Your ultimate guide to Brooklyn’s free and cheap comedy

Yohance Collins rules the stage at the Knitting Factory, one of Brooklyn's best free stand-up nights. Photo by Ray Krump via Comedy at the Knitting Factory Tumblr.

Yohance Collins rules the stage at the Knitting Factory, one of Brooklyn’s best free stand-up nights. Photo by Ray Krump via Comedy at the Knitting Factory Tumblr.

When BFF comedy trio Max Silvestri, Jenny Slate and Gabe Liedman brought free indie stand-up show Big Terrific to life in 2008, it was a welcome antithesis to the pricey and decidedly not-chill Manhattan comedy clubs. Seven years later, after paving the way for Brooklyn’s path to indisputable comedy dominance, Big Terrific is closing up shop. Max is heading to L.A., following Gabe and Jenny, who went West in 2012. But as we say goodbye to Big Terrific, say hello to everything else our fine borough has to offer. We’re part of a new comedy era, characterized by a quirky, casual approach that ditches old-school standards including the two-drink minimum and reserved seating.

Behold and befriend your comprehensive guide to the cheapest (almost all free, but none over $10) funniest, smartest shows in Brooklyn, and get your fill of stand-up on any night of the week. This is where you go to find everything from the groundbreaking comedians to watch to the frequent big-name drop-ins. Bookmark it; we’ll keep it updated.

Jump to a day of the week: Monday / Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday / Friday / Saturday / Sunday / Semi-Regular

MONDAY MONDAY MONDAY MONDAY

Night Train celebrated its two-year anniversary in November with (from left) Seaton Smith, Jean Grae, Wyatt Cenac and Michael Che. Via Facebook.

Night Train celebrated its two-year anniversary in November with (from left) Seaton Smith, Jean Grae, Wyatt Cenac and Michael Che. Via Facebook.

Night Train with Wyatt Cenac
Littlefield, 8pm, $5 adv/ $8 door
622 Degraw St., Gowanus
Every Monday
• Former Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac (with occasional help from Seaton Smith and other special guests) hosts a standout weekly stand-up showcase in Gowanus, with lineups curated by scene-setter Marianne Ways. With comedians such as Bob’s Burgers’ Eugene Mirman regularly on the roster and big names such as Marc Maron, Aziz Ansari, Kurt Braunohler and Kristen Schaal occasionally dropping in, this is the one train you can count on.

Broken Comedy
Bar Matchless, 8:30PM, FREE
557 Manhattan Ave., Greenpoint
Every Monday
• Hosted by SNL writer and Weekend Update anchor Michael Che (when he can take a break from the aforementioned engagements), Mike Denny and Nimesh Patel, Broken Comedy is an energetic evening of stand-up that lays claim to all of Trevor Noah’s success. While that part may be a stretch, this subversive show keeps it real with acts like Aparna Nancherla, one of our comedy crushes.

Ed Sullivan On Acid
The Backroom at Freddy’s, 9:30PM, FREE
627 Fifth Ave., South Park Slope
First and third Monday each month
• Brooklyn’s longest-running comedy show at one of its oldest bars is now hosted by stage veterans Calvin Cato, Justin Murray and Richard James, featuring a broad assortment of promising comedians in an intimate atmosphere. We find that comedy pairs well with tater tots, and this venue’s got both.

Cool Show (Not Lame)
Cameo Gallery, 8PM, FREE
93 N. 6th Street, Williamsburg
Monthly show; check yer local listings
• Alise Morales of SEX with Betsy and Alise and Pat Wise host this very cool variety show that brings improv, stand-up and sketch together at Cameo, an art space and music venue in the heart of Williamsburg. Alt-comedy reigns supreme on this stage, with acts ranging from sketch duo Girls With Brown Hair to stand-up favorites such as Brokelyn alumna Sue Smith, one of Time Out’s 10 funniest women in NYC.

