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Just four more nights to catch Daniel Kitson; details below.

Daniel Kitson

Genius comic Daniel Kitson blends stand-up and theatre in After The Beginning, Before The End…

Ass Backwards

…and UCB East hosts a free sneak peek screening of feature film comedy Ass Backwards

 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] 5:00 pm: A sneak peek screening of the comedy feature film Ass Backwards, co-written and co-starring UCB alums Casey Wilson (SNL, Happy Endings) and June Diane Raphael (Bride Wars), and also featuring Paul Scheer, Bob Odenkirk, Alicia Silverstone, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jon Cryer, and Paul Rust, at UCB East (which used to be an indie film theatre): Ass Backwards

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:00 pm: PIT founder Ali Farahnakian talks and answers questions for 44 minutes at The PIT upstairs theatre: Ali’s Hour (Actually 44 Minutes)

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up Alex Koll (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central) tries out new material every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week At the Creek: Alex Koll

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features groups Apollo and Detroit: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, four-gal comedy group Georgie Aldaco, Danielle Gibson, Viviana Olen, and Katie Simon perform a series of surreal sketches that are both unsettling and charged with comedic energy. A long bit about a mother threatening to do something surprising to her husband and son is an instant classic (when you see it, you’ll have no doubt what sketch I’m talking about…). The show could be greatly improved with periodic nuanced emotion to create a roller coaster effect—right now the audience is hit with surface shock after shock, which after a while desensitizes and loses impact—but if you’re open to the purity of conceptual comedy that challenges your sanity, you’ll enjoy Former Business Partners: Everything Must Go

…and in the other half of this sketch double-bill, “Aaron & Brian lead their lonely friend Erik on a surreal, nightmarish odyssey to ‘get his dick wet.’ Elderly lesbians, impromptu Fosse numbers, dueling Katherine Hepburns, and the ominous Old Valley are all pit-stops on this journey to happiness, or at least maybe getting laid,” written by and starring Aaron Jackson, Erik Dies, and Brian Glidewell: Erik Dies, You’re Stupid and We Hate You

[$] 8:00 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Amy Schumer (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; star of Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing, 30 Rock, great new DVD/CD Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff), Lenny Marcus (David Letterman, MTV), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), Jeff Lamp (Jay Leno, Comedy Central), and Godfrey (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, 30 Rock, VH1; films Zoolander, Original Gangsters, Soul Plane; 7 Up Yours ads) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam): Amy Schumer, Lenny Marcus, and More

[$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Chris Distefano (Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Randy Humphrey: Judah Friedlander, Christian Finnegan, and More

[FREE] 8:00 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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Seating at 8:00, show at 8:30 pm (RSVP to confirm your spot at FreeComedyWednesdays@gmail.com): Mark Normand (hilarious rising star; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central; opens for Amy Schumer; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Gary Vider (hilarious writer & deadpan stand-up; for sample jokes, please click here), Adam Newman (Comedy Central, MTV, College Humor, host of Big Long Sets), Sean Donnelly (MTV, FOX News; host of many shows), and Matt Ruby (MTV; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here, blog Sandpaper Suit) performing stand-up at new show venue The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors—and actual brothers—Will Hines and Kevin Hines make use of their intimate knowledge of each other to gracefully invent scenes (hopefully without any squabbling) at UCB East performing as duo The Brothers Hines

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two ace improvisors, Neil Casey (writer for SNL) and Zach Woods (cast member of The Office), make up duo scenes at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Casey & Woods

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A comic’s comic who’s performed on David Letterman, Jay Leno, HBO, FX’s Louie, CNN, FOX, and three Comedy Central specials, and has been a frequent guest on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and Howard Stern, testing out material at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Nick DiPaolo

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($20): All you need to know: Daniel Kitson is one of the greatest comics alive, and he’s performing a one hour and 40 minute show at The Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street) through Saturday. All performances are sold out, which I why I haven’t been plugging it; except I saw it last night, and learned that if you sign up on the standby list there’s an excellent chance you’ll get in (god bless no-shows…). So if you didn’t heed my pleas last month to buy tickets in advance, you still have a solid shot of seeing, to my eye, Daniel’s best-ever scripted blend of stand-up & theatre: After The Beginning, Before The End

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[$] 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Esther Ku (Last Comic Standing), Chris Distefano (Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Randy Humphrey: Judah Friedlander, Esther Ku, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: The wonderful Sasheer Zamata (highly charming, innovative rising star; Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, FX’s Totally Biased, Apple Mac commercials; member of red-hot improv troupe Doppelganger, sketch troupe The Prom, and Harold Night troupe Bucky) hosts as many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; plus Sasheer is going to be a huge star, so catch her in this intimate setting while you can. (For tonight’s guests, please click here.) Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

[TOP PICK] [$] 11:30 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Uncensored stand-up from Dave Attell (one of the most respected stand-ups in the biz; star of Showtime’s Dave’s Old Porn and Comedy Central’s Insomniac; HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Greer Barnes (David Letterman, Chappelle’s Show, For the Love of the Game), and Joe List (HBO, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central) performing at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam): The Nasty Show: Dave Attell, Kurt Metzger, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

Wednesday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up for 15 comics performing for 5 minutes each at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.)—with drinks at half price: Happy Hour Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up providing 5 minutes per comic at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Benel Germosen: Cracking It

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

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 4 minutes per comic. Get your name in the bucket by 6:15 pm to get signed up at ZirZamin (90 West Houston Street) hosted by Maria Heinegg & Mike Kaiser (who also host the booked stand-up Apology Show at 8:00 pm): Comics Anonymous Open Mic

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Wednesday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor) hosted by Lizzie Martinez: Comics Phoning It In

[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

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house group Bucky and DJ Cipha Sounds: The Improv Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Lucas Hazlett: Improdome

[FREE] 11:30: Sign up at 11:00 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with group All American: Magnet Improv Mixer

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.)

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.

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