NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 12/19/14

December 19, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Ben Stiller and Damon Wayans are on Jimmy Kimmel;
Jay Leno is on Craig Ferguson;
Owen Wilson is on Ellen DeGeneres;
Cameron Diaz is on Seth Meyers (repeated from 12/10)

Bellevue Presents Seinfeld: "The Leaning Susan"

The funniest UCB parody of the year returns: Bellevue Presents Seinfeld: “The Leaning Susan”

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:

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Great lineup of Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand- ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, twoComedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Powerhouse improv singer Rebecca Vigil and her improv partner Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical at The PIT downstairs lounge: Your Love, Our Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Judah Friedlander, Keith Alberstadt, and Marina Franklin at the 7:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Greer Barnes, and Keith Alberstadt at the 7:30 show; Judah Friedlander, Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, Rachel Feinstein, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 8:45 show; Judah Friedlander, Greer Barnes, and Lynne Koplitz at the 9:30 show; Joe Machi, Nick Griffin, Greer Barnes, and Lynne Koplitz at the 10:30 show; and Kurt Metzger, Artie Lange, Greer Barnes, Russ Meneve, Lynne Koplitz, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 12:15 show, with all shows atComedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Favorite sketches from Magnet groups Baby Shoes, Billy & Seb, Dispacho, Kelly & Kate, Kevin & Jimmy, Party., The Rolling Scones, and We’re Matt Weir: Bonus Round

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from an upbeat group at The PIT upstairs theatre: Totally, Yes

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($10): One of the very best shows to grace UCB Chelsea this year, sketch group Bellevueand director Brandon Gulya create a totally hilarious “missing” episode of a classic sitcom: Seinfeld: “The Leaning Susan”

…and in the second half of this double-bill, Kristen Bartlett & Jason Gore perform a sketch show about dealing with losing their dads within months of each other “but it’s funny, we swear” in The Dead Dads Club

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($60 & 2-drink min.) A cast member of Saturday Night Live and In LIving Color (most famously playing Homey D. Clown), and an actor in numerous feature films, headlining tonight through Sunday—albeit at a steep price—at the Carolines Comedy Club: Damon Wayans

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Here and Now

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($12.50 online using discount code XMAS; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn; host of Night Train), Jen Kirkman (HBO, VH1, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central’s Drunk History, staff writer for NBC’s Perfect Couples, author or I Can Barely Take Care of Myself), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Wyatt Cenac, Rachel Feinstein, Jessica Kirson, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($29): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot: Vern and Royals

[$] 8:00 pm ($12): David Carl (brilliantly talented and hilarious rising star character/sketch performer; Point Break Live, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet) performs 100 Impressions In 30 Minutes, which isn’t great as a show because it focuses on technique rather than character humor, but it’s a showcase for David’s highly impressive skills and charismatic charm (and has the potential to serve as the foundation for something greater that’s character-driven); plus band Viper pays tribute to the soundtrack of Top Gun, all at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue): 100 Impressions with David Carland Viper Plays Top Gun

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-up, sketches, and music for this variety show at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre:Take It Or Leave It

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, improv troupe Salmon Diane, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with a delightfully wry style and lightning-quick mind; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, Totally Biased, recently opened for Tig Notaro at Town Hall), Michelle Wolf (rising star; staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code,IFC), Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, host of Big Long Sets), Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, co-host of Broken Comedy), Blake Midgette (Adult Swim), Travis Irvine, and Brett Hiker performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue) hosted by Erik Bergstrom, Ben Kronberg, and/or John F. O’Donnell: Live From Outer Space: Aparna Nancherla, MIchelle Wolf, Adam Newman, and More

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Neil Casey, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, Abra Tabak, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): In this unique variety show, “a bunch of daring comics get ballsy as each does something on stage he or she has never done but has always wanted to” at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Peter Michael Marino (creator of the SoloCom Festival) and Kirsten O’Brien: Cojones

9:30 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher): Dagger and Hello

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($12.50 online using discount code XMAS; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author ofHow to Beat Up Anybody), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn; host of Night Train), Jen Kirkman (HBO, VH1, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central’s Drunk History, staff writer for NBC’s Perfect Couples, author or I Can Barely Take Care of Myself), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Ari Shaffir, Wyatt Cenac, Jessica Kirson, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craftThe Made-Up Musical

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist andThe Prom) and Matteo Lane “sing your favorite Christmas songs while slowly getting drunker throughout the night. Come see if we can still stand by the end! You’re gonna be Laughing All the Way while we Jingle Your Bells” at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge: Mateo’s & Amber’s Christmas Cabaret Sing-Song

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Veteran improvisors reunite, new improvisors perform, and then old and new merge to create a one-nigh-only team at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Nick Arret: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Dan Klein, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and/or Conner O’Malley—who this year defeated The Stepfathers and thoroughly crushed another troupe at Cage Match before losing by a single vote—make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy albumSadamantium), Jonathan Braylock (Amazing Spider-Man 2, host of The Lockdown), and more performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($8): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at The PIT upstairs theatre: Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