Side Ponytail
Over the Eight, 8PM, FREE
594 Union Ave., Williamsburg
Second Monday of every month
• Hosted by Carolyn Bursa, a self-proclaimed comedy addict, this show has referred to itself as the cutest comedy show in Brooklyn, a nod to its preferred hairstyle. Who are we to argue? Pull your hair back and catch sets from comedians like Blaria blogger and performer Phoebe Robinson and Brooklyn-based Comedy Central writer Tom Cowell.


 TUESDAY TUESDAY TUESDAY 

Alligator Comedy
The Alligator Lounge, 9PM, FREE
600 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg
Every Tuesday
• Pop in for free comedy and free pizza (srsly: get one personal pizza free with every drink you purchase) and make it a two-fer Tuesday. Dinner and a show? Don’t mind if we do. Sachi Ezura, Clark Jones and Robert Dean host well-known performers like scene queen Jo Firestone, Lukas Kaiser and Jason Saenz alongside energetic up-and-comers.

Backfat Variety Show
61 Local, 8:30PM, FREE
61 Bergen St., Boerum Hill
Last Tuesday of every month
• McSweeney’s and New Yorker contributor Janet Manley will partner with John Payne to host this smart, fun show after saying goodbye to former co-producer Emily Winter in March. Head upstairs at 61 Local, where you’ll find comedians like Hari Kandabolu working on new material alongside VH1’s Michelle Buteau and countless creative beings making a name for themselves by sharing their latest piece. It’s a true variety show, so expect surprises!

Relax at the Kings County Saloon and enjoy the show.  Via Facebook.

Kings County Saloon is an easy place to take it easy and enjoy the show. Via Facebook.

The Party!
Kings County Saloon, 9PM, FREE
1 Knickerbocker Ave., Bushwick
Every Tuesday
• You may not necessarily recognize the hosts at this party, but you’ll certainly appreciate the invite. Mike Lewis, Tom Hathaway, Phil Burke and Neil Constantine serve high-energy lineups alongside this Bushwick spot’s crave-worthy jalapeno poppers. Recent guests include funny favorites Myq Kaplan and Nick Turner among some of this city’s best and brightest.

The Fancy Show
Bar Reis, 8:30PM, FREE
375 Fifth Ave., Park Slope
Every Tuesday
• Under-the-radar comedians Simmons McDavid, Mike Joyce, Langston Kerman and Lane Pieschel take turns hosting The Fancy Show, which recently celebrated its first birthday. Weekly lineups include fresh faces to follow like Liza Treyger and Chelsea Hood, so get ready to find new favorites in the mix.

Hari Kondabolu is among the illustrious alumni of Cheap Date Comedy. Via Facebook.

Hari Kondabolu is among the illustrious alumni of Cheap Date Comedy. Via Facebook.

Cheap Date Comedy Show
Union Hall, 8pm, $5
702 Union Street; Park Slope
Second Tuesday of every month
• Head downstairs at Union Hall on the second Tuesday of every month for a cheap date with Sharron Paul and Calvin Cole, who host a fun-filled evening of stand-up for just five bucks! With an alumni roster that reads like a who’s who of comedy in NYC, this is a cheap date that doesn’t disappoint. Pro-tip: hit the taco truck that’s posted up outside of the venue for an equally economical dinner option.

Soft Spot Comedy
Tiny Montgomery at Threes Brewing, 8PM, $5
333 Douglass St., Gowanus
Fourth Tuesday of every month
• Well-credited NYC comedy fixture Claudia Cogan and Best Week Ever writer Brendan McLaughlin are on deck to host Gowanus’ newest stand-up show at the just-opened Threes Brewing, yet another bar we love. The inaugural lineup, slated for April 28, includes the ultra-funny Sabrina Jalees and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt writer Charla Lauriston, so we’d bet this show is going places.


WEDNESDAY WEDNESDAY WEDNESDAY

Meghan O'Keefe stops your ennui at Summer Camp Comedy in January. Via FB.

