NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 11/14/13

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Ali Wong

Ali Wong performs stand-up at the 8:00 and 10:00 pm shows of Comedy Cellar…

Pay Shay

…and Pat Shay performs improv with The Jessicas

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:

6:00 pm ($5): “Experts and historical figures discuss the most important topics of the day in this comedy panel show” at UCB East hosted by Erik Tanouye and/or Will Hines: What’s All This Then, America?

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($8): “Musical sketch comedy that skewers and dissects pop culture one roll of the dice at at time”—for a sample, please click here—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Pop Roulette

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Improvisors aim for “the comedy, drama, and vocal juiciness of a Mozart masterpiece made up on the spot; come hear beautiful arias appear out of nowhere as someone’s beloved is ravaged by a cheese monster, Gary Busey, or anything else the audience suggests” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Improvised Opera

7:30 pm ($5): Anna Drezen (talented character comic blending words and movement; one-woman show Spooky Jerks), Mike Dobbins (unique stream-of-consciousness stand-up), Vladimir Caamano, Matt Maragno, and Warren Holstein performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 8:00 pm, 10:00 pm, and midnight ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Hannibal Buress and Ali Wong at 8:00, and Ali Wong and Nikki Glaser at 10:00 pm, with three of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The Emmy-winning writers of The Colbert Report gather on the UCB West stage to perform an all-improvised show at Seize the Mustard

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Improv troupe The Jessicas (which includes dynamic actress Jessica Sherr) makes stuff up with superb guest improvisor Pat Shay, plus opening improv group Kissing Disease and musical improv group Big D and the Closers, all at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Jessicas Have a Crush on Pat Shay

8:00 pm ($5): Two musical improv groups make up song-and-dance based stories on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Slick Zombie & Hemlock

8:00 pm-10:00 pm ($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 Wake (long form improv inspired by the name of someone recently deceased that invokes the details and relationships of that person, bringing him or her to life for one last hurrah), at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from 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) pitting the previous week’s winner against Mama Like: The Magnet’s Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: This monthly show features “a swarthy selection of fine stand-up comics and mildly entertaining recurring segments” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre, hosted by Jim Tews & Brendan Eyre: Chest Hair

[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/or comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language

9:00 pm ($10): Phoebe Robinson (TV Guide’s 100 TV Shows To See Before You Die and 25 Biggest Reality Star Blunders, Huffington Post), Rob O’Reilly, Chris Lamberth, Mark Chalifoux, Brian Moote, and Aaron Kominos-Smith performing at UCB East hosted by Emily Heller and/or Adam Conover: Fresh Out

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Comedy Central, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Andrew Schulz (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, “a sketch show sensitive to audiences’ growing, extremely legitimate phobia of spoilers. These six ensemble sketches range from Jesus to Ghostbusters, but—don’t worry—these topics and any relevant references will be announced before the show, so no one has to hear anything they don’t want to. No spoilers!” written by Caitlin Bitzegaio, directed by Caitlin and Beth Appel, and starring Caitlin, Natasha Rothwell, Lauren Adams, Matt Fisher, Tim Dunn, Michael Hartney, and Dru Johnston: Spoiler Alert: This is a Sketch Show

…and in the other half of this double-bill, a one-man show by Arthur Meyer (writer/performer for Jimmy Fallon; David Letterman; sketch groups Pangea 3000, Fambly, Two Fun Men) that features some hilarious songs, especially the last one that’s a show-stopper homage to what rock ‘n roll is all about: Arthur Meyer: Rock and Roll

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Improvisors make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge, produced by Dan Hodapp & Micah Sherman: The Scene

9:30 pm ($8): A two-gal sketch show about dating from Angela Spera & Laura Lane at The PIT upstairs theatre directed by Keisha Zollar: This Is Why You’re Single

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (lineup not announced) performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Justin Williams: Death Comedy Jam

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Stand-up, storytelling, and carny join forces to bring the blog And I Am Not Lying to life on stage, with storytelling from stellar host Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life) and Dana Rossi (host of The Soundtrack Series), stand-up from Eliza Skinner (writer for Totally Biased) and George Gordon, and burlesque from Corvette LeFace and Kinky Demure, all at the UCB East theatre: And I Am Not Lying

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): The second round of a beloved annual November tradition at UCB Chelsea hosted by Pat Baer: 3-on-3 Improv Tournament

11:00 pm ($5): Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, MTV) performs stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Sean Donnelly for the Hour

Thursday 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] 5:30 pm: All-gal open-mic at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix 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 2 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

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email with subject line Phoning Thursday 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 Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

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

9:30 pm (free for audience members, $5 or 1 drink min. for stand-ups wanting to perform): Open mic stand-up providing 7 minutes per comic (and a free recording of your set!), with order determined raffle-style. Sign up by emailing or calling (212) 253-7747, or just walk in and supply your name, to perform at the Old Man Hustle Bar (39 Essex Street) hosted by Solomon Chehebar: Peep Show Comedy Open Mic

[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

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): An open stage for indie improv groups—and if you’re not in a group, that’s also fine, you’ll simply be added to one—at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Darcy Burke & Donna Lobello: New Team Lunacy

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)

(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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