11:00 pm ($5): A late night talk show written by the wonderful David Carl and David Kimball-Stanley, with tonight’s guests not announced, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Paul Gutkowski: The Last Show

11:30 pm ($7): Phoebe Tyers performs a one-woman show that’s “a late night spectacular that answers this seasonal question: what is the meaning of Christmas trees? From dashing Rockettes to southern musical guests, an explosion of gifts that lets you meet some of your favorite Christmas characters like the Grinch and Mariah Carey” atThe Magnet theatre directed by Jon Bander: Phoebe Tonight, Tonite

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “You better watch out, you might as well cry, say your prayers, cause y’all gonna die. Santa Claus is coming to town. This show tells the story of Santa Claus in the Wild West;” plus stand-up from Michelle Wolf (rising star; staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Matt Koff (writer forThe Daily Show), and Liza Treyger (Chelsea Lately), all at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Andy Rocco Presents Santa The Gunslinger

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Danny Tamberelli & Mike Maronna (star of The Adventures of Pete & Pete) are the guests on this “live monthly comedy game show in which three contestants participate in a battle of wits and knowledge for the chance to win a grand prize of 20 American dollars” at UCB East hosted by Ryan Simmons: Everyone’s Favorite Game Show

[FREE] Midnight: “A live staged reading of an episode of the hit sitcom Fraiser. And all the actors are drunk. And they will just get drunker and drunker as the episode goes on. With live commercials” at Queens LIC’s The Creekupstairs theatre spearheaded by Aaron Glaser: Wasted Fraser

Friday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at theStand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the upstairs theatre for Pitch

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge forHappy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 3 minutes per comic (unless not many folks show up, in which case there’ll be more time), with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Sarah Tollemache and/or Paul Oddo: The Friday Night Hot Chicks Open Mic

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

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)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$15)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(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, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com. He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 12/17/14

December 17, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: James Franco & Seth Rogen are on Jimmy Fallon;
Michael Keaton is on Jimmy Kimmel;
Jason Schwartzman is on Conan O’Brien;
Betty White is Craig Ferguson;
Mike Lawrence, Alice Wetterlund, and Matt Braunger are on @midnight

John Lutz and Scott Adsit

Genius comics John Lutz and Scott Adsit make you see how incredible top improv can be as duo John & Scott

Star Wars Holiday Special

…and Cyndi Freeman & friends present a burlesque tribute to possibly the worst TV special of all time: Star Wars Holiday Special

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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Mike Birbiglia’s Dream is both a reference to Mike’s hit play & film Sleepwalk With Me, and to the group of improvisors he’s gathered being a “dream team” for making up scenes springboarding off his stories. Tonight at UCB Chelsea Mike spins tales for Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher, and/or more: Mike Birbiglia’s Dream

7:00 pm ($5): “Late one night, two Southern-born gal pals fall asleep while watching Gone with the Wind and find themselves caught in a fever dream! Join them on a journey of epic proportions as they forge through their fusedGone-with-the-Wind-saturated subconscious. Part reconstruction, part deconstruction, and part pop culture nonsense” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Frankie & Sarah’s Gone with the Wind Fever Dream

7:00 pm to 11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

7:15 pm ($5): All six UCB East longform improv groups—Buchanan, Astronomy Club, Big Revival, Boombox, Witch, and Rizzo—perform for this annual Longest Lloyd Night of the Year

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): In this special show, stand-ups take suggestions from the audience and make up an entirely new set on the spot, with tonight’s brave comics Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Jen Kirkman (HBO, VH1, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central’s Drunk History, staff writer for NBC’s Perfect Couples, author or I Can Barely Take Care of Myself), Michelle Wolf (rising star; staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Jordan Carlos (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, Adult Swim), Casey Balsham, and Paul Virzi performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Robby Slowik: Stand-Up on the Spot with Judah Friedlander, Jen Kirkman, Michelle Wolf, Dan St. Germain, Damien Lemon, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): “The Star Wars Holiday Special was broadcast in its entirety only once, in the United States and Canada, on November 17, 1978, preempting Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk. It has never been rebroadcast or officially released on home video. David Hofstede called it ‘the worst two hours of television ever.’ George Lucas has reportedly said ‘If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.’ Join us and find out why Cherry Pitz is obsessed with it!” in this burlesque tribute accompanied by clips of the show at at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Cherry Pitz (a.k.a. sharp storyteller Cyndi Freeman): Hotsy Totsy Burlesque’s tribute to The 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): One of the finest comedic storytelling shows in the country, in which writer/performers Adam Wade, Josh Sharp, Anna Roisman, David Bluvband, and wonderful host Dave Martin tell tales that are brutally honest and hilarious on this month’s theme Religion at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Nights of Our Lives

