NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 1/23/14

January 23, 2014

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Leslie Goshko

Leslie Goshko is joined by fellow top storytellers Kevin Allison, Andy Christie, and Tara Clancy for the Fifth Anniversary of free extravaganza Sideshow Goshko…

Cage Match Finals

…and the most powerful improv beings in NYC do final battle for the 2014 Cage Match Championship

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] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of this wonderful monthly oddball storytelling show are Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), Andy Christie (host of The Liar Show; The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam Champion), and Tara Clancy (The New York Times, The Paris Review) performing at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, off Second Avenue) hosted by the lovely Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post) and featuring such charms as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes: Sideshow Goshko

[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): Improv spinning off the mythic TV series The Golden Girls at The PIT upstairs theatre: Four Broads and Cheesecake: Golden Girls Improv

7:00 pm ($5): “Remember the happy, bouncy, Broadway-loving Rosie O’Donnell of the ’90s? Jody Shelton, Douglas Widick, and Sudi Green sure do! Come see them recreate the primarily color-heavy, Tom Cruise adoration-filled show that you loved watching with your mom” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Rosie O’Donnell Show!

7:30 pm ($5): Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Joe Machi, Neal Stastny, and Luke Thayer performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($41 plus 2-drink minimum): A former Saturday Night Live star, cast member of Showtime’s Weeds, star of his own Comedy Central special, and actor in over two dozen comedy feature films—including Anger Management, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Daddy Day Care, Get Smart, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan—headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kevin Nealon

[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 Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, and Marina Franklin at the 7:45 show; Mark Normand, Nick Griffin, Carmen Lynch, and Keith Alberstadt at the 9:30 show; and Dave Attell, Paul Mecurio, Joe List, and James Smith at the 11:30 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] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a double-bill from unique comedy talent Brandon Gulya. First Brandon performs witty and surreal one-man show Who Are You People and Why Are You Watching Me?

..and then Matt Dennie & Josh Sharp prove themselves among the finest writer/performers at UCB with a consistently charming and hilarious version of Forest Gump that covers the entire film in 30 minutes, and features a deliciously funny Jenny played by Brandon Gulya, who also directed, resulting in one of the best sketch shows currently playing on an NYC stage: GUMP

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-10:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups Junior Varsity and The Boss 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 Jeff Simmermon (NPR) 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): The Magnet’s Night Out

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): All-gal lineup of Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman), 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), Charla Lauriston (MTV, host of Free Cable, co-host of School Night), and Dava Krause tell tales about this month’s theme of Social Media, and then hosts Anna Roisman & Katie Haller sing songs they’ve written pre-show about those stories, at The PIT upstairs theatre: You Probably Think This Song Is About You

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Ryan Beck, Charles McBee, Daniel Tirado, and Joyelle Nicole Johnson performing stand-up at Poco Restaurant & Bar (33 Avenue B at 3rd Street) hosted by Sooyah Jun, Jawann Carmona, Conor Boylan, and/or Cassidy Kirch: FTH Comedy

8:00 pm ($5): Two musical improv groups make up song-and-dance based stories on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge, one with a taste for oiled brains and the other for Conium: Slick Zombie and Hemlock

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly stand-up show that features free cotton candy (“You will laugh and then have a sugar crash”) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Abigoliah Schamaun & Matteo Lane: Free Cotton Candy

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Michelle Wolf (staff writer for Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Joe List (HBO, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, MTV), Kevin Avery, and John F. O’Donnell performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover (College Humor, Olde English): Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 18-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas The Adam Wade Show, Tales of the Cosmos, and Whatever Happened to the Nerds?, and cast member of The Nights of Our Lives; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion; host of Best in Show), Jen Kwok, Lori Baird, and Ryan Britt telling daring personal tales at The PIT upstairs theatre on tonight’s theme Fascinated for one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

9:30 pm ($5): “Regular karaoke frightens Tamsi, who finds it terrifyingly socially awkward and cheesy. So she decided to start a show where she gets back at everyone else who loves it. The singers don’t pick their song, some of the lyrics have been changed, and they are competing against all of their so-called friends. Two audience members compete, too! (Sign up right before the show.) Come stand with us, sing with us and jeer with us” at The PIT downstairs lounge for Skaryoke

9:30 pm ($5): Two moderately entertaining (i.e., there are worse ways to kill an hour) sketch shows at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Ten Men and Spoiler Alert

[FREE] 10:00 pm: “Comedy, music, and lots of love” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Patrick J. Reilly: I Love You Show

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5; SOLD OUT, but you can probably get in if you show up early and are okay with standing): It all comes down to this. The two most-winning improv groups, Death by Roo Roo and Scrambled Legs, go up against each other in a battle that will be watched by the gods themselves, and reshape both Heaven and Earth, but will be decided by your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea on this momentous Cage Match Finals 2014

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): The renowned improv troupe from Harvard University is in NYC for one night only. See these make stuff up in a highly educated was at The PIT upstairs theatre: Harvard’s Immediate Gratification Players

11:00 pm: Interns at UCB East show off their improv and sketch chops at Mop It Like It’s Hot: The UCB Intern Showcase

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

[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 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; 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.