Erin Lennox performs at DTF.
Credit: Mindy Tucker
Between cover charges and two item minimums, an evening at a traditional comedy club can be a financial blow. Luckily, New Yorkers have access to the best free comedy in the country every night of the week. Independently produced comedy showcases guarantee laughs without the formality of costlier venues. These top-notch free shows are some of New York’s best-kept secrets.
Second & fourth Thursdays of every month, 8 p.m.
Three of Cups Lounge, 83 First Ave., 212-388-0059
Hosts Evan Davis and Cheryl Wolf have a knack for booking well-established, brainy comics with plenty of clout. Couches and coffee tables lend the venue a laid-back, posh vibe, giving the show an intimate feel like a night with your funny, smart friends.
First and third Mondays of every month, 8 p.m.
Grand Victory Bar, 245 Grand Ave., Brooklyn, 347-529-6610
Featuring a DJ spinning '90s hip-hop and a giant flag backdrop in a skinny Williamsburg bar, DTF is the perfect tongue-in-cheek Monday night party. Hosted by Erin Lennox and Nick Maritato, the show features a strong blend of the city’s strongest emerging stand-ups. Lennox’s razor-sharp jokes are as dark as the bar.
Every Wednesday, 7 p.m.
The Charleston, 174 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, 718-599-9599
This unpretentious beer joint hands out free pizza with each drink. This fun, casual show matches the venue’s tone – host Eli Yudin is a one-liner wizard, and serves up a friendly vibe that is low-brow in the best possible way.
First Saturday of every month, 10 p.m.
The Creek and the Cave, 10-93 Jackson Ave., Queens, 718-706-8783
It’s tough to pick just one show put on at The Creek and the Cave, New York’s best spot for free, experimental comedy. Underbelly, a show featuring stand-ups not doing stand-up, is delightfully weird and engaging. The show has featured everything from sketch to improvised poetry to satirical power points. Hosts and best friends Andrew Short and Reid Faylor put on a warm, goofy show.
The Dream Show
Second and fourth Saturdays of every month, 8 p.m.
The Comedy Bar, 124 W. 29th St., 212-714-2222
This shiny new venue is a massive performance space that still manages to come off as an unassuming people-pleaser. Stellar character performers Ashley Brooke Roberts and Amber Nelson host this variety show featuring stand-up, storytelling, sketch and music.
Comedy at Beauty Bar
Every Sunday, 9 p.m.
Beauty Bar, 231 E. 14th St., 212-539-1389
This funky salon-bar hybrid is the coolest spot in the Union Square area. Michigan natives Brad Austin, Nate Fridson and Adam Sokol win over audiences with an inviting sense of humor that makes you want to be friends with them.