NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 2/7/14

February 7, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Naked in Alaska

Valerie Hager’s breathtaking FringeNYC bio-play returns for a February run: Naked in Alaska

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] [$] 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 a blowout of Mike Birbiglia, Judah Friedlander, Gary Gulman, Ali Wong, and Ryan Hamilton at the 7:00 show; Mike Birbiglia, Ali Wong, Greer Barnes, and Ryan Hamilton at the 8:00 show; Mike Birbiglia, Gary Gulman, Ali Wong, Gregg Rogell, and Lynne Koplitz at the 8:45 show; Mike Birbiglia, Russ Meneve, Greer Barnes, Lenny Marcus, and Lynne Koplitz at the 10:30 show; and Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, and Lynne Koplitz 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

[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), Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7; SOLD OUT, but there’ll be a standby line to snap up tickets from no-shows): One of my favorite people in the world, the delightful Lauren Olson (powerhouse one-woman show Our Condolences at FringeNYC; brilliant writer, actress, and improvisor), and her talented comedy partner Jana Schmieding spearhead a showcase for comedic characters, tonight featuring Ashley Ward (Big Black Car, 50 Shades: The Musical), Keisha Zollar (SlapFight sketch, Doppelganger), Christian Paluck (Conan O’Brien), Matt J. Weir (Comedy Central, We’re Matt Weir), Michael Lutton (The Made Up Musical, Horses), Gretchen Poole (Ca$h sketch), Rob Webber (Ca$h sketch), and Rob Cuthill performing at The Magnet theatre: Jana & Lauren Presents

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): 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.) Enjoy this new collection of sketches from these sexy performers (which I hope to see soon): Stone Cold Fox: Sexy Idiots

[TOP PICK] 7:30 ($5): Stand-up from Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker, blogger for Comedy Central), singing from Kyle Supley & Camille Harris (crooning the classics), images from Richard Sandler (NYC street photographer), and more performing at UCB East hosted by Nat Townsen (co-host of The Moon Show): Nat Townsen’s Downtown Variety Hour

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($42 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who starred in Comedy Central special Can a Brother Get Some Love?, and has been a series regular on Breaking Bad and Adult Swim’s Sperm Whale, headlines through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Lavell Crawford

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Katie Hartman (Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting), Meredith Hackman (The Saddest Sketch Show), and other talented comics use an audience suggestion to make up an entire feature film on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre as group Gypsy Danger

[FREE] 8:00 pm: The debut of a stand-up show that also “parodies everything you love and hate about sports,” tonight featuring Justy Dodge (co-host of Married to Comedy podcast and Too Much Information on comicalradio.com; “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), Mike Stanley, Jake Young, Kyle Ayers, and Niles Turner performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Cody, Joel Walkowski, and/or Sam Evans: Bush League

[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

[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] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:30 pm ($20 tonight, and any other night online using discount code HY): Valerie Hager was one of the breakout stars at last year’s FringeNYC Festival. A dazzling artist who can pretty much do it all, Hager performed a one-woman show based on her true-life experiences in her 20s as a stripper in Mexico, Alaska, and California. The writing is smart, honest, and brave; and just as impressive is Hager’s ability to bring the other people in her story to life using voice and movement. Plus Hager’s pole skills are spectacular. (For my full review, please click here.) This award-winning show is back in NYC for a brief run starting tonight through the 22nd at the LES’ COW Theatre (21-A Clinton Street) and is highly recommended: Naked in Alaska

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

[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] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Greer Barnes (David Letterman, Chappelle’s Show, For the Love of the Game), Seaton Smith (Opie & Anthony Virus Tour), Nimesh Patel (co-host of Broken Comedy), Justy Dodge (co-host of Married to Comedy podcast and Too Much Information on comicalradio.com; “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), and Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC) performing stand-up at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Neruda Williams…who is celebrating this week’s birthdays of Justy Dodge (2/6), Seaton Smith (2/4), and Nimesh Patel (2/3): The Happy Happy Birthday 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): Kevin McCaffrey (writer for David Letterman; TruTV), Matt Dennie & Josh Sharp (superb sketch comedy duo whose shows include the hilarious GUMP), J.F. Harris, and Max Fox performing at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): I’m not sure he’s in NYC tonight, but one of the finest improvisors alive, Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre) will either personally spearhead or lead in spirit a breathtakingly brilliant group of improvisors from Chicago and New York who will blow the roof off The PIT downstairs lounge with lightning-quick dark comedy unlike anything else in NYC. The other superb players typically are Doug Stoley (Conan O’Brien, The Scene), Amey Goerlich (Indie Cage Match, Krompf, The Scene), Jodi Lennon (Exit 57, Annoyance Theatre), Jed Resnik (Annoyance Theatre, UCB), Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers), Betsy Stover (UCB), Ari Voukydis (VH1’s Best Week Ever, UCB), Russ Armstrong (iO Chicago, The Magnet), Micah Sherman (Second City, co-host of The Scene, host of Fun), Rick Andrews (Magnet teacher/performer), and Michael Burton (Act One, The Magnet), all declaring Chica Go-Go

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): A rotating cast drawing from over a dozen of the talented gal improvisors and sketch comics at The Magnet—including Artistic Director Megan Gray, Lauren Olson, Elena Fishbein, Kimberly Ferguson, and Beth Newell—aim to “give you a dark and twisted late night explosion:” The Clubhouse

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Pot stand-up from “highly talented comics who have been highly recommended from people who are thought highly of in the business. Oh, and they’ll be high” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Clayton English & Noah Gardenswartz: High Five

Midnight ($5): Josh Gondelman (G4’s Attack of the Show), Pop Roulette, Janelle James, Coker & Stratton, and more performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Charla Lauriston (MTV; host of Free Cable and School Night): Something Cool Stand-Up

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] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 3 minutes per comic (unless not many folks show up, in which case there’ll be more time), with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Sarah Tollemache and/or Paul Oddo: The Friday Night Hot Chicks Open Mic

[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.)

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.