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A Christmas sketch show from Natasha Vaynblat (improv group What I Did For Love, sketch group Absolutely, one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Joanna Bradley, John Zachary Townsend, Frank Garcia Hejl, Allison Brown, and Michael Wolf, plus improv and more at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sarah Heveron-Smith & Joe Cilio: The Sarah and Joe Christmas Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Nick DiPaolo, Lenny Marcus, and Mike Yard (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Ryan Hamilton, Keith Alberstadt, Jessica Kirson, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 9:00 show; Nick Griffin, Gregg Rogell, Judy Gold, and Jessica Kirson at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Paul Mecurio, Kurt Metzger, Big Jay Oakerson, Joe List, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 11:30 show, with all of the three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except the 9:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Joe Zimmerman, Phil Hanley, Mick Diflo, April Bo Dy, Cory Jarvis, Sarah Hartshorne, and Joe Gerics performing stand-up at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Sooyah Jun: Train Wreck Stand-Up

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing in this monthly show that “puts comics inside of a video game that plays itself” and offers prizes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Steven DeSiena & Stephen Whalen: You and the Screen

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Marina Franklin (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, VH1), Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Brooks Wheelan (Saturday Night Live), Greg Warren (Comedy Central Presents), David Foster (MTV’s Boiling Points), Meg Cupernall (The Dr. Oz Show), Doug Key, and Sean Gabbert performing at this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5; sold out of seats, but you can probably get in via the standby line if you’re okay with standing): Scott Adsit (cast member of 30 Rock, and co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel) teams up with fellow 30 Rock actor John Lutz (who previously spent six years as a staff writer for Saturday Night Live, and currently writes for Seth Meyers) to form a breathtakingly super-smart and hilarious star improv duo that’s become one of the very best attractions at UCB Chelsea and should not be missed: John & Scott

9:30 pm ($5): Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer,MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Josh Carter, and Scotland Green performing stand-up at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Griffin Newman and/or Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), Carole Montgomery (Comedy Central, ABC’s Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, Oprah, Showtime, MTV, VH1, A&E), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), and Jaqi Furback performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Mike Finoia: Nick DiPaolo, Dan St. Germain, Sam Morril, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

11:00 pm ($5): 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. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a monthly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible, hosted by Gary Richardson: School Night

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at theStand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors:Magnet Improv Mixer

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “Everyone who attends this show will have a chance to perform improv on the UCB stage! Put your name in the Bucket of Truth, then jam with UCB students, performers, and faculty. The show isn’t over until everyone has had a chance to perform, all in a fun, supportive environment! All experience levels welcome!” at UCB East hosted by improv group Higgins: The Longest Improv Jam of the Year

[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

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with its 90 minutes split evenly among the comics who throw their names into a bucket, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Eagle Witt: Amateur Night At The Mercury

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore & Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

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)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$20)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(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, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com. He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 12/16/14

December 16, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Dick Van Dyke and Jenny Slate are on Conan O’Brien;
Vanessa Bayer is on Seth Meyers;
Tracey Ullman is on Jimmy Kimmel;
Brooke Van Poppelen, Wil Wheaton,
and Kevin Pereira are on @midnight

The Buttcracker

Anthony Atamanuik and friends bring to life holiday classic The Buttcracker at The Tony Show

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:

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, five of The Magnet’s singing improv groups make up a musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion, followed at 10:15 by a free show that lets audience members join in with a musical improv group to make up stories in song: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at Fontana’s (105 Eldridge Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates (and if you can’t make it, watch in online here): Comic Book Club

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm-Midnight ($5): Long form improv known as The Harold from all eight UCB Chelsea house groups tonight—Apollo, Grammer, Greg, Higgins, The Enemy, Side Piece, Smalls, and Women & Men—at the annual Longest Harold Night of the Year

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Nick DiPaolo, Ryan Hamilton, Gregg Rogell, and Mike Yard (hosting) at the 7:45 show; Nick Griffin, Dan Soder, Kyle Dunningham, and Judy Gold at the 9:30 show; and Dave Attell and Rachel Feinstein at the 11:15 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Tuesday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1) hosts this holiday special with stand-ups Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Jacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Comedy Central, College Humor), Kevin Barnett (MTV’s Guy Code, Comedy Central, TruTV’s Friends of the People, Sleepwalk With Me, College Humor), Brooks Wheelan (Saturday Night Live), and Team Submarine performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Dan St. Germain’s Christmas Spooktacular

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist and The Prom), Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City), Tallie Medel (Cocoon Central Dance Team), and Michael Antonucci (HBO) “perform the stupidest ideas they’ve ever had” at UCB East hosted by Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV) & Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, co-host of Late Night Trash): DOY!: A Stupid Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The wonderful Pay Shay (who’s taught improv to thousands) describes this solo holiday show this way: “I know you know A Christmas Carol. You know Scrooge and the Cratchits and Jacob Marley and the rest. I know, you’re like ‘Come on, Pat? Really? Another Solo Christmas Carol? Don’t George C Scott and the Friggin’ Goodman have this covered?’ But here’s the deal—every time I’ve read this book, it’s been so much funnier than any production I’ve seen. The writing is so much sharper and less austere. The characters are so much more layered than the archetypes that, let’s face it, we’ve all programmed into our brains. So come and let me try to tell you this story the way I hear it—a funny, moving, delightful tale, using all original text” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Yes, a Solo Christmas Carol

