 30-year-old full-fledged adult, but he’s blessed (or, in his opinion, cursed) with one of those sweet, boyish faces that can’t be outgrown. As he jokes in his recent Comedy Central special New in Town, when he walks down the street, people point and say, “Whoa! That tall child looks terrible. Get some rest, tall child! You can’t keep burning the candle at both ends.” Mulaney, who started out doing a weekly show in the East Village with Nick Kroll called the Oh, Hello Show, is now well known as a writer on Saturday Night Live (he co-created Stefon with Bill Hader) and for his own incredibly smart stand-up routines that include stories ranging from his most shameful moments (alcohol-
fueled blackouts, rectal exams) to wickedly funny pranks (he once played Tom Jones’s “What’s New, Pussycat?” in a diner 21 times in a row). Catch him at Carolines for four nights. He’ll be the one dressed as a tall child in a suit.

Thu., Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., Feb. 22, 8 & 10:30 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 23, 8 & 10:30 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 24, 8 & 10 p.m., 2013


New Year’s Eve Spectacular!

Laugh your way into 2013 with comedians Ardie Fuqua, Joe DeRosa, Vince August, Mark Normand, Nate Bargatze, and Dan Soder.

Mon., Dec. 31, 7:30 & 10 p.m., 2012


New York Comedy Festival

In case you were wondering when your favorite comedian was coming to town, chances are high that the time is now. The ninth annual New York Comedy Festival is bringing together stars from the world of comedy for five nights of laughs. Jim Gaffigan, Robin Williams, the Wayans Brothers, Susie Essman, Morgan Murphy, Adam Carolla, and Aziz Ansari are just a few of the performers who will be taking the stage at venues around the city, including Town Hall, the Apollo, and Carolines on Broadway. Plus, catch special sketch and improv performances at the UCB Theatre, panel discussions, and free comedy shows. It kicks off on November 7 with Ricky Gervais in conversation with John Hodgman at Town Hall.

Nov. 7-11, 2012



From playing on Saturday Night Live’s “Celebrity Jeopardy!” as a faux Sean Connery (“Knock, knock, Trebek”) to imitating former vice president Al Gore so well that it was rumored the Inconvenient Truth star began taking notes, Darrell Hammond donned the suit of almost everyone during his time on the show from 1995 to 2009, the longest run of any member. Impersonations aside, he frequently speaks on air at The Howard Stern Show, performs at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village, and has popped up on episodes of Law & Order: SVU. Last November, he surprised fans with his personal memoir of booze and wrist-cutting behind the scenes at SNL, titled God, If You’re Not Up There, I’m F*cked. With a new decade of stars to brutally but hysterically impersonate, Hammond brings his latest material to a four-night stint at Carolines.

Thu., Feb. 9, 8 p.m., 2012