Stand up, Brooklyn: BK’s free and cheap comedy shows

wyatt cenac game night

Wyatt Cenac plays his luck at Game Night. via Facebook

A thriving stand up scene is something New York has that not many other cities do. With so many people honing their comedic craft, you can take part in the laughs almost any night of the week without even crossing the East River. Here is our round up of Kings County’s free (or damn cheap) stand up shows. They may charge for drinks but laugh lines are on the house.

MONDAYS:

Free Cable Comedy
Over the 8, 9pm, FREE
594 Union Ave

The newbie on the free comedy circuit, host Charla Lauriston with co-host (and Brokelyn-alumna) Sue Smith serve up progressive comedy in a laidback stand up and sketch show featuring neighborhood acts as well as some of Lauriston’s UCB cohorts.

Night Train with Wyatt Cenac
Littlefield , 9pm, $5 adv/ $8 door
622 Degraw St

Former Daily Show corespondent and King of the Hill writer, Wyatt Cenac starts the work week off right, bringing his comedy cronies to Gowanus for a wee $5.

Game Night
Spike Hill, 8pm, FREE
186 Bedford Avenue
Third Monday every month

Hosted by recent internet superstar Kyle Ayers and Aaron Paul-lookalike Will Wenner, the 3rd Monday of each month at Spike Hill has been turned into a veritable laugh factory for the past two years. Much funnier than your average game of Monopoly (and shorter too), the show features four to five local standups, and in a new wrinkle, Ayers and Wenner are introducing short, crudely made cartoons to their introductory bit.

Sack Magic
Legion Bar, 9pm, FREE
790 Metropolitan Ave

Louis Katz and Grant Gordon just celebrated their first anniversary of laughing it up at low-hanging dick jokes with their comedy buddies from years working the standup scene. Big names like Hannibal Buress, Al Madrigal and Ali Wong pepper a line up of seasoned up-and-comers. Expect a few drop-ins riffing on the hell that is hipsterdom and how Middle America doesn’t understand Judaism.

aziz ansari broken comedy

Aziz Ansari, presumably having decided to knock some chairs over on stage at Broken Comedy NYC. Photo by Johnalynn Holland

NYC Broken Comedy
Bar Matchless, 8:30pm, FREE
557 Manhattan Ave

Just celebrating its 2nd birthday, the Greenpoint comedy staple offers up solid stand up with hosts Mike Denny, Michael Che and Nimesh Patel showcasing comedians from all walks of stand up, from relative unknowns to comedy veterans like Artie Lange. Even Aziz Ansari has stopped by the Matchless stage.

Ed Sullivan On Acid
Back Room at Freddy’s, 9:30pm, FREE
627 5th Avenue
First and third Monday each month

Hosted by by Pat O’Shea (VH1′s most famous mutton chops), this bi-weekly affair is Brooklyn’s little-engine-that-could make you laugh. Following Freddy’s from its original location to its current spot in South Slope, O’Shea’s once variety show now delivers straight stand up twice a month.

Dive Comedy 
Back Room at Freddy’s, 9pm, FREE
627 5th Avenue
Second and fourth Monday each month

Blending stand up with live music, Giulia Rozzi and Brooke Van Poppelen host notable local acts from comedy and indie rock while bringing a (fiercely funny) feminine touch to Freddy’s free comedy offerings.

Apocalypse Wow
Cameo Gallery, 8:30pm, FREE
96 North 6th Street

A show formerly found at Isa, host Max Bernstein has brought his show to the Cameo Gallery to provide free laughs with lineups featuring names like Emmy Blotnick, Sasheer Zamata and Henry Zebrowski, that are good enough to be the last one you see before the Rapture happens.

TUESDAYS:

A Comedy Show at Alligator Lounge
Alligator Lounge , 9pm, FREE
600 Metropolitan Ave

Just like the bar that hosts it, this comedy show provides a breath of fresh air from the neighborhood’s aesthetic-driven self-awareness in exchange for an innocent, foolhardy brand of self-deprecation. Plus, in addition to the house free-pizza-per-drink deal, the performers have been known to bring cookies for the backroom audience members.

julia johns cheap date comedy

Julia Johns entertains in front of the romantic backdrop of Cheap Date Comedy. via Facebook

Cheap Date Comedy Show
Union Hall, 8pm, $5
702 Union Street

True to it’s name, this is indeed a cheap date. And if you can avoid putting a target on your head and letting the assembled comedians there know you’re on a date, the 2nd Tuesday of every month comedy show is a good date too. Hosts Sharron Paul and Calvin Cole provide a diverse array of comics, free snacks, prizes (seriously) and a very depressing yet funny backdrop of a able set for two, with two bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.

