NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 1/20/14

January 20, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

If you missed SNL’s premiere on Saturday, check out
Kate McKinnon as Justin Bieber here
and Sasheer Zamata making her debut here

Bethany Hall

Beloved performer/writer/producer Bethany Hall debuts a one-woman show about life choices in Bethany Hall Wants a Family…

Stephen Sondheim

…and an improv group makes up a Stephen Sondheim musical based on an audience suggestion at “Moose by Sondheim”

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] 6:30 pm ($5): Bethany Hall (30 Rock, Producer of The Chris Gethard Show) debuts a one-woman show in which she celebrates “having everything it takes to be a mother—except, you know, children” directed by the brilliant Ellena Chmielewski; plus totally non-authorized fiction springing off existing franchises, with tonight’s subjects including Lena Dunham, Taylor Swift, and Garfield, all at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Bethany Hall Wants a Family and Monday Night Fan Fiction

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Sheng Wang (Comedy Central Presents) tries out stand-up material every night through Friday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Sheng Wang

7:00 pm ($8): A (more or less) solo show by Meg Griffiths about “a hardened female New York City landlord who threatens to evict each of her tenants unless someone admits to killing her prized heirloom hydrangea bush in this comedic who-done-it” at The PIT upstairs theatre: It Came From Below

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of young improvisors performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Free Improv Monday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30ish pm: 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), The Lucas Brothers (Jimmy Fallon, FOX’s Lucas Bros Moving Company), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), Seaton Smith (Opie & Anthony Virus Tour), and more performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Spike Hill (184 & 186 Bedford Avenue, off N 7th Street) hosted by Will WInners & Kyle Ayers: Game Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sharp comic Alan Starzinski (Sandino, Fat Penguin) performs a clever one-man sketch show in which he plays characters ranging from Aquaman to Gary Busey to the rescue pilot at the end of Jurassic Park at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Guys You Love to Hate

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch from gal duo Samantha Schecter & Becky Chicoine, with some help from Kelly Harper and director Matt Dennie: Womantown

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.47 online): Sara Schaefer (inventive, luminous comic; co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of hit podcast You Had to Be There), Charla Lauriston (MTV, host of Free Cable, co-host of School Night), and more hosted by Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show, Comedy Central hour-long special, Adult Swim): Night Train

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv troupe Punctual Drunks interviews an audience member about his or her favorite fairy tale, and then picks up the story where it left off so you can find out how it really ended, at The PIT downstairs lounge: Punctual Drunks & Friends

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Hannibal Buress (former staff writer for 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Louie, The Eric Andre Show, host of Comedy Night, one-hour Comedy Central special Animal Furnace), Nick Griffin (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents), Lenny Marcus (David Letterman, MTV), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), and Jeff Lamp (Jay Leno, Comedy Central) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Ardie Fuqua (HBO’s Bad Boys of Comedy, Comedy Central): Hannibal Buress, Nick Griffin, Lenny Marcus, and More

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups Robert Dean, Jenny Zigrino, Julio Torres, Steve O’Brien, Carly Aquilino, and Tommy Pope performing at the UCB East theatre hosted by Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, MTV): Comedy Central Corporate Retreat

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Jason Saenz (sketch troupe Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), Kerry Coddatt, Adam Lash, Jiji Lee, Randy Syphax, and Justin Perez performing stand-up, sketch, or storytelling, plus music from Liza Dye, at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Charla Lauriston (MTV; co-host of School NIght): Free Cable

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch groups try out new material: Ripley (which includes brilliant comedic writer Marguerite Spellman and Death By Roo Roo member Dan Black) and Absolutely (which includes stellar comic Bridey Elliot): Maude Night: Ripley and Absolutely

[TOP PICK] 9:30 ($10): Improvisors makes up a musical on the spot using the styles and motifs of Stephen Sondheim at The PIT upstairs theatre: Moose by Sondheim

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phillip Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[FREE] 9:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Pat O’Shea, Jim Search, Miguel Dalmau, Carolina Hidalgo, Momoh Pujeh, Mike Gillerman, and Milf & Dilf performing at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Backroom (627 5th Avenue) guest-hosted by Richard James: Ed Sullivan on Acid

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Hannibal Buress (former staff writer for 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Louie, The Eric Andre Show, host of Comedy Night, one-hour Comedy Central special Animal Furnace), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), Brian Jian, Subhah Agarwal, JF Harris, and more performing for this free weekly stand-up show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Michael Kosta: Frantic Mondays: Hannibal Buress, Matt Koff, Sam Morril, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink 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), Nikki Glaser (co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Ryan Hamilton (Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, Showtime), Andrew Schulz (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy), Godfrey (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, 30 Rock, VH1; films Zoolander, Original Gangsters, Soul Plane; 7 Up Yours ads), Jim David (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Dan Naturman (David Letterman, Jay Leno), and Modi (Comedy Central) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Ardie Fuqua (HBO’s Bad Boys of Comedy, Comedy Central): Mark Normand, Nikki Glaser, Ryan Hamilton, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: In this unique mix of stand-up, improv, and audience participation, comics Micah Sherman, Ben Kissel, Chris Daniels, and Forrest Haigh perform “improvised stand-up” based on pictures provided by the audience via the Crowd Source app at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by John Jorif: Crowd Sourced

10:00 pm ($5): “Jamie Rivera invites a great improviser to play, who invites a third, who invites a fourth, who invites one more,” with tonight’s performers Jamie Rivera, Ashley Ward, Ben Rameaka, Kate Riley, and Casey Jost at The Magnet theatre: The Mullaney Chain NYC

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s virtually always a great lineup—at UCB Chelsea hosted by the wonderful Leo Allen: Whiplash

Monday 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

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in 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 stand-up show, with 10 comics each performing for 5 minutes, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Abigoliah Schamaun & Peggy O’Leary: Dicks Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:30 pm: Open-mic storytelling, with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”), hosted by Julia Wiedeman: Happy Hour Open-Mic Storytelling with Julia Wiedeman

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Monday 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 Tim Duffy: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show, with 10 comics each performing for 5 minutes, at Brooklyn’s Colony (274 4th Avenue) hosted by Emily Winter: Sparky the Dog Open Mic

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at One and One Bar’s Downstairs Nexus Lounge (76 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

10:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

11:00 pm ($3; sign up here): If you’re an audience member who loves stand-up, Monday at 11 should be Whiplash! night. If you’re a comic who couldn’t get booked on UCBT’s all-star show, though, you can opt to instead practice your skills via a 5-minute set at this stand-up open-mic at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Lorelei Ramirez: Sharing Time With Your Host Mom

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.)

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.