There’s nothing like standup comedy. To experience someone, alone on a stage, deliver a joke in front of an audience of thousands is something to behold. There’s no guitar riff or action scene to rely on, just pure, unadulterated, good old-fashioned punchlines. That’s exactly why we’re so excited that New York Comedy Festival is here.

This festival is packed with events of all sorts, from standup specials to comedy competitions and showcases. It’s a lot to take in. So, we thought we’d distill the humor into just 5 must-attend events.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a great way to dip your toes in the comedy game or to start planning your festival experience with top-tier events. We’ve included some up-and-comers and comedy legends in the mix, so it’ll be a good time for the whole family—dirty jokes notwithstanding.

Here are five must-see events for this week’s New York Comedy Festival.


Nov. 5
Jenny Slate at Town Hall New York

At this point, Jenny Slate is a household name in the entertainment industry. Besides a short stint on SNL, she’s been on just about every off-the-wall comedy show from Brooklyn Nine-Nine to Bob’s Burgers—and, of course, the incredible (and incredibly awful) Mona Lisa on Parks and Recreation. But, with her latest Netflix special, she’s stepping into the standup spotlight with her self-aware “it girl” schtick and it’s irresistible. She’s a must-see at the festival.

Get Your Tickets To Jenny Slate

Nov. 7
Tom Segura at Beacon Theatre

Every day at New York Comedy Festival seems to be stacked this year. We were between a pair of veteran comedians for this day with Norm MacDonald and Stephen Colbert, but we think if you could just pick one you should go with the up-and-coming deadpan style of Tom Segura. Of course, he’s only an up-and-comer by Colbert’s standards—he has three Netflix specials and a handful of TV appearances under his belt. Audiences are falling in love with his relatable style and ability to thread a narrative—then land the finish when it counts. Don’t miss it.

Get Your Tickets To Tom Segura

Nov. 8
Comedy Bang! Bang! with Scott Aukerman at Beacon Theatre

There’s nothing quite like Comedy Bang! Bang!. The show’s improvisational style was downloaded more than 50 million times as a podcast before IFC picked it up as an on-air sketch and comedy show. Most of its success is due to host Scott Aukerman, who was behind HBO’s Mr. Show and Zach Galifianakis’ Between Two Ferns. CBB is entirely unpredictable, entertaining, and driven by some of the most talented comedians out there. We’d try to tell you what to expect, but we’re not too sure and that’s probably the point.

Get Your Tickets To Comedy Bang! Bang! with Scott Aukerman

Nov. 9
Nate Bargatze at Town Hall

Some comedians have to convince you they’re funny. It’s hard work. On the other hand, some comedians just have the x-factor. Enter Nate Bargatze. He’s not flashy, not trying to force you into laughing—that just happens naturally with his down-to-earth, monotone, everyman’s delivery. Not afraid to take a shot at himself, Nate’s Netflix special was one this year’s best performances and you definitely don’t want to miss him on tour.

Get Your Tickets To Nate Bargatze

Nov. 10
Norm MacDonald at Caroline’s on Broadway

Why not round out your New York Comedy Festival experience with a legend? There’s something special about seeing the craftsmanship of a well-told joke, and comedians like Norm have lasted in the industry on this skill alone. Sure, he’s had his fair share of success on SNL and in numerous films, but to see him deliver a bit from the stage live is to see a master at work. It helps that he’s funny as hell, too.

Get Your Tickets To Norm MacDonald