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Free comedy in NYC: Catch some laughs at these stand-up and improv shows

New York City is known for many things, and a great selection of comedy is one of them. But most well-known comedy spots come at a price. From mandatory drink purchases (and minimums) to door fees, getting your laugh on may empty your wallet.

But don't despair: There are plenty of places to see stand-up and improv around the city that will have you supporting the local comedy scene without spending on the performances.

Though you’ll probably grab a drink, or two, on your own, these comedy spots don’t have drink charges or door fees, making the actual performance priceless, literally.

So the next time you’re looking for some solid entertainment on your night out, head to these comedy shows, held at a bar or comedy club near you.

Soft Spot Comedy

Gowanus' brewery, pub and espresso bar Threes Brewing
Photo Credit: Alison Grasso

Gowanus' brewery, pub and espresso bar Threes Brewing hosts Soft Spot Comedy, a free stand-up show with comedians Brendan McLaughlin and Claudia Cogan, pictured, bringing some of their favorite acts to the stage. Grab a craft beer and enjoy the complimentary night of laughs. (333 Douglass St., Brooklyn, 9 p.m., performances on the third Wednesday of every month, threesbrewing.com)

'Drop the Mike'

This monthly stand-up night in Ditmas Park is
Photo Credit: 'Drop the Mike'

This monthly stand-up night in Ditmas Park is an all-female show, plus one token male comic. Comedians including Aparna Nancherla, Leah Bonnema, Giulia Rozzi and more have performed. (Sycamore Bar, 1118 Cortelyou Rd., Brooklyn, performances on the second Wednesday of the month, 8 p.m., sycamorebrooklyn.com/events)

'Ed Sullivan on Acid'

This free show has been in Brooklyn for
Photo Credit: Ed Sullivan on Acid

This free show has been in Brooklyn for over a decade and still brings the laughs. Hosted by Calvin S. Cato and created by Pat O'Shea, it combines performances from seasoned comics and up-and-coming local acts. Head to the backroom at Freddy's Bar, and enjoy some free candy with the sweet stand-up gigs. (Freddy's Bar, 627 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, 9 to 10:30 p.m., upcoming performances: Oct. 17, Nov. 7, Nov. 14, Nov. 21, Dec. 5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19; freddysbar.com)

'Gandhi, Is That You?'

Lower East Side bar Lucky Jack's hosts comedy
Photo Credit: Gandhi, Is That You?

Lower East Side bar Lucky Jack's hosts comedy show "Gandhi, Is That You?" with Lance Weiss and Brendan Fitzgibbons every week. It has included appearances by, among others, Louis C.K., Jim Gaffigan and Hannibal Buress. The show is completely free, but if you're looking to spend on drinks, the bar offers a beer bucket deal of five bottles for the price of four, as well as an upstairs "Post Show Special" deal. (Lucky Jack's, the downstairs lounge, 129 Orchard St., Manhattan, Wednesdays at 9 p.m., gandhiisthatyou.com)

'I Don't Get It'

Head to the backroom of HiFi, the East
Photo Credit: I Don’t Get It

Head to the backroom of HiFi, the East Village bar and performance space where Gary Levitt and Matt Schwartzer produce a weekly comedy show. This free show, featuring a combination of stand-up and improv performances, is sure to bring laughs. (HiFi, 169 Avenue A, Manhattan, Fridays at 8 p.m., doors open at 7:30 p.m., thehifibar.com)

'Comedy at Beauty Bar'

This weekly comedy event, hosted by Brad Austin,
Photo Credit: Dana Reszutek

This weekly comedy event, hosted by Brad Austin, Nate Fridson and Adam Sokol, features a variety of local performers that changes with every show. Head to the backroom of the Union Square bar, and enjoy a variety of drinks and cocktails while you watch the comedians. (The Beauty Bar, 231 E. 14th St., Manhattan, every Sunday at 8:30 p.m., facebook.com/ComedyAtBeautyBar)

'Nothing Important'

Head to the Lower East Side on Fridays
Photo Credit: Nothing Important

Head to the Lower East Side on Fridays to see "Nothing Important," a stand-up show run by comedians Phil Stamato, Daniel Raderstrong and Matt Leary. Comics from Comedy Central, CollegeHumor and more, including Myq Kaplan and Janelle James, have made appearances. (One and One, 76 E. First St., Manhattan, 8:30 p.m., facebook.com/NothingImportantComedy)

'ASSSSCAT 3000'

Both Upright Citizens Brigade theaters in Manhattan offer
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Toth

Both Upright Citizens Brigade theaters in Manhattan offer a selection of free improv comedy performances, but one show at the Chelsea location gives you the opportunity to see some of your favorite comedians for a lot less than their headlining shows. "ASSSSCAT 3000," which is performed every Sunday at 9:30 p.m. for free, has been known to host special guests, including Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch. Though tickets are complimentary, be sure to get there early -- we mean early -- as fans line up for hours before the show to snag a seat. (UCB Chelsea, 307 W. 26th St., Manhattan, ucbtheatre.com)

'Side Ponytail'

Head to Crown Height's Friends & Lovers on
Photo Credit: Roberto Tobar

Head to Crown Height's Friends & Lovers on Mondays to see "Side Ponytail," a free comedy show featuring hilarious performers like Brian Parise, and Drew Dowdey. (Friends & Lovers, 641 Classon Ave., Brooklyn, 7 to 9 p.m., facebook.com/sideponytailcomedy)

NYC Broken Comedy

Enjoy laughs every Monday from NYC Broken Comedy,
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jennifer Graylock

Enjoy laughs every Monday from NYC Broken Comedy, hosted by comedians Mike Denny, Michael Che and Nimesh Patel at Bar Matchless in Greenpoint. You may even catch a set by a familiar face, like Hannibal Buress from "Broad City." (Bar Matchless, 557 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, doors open at 8:30 p.m., facebook.com/NYCBrokenComedy)

QED's open mic

Head to QED Astoria for free open mic
Photo Credit: QED via Facebook

Head to QED Astoria for free open mic nights, featuring comedy, poetry, storytelling, music. Whether you want to sit in the audience and relax or practice your own stand-up routine in front of a small audience, this is the space to do it. Check the calendar for free listings. (QED Astoria, 27-16 23rd Ave., Queens, qedastoria.com)

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