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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] [FREE] 6:00 pm: Kevin R. Free (actor/playwright; The Moth) is tonight’s guest co-host at this weekly open-mic storytelling show at UCB East, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress hosted by the wonderful John Flynn (rising star storyteller/actor; Saturday Night Live, The Nights of Our Lives): Oh, Hey Guys!
[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving two minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies
7:00 pm ($5): A one-man show by Arthur Meyer (The Onion; sketch troupes Pangea 3000, Fambly, and Two Fun Men) auditioning for a spot on the schedule of the prestigious UCB Chelsea theatre: Arthur Meyer: Rock and Roll
7:30 pm ($5): Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents, FOX, VH1, E!, host of Nearly Naked Lady Comedy Hour), Sheng Wang (Comedy Central Presents), Jason Good (Comedy Central), and more performing at UCB East hosted by Dan Allen & Ray Devito: Sacapuntas!
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): John Mulaney (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; writer/performer for Saturday Night Live; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, one hour special & CD/DVD New in Town, VH1’s Best Week Ever; for John’s great bit on Weekend Update, please click here), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Greer Barnes (David Letterman, Chappelle Show, For the Love of the Game), Lenny Marcus (David Letterman, MTV), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), and Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Ardie Fuqua: John Mulaney, Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, and More
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): A former roommate & drinking buddy of such comedy giants as David Cross and Marc Maron performs a one-man show that was such a hit at August’s FringeNYC it’s been extended indefinitely. Please read my review by clicking here, and Jason Zinoman’s New York Times review by clicking here; and then come share an intimate hour with Matt Graham at the Soho Playhouse’s downstairs Huron Club so he can explain life and meaning and why This Too Shall Suck
8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive comedy and Stripped Stories), Eric Schaeffer (If Lucy Fell, After Fall, Winter), Ann Carr (Web series The Actress), and Jonah Loeb tell comedic tales, plus Camela Hartman sings, for this biweekly storytelling show at 2A (25 Avenue A & 2nd Street) hosted by Jenny Rubin: Here’s the Story
8:00 pm ($5): UCBT star & Chris Gethard Show icon Riley Soloner is 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: Vacation Jason’s Island Flavors…
…and in the other half of this UCB Chelsea double-bill, “all of the badass-ness of a baddass action film brought to you live on stage” by some of UCB Chelsea’s finest talent: Brandon Gulya (writer/co-star), Brandon Scott Jones, Leslie Meisel, Kristen Acimovic, Eddie Dunn, Tim Martin, and Evan Greenspoon (co-writer) in a sketch comedy that proclaims “First they broke his town. Then they broke his heart. But there’s one thing they’ll never break—his gun!:” The Unbreakable Gun
[FREE—plus FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: Politically incorrect stand-ups compete in this unique show for which each comic performs a set and then has to provide biting commentary on a popular online video. The audience then votes on who was the most savagely funny and has won the right to return the following month. Tonight’s combatants are Abbi Crutchfield (MTV, VH1; co-host of Positively Awesome and The Living Room), Lance Weiss (NBC’s The Today Show, Bravo, MTV), Jesse Jones (MTV), Katie Hannigan (College Humor), and Ben Rosen performing at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Feeney: On the Offensive
8:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes, Hemlock (which includes stellar singer Megan Maes) and Dagger (which includes notable talents Ryan Dunkin and Jon Bander), make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill at The PIT downstairs lounge: Hemlock and Dagger
8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house troupes The Boss, Junior Varsity, Horses, and Hello Laser performing improv for two hours, followed at 10:00 pm by The Kubler (long form improv that takes you through the five stages of grief, directed by Russ Armstrong), and then at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component): The Magnet’s Night Out
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00ish pm: Terrific NYC stand-ups (the lineup is typically announced around 3:00 pm; for an update, please click here) performing on this free weekly show at the Kabin Bar and Lounge hosted by Chesley Calloway and comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language
[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): The Lucas Brothers (Jimmy Fallon), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VHI, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Ashley Brooke Roberts (co-host of The Dream Show), Sean Donnelly (MTV, FOX News; host of many shows), and RG Daniels (host of Sunday Night Stand-Up) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover and/or Emily Heller: Fresh Out
[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 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 and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10 or $11.34 online; the latter is recommended because this show often sells out): Ted Travelstead (brilliant, hilarious writer/comic; Vanity Fair, author of The Petraeus Files and Sex: Our Bodies, Our Junk), Angela “Big Ang” Railoa (co-star of VH1’s Mob Wives, star of VH1’s Big Ang), Olivia Ward (winner of the first season of NBC’s Biggest Loser), and Kurt Metzger (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans) perform and/or are interviewed at The PIT upstairs theatre with host Scott Rogowsky (The Onion): Running Late with Scott Rogowsky
[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($5 & 2-item food/drink min.) Comics heckle a genre feature film—with tonight’s victim the 1977 blaxploitation martial arts flick Black Samurai starring Jim Kelly (for a trailer with hilariously mistimed sound cues, please click here) at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Devil Science Theater 3000
[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Proving it’s one of the best improv groups in NYC, Grandma’s Ashes has easily beaten four teams in a row at UCB Chelsea. Tonight may be a different story, as the challenger is one of the other very finest groups in NYC, The Stepfathers. The Heavens themselves will shake as these two titans battle it out for your laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match
[TOP PICK] [$] Midnight ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Uncensored stand-up from Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman, host of Entertaining the Bartender), Nikki Glaser (co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing; podcast You Had to Be There), Paul Mecurio (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), Joe List (HBO, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), and Justin Silver (star of CBS’ Dogs in the City) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV): The Nasty Show: Big Jay Oakerson, Jena Friedman, Nikki Glaser, Paul Mecurio, and More
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.