NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 2/13/14

February 13, 2014

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Seth Olenick's Funny Business

Janeane Garofalo and Dave Hill celebrate the release of a book of inventive photographs of comics…

Seth Olenick's Funny Business

…Seth Olenick’s Funny Business

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 ($10): Improvisors aim for “the comedy, drama, and vocal juiciness of a Mozart masterpiece made up on the spot; come hear beautiful arias appear out of nowhere as someone’s beloved is ravaged by a cheese monster, Gary Busey, or anything else the audience suggests” at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Improvised Opera

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo and Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, NPR, The Dave Hill Explosion, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, champion rapper, author of Tasteful Nudes) help celebrate Seth Olenick’s photography book of stand-up and sketch comics titled Funny Business at Brooklyn bookstore Word (126 Franklin Street): Funny Business Publication Celebration

7:00 pm ($5): Kevin McCaffrey (writer for David Letterman; TruTV), Ashley Brooke Roberts (co-host of The Dream Show), Jono Zalay, and Will Miles performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[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), Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), 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), Robert Dean (co-host of Comedy at Alligator Lounge), Missy Baker, and Emily Winter performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by AbeMixture: The Love Touch: Mark Normand, Jeffrey Joseph, Justy Dodge, and More

[$] 7:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah isn’t a great joke writer, but he’s a vibrant performer and superb impressionist…and if you’d like to see him do his full range of characters (“on SNL I don’t do white people, but if you break me in half like a coconut, white just spills out”), you can catch him headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Jay Pharoah

[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 Nick Griffin, Greer Barnes, and Keith Robinson at the 7:45 show; Greer Barnes, Big Jay Oakerson, and Jermaine Fowler at the 8:00 show; Todd Barry, Gregg Rogell, Big Jay Oakerson, and Jermaine Fowler at the 9:30 show; and Dave Attell, Paul Mecurio, Rachel Feinstein, and Sam Morril 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 ($8): A sketch show about dating that’s written & starring gal duo Angela Spera & Laura Lane, with help from a few friends—including stand-up by SNL’s Brooks Whelan—at The PIT upstairs theatre, directed by Scott Swayze: This Is Why You’re Single: Valentine’s Day Edition

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Michelle Wolf (staff writer for Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Phoebe Robinson (MTV’s Girl Code, Glamour Magazine), Morgan Grace Jarett (ace improvisor belonging to groups Grandma’s Ashes and The Lady Jam), and Brendon Fitzgibbons telling stories about movies at Videology (308 Bedford Avenue) hosted by John Murray & Matt Fisher: Low Standards with John & Matt

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-10:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups The Boss and Hello Laser performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by The Acid Trip (“takes you on a journey through the layers of the mind, where meaning is a relative term and things can get pretty overwhelming…your brain is God”), at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from storyteller Steve Whyte 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 ($15; no min.): Paul Mecurio (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), 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), Pete Lee (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Earthquake (HBO, Comedy Central Presents), and Monroe Martin performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Paul Mecurio, Mike Lawrence, Pete Lee, Earthquake, and More

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Charla Lauriston, Dave Lester, Sergio Chicon, Noah Gardenswartz, and Zardon Richardson performing at Poco Restaurant & Bar (33 Avenue B at 3rd Street) hosted by Sooyah Jun, Jawann Carmona, Conor Boylan, and/or Cassidy Kirch: FTH Comedy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: This monthly show features “a swarthy selection of fine stand-up comics and mildly entertaining recurring segments” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre, hosted by Jim Tews & Brendan Eyre: Chest Hair

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC comics (not announced) performing stand-up or songs at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jay Dean: In The Garage

8:30 pm ($5): Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Claudia Cogan (Last Comic Standing, MTV, Logo, here! TV), Aaron Glaser (Jimmy Fallon, Wolf of Wall Street; host of Midnight Stand-Up), Adam Lowitt (Co-Executive Producer of The Daily Show), and Jared Freid performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover (College Humor, Olde English): Fresh Out

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 downstairs lounge: Good Catch

9:30 pm ($5): If you’re a fan of, you can see the folks behind it plus like-minded comics on the UCB Chelsea stage—tonight including Dan Hopper, Abbi Crutchfield, Brandon Scott Wolf, and Sean Curry: CollegeHumor Live

9:30 pm ($10): Comedy group Martha hosts this variety show featuring sketches from itself, group Fonda, and Jackie Marie Viscusi & Jeremy Parker, plus stand-up from Joel Kim Booster, and a bit of improv, all at the PIT upstairs theatre: All You Can Eat

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Justin Williams & Akash Bhasin: Death Comedy Jam

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): A weekly stand-up show hosted by the brilliantly surreal and hilarious Joe Pera ((for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here), Charles Gould, and Dan Licata, with tonight’s guests Greg Barris, Jo Firestone, and Matt Wayne performing at the UCB East theatre: Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($6 & 2-item food/drink min.) Comics heckle a genre feature film—with tonight’s victim the 1969 women-in-Nazi-prison sexploitation flick Love Camp 7 (tagline: “All the Youthful Beauty of Europe Enslaved for the Pleasure of the 3rd Reich”; for the trailer, please click here)—at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Devil Science Theater 3000

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Last week improv group Fuck That Shit committed legal mayhem on The Law Firm with a win of 81-23 (ouch). Tonight FTS goes up against troupe Higgins to compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($10): Five-guy improv group Herschel—which includes no one with that name—plus opening group Rocksteady make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Herschel

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 The Boss 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.