Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

#LaughLibrary Presents: Top 12 New York Comedians to Check Out in 2012

The year 2012 has arrived. Cope with the increasing number of failed New Years resolutions throughout the year with laughter. As a New Yorker, this is pretty easy, as we have a great comedy scene. Below is the #LaughLibrary's list of must-see comics. Most of these comics have work that you can sample at The New York Public Library. Let's begin!


12) Judah Friedlander (@JudahWorldChamp)

The World Champ of Comedy, you may best know Judah as comedy writer Frank Rossitano on NBC's 30 Rock, or as Toby Radloff in the 2003 Harvey Pekar biopic, American Splendor. In addition to conquering film and television worlds, the World Champ has brought the literary world to its knees with his recent guide to martial arts and self defense, How to Beat up Anybody: An Instructional and Inspirational Karate Book by the World Champion. Look out for announcements of upcoming appearances on his Twitter page.


11) Hannibal Buress (@hannibalburess)

You may not know Hannibal yet, but I have a feeling that he will become a much bigger name in 2012. He's definitely making waves in the entertainment world, with the recent taping of a Comedy Central special, writing gigs on SNL and 30 Rock, and his "feud" with rapper Young Jeezy. Buress hosts a FREE comedy show every Sunday night at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, and is a frequent guest of the Lower East Side Tell Your Friends comedy show.


10) Reggie Watts (@reggiewatts)

It's kind of hard to describe Reggie Watts's act. He's a musical comedian who makes funny songs on the spot by layering the beats and noises he makes with a looping machine. Check him out on YouTube or Vimeo, and it will all make sense. You can also check out Watts's CD/DVD Why $#!+ So Crazy? to get the full experience. Follow him on Twitter to find out when and where he'll be appearing.


9) Kristen Schaal (@kristenschaaled)

Kristen Schaal is probably best known as Mel, the stalkerish fan on the HBO show Flight of the Conchords. But fans of Schaal will know that this is not her only contribution to the comedy world. She has been a frequent correspondent on the Daily Show and has provided voiceovers for the movie Toy Story 3 and the TV show Bob's Burgers. She is also a hilarious author, which she demonstrates with her very humorous book, The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex. Schaal is also a great live performer, who hosts a weekly comedy variety show with Kurt Braunohler called Hot Tub at Littlefield in Brooklyn.


8) John Mulaney (@mulaney)

John Mulaney is just plain hilarious. If you get a chance to see him live, do it. I had the opportunity to be an audience member for a free taping of his upcoming Comedy Central special. (Twitter is a great tool to find out about free/cheap comedy shows and concerts). Mulaney, a Saturday Night Live writer and an occasional Weekend Update correspondent, absolutely killed it! I urge you to check out his special when it airs later this month!


7) Eugene Mirman (@EugeneMirman)

If you're a fan of alternative comedy, you probably know who Eugene Mirman is. If you don't know him, I recommend giving God is a 12-year-old Boy with Asperger's a listen. I first saw Mirman as one of the openers on the Comedians of Comedy tour several years ago. I have been a huge fan ever since. He is big in the Brooklyn comedy scene, with his semi-regular hosting gig of the Pretty Good Friends comedy show at Union Hall, and his annual Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival.


6) Todd Barry (@toddbarry)

You may know Todd Barry as the often sarcastic comic with the soft spoken delivery. I was recently fortunate enough to attend a free taping of one of his upcoming comedy specials (once again, the power of Twitter), and Barry really brought his A game. He has had many memorable TV and film roles, having appeared in episodes of Flight of the Conchords and Louie, and in the film The Wrestler. He is a regular performer at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village.


5) Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs)

Mike Birbiglia is a comic who is well known for his skillful storytelling. His storytelling abilities are exhibited in his off-Broadway one-man shows Sleepwalk with Me and My Girlfriend's Boyfriend. Birbiglia has adapted Sleepwalk with Me into a book, with future plans for a movie. He can be heard as a regular contributor on NPR's This American Life.


4) Jim Norton (@JimNorton)

Jim Norton is a very dirty comic, and that's what I love about him. Listeners of the Opie and Anthony radio show know little Jimmy Norton as one of the co-hosts of the show. Norton has authored two books, Happy Endings and I Hate Your Guts. He is a staple of the Comedy Cellar.


3) Dave Attell (@attell)

I was first exposed to Attell from his late-night Comedy Central documentary series Insomniac. I thought he was very funny as the host of this off-beat travel show where he revealed the late night goings-on of numerous North American and world locales. I later explored some of his comedy specials and live performances, and came to the conclusion that he is a genius when it comes to stand up. Notable specials include Dave Attell: Captain Miserable and Dave Attell's Insomniac Tour. He can likely be seen any given night at the Comedy Cellar.


2) Tracy Morgan (@RealTracyMorgan)

Tracy Morgan is an unpredictable comedian... you never know what he's going to say next. Sometimes I'm not even sure if he knows what he's going to say next. This Saturday Night Live alum's unpredictability and real life "out there" public persona are hilariously caricatured in his starring role of Tracy Jordan in 30 Rock. If you want to get to know Morgan better, I suggest checking out his biography, I Am the New Black, and his latest comedy special, Tracy Morgan: Black and Blue. Follow him on Twitter to find out announcements about upcoming appearances.


1) Louis C.K. (@louisck)

Louis C.K. has become one of the most well respected stand up comedians on the planet. His FX show, Louie, is probably one of the smartest and most original comedies on television. Every episode is like a separate short film about his life. Most episodes have a completely different feel from one another, ranging from the absurdities surrounding life in NYC to the difficulties of single parenthood. All episodes intersperse segments of him doing stand up, mostly filmed at the Comedy Cellar and Carolines on Broadway. He has recently completed a North American theater tour, culminating in his latest special, Louis CK: Live at the Beacon Theater. In an unconventional move, he decided to distribute the special for download via his website for $5. From the earnings he made off of the special, he has decided to donate 280k to charity. I have seen him perform the material for this special at Staten Island's own St. George Theatre, and I can say without a doubt that this download will be worth every penny.


So there you have it, our Top 12 New York Comedians to Check Out in 2012. Agree? Disagree? Let's talk... tell us what your think in the comments section below, or Tweet us @AwesomeLibrary. Make sure to use the hashtag #LaughLibrary!


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

I Love Lou-C!

I Love Lou-C!

Ha, who doesn't?

Ha, who doesn't?

Sometimes when Ricky gets

Sometimes when Ricky gets mad...I question if he really does love her...

Well, when she pulls the ball

Well, when she pulls the ball back from Charlie Brown, sometimes a little talking to may be in order.

Well I heard that Lucy went

Well I heard that Lucy went to the doctor because she had the sniffles and her doctor said it was a Linus infection.

Cool post, thanks!

Cool post, thanks!

Post new comment