Meghan O’Keefe stops your ennui at Summer Camp Comedy in January. Via FB.

Summer Camp Comedy
Camp, 8PM, FREE
179 Smith St., Boerum Hill
First Wednesday of every month
• Summer Camp is the sister show to Bitches Brew, hosted by comedy production trioEliana Horeczko, Naomi Karavani and Meghan O’Keefe. It runs the first Wednesday of every month at the kitschy bar Camp, which is complete with a mounted deer head and a cozy fireplace. Stuff your face with free pizza while you watch sets from predominantly under-the-radar comics.

Bitches Brew
Lucey’s Lounge, 8:30PM, FREE
475 Third Ave., Gowanus
Last Wednesday and second Friday of every month
• At just over a year old, Bitches Brew Comedy is now held twice each month, on the last Wednesday and second Friday at Lucey’s Lounge. Join comedy production trioEliana Horeczko, Naomi Karavani and Meghan O’Keefe, the show’s rotating hosts, for live music and stand-up from fresh faces on the scene.

Knockin’ Boots
Two Boots Pizza, 8PM, FREE
284 Fifth Ave., Park Slope
Every Wednesday

Late Night New York’s Christian Polanco brings comedy to one of our favorite pizza spots in Park Slope! This new show makes it all too convenient to grab a hot slice and catch hot sets from comics like Corinne Fisher of the Guys We Fucked podcast and Broad City’s Naomi Ekperigin. In warmer months, you can even enjoy stand-up performances that spill onto the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, inviting neighborhood pedestrians to join the fun.

Jacknife Comedy
Hank’s Saloon, 8PM, FREE
46 Third. Ave., Boerum Hill
Last Wednesday of every month
• Gideon Hambright and Patrick Hastie, who can both be seen performing throughout the city, bring stand-up to the small stage at Hank’s Saloon. Head out to catch newer names in comedy at one of our favorite dirty dives, and heads up: this bar is cash-only.


THURSDAY THURSDAY THURSDAY

Larry Murphy and Ilana Glazer and dozens more all-stars frequently pop by Myrtle Comedy.

Larry Murphy, Ilana Glazer, Nick Turner and dozens more all-stars frequently pop by Myrtle Comedy.

Myrtle Comedy
Splitty, 8PM, $5
415 Myrtle Ave., Clinton Hill
Every Thursday
• Brooklyn stand-up veteran Greg Johnson hosts a lively show every week at Splitty, admittedly one of our favorite bars. Lineups are consistently packed with some of the biggest names in comedy — we’ve seen H. Jon Benjamin, Jon Glaser, Jessie Klein and more on the Splitty stage, which, fun fact, was built especially for this show. The space is small, so arrive early to get a seat!

Stuck Between Stations
Pacific Standard, 8PM, FREE
82 Fourth Ave., Park Slope
Third Thursday of every month
• Stuck Between Stations is a new monthly comedy show by John Bilancini, who is taking over the cozy back room at Bay Area-themed bar Pacific Standard on the third Thursday of every month. This venue boasts a library-style setting complete with couches to chill out on as you enjoy the expansive microbrew menu the bar is known for. With local favorites such as Brooke Van Poppelen and Jim Tews already on the alumni roster, this show promises to deliver high-quality laughs.

V-Spot Comedy
V-Spot, 10PM, FREE|
156 Fifth Ave., Park Slope
First Thursday of every month

V-Spot Comedy is a monthly show nestled inside a small vegan café that boasts big Latin flavor. It’s hosted by comedian Alex Carabaño, owner of the restaurant and recent winner of BET’s Apollo Live. Come for high-energy stand-up from headliners like Joey Gay and Mike Lawrence, stay for the empanadas.

