It's almost time for comedy's favorite week of the year. Each fall, hundreds of comedians descend upon the city for the New York Comedy Festival — a six-day bonanza of sketch shows, panels, stand-up acts and more.
The 14th annual edition of the fest, running Nov. 7-12, features plenty of huge names, including Bill Maher, Chris Hardwick, Nick Offerman and Iliza Shlesinger, as well as smaller acts any fan should have on their radar. Late-night watchers will want to score tickets to Conan O’Brien’s week of tapings at Harlem’s Apollo Theater and Samantha Bee's "Full Frontal," while podcast fanatics will have no shortage of live-recordings to choose from.
Aspiring comedians can even learn from the masters with Chicago’s premiere training studio Second City. The famed theater – which boasts alumni like Bill Murray, Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Rachel Dratch, Tim Meadows and John Belushi – is hosting intensive workshops in improv, stand-up, and writing for sketch comedy and television.
Whether you’re hoping to check out somebody new or catch one of your all-time comedic heroes, here are 10 shows you won’t want to miss.
- An Evening with Kevin Smith
The director of cult classic comedies “Clerks," “Chasing Amy" and “Dogma” talks about his life, career and current projects at Carolines on Broadway. Nov. 8 and 9 at 7 p.m.
- Chris Hardwick
The former “@Midnight” host and “Nerdist” podcaster comes to Carolines on Broadway for three nights of pop culture-saturated, quick witted stand-up. Nov. 8-10 at various times.
- How Did This Get Made?
The long-running, incredibly popular podcast about so-bad-it’s-good movies hosted by Paul Scheer (“Veep”), Jason Mantzoukas (“The League”) and June Diane Raphael (“Grace & Frankie”) records two live shows at Town Hall. Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.
- Vir Das
India’s biggest English-speaking comedian and Bollywood star returns to the United States with his unique point of view and exceptional comedic timing. BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.
- Guys we F-----: The Experience
New York comedians Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson host a live version of their anti slut-shaming podcast, complete with audience participation, games and stand-up. BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Nov. 9 at 9:30 p.m.
- 2 Dope Queens
The critically adored podcast hosted winningly by stand-up comic and writer Phoebe Robinson and rising super star Jessica Williams (“The Daily Show,” “The Incredible Jessica James”), brings local stand-up comics to The Bell House. Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
- Jo Koy
Best known for his frequent appearances on “Chelsea Lately” and memorable stand-up sets on other late-night talk shows, Koy delivers high-energy personal stories and scores major laughs. Town Hall, Nov. 10 at 9:45 p.m.
- Iliza Live!
The 2008 “Last Comic Standing” winner Iliza Shlesinger, hot off her sold-out national tour, kicks off her “Girl Logic” book tour at Town Hall. Ticket price includes a copy of the book. Nov. 11 at 7 p.m.
- Nick Offerman: Full Bush
The manly man behind Ron Swanson on “Parks & Recreation,” stops by the Beacon Theatre for a laid-back evening of comedy, anecdotes about woodworking, and raunchy songs. Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m.
- An Evening With Bill Maher
Over the past two decades-plus, HBO’s “Real Time” host has left his mark as both a comedian and political commentator. He’s bringing that keen intellect and biting humor once again to The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Nov. 11 at 8 p.m.