NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 12/18/13

December 18, 2013

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Maria Dizzia

Interviews with TV & movie star Maria Dizzia at Employee of the Month…

Amber Tamblyn

…and TV & movie star Amber Tamblyn at Running Late With Scott Rogowsky

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] 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 SNL’s Mike O’Brien, Chris Gethard, Christina Gausas, Tami Sagher, and/or Aidy Bryant: Mike Birbiglia’s Dream

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

7:00 pm to 12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Five and a half hours of improv from eight groups at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[FREE] 7:00 pm: The co-host of weekly show Comedy at the Beauty Bar tries out material at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Nate Fridson

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): This show that interviews luminaries about what it’s like to have a dreamy job at UCB Chelsea tonight features author Piper Kerman (Orange is the New Black), Tony-nominated actress Maria Dizza (Orange is the New Black, Louie), rock star Kathleen Hanna (The Punk Singer, The Julie Ruin), and journalist Jon Ronson (This American Life, The Psychopath Test) hosted by Catie Lazarus, plus music from Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan, Eric Biondo, and Grey McMurray: Employee of the Month

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] [FREE] 8:00 pm (FREE online using discount code DEVINE; no min.): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo is a special guest, and Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC) hosts this show auditioning 10 stand-ups for appearances on next season’s Adam Devine’s House Party performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): TV Stand-Up Auditions Hosted by Big Jay Oakerson and Featuring Janeane Garofalo

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($10-$14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Gary Gulman, Gregg Rogell, and James Smith at the 8:00 pm show; SNL’s Kevin Meaney, Greer Barnes, and Ryan Hamilton at the 9:45 show; and Ari Shaffir, Andy Hendrickson, and Big Jay Oakerson at the 11:30 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($25 at the box office or $28 online): UK-based Daniel Kitson is one of the sharpest writer/performers alive. This year he took a huge risk by doing a show in which he doesn’t speak a word, and doesn’t even interact with the audience, but instead walks around the stage playing a series of recordings of his and other voices—which is either highly artistic and poignant, or like watching a recorded radio program in a darkened theatre, depending on how you feel about it. You can read a carefully balanced and nuanced review from Jason Zinoman of The New York Times here and a blunt review from Elisabeth Vincentelli of the New York Post here. This is a sprawling, detail-packed scripted show, not stand-up. If you’re up for something different, though, any performance by Daniel is something special. This is the final week of the run, which ends December 21st at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (29 Jay Street): Analog,Ue

[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 downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($10 at the door or $11.88 online): TV & movie star Amber Tamlyn (Joan of Arcadia, Two and a Half Men), Josh Pais (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Simon Rich & Farley Katz (authors of The Married Kama Sutra), and Damien Lemon (MTV2’s Guy Code, Comedy Central) being interviewed at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Running Late With Scott Rogowsky

9:00 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features house groups Musk and Apollo: Lloyd Night

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Colin Jost (co-Head Writer for Saturday Night Live; Jimmy Fallon), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive Comedy and Stripped Stories), Kyle Ploof, Krystyna Hutchinson, and Tim Dillon performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Antler Beer & Wine Dispensary (123 Allen Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): One of the finest comedic storytelling shows in the country, in which brilliant writer/performers—who tonight are Adam Wade, Christian Capozzoli, Robert Weinstein, Sean Taylor, and wonderful host Dave Martin—tell tales that are brutally honest and utterly hilarious, with tonight’s topic Best Present, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Nights of Our Lives

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

[FREE] 10:00: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City as part of the online community, hosted by Adam Lash (HBO, Showtime, The Daily Show) and/or Nathan Anderson (Uncoolio): /r/standup

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: The wonderful Sasheer Zamata—who I’m hoping will be the next cast member of Saturday Night Live (no knock to anyone else, Lorne should ideally hire two candidates; just saying Sasheer ought to be one of them) and Charla Lauriston (MTV; host of Free Cable) 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 this may be one of the last chances to experience Sasheer before the fame she’s been destined for—and, Lorne, is totally ready for (I was right about Kate, I’m right about this) keeps her for very long hours at NBC. Tonight’s scheduled guests include Adam Newman, Jason Saenz, and Boris Khakyin; for the complete lineup, 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

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] 5:30 pm: A character-based open-mic happening weekly at UCB East hosted by Sean Hart: Don’t Be Yourself: Character Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Open mic for both stand-up and sketch, with sign-up starting at 5:30 and ending at 5:55, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Brian Frange & Rob Stern: Frange & Stern’s Stand-Up and Sketch 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

6:30 pm (no cover, 1-drink min. for comics): Walk-in open mic providing 7 minutes per stand-up at the Phoenix Bar (447 East 13th Street) hosted by Lisa Harmon: Lisa’s Clubhouse

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 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] 10:30 pm: Your opportunity to get on stage for an improv jam at UCB East hosted by master DJ Cipha Sounds: Hot for Teacher: Student Lounge

[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

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 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: 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 Bernard Maynore & Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:30: Sign up at 11:00 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with group Brick: 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)

(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.