After a year-and-a-half of livestreams and virtual concerts, live music and comedy events are making a triumphant return! As innovative, fun and necessary as those virtual events were last year, they could never replace the feeling of hearing musicians and singers in person, seeing crowds dance and celebrate as their favorite song plays, and joining the laughter as a comedian cracks up the audience with a hilarious joke.
Now that live music and comedy are back, it’s time for Brooklyn to reclaim its title as one of the most popular destinations for touring singers, musicians, bands and comedians. Touring artists love visiting Brooklyn because the community’s tastes are so eclectic and the audiences are eager to experience the best indie pop bands, alternative rock groups, singer/songwriters, rappers, and everything in between. Plus, Brooklynites can find humor in almost any situation, so stand-up, sketch and improv comedy are popular draws with the community.
Though not all live music venues are open right now, three favorites are back with schedules filled with some of the best live music and stand-up comedy in Brooklyn.
Pete’s Candy Store
Dubbed “The Biggest Little Venue in NYC”, Pete’s Candy Store is an intimate performance space that really was a Williamsburg candy store back in the day. Located at 709 Lorimer Street just between Frost Street and Richardson Street. Pete’s Candy Store has presented performances by popular national acts such as Nora Jones, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Will Oldham, Rufus Wainwright, Dirty Projectors, Beth Orton and others. In addition to these established and up-and-coming touring acts, Pete’s also presents lots of local live events like weekly open mic nights and trivia events, local band showcases, LGBT+ events, poetry readings, stand-up comedy and more. Best part: many of these weekly events are free!
The Bell House
One of the most popular spots for live music and stand-up comedy in Brooklyn is Gowanus’ legendary Bell House! Since opening its doors in 2008, this former warehouse has one of the most diverse schedules of any live performance venue. On any given night, audiences can enjoy the music of popular acts like St. Vincent, Parquet Courts, The Felice Brothers, Waxahatchee, The English Beat and other indie musicians and bands. The Bell House is also known for a schedule filled with a variety of live comedy events. Comedy fans can catch sets from popular stand-up comedians like Eugen Mirman, Carmen Esposito, James Adomian, Fred Armisen, Paul F. Thompkins, Billy Eichner and others. Improv and sketch comedy groups such as Superego and Spontaneanation have graced it’s stage, while humorist John Hodgman has recorded TV specials there, too. Plus, the popular NPR game show Ask Me Another records its episodes at the Bell House.
The Knitting Factory
Originally located in Manhattan, the Knitting Factory relocated to Williamsburg in 2009. Their loss was Brooklyn’s gain as this legendary venue is a hot spot for live music and stand-up comedy in Brooklyn. This summer along with shows from celebrated comedians such as Grant Sheffield and popular bands like Primus, the Knit will showcase an array of crowd-pleasing tribute acts who authentically recreate the sounds and sights of some of rock’s most beloved bands.
These are just three of the many great live music and comedy venues in Brooklyn. As more restrictions are lifted throughout the summer, you can expect to see lots of great live concerts and comedy events scheduled in the neighborhood – and the Gowanus apartments at 363 Bond Street are your ticket to easy access to these amazing venues.