NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 1/2/14

January 2, 2014

For more, please visit

Paul Provenza

Paul Provenza provides set lists that Mark Normand, Mike Lawrence, Kurt Metzger…

Michael Che

…Michael Che, and more perform on the spot at Village Underground

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): Improv group Gadget makes up scenes at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Gadget Hour

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Fun surreal stand-up Zack Kahn (co-host of The Andy Dick Radio Show; for video samples, please click here and here) performs a one-man show at The PIT upstairs theatre: Zack’s In the City

7:00 pm ($8): J Hobart B, Amanda Peck, Michael Newman, and some friends perform improv for one night only at The PIT upstairs theatre: H.A.M. and Friends

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Michael Che, Gregg Rogell, and Ryan Hamilton at the 7:45 show, Michael Che, Nick Griffin, Greer Barnes, Marina Franklin, and James Smith at the 9:30 show, and Dave Attell, Nikki Glaser, and James Smith at the 12:15 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Thursday

7:30 pm ($5): Phoebe Robinson (MTV’s Girl Code, Glamour Magazine), Mike Cannon (MTV), Joel Walkowski, and Alex Grubard performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[$] 7:30 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.): An Iranian-American stand-up headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Max Amini

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Stand-ups perform set lists on the spot provided by Paul Provenza, with tonight’s comics 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), Michael Che (hilarious rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Comedy Central, VH1), 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), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), and more thinking quickly on their feet at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Set List with Paul Provenza

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors Nate Dern, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Natasha Rothwell, Jordan Klepper, Chad Carter, and Natasha Vaynblat ask auidence members about their New Year’s resolutions and then springboard scenes about how they’ll inevitably fail at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Already Failed: A New Year’s Resolution Improv Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Mike Denny, Zach Erwin, Adam Mamawala, and Joyelle Nicole Johnson performing at Poco Restaurant & Bar (33 Avenue B at 3rd Street) hosted by Sooyah Jun and/or Jawann Carmona: FTH Comedy

8:00 pm ($10): Improv troupe The Jessicas (which includes dynamic actress Jessica Sherr) makes stuff up with guest improvisor Kevin Cragg, plus opening improv groups Student Driver and On Condom Pond, all at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Jessicas Have a Crush on Kevin Cragg

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 One-Hit Wonder (veteran musical improvisors make up the story of a band: how they met, how they became successful with their big hit song, their downfall, and where they are today), at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from storyteller Heather Trobe 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) with Weekend of Regret vs. The Flood: The Magnet’s Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Aparna Nancherla (delightfully wry stand-up; Conan O’Brien; writer for FX’s Totally Biased), Ben Lerman (nuanced raunchy comedic singer/songwriter; Logo TV’s NewNowNext, Sirius Radio’s Frank DeCaro Show), 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), Myka Fox, Gonzalo Cordova, and Tynan Delong performing stand-up or songs at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jay Dean: In The Garage

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) 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): 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.), Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover (College Humor, Olde English): Fresh Out

9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, Allie Kokesh & Matthew Brian Cohen explore their failed relationship, both as themselves and with Amanda Ratti & Josh Sharp as their doppelgangers, in a show that’s just as insular as it sounds but is nontheless a pleasant way to spend 30 minutes: Why We Broke Up

…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

9:30 pm ($8): Story, song, and dance made up on the spot based on an audience suggestion from a young musical improv group at the PIT upstairs theatre: Good Catch

10:00 pm ($6): The debut of “a fun interactive show where a panel of comedians break down pop culture and political news with the help of news clips, sound bites, and a quick round of pop culture trivia,” featuring Mike Cannon (MTV), Kid Fury, Brandon Collins, and Mike Brown at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Pop Americano

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): This year’s Cage Match improv playoffs continue, pitting the best against the best. Previously Death by Roo Roo obliterated What I Did For Love by winning 83 votes to 43. Tonight two more weekend improv groups clash as the longest running team at UCB, The Stepfathers, battle Grandma’s Ashes for title of “greatest relative” via your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): NYC comics (not announced) 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

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

[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.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; rare Upper East Side club, with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; rare Upper West Side club, with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Laughing Devil
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club, with MST3K-style movie night on Thursdays; 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.