The Best Totally Free/Underground Comedy Shows in NYC

Published On 04/15/2016 Published On 04/15/2016
New York City Broken Comedy NYC
Michael Che at “Broken Comedy,” Bar MatchlessNew York City Broken Comedy

“Let’s See, What Else” at Poco 

Alphabet City

Wednesdays at 8pm
Local comedians Tom Delgado and Missy Baker host a new batch of both rising and established comedians in this restaurant’s intimate downstairs cellar every week (there’s a bar down there, relax!) -- which means you could quite literally be rubbing elbows with reputable comics like Nick Vatterott (Comedy Central, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon) and SNL cast member Sasheer Zamata. 

HOT SOUP Comedy Show at Irish Exit

“Hot Soup” at Irish Exit

Midtown East 

Tuesdays at 8pm 
Although the Steelers fans that flock to this bar add their own comedic flair, the 50-seat showroom in the back features legit comedians as well. Aziz Ansari and Jeff Garlin are just a couple of the heavy-hitters who have stopped by for an impromptu set. 

Courtesy of Lucky Jacks

“Gandhi, Is That You” at Lucky Jack's


Wednesdays at 9pm 
Every jokester in this typically seven- to eight-person lineup has some cred, and we don’t just mean of the street variety. Think writers and actors from Comedy Central, MTV, and NBC. You can also count on the occasional star like Todd Barry, Judah Friedlander and, um, Vinny Guadagnino (fist pump!) dropping-in to test new material. 

The Delancey

“Comedy as a Second Language” at The Delancey 


Thursdays at 8pm 
This show has been rotating in new comedians for nearly eight years, but in recent months it moved over to The Delancey’s showroom. Luckily, the same antics, roaring laughs, cheap drinks, and new batch of comedians every week followed (as did the free admission). 

“Whiplash” at Upright Citizens Brigade


Mondays at 11pm 
This show is free, but so notoriously great that getting a reservation (or even standing room) can be damn near impossible. Book early, because it’s that good. Not only because UCB has long been the birthplace of great comics, but also because even Louis C.K. counts this show among his favorites, and he rarely likes anything. 

Flickr/Danny Flam

“The Front Room” at the Knitting Factory 


Wednesdays and Sundays at 9pm
You may have seen this funny foursome stop in at paid-for shows -- like The Strand -- but they also host their own every week. And almost every week, a surprise guests makes an appearance. But even if they don’t, the laughs keep coming thanks to the $6 PBR & shot combo that coincides with the show.

“Live From Outer Space” at The Cobra Club 


Fridays at 9pm 
This no-frills weekly show hosted by a quirky trio of rising comedians (Erik Bergstrom of Comedy Central and The New Yorker; John F. O’Donnell of Comedy Central; and Ben Kronberg of Last Comic Standing) always promises a good time with special guest stars and drink specials. Also, we can’t make any promises, but we have it on pretty good authority that something absurd will go down. 

Phil Provencio Photography

“Broken Comedy” at Bar Matchless


Mondays at 9pm 
The hosts of this show should be reason enough for you to attend, since they include comedian trio Nimesh Patel, Mike Denny, and Michael Che from SNL’s "Weekend Update.” Plus, since they recruit the performers, you know the talent also won’t disappoint. 

Open mic night at Legion Bar


Sundays at 6:00pm 
Yes, open mic nights are typically terrible (or only slightly less-terrible than you thought), but it’s hard not to find this community of misfits at least mildly entertaining. Plus the crowd isn’t terribly judgmental, so if you’re feeling brave you can give it a worry-free whirl.