Big Ups Comedy
Lil Skips, 9:15, $5
941 Willoughby St., Bushwick
Every Thursday
• Two words: FREE. BEER. This school-night show starts late, but it’s worth the wait. Five bucks gets you admission and a brew! Local favorites like MTV Guy Code-er Matteo Lane and Last Week Tonight writer Josh Gondelman are brought to you every Thursday by the Big Ups gang: Taylor Clark, Jaqi Furback, Owen Straw, TJ Young and Casey James Salengo.

Pacific Stand-up
Pacific Standard, 8PM, FREE
82 Fourth Ave., Park Slope
First Thursday of every month
• @midnight writer Emmy Blotnick and Daily Show writer Matt Koff team up to host seasoned comedians such as Maeve Higgins and Broad City’sNaomi Ekperigin alongside lesser-known guests at this intimate show. Grab a microbrew from the Bay Area-themed bar’s expansive list and settle in on the couch for a night of comedy in the cozy back room.


FRIDAY FRIDAY FRIDAY 

Bitches Brew
Lucey’s Lounge, 8:30PM, FREE
475 Third Ave., Gowanus
Last Wednesday and Second Friday every month
• (Also listed above) At just over a year old, Bitches Brew Comedy is now held twice each month, on the last Wednesday and second Friday at Lucey’s Lounge. Join comedy production trioEliana Horeczko, Naomi Karavani and Meghan O’Keefe, the show’s rotating hosts, for live music and stand-up from fresh faces on the scene.

John F. O'Donnell is live from outer space, aka Bushwick, each week. Via FB.

John F. O’Donnell is live from outer space, aka Bushwick, each week. Via FB.

Live From Outer Space
Cobra Club, 9PM, FREE, or suggested $5 donation to “support live comedy”
6 Wyckoff Ave., Bushwick
Every Friday
• Comedy veterans John F. O’Donnell, Erik Bergstrom and Ben Kronberg team up each week to bring you a night of special guests, weird segments and drink giveaways to start your weekend off right.


SATURDAY SATURDAY SATURDAY

Game Night Comedy Show
The Graham, 8PM, FREE
151 Meserole St., East Williamsburg
Every Saturday
• Now for something a little different: Spend Saturday night with notorious live-tweeterKyle Ayers, Comedy Central writer Tom Cowell, Will Winner and an assortment of comedians re-living your favorite games of yesteryear. From Madlibs to Family Feud, it’s nostalgia at its funniest.

Show/Tell Show
Over the Eight, 8PM, FREE
594 Union Ave., Williamsburg
First three Saturdays every month
• Show/Tell Show is a unique blend of show & tell (for adults) and stand-up comedy that wants you to get in on the fun. The first five people to sign up for the optional show-and-tell portion get drink tickets and the chance to win $20 cash for being “one of the weirdest people in NYC.” Tattoos, artifacts, gymnastics skills and beyond are encouraged, and you’ll share the stage with comedians like Brian Frange, host of the Unbelievable Podcast. The show’s hosts have varied between people like Jeff Simmermon of UCB’s And I Am Not Lying and newcomer Tomas Delgado.


SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY

Comedy at The Knitting Factory
The Knitting Factory, 9PM, FREE
361 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg
Every Sunday
• Hannibal Buress has passed the reins of his five-year old weekly comedy showcase to Will Miles, Clark Jones and Kenny DeForest, but this Sunday night staple hasn’t lost its fire. Catch stacked lineups on a night that’s known for pulling in killer surprise guests, including Dave Chappelle.

The Macaulay Culkin Show
Shea Stadium, 8PM, $5
20 Meadow St., East Williamsburg
Every Sunday
• Hosts Brett Davis and Sally Burtnick bring a mix of comedy vets and up-and-comers to the stage at one of the few remaining DIY venues in Brooklyn for an evening of “classifiable weird shit.” Macaulay Culkin himself doesn’t actually have anything to do with this show, but it boasts ex-SNL writer Brooks Wheelan and Girls regular Jon Glaser as past guests, among countless other comics who are nothing to woof at.


