NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 7/17/13

July 17, 2013

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Sara Schaefer

Star stand-ups: Sara Schaefer performs at The Stand…

Whitney Cummings

…and Whitney Cummings performs at Comedy Cellar

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: PIT founder Ali Farahnakian talks and answers questions for 44 minutes at The PIT upstairs theatre: Ali’s Hour (Actually 44 Minutes)

[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 Zach Woods, Christina Gausas, Will Hines, Chelsea Clarke, and more: Mike Birbiglia’s Dream

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: 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) tries out new stand-up material every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Christian Finnegan

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features groups Hotspur and Never Never: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] [FREE] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm (FREE online using code SARA; no min.): Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There), 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), 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), Jermaine Fowler (MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), Aaron Berg, and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Sara Schaefer, Mark Normand, Dan St. Germain, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($14 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Whitney Cummings (star of NBC’s Whitney; HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, MTV), 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), Lenny Marcus (David Letterman, MTV), Matt Lamp (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Comedy Central), and DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam): Whitney Cummings, John Mulaney, Lenny Marcus, and More

[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, Paul W. Downs performs a one-man sketch show (co-written with Lucia Aniello) to make you laugh and/or be offended: Paul Downs: Full Blown Downs

[FREE] Seating at 8:00, show at 8:30 pm (RSVP to confirm your spot at FreeComedyWednesdays@gmail.com): NYC stand-ups (unusually, not announced, so am not certain this is happening tonight) performing at 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): Each of three sketch groups—who tonight are Captain Hippo, Boat, and Awful DJ—perform one of their most popular sketches and one of their personal favorites at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aaron Kheifets: A-Side/B-Side

9:30 pm ($5): Each booked performer has 10 minutes to do whatever he or she chooses—stand-up, sketch, improv, music, dance, or something beyond categorization. “It’s simple, it’s fun, and it might get crazy” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Guerrilla Theatre

[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), Matt Braunger (hour-long Comedy Central special Shovel Fighter, over 50 appearances on Chelsea Lately, two years as cast member of Mad TV, wacky neighbor on NBC’s Up All Night), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Lauren Francesca (YouTube star), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Randy Humphrey: Judah Friedlander, Matt Braunger, and More

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 11:30 pm ($10 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Uncensored stand-up from Dave Attell (one of the most respected stand-ups in the biz; star of Showtime’s Dave’s Old Porn and Comedy Central’s Insomniac; HBO, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Greer Barnes (David Letterman, Chappelle’s Show, For the Love of the Game), and Ardie Fuqua (HBO’s Bad Boys of Comedy, 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, Jon Fisch, and More

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 the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[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

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

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): Biweekly open-mic stand-up, with each comic getting an unusually long 6-10 minutes, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by James III & Jamie LeeLo: Hump Day

[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 Horses: 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.