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5; no min.): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Paul Virzi, and Danny Palmer performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): $5 Funnies: Janeane Garofalo, Nick Dipaolo, Damien Lemon, Monroe Martin, and More

[$] 8:00 pm ($15): A two-gal sketch show about dating during the holidays from Angela Spera & Laura Lane at The PIT upstairs theatre: This Is Why You’re Single: Holiday Edition

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “The best stand-ups in the city will take to the stage armed with jokes, quirky observations, and anecdotes. Simultaneously, the producers will craft a battery of trivia questions for the audience based entirely on the comics’ material. Competitors of all levels are welcome, no matter how much you watch TMZ. You can walk in the door with a blank slate and come out victorious! All that’s required is your attention and short-term memory” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Observational Trivia Night

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing stand-up at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Storytellers Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive Comedy and Stripped Stories), Jake Hart (host of The Dump), Jefferson (The Moth), Morgan Pielli (Relationshit), and Michele Carlo tell true tales about this month’s theme Holidays at 2A (25 Avenue A off 2nd Street) hosted by Andrew Linderman: Local Stories: Holidays

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Kara Klenk (writer for VH1’s Girl Code and Guy Code; Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon; host of If You Bring It), Peggy O’Leary (host of Creek Cave Live), Emma Willmann, and Tony Zaret performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Alligator Lounge (600 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Robert Dean, Sachi Ezura, and/or Steve O’Brien: Comedy at Alligator Lounge

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Brilliantly innovative comic Anthony Atamanuik (Death by Roo Roo, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, The Nights of Our Lives) plays oddball characters in a mix of sketch and improv (with help from producer Andy Rocco and Jesse VandenBergh). Tonight “Master Tony’s ballet company are proud to present a bitter old communist’s stupid dance-play about a common plumber who fixes a politburo elite’s shit-stuffed toilet on Christmas Eve. Bring your children, so we can fondle them.” Plus stand-ups Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker, blogger for Comedy Central) and Sue Smith, and storyteller Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 18-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas The Adam Wade Show and Whatever Happened to the Nerds?, and cast member of The Nights of Our Lives; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), all performing at the UCB East theatre: The Tony Show Holiday Edition: The Buttcracker

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), and Rory Albanese (The Daily Show) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Alexis Guerreros & Mike Cannon: The Illuminati Party: Ari Shaffir, Cipha Sounds, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($7): Janeane Garofalo and other stand-ups (not announced) at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) hosted by Seth Herzog (Jimmy Fallon long-time staff comic, Comedy Central, VH1, host of Nat Geo’s Science of Stupid): Sweet

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Luis J. Gomez, Dave Smith, and other NYC stand-ups performing live on stage for this podcast show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Legion of Skanks

[FREE] 10:00 pm: This show “randomly pairs duos from the world of comedy. They have one week to prepare a comedy set for the physically and emotionally taxing Battlebowl where these teams will compete against one another” at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Bret Davis & Darren Mabee: The Lethal Lottery

[FREE] 11:00 pm: A mix of superb and lesser-known stand-ups (not announced) performing at this free weekly show at UCB East typically hosted by Phil Hanley: Chemistry

Tuesday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): In this delightful weekly open-mic show, each comic has 3-5 minutes to try out a character-based bit (e.g., for a solo show, sketch, or audition) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Keisha Zollar (Doppelganger): Imposter Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Open mic sketch that allows you to either perform a sketch with your own performers or bring in pages for the audience to perform at The PIT Green Room, followed by feedback on your bit from PIT “sketch-perts:” Pens & Pencils

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic for comedy of all types providing 2 minutes for each performer (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Tim Unkenholz: Butt Factory

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic, with walk-ins tossing names into a hat and set length determined by the number of comics who show up, at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Jimmy LeChase and/or Justin Perez: Townies Open Mic

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at People’s Republic of Brooklyn (247 Smith Street) hosted by Dustin Drury: This Is Happening Open MIc

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly two-hour open mic storytelling show allows each performer 8 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Jake Hart and a guest co-host: The Dump

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Open mic stand-up that’s first come, first serve (signup starts at 8:30) and provides each performer 5 minutes—or 4 minutes plus 2 minutes of feedback!—at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street): Train Wreck Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 10:15 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members can join in with musical improv group Wonderland to make up stories in song on the spot: Musical Magnet Mixer

11:00 pm ($3): A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Slonim: Rapid Fire

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for students at all levels to work on their skills at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Elke Reid and David Frasure: Study Hall

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)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$20)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(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, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com. He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 12/15/14

December 15, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Oprah Winfrey and Idina Menzel are on David Letterman;
Tim Burton is on Jon Stewart;
Seth Rogen is on The Colbert Report;
Eric Andre and Lisa Kudrow are on Conan O’Brien;
Spike Feresten, Donnell Rawlings, and Jessimae Peluso are on @midnight