IRREGULARLY-SCHEDULED BUT ALSO VERY FUNNY SHOWS

Comfort Zone with Brooke Van Poppelen and Julian Velard
Union Hall, 8PM, $10 advance / $12 day of show
702 Union St., Park Slope
Brooke Van Poppelen’s latest stage adventure brings her together with singer-songwriter Julian Velard once a month at Union Hall to host a show that brings performers out of their comfort zones, where “music and comedy get drunk together and awkwardly make out.” The price tag is in the double-digits, but with guests such as Har Mar Superstar, it’s a steal. Check the venue’s calendar for upcoming dates.

Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams at Blaria LIVE! in April. Via Instagram.

Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams at Blaria LIVE! in April. Via Instagram.

Blaria LIVE!
Union Hall, 8PM, $10
702 Union St., Park Slope
• Remember Daria? Of course you do. Phoebe Robinson sees the world through the eyes of “black Daria,” appropriately adopting the portmanteau moniker Blaria under which to pen her popular blog of the same name. She’s since brought Blaria to life, hosting a live show alongside Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams. Amongst stand-up staples like Jacqueline Novak and Jermaine Fowler, you’ll find surprises like the ultra-cool Jean Grae. Check the venue’s calendar for upcoming dates and find some solace in this sick, sad world.

Stand and Deliver
The Backroom at Freddy’s, 7PM, FREE
627 Fifth Ave., South Park Slope
• Stand-ups Alex Fleming and Stuck Between Stations’Jon Bilancini host this monthly show in The Backroom at bar-we-love Freddy’s, typically held on a Friday or Saturday night. Comedians range from promising new acts to familiar faces like Lukas Kaiser. Check the show’s Facebook page for upcoming events!

Late Night Basement
Pine Box Rock Shop, 9PM, FREE
12 Grattan St., East Williamsburg
• Late Night Basement is back for a new season! Here, comedy is presented in the style of a traditional late night show, but every performance hosts standup from acts like the Lucas Brothers and features guests like party king Andrew WK, Michael Maronna and Danny Tamberelli (the namesake duo of 90’s Nickelodeon classic Pete & Pete). Want further proof? Check out the show’s video segment featuring H. Jon Benjamin that went viral. This show is slated monthly in 2015, so check the website for more detail.

I’m New Here, Can You Show Me Around?
Union Hall, 8PM, $10
702 Union St., Park Slope
• Many of us are all too familiar with the various traumas associated with taking the plunge and migrating to NYC. Irish comedian Maeve Higgins and best-selling author Jon Ronson are here to help you laugh through it along with a consortium of storytellers from far-off lands who have made this city their home. This show will run monthly until one or both hosts are deported, so check the Union Hall calendar for upcoming dates.

Did we miss anything? Help us complete the list! Give a shout-out to your favorite Brooklyn stand-up show in the comments.

Follow Meghan (usually to comedy shows): @meghannn

2 Comment

  • Comic Sans!
    4th Saturday of every month at Over The Eight!
    Free candy!
    Apr.25th @ 8pm
    Hosted by Evan Morgenstern, Megan McCoy & Darin Patterson

    with:
    J-L Cauvin
    Lindsay Goldwert
    Ben Asher
    Joe McAndrew
    Tim Ellis
    & Elena Simon

  • Free Rad Jokez
    Free standup comedy show.
    @Supercollider. 8:30pm.
    609 4th Ave
    South Slope, Brooklyn.
    Every other Wednesday. (Next show 5/6/2015)
    http://www.facebook.com/freeradjokez
    Hosted by Dustin Sherman.

    As someone who’s been to several of these shows, this is one of the best comedy shows you’ll see in Brooklyn any day of the week. Each show features a new comedian either testing fresh material or tightening their current set. No matter what you’ll leave this show entertained. Recent shows that featured Finger Jams, Khalid Rahmaan, Audrey Murray, Reid Faylor and many more are prime examples of the amazing talent you will see.