Backfat
61 Local, 8:30pm, FREE
61 Bergen Street
Third Tuesday of every month

Hosted by the trio of Emily Winter, John Payne and Janet Manley, Backfat focuses mostly on comedy, but will add twists to their show, be it in a night devoted to comedic storytelling or even an open mic night coming up this week. The things the show always has though are the best in local and touring comics, and a comedic breakdown of the week’s news from Winter, Payne and Manley.

Manifesto!
People’s Republic of Brooklyn, 8pm, FREE
247 Smith Street

A show that’s a newcomer on the comedy scene, hosts Tim Ellis and Mo Fathelbab are also the most revolutionary of the shows on this list. In a literal way: the Manifesto manifesto calls for the elimination of the two-drink minimum and the destruction of the Comedy-Industrial Complex, all in the service of the audience joketariat.

WEDNESDAYS:

big terrific comedy

Max Silvestri pulling jokes out of thin air. Photo by Katie Capri

Big Terrific Comedy
Cameo Gallery, 8pm, FREE
96 N 6th St

Now in its fifth year, Big Terrific keeps the laughs rolling every hump day with a line up of seasoned jokesters (and Max Silvestri at the helm) riffing their way through the stage’s shredded mozzarella decor to the tune of uproarious laughter.

THURSDAYS

Big Ups Comedy
Little Skips, 9pm, $5 (includes ‘free’ beer)
941 Willoughby Ave

The “super secret speakeasy comedy show” is Bushwick’s ode to stand up. Bringing an intimate comedy showing to J/M/Z territory after the quirky-quaint cafe closes, hosts Taylor Clark, Jaqi Furback, Owen Straw and TJ Young  offer up an awkward hilarity that is location appropriate without being ostracizing.

FRIDAYS

Cool Show (not lame)
Legion, 8 pm, FREE
790 Metropolitan Avenue
Third Friday every month

Though its request to change the name to “Cool SNL” fell on deaf ears, Cool Show (not lame) feels like the next generation of the city’s sketch comedy holy grail.

Between first timers, seasoned stand-up comedians and improv group Gentle Touch, the monthly variety show maintains a wacky momentum that keeps the laughs rolling even if the show skips a beat. Get there early, the back room overflows faster than the draughts.

SATURDAYS: Go drink yourself silly like the rest of us.

SUNDAYS:

Comedy at the Knitting Factory
The Knitting Factory, 9pm, FREE
361 Metropolitan Ave

Hannibal Buress’ weekly show is kind of the unofficial reigning champ of Brooklyn’s free stand up. Though Buress can’t always make it (the man’s in undeniably high demand), his fill-in hosts always keep the packed house howling in his stead.

Creaghead and Company
Union Hall, 8pm, $7
702 Union Street

This no muss, no fuss show hosted by Caroline Creaghead focuses on just one thing: bringing the best local standups to Union Hall to make you laugh, and is able to deliver on that by drawing from a wide-range of comics that are known in Brooklyn and have been seen on TV on late night shows like Conan and Jimmy Fallon.

kate berlant let's get pregnant with comedy

Kate Berlant getting philosophical at Let’s Get Pregnant with Comedy. via Facebook

Let’s Get Pregnant With Comedy
Hank’s Saloon, 6pm, FREE
46 3rd Avenue
Third Sunday every month

It’s not very often a stand-up show is a shining beacon of democracy, but Let’s Get Pregnant is just that, having seasoned New York vets like Greg Barris, Kate Berlant and Jo Firestone share a stage with people who will sometimes tell you it’s their first time doing standup. That democratic spirit extends to the show’s joke telling contest, held after the comedians perform. Best joke told by an audience member gets a $20 bar tab, so practice something good before you show up.

For more free laughs, follow Katie on Twitter @katie_capri

One Comment

  • Hey! Great list! I’d like to add one more, please: Third Wednesday of every month.
    Brooklyn Heights Comedy Nights
    Brooklyn Heights Cinema
    70 Henry Street
    9:00 p.m.
    Only $5!
    Local talent, new talent, up-and-coming talent, NYC comedy club favorites and any combination of the above in a local landmark movie theater. The popcorn’s fresh and the butter’s real.

    Come by!