Dan St. Germain

Superb stand-ups Dan St. Germain…

Ari Shaffir

…and Ari Shaffir perform in Brooklyn for Wyatt Cenac’s’s Night Train at 8:00 and then in Manhattan for The Stand’s Frantic Mondays at 10:00

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:

7:00 pm ($7): “They’ve called her a floozy. A grifter. A vicious black widow who ensnared five unwitting husbands in a glittery, glamorous web and brutally murdered each one. The infamous Maddy Harrow slices through the rumors and lies woven by the press with the double-edged dagger of story and song. You’ll hear the truth about her hardscrabble childhood, the men she’s loved and lost, and how she manages to sleep at night. Includes songs by Jack White, Burt Bacharach, Prince, Sia, and Morrissey” at The Magnet theatre: Maddy Harrow is Completely Innocent

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Ryan Hamilton, Keith Alberstadt, Greer Barnes, Zainab Johnson, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 7:45 show, and a great lineup of Dave Attell, Ari Shaffir, Paul Mecurio, Jena Friedman, and Big Jay Oakerson at the 11:15 show, all performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.79 online): Strong lineup of Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Jen Kirkman (HBO, VH1, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central’s Drunk History, staff writer for NBC’s Perfect Couples, author or I Can Barely Take Care of Myself), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), and “a special guest” performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; albums Wyatt Cenac: Comedy Person and Wyatt Cenac: Brooklyn): Night Train

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Tami Sagher (superb staff writer for Broad City; former writer for 30 Rock; writer and producer for Mad TV 2001-2006) and Chris Gethard (comedy genius; Broad City, Conan O’Brien, The Office, IFC; star of The Chris Gethard Show; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York, plus My Comedy Album) perform duo improv at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Sagher & Gethard

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Terrific character comics Natasha Vaynblat (improv group What I Did For Love, sketch group Absolutely, one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Jon Bander (musical improv groups Aquarius and Dagger), Joanna Bradley (30 Rock, VH1’s Best Week Ever), Alan Starzinski (one-man show Guys You Love to Hate, improv group Sandino), Chelsea Davison, and Matt Starr performing sketch character bits for this “Best Of Two Years” show at UCB East hosted by Justin Tyler & Michael Hartney: Characters Welcome: Second Anniversary “Best Of” Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 18-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas The Adam Wade Show and Whatever Happened to the Nerds?, and cast member of The Nights of Our Lives; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), Caitlin Brodnick (Glamour, The Moth Podcast, co-host of Shut Up Storytelling), and Mike Kelton tell tales revolving around this month’s theme Holidays, and then Anna Rose Roisman and musical improv guest duo Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman (Your Love, Our Musical) each sing about one of the stories, at The PIT upstairs theatre: You Probably Think This Song Is About You: Holidays Edition

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

8:30 pm ($7): Political comic Jamie Kilstein (Conan O’Brien, CNN, MSNBC, Showtime, Citizen Radio) performs stand-up, and then leads his friends springboarding improv scenes off of “social and political stories from the lives of audience members” at The Magnet theatre: A People’s Guide to Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch groups try out new material: the daring, out-of-the-box brilliant, and hysterical Legs for Days (which includes stellar performers Livia Scott, Ann Carr, Dan Chamberlain, Sean Hart, and more, plus exceptionally superb writers) and Roanoke: Maude Night: Legs For Days and Roanoke

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Storytellers Lyssa Mandel (host of The Bitch Seat), Kia Sayyadi, and Jamie LeeLo performing at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Val Roder: Story Time

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phillip Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[FREE] 9:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Hilary Schwartz, Evon Campbell, Julia Prescott, and Andy Fiori performing at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Backroom (627 5th Avenue) guest-hosted by Richard James: Ed Sullivan on Acid

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Thomas Attila Lewis, Josh Adam Meyers, Matteo Lane, Ian Fidance, and Subhah Agarwal performing stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

10:00 pm ($7): Longform improvisors Louis Kornfeld, Chet Siegel, Charlie Whitcroft, Dan Fairall, and Quinton Loder take over the stage at The Magnet theatre as house improv group The Boss

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aparna Nancherla, Chris Gethard, Leo Allen, or someone else wonderful: Whiplash

Monday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage—and also allows everyone play Bingo!—at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Julia Lundy & Veronica Elizabeth: Bingo Open Mic

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in 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

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Kat Toledo and/or Alan Shain: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

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)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$20)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

This Theater
(154 West 29th Street; new venue that, at its best, features shows comparable to UCB & PIT; free-$12)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(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, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

 From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com. He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 12/14/14

December 14, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Michael Che

Michael Che (above) and Ted Alexandro perform at Comedy Cellar

Jo Firestone

…and Jo Firestone (above) and Chris Gethard perform at The Macaulay Culkin Show

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:

[FREE] 5:30 pm: A mix of longform, shortform, and musical improv from five groups, typically including Mishmash, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Michael Venzor: The Long and Short of It

6:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy groups Party. and The Misses perform new material at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Chris Gethard (comedy genius; Broad City, Conan O’Brien, The Office, IFC; star of The Chris Gethard Show; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York, plus My Comedy Album), Jo Firestone (dynamic rising star; host of Punderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), Brian McCann (Conan O’Brien, Parks & Recreation), sketch duo Good Cop Great Cop, Josh Rabinowitz, Ikechukwu Ufomadu, Ana Fabrega, and John F. O’Donnell performing stand-up or sketch at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) hosted by Brett Davis & Sally Burtnick: The Macaulay Culkin Show: Chris Gethard, Jo Firestone, Brian McCann, Good Cop Great Cop, and More

7:00 pm ($5): An improvised game show “teaming four short-form performers with two special guest contestants ready to ‘yes and’ anything to win” at The PIT upstairs theatre: ShortGameShow

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Chris Gethard, and occasionally network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

7:30 pm ($7): Comedy groups Action Park and Stockton perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Ted Alexandro, Michael Che, Rachel Feinstein, Allan Havey, and Seaton C. Smith at the 8:00 show; Michael Che, Greer Barnes, Allan Havey, and Zainab Johnson at the 9:45 show; and Ari Shaffir, Kurt Metzger, Sam Morril, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 11:30 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien), Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents, FOX, VH1, E!), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Leah Bonnema (VH1, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Josh Adam Meyers, and Alex Castle performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors and guest improv groups join host Skycopter (which typically includes the incredible David Carl) to make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

8:00 pm ($5): In this unique mix of stand-up, improv, and audience participation, comics Micah Sherman, Sheng Wang, and Ben Rosen perform “improvised stand-up” based on pictures provided by the audience via the Crowd Source app at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Forrest Haigh: Crowd Source

8:00 pm ($5 and 1-drink min.): Maribeth Mooney produces and stars in this comedy show that also features stand-ups Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Blair Socci, Emma Willman Miguel Dalmau, and Chris Williams performing at The Green Room (340 West 50th Street): Reverend Mooney’s Comedy Confessional

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm ($7 online using discount code SAUCE; no min.): Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Paul Virzi, Matteo Lane, and Scott Chaplain performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien): Adrienne Iapalucci, Joe List, and More

9:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy groups Baby Shoes and Wendigo perform new material at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Mike Cody, Anthony P. DeVito, Shalewa Sharpe, Lance Weiss, and Ben Conrad performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar for this free weekly show hosted by Adam Sokol, Brad Austin, and/or Nate Fridson: Comedy at Beauty Bar

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Superb improvisors Micah Sherman, Brigid Boyle, Nate Starkey, and more make up theatrical scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: People Improvising

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Making great use of UCB East’s previous incarnation as an indie movie theatre, each month Channel 101 screens new films running five minutes or less—most of them funny—crafted in the style of TV pilots. Tonight is the annual awards ceremony for these cinematic treasures that’s “both a send-up and celebration of award shows, with musical numbers, all new original videos, and actual award statues:” Channel 101: The 2014 Channy Awards

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket at 3:45), providing 3 minutes or more per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by James Ferrarella: Face-Plant Comedy Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night At The Gemini

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Christi Chiello: Lance Bass Space Mic

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)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$15)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(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, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

 From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com. He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 12/13/14

December 13, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Martin Freeman hosts Saturday Night Live at 11:29 pm on NBC

Death by Roo Roo

One of the greatest groups in improv history bids us farewell at 9:00 pm and 10:30 pm  at UCB Chelsea: Death by Roo Roo

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $12.50 marked with $) include:

[$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Greg Rogell, Greer Barnes, Allan Havey, Kyle Dunnigan, and Lenny Marcus at the 7:00 show; Dave Attell, Todd Barry, Joe Matarese, Allan Havey, Lynne Koplitz, and Vic Henley (hosting) at the 10:30 show; and Dave Attell, Ari Shaffir, Russ Meneve, Big Jay Oakerson, Allan Havey, Tony Woods, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 12:15 show, with four of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($43.75 plus 2-drink minimum): A former Saturday Night Live star, cast member of Showtime’s Weeds, star of his own Comedy Central special, and actor in over two dozen comedy feature films—including Anger Management, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Daddy Day Care, Get Smart, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan—headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kevin Nealon

7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, and more at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

7:30 pm ($10): Sharp Magnet improvisors “perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind-blowing parts; the only rule is that there are no rules:” The Weave

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($30 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up who’s performed on Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, Showtime, and his own hour-long Comedy Central special headlining tonight and Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Sebastian Maniscalco

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($12.50 online using discount code WINTER; no min.): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand- ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Michelle Buteau (FOX’s Enlisted, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, VH1’s Best Week Ever, @midnight), and Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ted Alexandro, Ari Shaffir, Big Jay Oakerson, Adrienne Iapalucci, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($29): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, which includes a rave for the spectacular Nicole DiMattei, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Greg Stone, Christy Coffey, Clark Jones, and Joel Kim Booster perform at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Allison Leiby & Alyssa Wolff: Hard, Lonely, and Vicious

