In New York City, we could all use a laugh sometimes. With so much budget-friendly fun at your disposal, paying for entertainment is simply laughable. Catch comedy world greats, famous faces, and rising talents at Manhattan’s best free comedy shows.
Bomb Shelter Comedy Show
Catch the country’s best comedians as they work on new material at the Bomb Shelter Comedy Show. This weekly show, which counts vets from Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, and The Late Show amongst its talents, brings a piece of heaven to Hell’s Kitchen’s Gaf West bar. Tip: laughs aren’t the only thing that’s free here—come hungry for entertainment and eats, such as free pizza and budget-friendly beers.
Gandhi, is that You?
Check out the show that’s earned spit-takes (or at the very least, glowing write-ups) from cultural authorities such as Time Out New York and Thrillist. While you may not find the illustrious Indian leader himself at Gandhi, is that You?, writers and actors behind your favorite funny programs, including Adam Ruins Everything, Last Comic Standing, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, can be counted on to bring the laughs.
Comedy at Beauty Bar
Count on Beauty Bar, a retro nail salon-cum-nightclub chain, to deliver some of the most unique entertainment in New York City. At the weekly Comedy at Beauty Bar, expect to catch comics you know and love as well as those who the hosts think you should know. Even if you don’t happen to see a familiar face, the show’s talented hosts (and a solid manicure) will make your night.
No, But What’s Your Real Job?
A self-described “old-fashioned Greenwich Village joint” plays host to this contemporary comedy show. Modern material and margaritas are what’s on the menu at the Lantern Bar & Restaurant’s monthly No, But What’s Your Real Job? Tip: early birds will be rewarded with free frozen margaritas, which are given gratis to the first five people to arrive.
King Hippo Comedy Show
Combining comedy and dancing, King Hippo Comedy Show & Afterparty is entertainment royalty around here. At this event and after-party situated inside an East Village speakeasy, jokesters with national credits join hosts and MTV vets Ayanna Dookie and Mike Brown to perform stand-up before getting down with a live DJ and audience members.
Legendary comedy company Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) boasts comedy’s most popular free show in the city. Reserve your seat early for Whiplash, a show welcoming veteran comics (Kate McKinnon, Ilana Glazer, and Brian McCann are counted amongst UCB’s talents) to the stage as well as comedy fans, such as Louis C.K., to its audience.
UCB Theatre, 307 W 26th St, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 366 9176
Hot Soup has been known to welcome the biggest names in comedy to its stage, making the show one of Manhattan’s best bets for free-of-charge fun. Every Tuesday night, Midtown pub The Irish Exit offers rollicking lineups, which in the past have featured Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Michael Che, and more.
The Irish Exit, 978 2nd Ave, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 755 8383
Let’s See, What Else?
Contrary to the show’s name, Let’s See, What Else? won’t leave you wanting. New York comedians Missy Baker and Tom Delgado host this weekly comedy show, where both up-and-coming and established talents, such as SNL cast member Sasheer Zamata, bring the house down.