NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 12/19/13

December 19, 2013

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Aparna Nancherla

The wonderful Aparna Nancherla…

Janine Brito

…Janine Brito, and other superb former writer/performers of Totally Biased take the stage at The Stand

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 ($10 at the door or $11.34 online; cover price includes free drink; no min.) A “longform storytelling” show, providing a whopping 25 minutes per storyteller, with tonight’s guests Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion; host of Best in Show), Robin Wachsberger (Associate Producer and National StorySLAM Manager at The Moth), and Glen Rosenberg (The Moth) all performing at The Tank (151 West 46th Street) hosted by Eli Reiter: Long Story Long

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Chris Gethard (comedy genius; Conan O’Brien, The Office, Comedy Central, IFC; star of The Chris Gethard Show; The Stepfathers, The Nights of Our Lives; author of bestseller A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York), Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Justy Dodge (co-host of Married to Comedy podcast and Too Much Information on; “I was kind of a tomboy growing up. Like, I had Barbies, but only because my Ninja Turtles needed bitches;” for dark bio video, please click here), Travis Irvine (Huffington Post), and Dan Goodman performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[$] 7:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A TV star who was a cast member of MTV’s Punk’d and is now a cast member of FX’s The League headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Stephen Rannazzisi

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Mark Normand and Gary Gulman at the 8:00 pm show, and Todd Barry, Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, James Smith, Jessica Kirson, and Lenny Marcus at the 9:30 pm show, 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] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($12.25 online using discount code BIASED; no min.): The superb writers & performers of FX’s recently canceled Totally Biased—Aparna Nancherla, Janine Brito, Guy Branum—plus Judah Friedlander and more—performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): The Writer/Performers of Totally Biased

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Chris Gethard (comedy genius; Conan O’Brien, The Office, Comedy Central, IFC; star of The Chris Gethard Show; The Stepfathers, The Nights of Our Lives; author of bestseller A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York), Megan Neuringer (HBO’s Flight Of The Conchords, Comedy Central’s Strangers With Candy, FOX’s Fringe, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV; freelance writer for Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, Bravo, VH1, MTV, Spike), Jordan Carlos (The Colbert Report, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, VH1), and Brendan McLaughlin performing stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Griffin Newman & Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-10:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups The Boss and Hello Laser 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 star storyteller Adam Wade 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) featuring mammoth four-group combat between Trike, Wrath, Weekend of Regret, and Megalou: The Magnet’s Night Out

[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

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 ($5): With all the subjects in the world and beyond to tackle, for some reason this show goes after “spoiler alerts.” If you’re not catch up on your TV and movie viewing, there will indeed be some major spoilers (albeit ones that most folks know about—e.g., “Red Wedding”); but aside from the tension of wondering whether some beloved series is going to be ruined for you, this is pretty tame fare. That said, it’s a relatively painless way to kill 30 minutes at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Spoiler Alert: This is a Sketch Show

…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

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by stand-up Zach Broussard and improv troupe Priest & the Beekeeper: Pig Pile

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Strong lineup of Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show, Comedy Central hour-long special, Adult Swim, host of Night Train), Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium), Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant writer, stand-up, and storyteller; writer and/or producer for MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy, and Nikki & Sara Show; trutV, TLC, co-host of Dive Comedy), Sabrina Jalees (delightful dynamo stand-up; Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Failosophy), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), and Josh Adam performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover (College Humor, Olde English): Fresh Out

[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): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[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

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Comics and comedic storytellers—who tonight are Mollena Williams, Diana Spechler, Dava Krause, and Caitlin Brodnick—performing at The PIT upstairs theatre to share tales on tonight’s theme ‘Tis the Season at one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

[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 ($5): Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive comedy and Stripped Stories) delivers as charming a performance as possible considering her one-woman show at UCB Chelsea is about her talking a guy into a terrible marriage and then cheating on him until it mercifully ends in divorce. What’s even a bigger problem is that Giulia fails to identify how the experience changed her in a substantial way that would make the show emotionally satisfying for the audience. Giulia’s one of the most talented raunchy storytellers in the country, but some more focus on basic storytelling structure would go a long way in Bad Bride

…and in the second half of this double-bill, 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

[FREE] 9:30 pm: Sketch comedy from various comics (not announced), plus stand-up from Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show) and music from Buckwheat Groats, all performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Nick Naney, Bill Stiteler, and Eytan Kurland: Fruitcake Holiday Show

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($7.25 online using discount code JUDAH; 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), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language), Annie Lederman (Comedy Central, Chelsea Lately, co-host of Pirate Party), and Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Christian Finnegan, Aaron Berg, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($6 & 2-item food/drink min.) Comics heckle a genre feature film—with tonight’s victim the 1974 kid killer flick Devil Times Five (described by IMDB as “Five extremely disturbed sociopathic children escape from their psychiatric transport and are taken in unwittingly by a group of adult villagers on winter vacation;” for the trailer, please click here)—at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Devil Science Theater 3000

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): This year’s Cage Match improv playoffs continue, pitting the best against the best. Last week Namaste squeaked out a victory over Fuck That Shit with 67 votes to 58. Tonight the very Heavens will shake as two UCBT weekend group titans, Death by Roo Roo and What I DId For Love, battle for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea at the raucous Cage Match

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): UCB East house manager and tech guy supreme Pat Baer hosts a monthly show about the very medium you’re using to read this, aided tonight by Julia Wiedeman (Story Hour Open Mic), Matt Little (Matt and Brett Love Comics podcast), and Jeremy Brent (Bucky): 404ing It: Breaking (Down) the Internet

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

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] Midnight ($12.25 online using discount code JUDAH; no min.): Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot 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), Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupe The Prom, co-host of The Dream Show), Selena Coppock (author of book The New Rules for Blondes, host of Connotation), and more performing for this show in which stand-up and burlesque are weirdly blended together based on the reasoning “The nude female form is truly a work of art. That’s why people the world over like to jerk off to it. Who are we to disagree with the world?” at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Pat Dixon’s Nearly Naked Lady 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 The Boss to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly two-hour open mic storytelling show allows each performer 8 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge, with host Jake Hart and tonight’s guest a Christmas surprise (because he/she hasn’t been booked yet): The Dump

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.