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—which includes such talents as Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, John Frusciante, and Emily Axford, and in 2012 crushed 15 improv groups in a row at Cage Match, entirely owns the UCB East stage tonight at Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10; sold out of seats, but show up early for the standby line if you’re okay with standing): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious improv groups in comedy history bid farewell to the stage tonight with two shows, at 9:00 pm and 10:30 pm, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Death by Roo Roo: The End, Part 1 of 2

9:00 pm ($10): Magnet improvisors team up with poets at Kiss*Punch*Poem

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($12.50 online using discount code WINTER; no min.): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand- ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Michelle Buteau (FOX’s Enlisted, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, VH1’s Best Week Ever, @midnight), and Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ted Alexandro, Ari Shaffir, Big Jay Oakerson, Adrienne Iapalucci, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die), and Jamison Guest—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups at this monthly show that describes itself as follows: “Starting in 1982, the city of Atlanta threw an annual party called Freaknik which essentially became the largest black spring break party in the country. The party became so big and wild that the city shut it down for good in 1996. But comedians Andy Sandford and Noah Gardenswartz are bringing Freaknik back…to Long Island City. ‘Comedy Freaknik’ will be a lot like the original Freaknik, except it’s going to happen once a month, and it will be a comedy show hosted by three white guys. That’s basically the only difference” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Freaknik

[$] 10:00 pm ($20): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10; sold out of seats, but show up early for the standby line if you’re okay with standing): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious improv groups in comedy history bid farewell to the stage tonight with two shows, at 9:00 pm and 10:30 pm, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Death by Roo Roo: The End, Part 2 of 2

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Nick Kanellis make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Arthur Meyer & John Wyatt Haskel (writers for Jimmy Fallon) and Phoebe Robinson (Comedy Central’s Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, FX’s Totally Biased, Glamour Magazine) are the guests at this sketch comedy/talk/variety show at UCB East hosted by Anthony Apruzzese: Showtime with Anthony Apruzzese

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] Midnight ($9.75 online using discount code WINTER; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Hasan Minhaj (new correspondent for The Daily Show), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), and Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, MTV) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Hasan Minhaj, Big Jay Oakerson, Adrienne Iapalucci, and More

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”), with sign-up at 3:30 pm, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Raj Sivaraman & Sam Evanshost: The Amateur Hour

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)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$15)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(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, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

 From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com. He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 12/12/14

December 12, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Jamie Foxx and Robert Klein are on David Letterman;
Megan Mullally is on Jimmy Fallon;
Jason Sudeikis and Aubrey Plaza
are on Seth Meyers (repeated from 11/25)

Lewis Black and Ophira Eisenberg

Stellar storytellers Ophira Eisenberg…

Leslie Goshko

…and Leslie Goshko tell tales of erotic encounters gone awry at Natalie Wall’s Awkward Sex…and the City

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:

[$] 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Most of tonight’s official lineups aren’t exciting, but there’s always the chance of drop-ins; plus the 12:15 am show is solid, with Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, Marina Franklin, Big Jay Oakerson, Allan Havey, and Keith Robinson (hosting). All shows are at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Shea Butta Magic (“smooth like a plain bagel with butter”) raps and jokes one last night at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Shea Butta Magic

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm show ($20—or $12 if you have ID proving your birthday is in December—price includes homemade eggnog and slices of homemade ice cream cakes): Storytellers Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book being made into movie Screw Everyone, new comedy album Bangs!), Diana Spechler (The Moth Radio Hour), Adam Linn (author of American Sexy), and Danny Artese (Moth StorySlam winner) tell personal tales and celebrate Robin’s birthday at the Le Poisson Rouge’s The Gallery (158 Bleecker Street) hosted by birthday gal Robin Gelfenbien (storyteller and singer/songwriter; VH1, AMC, Sirius Radio, acclaimed one-woman show at FringeNYC) with free eggnog and ice cream cakes— including a whiskey cake—made by Robin herself: Yum’s the Word

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Here and Now

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($43.75 plus 2-drink minimum): A former Saturday Night Live star, cast member of Showtime’s Weeds, star of his own Comedy Central special, and actor in over two dozen comedy feature films—including Anger Management, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Daddy Day Care, Get Smart, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan—headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kevin Nealon

7:30 pm ($10): At UCB Chelsea, sketch comedy from Matt Porter & Charlie Hankin as duo Good Cop Great Cop

…and in the second half of this double-bill, “Six months ago, Karin and Glenn started emailing each other every time they cried. Then they wrote a comedy show about feelings. To test the theory of ‘Tragedy Plus Time Equals Comedy,’ Karin and Glenn will perform some sketches, dance a little bit, and then tell you some very personal stories that they shouldn’t be talking about in front of this many people,” directed by Stone Cold Fox’s Leslie Meisel & Brandon Gulya: This Is Going to Hurt

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Kevin McCaffrey (writer for David Letterman; TruTV), Neil Charles, Eric Neumann, Matt Azark, and Jay Nog performing stand-up at the One and One Bar’s Nexus Lounge (76 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) hosted by Jeff Cerulli: Industry Night

