NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 12/20/13

December 20, 2013

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Rob Cantrell

Comedy club headliner depth for just $5: Rob Cantrell…

Jamie Lee

…and Jamie Lee each perform for 30 minutes at UCB East’s Big Long Sets…

Stephen Rannazzisi

…plus Stephen Rannazzisi headlines at Carolines…

Pete Dominick

…and Pete Dominick headlines at Gotham

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] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), 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.), Judy Gold (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, The View), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[$] 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, and Lynne Koplitz at the 7:00 show; Judah Friedlander and Ali Wong at the 10:30 show; and Dave Attell, Russ Meneve, and Ali Wong at the 12:15 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

7:00 pm ($7): A cast of eight perform a mini-play, with music and dance, written by Rosie Whelan and directed by Louis Kornfeld and co-starring both: “What if you came home for Christmas but nobody was there? Follow Andy through a nightmarish quest to find the lost magic of Christmases past” at The Magnet theatre: Ugh, A Christmas Story

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($15): Stone Cold Fox is the only sketch group (vs. improv group) to ever be honored with an ongoing spot on the prestigious UCB Chelsea weekend schedule. It’s earned this slot because its writers (who include stellar comics Brandon Gulya and Silvija Ozols) are terrific, and its cast is superb: Brandon Scott Jones, Molly Lloyd, John Murray, Leslie Meisel, Connor Ratliff, and Johnathan Fernandez. (If you’re in the industry, hire them.) Tonight is the kick-off of a brand new collection of sketches from these sexy performers: Stone Cold Fox: Sexy Idiots

[TOP PICK] 7:30 ($5): Comedy club headliner depth for just $5: Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), and Jamie Lee (staff writer/performer for The Pete Holmes Show; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Girl Code, VH1) each perform 30-minute sets at UCB East hosted by Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV): Big Long Sets

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30ish pm: Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, CNN, TBS), The Lucas Brothers (Jimmy Fallon, FOX’s Lucas Bros Moving Company), Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist and The Prom, co-host of The Dream Show), Adam Conover (VH1’s Best Week Ever, Olde English, College Humor, host of Fresh Out), Tyler Fischer (host of The Tyler Fischer Show), Christian Polanco, and Josh Branham performing stand-up at the One and One Bar (76 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) hosted by Ben Conrad & Lucas Connolly: Cranky Pants Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($17.50 online using code JUDAH; no min.): 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.), 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), Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Marina Franklin (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, VH1), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ted Alexandro, Todd Barry, Judah Friedlander, and More

[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 next-to-last night of the run, which ends December 21st at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (29 Jay Street): Analog,Ue

8:00 pm ($10): “Sing along to your old favorite Christmas songs as rainbow-faced dancers create choreographed dances before your very eyes!” at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Jo Firestone: Christmas Songs with Rainbow Dancers

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 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: Steve Rannazzisi

[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] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, improv troupe Salmon Diane, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.) A stand-up who’s performed on Comedy Central, MTV, and CNN, and hosts the acclaimed radio show Stand Up!, headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Pete Dominick

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in NYC from Shannon O’Neill, Silvija Ozols, Zach Woods, Michael Delaney, Will Hines, and Connor Ratliff, performing at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Neil Casey, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Phil Jackson, Christian Capozzoli, and/or Abra Tabak at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

9:30 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot, one with sharpness and the other with a friendly greeting: Dagger and Hello

9:30 pm ($8): Siobhan Beasley (United Nations), Robert A. George (New York Post), Kate Spaulding (Adjunct Professor for Labor Studies), Lucas Zachary Hazlett (MTV), David Kimball-Stanley (Joan Wilder), Oscar Montoya (Borealis), Tim Wainwright (Christianity Today), and Mandy Schmeider gather to make fun of politics at The PIT downstairs lounge: Electoral Dysfunction

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($17.50 online using code JUDAH; no min.): 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.), 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), Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ted Alexandro, Todd Barry, Judah Friedlander, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: A “competitive talk show” to determine the best talk show guest in “a hybrid of two of America’s least respected television genres, talks shows and games show,” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Guy Branum: Talk Show: The Game Show

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Dan Klein, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and/or Conner O’Malley—who this year defeated The Stepfathers and thoroughly crushed another troupe at Cage Match before losing by a single vote—make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

10:30 pm ($10): Adam Conover (VH1’s Best Week Ever, Olde English, College Humor, host of Fresh Out), Halle Kiefer (MTV, Vulture, host of Splitsider’s Dog and Pony Show), and Harvey Eyeballs performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

11:00 pm ($8): A young all-guy improv troupe making stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party

Midnight ($5): “A live monthly comedy game show in which three contestants participate in a battle of wits and knowledge for the chance to win a grand prize of 20 American dollars” at UCB East hosted by Ryan Simmons: Everyone’s Favorite Game Show

Friday 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

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Attend to perform improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT downstairs lounge, with a weekly rotating selection of formats and hosts: Happy Hour

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage hosted by members of Maude troupe Moriarty: Liquid Courage

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.