NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 1/8/14

January 8, 2014

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Sasheer Zamata

The spectacular Sasheer Zamata may or may not perform tonight as part of Bucky: Here and Now. Either way, enormous congratulations to Sasheer for being the newest member of Saturday Night Live; and enormous kudos to SNL for having the comedy insight to hire one of NYC’s finest talents.

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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[$] 7:00 pm ($20 plus 2-item food/drink min.): This show that interviews luminaries about what it’s like to have a dreamy job tonight features Daily Show star Lewis Black, Tony Award-winning producer Daryl Roth, WNYC radio host Jad Abumrad, and Nellie McKay at at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place) hosted by Catie Lazarus, plus music from Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan: Employee of the Month

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

7:00 pm ($5): NYC comics are panelists for this game show in which “four smart, funny people are quizzed on odd and obscure bits of trivia that just might save your life (probably not, though)” at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by MIchael FIsher: Pop Quiz Hotshot

[FREE] 7:30 pm show: This monthly show in which people tell both fiction and nonfiction stories revolving around a theme object that could be found in a lost and found box tonight celebrates its First Year Anniversary with Michael Maiello (Esquire, McSweeney’s), Ember Flame (Boundless Burlesque), Ken McCarthy (College Humor), Omar Olusion (Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Spike TV, Coney Island USA), Andrew Lloyd-Jones, and Sarah Peele performing at the Le Poisson Rouge’s The Gallery (158 Bleecker Street) hosted by Daniel Guzman: The Lost and Found Show

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 Apollo and First Lady: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Comics solve the world’s problems in about an hour, with tonight’s miracle workers Joe Pera (hilarious deadpan Andy Kaufman-like stand-up; for Joe’s Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here), Boris Khaykin (Comedy Central, College Humor, Huffington Post), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), Jon Pack, and Matts McGorry performing at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aaron Kheifets: Basically Genius

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Michael Che (hilarious rising star stand-up; David Letterman, Comedy Central, VH1), Michelle Wolf (super-likeable dark comic rising star; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central, VH1, host of Nick Turner & Acquaintances), and Daniel Kilpatrick performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Joe Zimmerman, Jono Zalay, and Taylor Ketchum: Hot Crowd: Michael Che, Michelle Wolf, Nick Turner, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Storytelling from Frank Coniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000) and Blair Koenig (humor writer), plus Shawn T. Andrew (The Carrie Diaries, narrator for ESPN’s Michael Jordan Birthday Special, VO for many commercials) plus game “Craigslist Ad or Casting Notice,” at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by the quick-witted & endearing Katharine Heller (Naked in a Fishbowl): Tell the Bartender

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Writers & performers of The Daily Show and more, tonight including Paul Mecurio (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman), Rich Vos (stand-up star on two seasons of Last Comic Standing and on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; Comedy Central Presents; Opie & Anthony radio show), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), and Travon Free performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): The Daily Show Staff and Friends

[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 Todd Barry, Ali Wong, and Gregg Rogell at the 9:45 show, Dave Attell, and Nikki Glaser at the 11:30 show, and Big Jay Oakerson hosting all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[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] 9:00 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Joyelle Nichole Johnson (opens for such superstars as Maria Bamford and Dave Chappelle), Adam Lowitt (The Daily Show), Kendra Cunningham (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The Tyra Banks Show), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Greg Aidala, Amanda Baramki, and Janelle James performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:15 pm ($8): Sketch comedy from groups National Scandal and The UniSex, character sketch from Lauren Maul, plus music from Positive Feedback, and more at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by Nathan Rand: January Sketch Block

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): BriTANick and the Cocoon Central Dance Team join Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer (Broad City, a web series that’ll debut as a TV series January 22nd at 10:30 pm on Comedy Central) at UCB Chelsea for this “delicately crafted hour of fun:” Broad City Live

9:30 pm ($5): “Six improvisors make up scenes until someone yells ‘Stop!’ What happens next? Will they go through Door A, B, or C? Each door dictates the next leg of the story, but only the audience can decide their fate. Will there be glory? Will one of them find their missing cat? Or is death in their future? Come find out as you choose your own adventure” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Choose Your Own Adventure

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00: I’m not sure if this is a screening of Chris Gethard’s show or a taping of the thing itself; but either either, if Chris is involved, it’ll probably be great. It’s happening at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Chris Gethard Show

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): UCBT Maude Night group Bucky most notably includes red-hot rising star Sasheer Zamata. Since Sasheer just got hired by Saturday Night Live, I wouldn’t count on her participating; but ya never know… The group performs one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories) at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Here and Now

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Charla Lauriston (MTV; host of Free Cable) hosts 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. (Tonight’s scheduled guests include Phoebe Robinson; 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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Stand-up, storytelling, and carny join forces to bring the blog And I Am Not Lying to life on stage, with storytelling by host Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life), stand-up by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon; host of If You Bring It) and carny comic Abigoliah Schamaun (“who will chew and swallow an entire light bulb during her set”), and burlesque by Matt Knife and Vada James, all at the UCB East theatre: And I Am Not Lying

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

[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

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] 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 veteran improvisors: 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.)

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

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; 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.