NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 12/5/13

December 5, 2013

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Pete’s most recent guests include comedy giants John Mulaney and Marc Maron. For highlights of The Pete Holmes Show, please click here.

Scrambled Legs

Dynamo group Scrambled Legs goes up against The Law Firm in this kick-off battle for the 2013 improv crown: Cage Match

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 ($5): Sharp comic Alan Starzinski (Sandino, Fat Penguin) debuts a clever one-man sketch show in which he plays characters ranging from Aquaman to Gary Busey to the rescue pilot at the end of Jurassic Park at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Guys You Love to Hate

7:00 pm ($8): Comics perform “revivals” of iconic comedy sketches, stand-up bits, and TV/movie scenes (e.g., “Who’s On First?”) at The PIT upstairs theatre: Cover Me: A Tribute to Classic Comedy

7:00 pm ($8): The show title pretty much says it all—improvisors make up an action movie on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Boom! An Improvised Action Movie

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Andy Haynes (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour), Kate Berlant (MTV, CNN, host of Crime & Punishment, notable hair), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), and Gordon-Baker Bone (Philly’s Phunniest) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[$] 7:45 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Gary Gulman and Ryan Hamilton at the 7:45 show, Nick Griffin and James Smith at the 9:30 show, and Ophira Eisenberg and Jay Oakerson at the 11:30 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): 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), Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman), space expert Elizabeth Gallager Kennick (NASA, Space Frontier, Teachers in Space), musical guests Rich Stein & Matt Kilner and The Mast, and more at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street, between Second and Third Avenues) hosted by Greg Barris: Heart of Darkness

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($12.25 online using discount code BWE; no min.): Michael Che (hilarious rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Comedy Central, VH1), 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), Michelle Buteau (Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central, VH1’s Best Week Ever, The Jenny McCarthy Show); for stand-up video about Utah, sharing, and tits, please click here), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and Amanda Seales performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): MIchael Che, Dan St. Germain, Michelle Buteau, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, Dan Black (FUSE, Death by Roo Roo, Ripley) performs a energetic one-man show playing a variety of extreme males in The Pageantry of Man

…and in the second half of this double-bill, writer/performers Dru Johnston & Don Fanelli use song, dance, sketch comedy, and PowerPoint to demonstrate that “Billy Joel is the greatest recording artist of all time:” Sketches From an Italian Restaurant: A Billy Joel Sketch Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($25 at the box office or $28 online): UK-based Daniel Kitson is one of the sharpest and most respected writer/performers alive. This is a rare opportunity to spend an intimate 75 minutes with a true genius of comedy. Based on his previous productions, this is probably a sprawling, detail-packed theatrical show, not stand-up. If you’re up for something different, though, any performance by Daniel is not to be missed. And beyond the script, it’s always worth experiencing his lightning-quick flashes of humor. For example, at a performance of a different show in 2011, a woman sitting in the front row had the incredible gall to start reading. Daniel sweetly responded, “Ooh, that’s a subtle yet effective form of criticism. I’m certainly not cross with you, just too nosy about what you’re reading to plow on. Look, you’re still reading. What a lack of faith you have in live entertainment…” Place your faith in Daniel and nab tickets before they sell out for this production running every day except Mondays from November 22nd through December 21st at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (38 Water Street): Analog,Ue

8:00 pm ($10): Philip Markle performs a one-man musical about being a gay videogame fan (“gaymer”) at The PIT upstairs theatre: Sparkle Hour

8:00 pm ($5): Aparna Nancherla (delightfully wry stand-up; Conan O’Brien; writer for FX’s Totally Biased), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), Tom Cowell, Miguel Dalmau, and Casey James Salengo performing at this monthly stand-up show at Poco Restaurant & Bar (33 Avenue B at 3rd Street) hosted by Sooyah Jun & Jawann Carmona: FTH Comedy

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 The Boss performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by Genus (long form improv that takes the suggestion of a genre and then improvises an entire show in that genre), at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from storyteller Jeff Simmermon at The Armando Diaz Experience, and finally at 11:00 by improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component): The Magnet’s Night Out

[FREE; Pre-Show OPEN VODKA BAR 7:30-8:00 pm] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Myka Fox, Jono Zelay, Patrick Schroeder, Nat Towsen, and Sean McCarthy performing at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Leah Bonnema & Tim Warner: Modern Day Philosophers

[TOP PICK] [$] [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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, 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

9:00 pm ($5): Jermaine Fowler (MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), Emmy Blotnick (MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live), Nate Fernald (Team Submarine), Andrew Mayer, Eli Sairs, and Subhah Agarwal performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover: Fresh 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/or comedy genius Sean Patton: Comedy as a Second Language

9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a musical “based on the true history of the founding of America, in which Jesus Christ embarks on a journey to help build a country that’s courageous, pious, and gun-crazy enough for his precious Constitution…as long as the evil King Barrack Hussein George III doesn’t get in the way,” written by Eric Gersen and directed by John Flynn: Seventeen Seventy-Something

..and in the other half of this double-bill, a three-person mini-play that lets you know you’re not in a great place in its first five minutes, when a real estate guy strangles an elderly Mayor and then gives himself ownership of the city by signing a document using the Mayor’s dead hand—as if an elected Mayor had the power to hand over a city with a signature; or as if a dead hand would somehow replicate the Mayor’s signature! Silly is a wonderful element of comedy, but it’s not a substitute for smart or funny; and this show simply lacks sufficient charms to merit spending time on Greasy Lake: Key to the City

9:30 pm ($10): Sketch, improv, and audience participation, with tonight’s special guest Ali Farahnakian (SNL, owner of The PIT) at The PIT upstairs theatre: Night Out with The Pin-Up Squirrels

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($6 & 2-item food/drink min.) Comics heckle a genre feature film—with tonight’s victim the 1985 horror mess Creature (“First you die…Then the terror begins”)—at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Devil Science Theater 3000

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Tonight kicks off this year’s Cage Match playoffs, pitting the best against the best. Improv group Scrambled Legs won a breathtaking seven matches in a row in 2013, but it’ll now have to win against legal action from venerated weekend improv group The Law Firm for the opportunity to participate in the finals. The Heavens will quake as these gods of improv battle at UCB Chelsea for your laughs and votes at the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Jamie Lee (staff writer for The Pete Holmes Show; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Girl Code, VH1), Joe Rumrill (Fresh Perspectives), Neal Stastny, and more performing at UCB East with hosts Zach Broussard (Fambly, Sirius XM), Nick Maritato (Meatsteak, This American Life), and Nate Fernald (Team Submarine), directed by Randy Foreman: Special Presentation

11:00 pm ($8): Anna Drezen (talented character comic blending words and movement; one-woman show Spooky Jerks), sketch/improv groups Gentlemen Party, David Heti, and more performing and/or being interviewed at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Julia Sherman, Nora Fullmoon, and Keely Flaherty: Drunk Girls in Heels

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.