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NYC Spring Arts 2016: Best standup comedy shows

This spring, comedy is in full bloom, from the biting satire of late-night newcomer Samantha Bee to the essential election coverage of John Oliver and “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” returning to Netflix in April. But it all begins in the clubs around the city, so we’ve rounded up some of this spring’s funniest events.

Jay Pharoah
March 17-20
Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway
$38.25-$109

Now in his sixth season as a performer on “Saturday Night Live,” Pharaoh is best known for his uncanny impressions of President Obama, Kanye West and Jay-Z. But the 28-year-old Pharoah turned the spotlight back on himself last year, getting personal with his first standup comedy special “Can I Be Me?” Turns out yes, so whether it’s him or one of his many alter egos onstage, it’ll be a memorable night.

A Journey Through Black History
March 30, 9:30 p.m.
Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre Chelsea, 307 W. 26th St.
$5

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If you’ve never had the chance to see a show at the Upright Citizens Brigade, get thee to the UCB for this one, because it’s jam-packed with talent — you might even catch a rising comedy star before they hit the big-time. First, the Trumpet Boys and their horns (yes, they actually play trumpets) will make you laugh along to the music, and then sketch group Astronomy Club presents A Journey Through Black History, in which the Rev. Professor Ray Cordova explores topics like Rick Ross, Barack Obama and the Black Panthers, all from the safety of the year 2025.

Kathy Griffin

April 9, 8 p.m.
Kupferberg Center for the Arts, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing
$39-$74
April 10, 6 p.m.
Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, Avenue H at Campus Road
$25-$75

She may be an Emmy and Grammy award-winning powerhouse comedienne, but Kathy Griffin has always kept it real as the queen of self-deprecation. She’s bringing her new set, “Like a Boss,” inspired by the 2016 election season as well as her own personal run-ins with famous figures, for two nights of no-holds-barred humor.

Anjelah Johnson
May 4, 7 p.m.
Gramercy Theatre, 127 East 23rd Street
$39.50

Anjelah Johnson is part Native American, part Mexican and 100 percent hilarious. The former NFL cheerleader and MADtv cast member has a refreshing and irreverent take on race. Her impressions are always on-point and delivered with laugh-out-loud precision.

Deon Cole
May 12-15, 7:30 & 10 p.m.
Carolines on Broadway, 1626 Broadway
$41-$112

You might recognize Deon Cole as Charlie from the hit ABC show “Black-ish,” or trying to keep a straight face on Nancy and Steve Carell’s police procedural send-up “Angie Tribeca.” But Cole has been in comedy for 20 years now, and his deft observations on life will have you shaking your head while trying to catch your breath.

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