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Daniel Kitson is performing July 7-13 in NYC; grab tickets here
Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:
[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: A wonderful—and free!—outdoor comedy concert at Central Park, with Amy Schumer, John Mulaney, Jeff Ross, Andy DeVine, and Dan Soder performing stand-up hosted by Gabriel Iglesias: Central Park SummerStage: Comedy Central Stars Under the Stars
Even though SummerStage is spacious enough to accommodate hundreds of visitors,
it’s not uncommon for every square inch of ground to be occupied with folks eager to laugh.
It’s therefore recommended you arrive early for this lovely comedy party
to ensure you get in, and can nab either a seat or a comfortable spot on the grass.
(And consider bringing a large blanket…)
SummerStage is located at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park.
From the East side: Take the #6 subway to 68th Street and Lexington,
or the M1/M2/M3/M4 bus to 72nd Street and 5th Avenue;
enter the park at 69th Street and 5th Avenue;
and then walk a bit following the map above.
Traveling crosstown: Take the M-66 or M72 bus to Fifth Avenue;
enter the park at 69th Street and 5th Avenue;
and then walk a bit following the map above.
From the West side: Take the 1/2/3/B/C subway to 72nd Street,
or the M7/M10/M11 bus to 72nd Street and Central Park West;
enter the park at 72nd Street and Central Park West;
and then walk a whole lot following the map above.
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Brilliant improvisor Ellena Chmielewski proves herself to also be a brilliant comedic writer, and a young, fresh voice about relationships, in this mini-play about modern romance at UCB Chelsea she co-wrote with John Zachary Townsend, and that holds the seeds for a longer commercial stage production and/or a series on a network like MTV. Come enjoy watching the foundation of a promising career at one of the best-scripted shows to grace UCBT in a while (and if you know Ellena, urge her to star or co-star in her next production, because she’s a gifted performer too): Standards & Practices…
…and the other half of this double-bill focuses on UCBT star & Chris Gethard Show icon Riley Soloner, who’s a sweet and silly comic almost impossible to not like. His character Vacation Jason is over-the-top ridiculous, which means Riley has to walk a tightrope between getting laughs and creating a reality believable enough to make us care about what’s going on. This first attempt at a sketch show falters on the latter; and I’d encourage Riley to be bolder about doing sharp, smart comedy, even with dumb characters, as he moves forward with his young and promising career. But script aside, there are worse ways to spend 30 minutes then watch Riley on stage while you’re wearing a show-supplied Hawaiian lei of flowers around your neck; and tonight is your last chance to see Vacation Jason’s Island Flavors
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Storytellers Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant writer, stand-up, and storyteller; writer and/or producer for MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy, and Nikki & Sara Show; trutV, TLC, co-host of Dive Comedy), Jacob Tomsky (New York Times bestselling author of Heads in Beds), Kate Greathead (Moth GrandSlam champion), Eric Noah Feldman (McSweeney’s), and Brian Grosz (voiceover artist, musician) tell true tales about how Little Things Mean a Lot for this monthly show at Happy Ending (302 Broome Street) hosted by Blaise Allysen Kearsley: How I Learned…Little Things Mean a Lot
[TOP PICK] [FREE] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm (FREE online using discount code SACHI; no min.): Michelle Wolf (super-likeable dark comic rising star; IFC), Robert Dean (Comedy Central), Ashley Brooke Roberts (co-host of The Dream Show), Joe Zimmerman, Shakir Standley, and Rojo Perez performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS, host of ComedyJuice): Showcase Showdown
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($12 online or at the door): A Chicago-based troupe that’s wowed audiences around the world with their skill at creating a completely improvised hour-long musical. The plot and characters, the musical accompaniment, even the song lyrics and “choreography” are made up on the spot, with no pre-planned structure. Come see why BWC won a FringeNYC Award for Outstanding Unique Theatrical Event by catching any or all of this four-night run (from 6/24 through Thursday) at the Hudson Guild Theatre (441 West 26th Street): Baby Wants Candy
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): One of the finest comedic storytelling shows in the country, in which brilliant writer/performers—who tonight are Adam Wade, Melanie Hamlett, David Crabb, Gilli Nissim, and wonderful host Dave Martin tell tales that are brutally honest and utterly hilarious on this month’s theme Fathers at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Nights of Our Lives
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:30 pm: Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host) tries out material in this free solo show at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Nick DiPaolo
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), and Sasheer Zamata (highly charming, innovative rising star; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, FX’s Totally Biased; host of UCBT’s School Night, member of red-hot improv troupe Doppelganger, sketch troupe The Prom, and Harold Night troupe Bucky), and Nick Feitel (The Chris Gethard Show) perform stand-up at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Griffin Newman & Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: The wonderful Sasheer Zamata (highly charming, innovative rising star; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, FX’s Totally Biased; member of red-hot improv troupe Doppelganger, sketch troupe The Prom, and Harold Night troupe Bucky) hosts as many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; plus Sasheer is going to be a huge star, so catch her in this intimate setting while you can. (Tonight’s scheduled guests include rising star John Flynn and red-hot improv group Doppelganger; for the complete list, please click here.) Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night
[TOP PICK] [$] 11:30 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Uncensored stand-up from Dave Attell (one of the most respected stand-ups in the biz; star of Showtime’s Dave’s Old Porn and Comedy Central’s Insomniac; HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1), and Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by William Stephenson (FX’s Louie, The Chris Rock Show): The Nasty Show: Dave Attell, Kurt Metzger, Big Jay Oakerson, and More
Wednesday Open Mics & Jams
6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. Tonight is your chance to improvise with them on the UCB East stage, along with hosts Betsy Stover & Ari Voukydis, and DJ Cipha Sounds: Hot for Teacher: Student Lounge
[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets
Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling
Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; shows free-$10; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world)
Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seat main theatre, bar area for open mics; shows free-$10)
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$15)
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)
Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)
Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, Comedy Juice on Tuesdays, and more; 2-drink min.)
From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: If you want to know what is happening in NYC comedy on a particular day, you gotta get hip to this dude Hy Bender and his site Best New York Comedy. The site is updated daily and features a super exhaustive look at what is happening in the NYC comedy world that particular day. The site is updated religiously…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.