NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 2/14/14

February 14, 2014

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The Rejection Show Valentine's Day Edition 2014

An army of top stand-ups & storytellers relate tales of heartbreak at Jon Friedman’s The Rejection Show

The PIT Dating Game

…and an annual tradition that’s resulted in two couples getting married and having babies: The PIT Dating Game

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 ($7): Young improv diaries about love from the delightful Lauren Olson and more are used as springboards for improv scenes power at The Magnet theatre: Crushed: Improv Inspired by Young Love

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups tell stories about their sexual recklessness at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Liz Lele: One Night Stand-Up

[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 Michael Che at all shows, and Keith Robinson hosting all except the last show, plus: Paul Mecurio at the 7:00 and 8:00 shows; Greg Rogell, Greer Barnes, Lynn Koplitz, and Big Jay Oakerson at the 8:45 show; Russ Meneve, Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, and Big Jay Oakerson at the 10:30 show; and Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, and Big Jay Oakerson 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] [$] 7:00 pm ($20): From the wonderful Gyda Arber and friends, this theatrical event: “Join FutureMate for the latest in post-Cataclysm technology and find your perfect match! Your hosts Matt & Pam will take you through the FutureMate system and help you locate that special someone—who knows, you may even leave with a new mate! Come see all the benefits that await you for doing your part to rebuild our great nation” at Brooklyn’s The Brick Theatre (575 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L subway to Lorimer or G to Metropolitan); please also note the Valentine’s Day afterpary: FutureMate Meet & Mate Session

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Storyteller/comics/couples Casey Jost & Lisa Kleinman and Sean Morrow & Corinne Caputo, plus Bridget Everett and more share true tales for a Valentines Day edition of this monthly storytelling show at UCB East hosted by the extraordinary Ruby Karp: HelloGiggles

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Comedy genius Shannon O’Neill (breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic and rising star; The Stepfathers, Diamond Lion) does a show based on nothing but interviews with the audience and sheer guts at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Strangers Wanted with Shannon O’Neill

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 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”), catch him headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Jay Pharoah

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12 at the door or $14.83 in advance online): A small army of superb comedic writers, storytellers, and stand-ups—including Ophira Eisenberg, Elna Baker, Lizz Winstead, Tom Shillue, Adam Wade, Giulia Rozzi, Carol Hartsell & Sean Crespo, Abbi Crutchfield & Luke Thayer, Chelsea White & Jeff Cerulli, and more—sharing their tales of being turned down at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) for this very special Valentine’s Day edition of Jon Friedman’s wonderful The Rejection Show: Heartbreak Haven

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): At this terrific annual tradition at The PIT upstairs theatre, “Three hot New York singles will ask outrageous questions to determine which of our hilarious PITizens will be their Valentine. The winners get a date and the losers get prizes that are way too inappropriate to mention here. Two winning couples from past shows have gone on to get married and have babies!” Really, how many shows can say that?: The PIT Dating Game

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12): Peter Michael Marino performs a multimedia solo show about his flop London musical based on Desperately Seeking Susan at The PIT downstairs lounge: Desperately Screening Susan

[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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($18): A superb romance-based duo sketch show written and co-starring Wendy Herlich that was one of the top highlights at last year’s FringeNYC returns for two nights only at The Tank Theater (151 46th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues): Another Evening of Awkward Romance

[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 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 through March 1st 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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC comics performing stand-up at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Justin Grace, Mike Pullan and James Ferrarella, who also promise “skits, arm wrestling, jeopardy, contests, drinking, and everything else you would do on an” Almost Saturday 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

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Ali Wong (fearless, razor-sharp, hilarious comedy dynamo; Jay Leno, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC’s Are You There Chelsea?, film Savages), Will Hines (The Stepfathers), storyteller Jon Tyler (The Moth), and Farah Brook performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Staff writers for Seth Meyers Michelle Wolf, Alison Agost, and Ben Warheit performing and/or being interviewed at a late night talk show hosted by Jamie Leelo at The PIT upstairs theatre: Brunch Night: Seth Meyers Writers Edition

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($7): Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company “attempt to recreate the spirit of Romeo and Juliet using only what they can remember after watching a film adaptation. Some will watch Baz Luhrmann, others West Side Story, and for the lucky few, Gnomeo and Juliet. To add to the fun are a few rules: Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in Romeo and Juliet but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story” at The Magnet theatre: Romeo & Juliet: Entirely From Memory

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Blow-out edition of this monthly stand-up, storytelling, and carny show bringing the blog And I Am Not Lying to life on stage, with storytelling from Peter Aguero (Conan O’Brien, Moth GrandSlam Champion, WNYC’s Moth Radio Hour, The BTK Band) and host Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life), stand-up from Ophira Eisenberg (brilliant storyteller with notable bangs; Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book being made into movie Screw Everyone) and Abigoliah Schamaun (who will also eat a light bulb), aerial lucha libre burlesque by Lucy Licious & Airlingus, and music from Flor De Toloache (all-female Mariachi band), all at the UCB East theatre: And I Am Not Lying

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)

(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.