NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 5/16/13

May 16, 2013

For more, please visit

Top comics on TV: Watch Andrea Rosen’s new docuseries here
and check out Pete Holmes’ new Comedy Central special/DVD here

Anthony Jeselnik

Anthony Jeselnik headlines through Sunday at Carolines…

Leslie Goshko

…Leslie Goshko hosts the storytelling open mic “Oh Hey, Guys”…

Andy Blitz

…and Andy Blitz performs at “Lasers in the Jungle”

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: All-gal open-mic at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by the spectacular Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:00 pm: Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, host of Sideshow Goshko) takes over this week while John Flynn is sharing his immense talents with out-of-town audiences. This is a terrific weekly open-mic storytelling show at UCB East, with each performer given a whopping eight minutes to captivate & impress: Oh, Hey Guys!

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv troupe Adorable mixes with musical improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Pitch

[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

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. Arrive 30 minutes before the show to get on the signup sheet. This is a fine opportunity to perform at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club Open Mic

[TOP PICK] 6:30 pm ($5): Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive comedy and Stripped Stories) auditions a one-woman show about her marriage and divorce in Bad Bride; plus a show I nothing about, The Hasseltones Live, also auditions for a spot on the schedule of the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage: Spank

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($8): The wonderful Julie Sharbutt (improv shows Gravid Water, Mystic Improv, The Scene, Birds) and Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show; improv shows What I Did For Love, HUNK, The Scene) perform duo improv “exploring a world of deeply felt character relationships while sitting in chairs” at The PIT upstairs theatre. Last month Julie performed this show with Scott Adsit—fully holding her own with one of the finest improvisors alive—and the story that unfurled was so memorable I’m still carrying it around. Come see what magic Julie & Zhubin create tonight at Chairs

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A one-man show from Harmon Leon, who enjoyed an acclaimed run performing this at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and can now be enjoyed at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Ironic/Not Ironic

7:00 pm ($5): Two singing improv troupes make up entire musicals on the spot in this double-bill at The PIT downstairs lounge: Punchbowl and THEM

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with improv troupe Hello Laser to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Great lineup of Andy Blitz (comedy genius best known for being an Emmy-nominated and long-time writer/performer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien; has also written for Comedy Central’s Important Things, MTV’s Human Giant, etc.; a thoroughly unique stand-up whose sets—ranging from talking peanut butter to jet-flying cats—tend to be unforgettable), Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupe The Prom, co-host of The Dream Show), and Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker, blogger for Comedy Central’s Indecision 2012) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.) Anthony Jeselnik is one of my favorite stand-ups of all time, with a special gift for crafting dark and shocking short jokes, and a lightning-quick mind that allows him to play with any audience in the moment. This genius Emmy-nominated comic is the star of hit Comedy Central series The Jeselnik Offensive, former writer/performer for Jimmy Fallon, and has also performed on Conan O’Brien, HBO, a Comedy Central Presents half-hour special, and his great comedy CDs Shakespeare and Caligula. Anthony is headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: The Greatest: Anthony Jeselnik

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10; includes a free beer): Star storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller) gathers comics to tell funny stories at the Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th Street), with tonight’s guests Amy Sohn, Ed Gavigan, and Maude Sernas: Tom Shillue’s Funny Story

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): “Love Doctors Eli Newell (Delocated) and Julie Klausner (I Don’t Care About Your Band, VH1) are international dating experts who specialize in online dating. They have PhDs in getting you laid and they want to use their insane skills to help you find a date. One lucky lady or dude from OkCupid will get a chance to go on three real dates with real people live onstage. Once again, these are real people, who have never met each other, going on real dates on stage. Come learn a little about love from the people who know the most about lacking it: comedians. Dating connections absolutely guaranteed—even if you don’t get on stage!” at UCB Chelsea featuring Leslie Meisel, Sue Galloway, and Will Hines: The OkCupid Show