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A mindblowing mix of sketch and character improv spinning off this premise “Moments before he’s to take the stage with his band The Bing Faithful 5, holiday crooner Bing Faithful learns all members of his band have died in a horrific bus accident. Bing is a consummate professional and knows ‘the show must go on.’ What follows is one character’s journey through grief and agony as, alone on stage, he attempts to compensate for the band’s absence by singing all five parts and harmonies to all the classic holiday songs requested by the audience.” Bing is played by brilliant improvisor/character comic Bob Kulhan; plus there’s a twist involving Micah Sherman, Greg Kotis, Mark Stetson, and Bill Connolly at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bing Faithful’s Very Merry Nondenominational Holiday Special

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($29): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, which includes a rave for the spectacular Nicole DiMattei, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($20; no min.): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street):Ted Alexandro, Gary Gulman, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot: Vern and Royals

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($30 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up who’s performed on Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, Showtime, and his own hour-long Comedy Central special headlining tonight through Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club:Sebastian Maniscalco

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Mike Cannon (MTV), Chloé Hilliard (Last Comic Standing), Joyelle Johnson, Julio Torres, and Reggie Conquest performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by the tall Khalid Rahmaan and/or LeClerc Andre: Top Shelf Comedy

[FREE] 8:30 pm: A Queens indie comedy show featuring Kara Klenk (writer for VH1’s Girl Code and Guy Code;Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon; host of If You Bring It), Chelsea White (producer of MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, TLC, co-host of What Else and Call Us Crazy), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, sketch group Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, VH1), Roger Hailes (Jimmy Fallon, Chappelle’s Show, MTV; writer for VH1’s Best Week Ever and FUSE’s A Different Spins; Web series Mansome), Mick Diflo, and more performing stand-up in Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Pat Stango, Clayton Craigsly Gumbert, and Gregg Zehentner: Fortress of Attitude

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($13.41 in advance online or $15 at the door; 15% discount on Pleasure Chest products with ticket): Storytellers & comics Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book being made into movie Screw Everyone, new comedy albumBangs!), Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, host ofSideshow Goshko), and Tom Cowell(Village Voice) tell tales of erotic encounters gone awry at The Pleasure Chest(1150 Second Avenue, between 60th & 61st Streets) hosted by Natalie Wall: Awkward Sex…and the City

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Neil Casey, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, Abra Tabak, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Janine Brito (former staff writer/performer for FX’s Totally Biased), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Nick Mullen, Mary Houlihan, and Dustin Wesley performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue) hosted by Erik Bergstrom, Ben Kronberg, and/or John F. O’Donnell: Live From Outer Space

9:30 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher): Dagger and Hello

9:30 pm ($10): A sketch comedy troupe performs at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bridge & Tunnel: A Sketch Show

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($20; no min.): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm,Comedy Central hour-long special), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ted Alexandro, Gary Gulman, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Matt Dennie (MTV, IFC, half of brilliant sketch duo Dennie & Sharp) hosts this monthly variety show featuring sketch, stand-up, and acts that cannot be categorized at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: The Matt Dennie Sexperience

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Dan Klein, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and/or Conner O’Malley—who this year defeated The Stepfathers and thoroughly crushed another troupe at Cage Match before losing by a single vote—make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($10): Mike Cannon (MTV), Max Fox, Ricky Gonzalez, Danny Kallas, and Frank Garcia Hejl performing stand-up or sketch at UCB East hosted by improvisors Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($8): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at The PIT upstairs theatre: Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

11:00 pm ($10): Sketches, rap battles, and improv from the Anthology Players, tonight inspired by the early years of Jay-Z, at The PIT upstairs theatre: The B-Side. A Hip-Hop Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): This monthly stand-up, storytelling, and carny show brings the blog And I Am Not Lyingto life on stage, with storytelling from host Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life) and Alia Janine, stand-up from Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City) and Peggy O’Leary (host of Creek Cave Live), and burlesque by Jonny Porkpie and Tiger Bay, all at the UCB East theatre: And I Am Not Lying

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Pot stand-up from “highly talented comics who have been highly recommended from people who are thought highly of in the business. Oh, and they’ll be high” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Clayton English & Noah Gardenswartz: High Five

Friday Open Mics & Jams

5:00 pm ($5): Two-hour open-mic for 20 stand-ups performing for 5 minutes each, with sign-up online here, at theStand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the upstairs theatre for Pitch

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge forHappy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 3 minutes per comic (unless not many folks show up, in which case there’ll be more time), with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Sarah Tollemache and/or Paul Oddo: The Friday Night Hot Chicks Open Mic

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Improv is dominated by guys…and for no good reason. A way to help remedy this situation are shows like this one, which is an open improv jam for any gal wanting to participate, at any experience level. This monthly UCB Chelsea event is helmed by Shannon O’Neill (breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic and rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, The Stepfathers, ASSSSCAT 3000, Strangers Wanted, Ladies Night): The Lady Jam

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)

The PIT
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$15)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(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, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Laughing Devil/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 2-drink min.)

 From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com. He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive…It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.


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