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($35 using code CQUSTX online or at the box office): TV & Broadway stand-up star Colin Quinn performs a show he’s been developing for months for this off-Broadway run (through June 3rd) that looks at US history “from the Founding Fathers to the Kardashians” at the Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop): Colin Quinn: Unconstitutional

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-MIdnight ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups Junior Varsity and Hello Laser performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by The Butterfly Effect (long form improv monoscene in which a small incident has an increasingly significant ripple effect), and at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from tonight’s storyteller Robert Weinstein at The Armando Diaz Experience, and finally at 11:00 improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component) featuring last week’s winner vs. Canons: The Magnet’s Night Out

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead), Tom Papa (host of Jerry Seinfeld-produced NBC comedy The Marriage Ref; numerous appearances on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno; three Comedy Central specials), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Jermaine Fowler (MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), Dan Soder (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), 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 William Stephenson (FX’s Louie, The Chris Rock Show): Todd Barry, Tom Papa, Gary Gulman, 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 ($30): Trevor Noah, a South African comic who’s appeared on Jay Leno and Chelsea Lately, performs a one-man show about “a search for identity in a world obsessed with labels” on Wednesdays-Saturdays through June 8th at The Culture Project (45 Bleecker Street). I haven’t seen this yet, but Noah has a great reputation: Born a Crime

8:00 pm ($10; no min.): Stand-up comics audition for the prestigious Just for Laughs festival at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Just for Laughs Stand-Up Showcase

8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Storytellers Allison Castillo, Garry Hannon, Jonah Loeb, and Rena Zager, plus musical guest Erin Regan, performing at this biweekly storytelling show at 2A (25 Avenue A & 2nd Street) hosted by Jenny Rubin: Here’s the Story

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 ($8): Ora Fruchter & Christopher Scheer put a hand-puppet through improvised therapy at The PIT upstairs theatre: Puppet Therapy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by stand-up Zach Broussard and improv troupe Priest & the Beekeeper: Pig Pile

[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): Michael Che (hilarious rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Comedy Central), Phil Hanley (Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central), Reid Faylor (co-host of hilarious Creek show Underbelly), Claudia Cogan (Last Comic Standing, MTV, Logo, here! TV), Brian Frange, and Brendan Fitzgibbons performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover (VH1’s Best Week Ever, Olde English) and/or Emily Heller (Comedy Central, FX’s Totally Biased): Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up three one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge, produced by Dan Hodapp & Micah Sherman—a show that tonight celebrates its Two Year Anniversary, and is followed by a free party at 11:00 pm: The Scene

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): If you’re a fan of, you can see the folks behind it on the UCB Chelsea stage—along with stand-ups Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Streeter Seidell (Editor-in-Chief of College Humor; Jimmy Kimmel, MTV’s Pranked), Emily Axford, and Brian Murphy—at CollegeHumor Live

[FREE] 9:30 pm: Stand-ups attempt to perform tight sets—”no fat, no filler, just funny”—with tonight’s lineup Jim Tews, Mark Chalifoux, Andrew Short, Mike Cody, Adam Sokol, and Niles Turner at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Speirs: Trim the Fat

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv group Scrambled Legs first knocked out powerhouse Airwolf, and then last week crushed Powder Keg into a very fine powder via a 120-19 win. Tonight the champion faces Lloyd team Graceland at UCB Chelsea as these improvisors compete for your laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match

11:00 ($5):NYC stand-ups Dan Wilbur, Nicole Korkolis, Brendan Eyre, and more performing at UCB East as part of the online community, hosted by Adam Lash (HBO, Showtime, The Daily Show) and/or Nathan Anderson: /r/standup

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3-5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Josh Alba: Mic and Cheese

[$] 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), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Andrew Schulz (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy), Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam), and Sam Morril (Comedy Central) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Ardie Fuqua (HBO’S Bad Boys of Comedy, Comedy Central): The Nasty Show: Jena Friedman, Big Jay Oakerson, 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.