NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 3/14/14

March 14, 2014

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Huge comedy evening tonight; go out and see lots of it.
(After meeting a bunch of deadlines this week, that’s what I’ll be doing…)

Masta Killa

Wu Tang Clan’s Masta Killa is among the guests telling comedic tales about being a traveling artist at LIC’s Road Stories

Robot typing

…the Boston Typewriter Orchestra performs at Jeff Simmermon’s unique midnight show And I Am Not Lying

Mike Lawrence and Joe Matarese

…and Just For Laughs holds stand-up auditions, hosted by Mike Lawrence at 8:30 and Joe Matarese at 10:30, at The Stand—FREE admission online for the early show and late show using discount code JFL

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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Sketch comics perform character bits in this audition for the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival at The Magnet theatre: Character Auditions for Just For Laughs

[$] 6:00 pm ($15; no min.): A long set from SNL’s Kevin Meaney, plus a bunch of lesser-known comics (not announced), performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Kevin Meaney and More

[TOP PICK] 6:30 pm ($5): A one-woman show by Bridgid Ryan (visiting from UCB-LA) “about every awful soul you’ve stood behind to get a cup of coffee, based on her experiences as a barista in Brooklyn” at the UCB Chelsea theatre, directed by the wonderful Amy Heidt: Grind Time

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($8): Stellar all-round comics Dan Hodapp & Natasha Rothwell “bring more than five years of improv collaboration to stage for an evening of bold, committed characters and probably a fart joke for good measure,” and are joined by superb improvisors Ryan Karels, Chelsea Clarke, Brandon Gardner, Sarah Nowak—plus character bits from Jon Bershad—all performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Hodapp & Rothwell

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Two of the best people in the world, married couple Mary Theresa Archbold & Pat Shay, host this new show that puts comics to the ultimate test: “Perform in front of an audience that doesn’t get their fancy references, doesn’t care about their observations, and really could poop themselves at any moment. In this game show, laughter from infants, toddlers, up to jaded teenagers determines the winner” at The PIT upstairs lounge: Make My Baby Laugh

[$] 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 Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, Gina Yashere, and Keith Robinson at the 7:00 show; Mark Normand and Gina Yashere at the 8:00 show; Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, Gina Yashere, and Keith Robinson at the 8:45 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

[$] [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): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

7:00 pm ($7): A duo sketch comedy show based on this premise: “In 1976, soul singing duo Cocoa Dreamz made a shimmery splash and lit a fire under Aretha Franklin with their smash hit ‘Neighborhood Plumber.’ After a 20 year hiatus, these legendary songbirds are back. For one night only, come experience the concert of a lifetime. Cocoa Dreamz invites you to take a tender walk down memory lane as they share stories of life on the road, lovers from the past, and perform songs off their newly released Greatest Hits album. Be there to sing along to all your favorite Cocoa Dreamz tunes” at The Magnet theatre: Cocoa Dreamz: Live in Concert

[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 finally catch tonight): Stone Cold Fox: Sexy Idiots

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Andrew Law (Seth Meyers, Looking). Brigid Ryan (visiting from UCB-LA; one-woman show Grind Time), Winston Noel (ace improv groups Baby Wants Candy and Grandma’s Ashes), Matt Starr (superb sketch group Legs for Days), Claire Ayoub (In Too Steep podcast), and Sydney Hollis (improv group Apollo, Illuminati Brothers) perform character bits at UCB Chelsea hosted by Justin Tyler and/or Michael Hartney: Characters Welcome

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Michelle Buteau (FOX’s Enlisted, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central, VH1’s Best Week Ever, The Jenny McCarthy Show; for stand-up video about Utah, sharing, and tits, please click here), Tanisha Long (MTV’s Girl Code), Becky Yamamoto (Web series Uninspired; co-host of Comedy School Dropout), Tyler Fischer, Emma Willmann, and Adam Glyn performing at this monthly stand-up show at the One and One Bar (12 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) hosted by Jeff Cerulli and the delightful Chelsea White (MTV, VH1, TLC, co-host of Call Us Crazy): What Else? Comedy

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($39.25 & 2-drink min.): A cast member of the much-missed Chappelle’s Show headlining through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Donnell Rawlings

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] [FREE] 8:30 pm (FREE online using code JFL; no min.): 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) hosts stand-up auditions for the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Mike Lawrence Hosts Just For Laughs Stand-Up Auditions

[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] 9:00 pm ($10): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Neil Casey, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, Abra Tabak, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

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

9:30 pm ($10): Solo character comedy from Lauren Maul, Jamie Aderski, Angel Yau, Rob Asaro, and Kelly Fitzpatrick, plus light banter from Chris O’Neil, music from Kurt Dietrich Materne & Brendan McLoughlin, and judging from Tim Girrbach, Adam Hamway, and Tanisha Long, with Jenn Dodd hosting this parody of a talent contest at The PIT downstairs lounge: Buttski & Glasscock’s New Talent Blowout

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Masta Killa (Wu Tang Clan), Andrew W.K. (Village Voice advice columnist), and stand-up Tom Cowell tell their “funniest, weirdest, most-depraved stories about being on the road” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Brian McManus (Village Voice Music Editor): Road Stories

[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] [DISCOUNTED] [FREE] 10:30 pm (FREE online using code JFL; no min.): Joe Matarese (David Letterman, Chelsea Lately, Comedy Central Presents, Bravo, IFC) hosts stand-up auditions for the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Joe Matarese Hosts Just For Laughs Stand-Up Auditions

[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): Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV, host of Big Long Sets), Bridgid Ryan (visiting from UCB-LA; one-woman show Grind Time), Monroe Martin (Last Comic Standing), “Storytellers Live,” and more 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): Michael Zegen (cast member of HBO’s Girls) and 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) are interviewed at a late night talk show hosted by Jamie LeeLo at The PIT upstairs theatre: Brunch Night

11:30 pm ($5): A sketch show that asks “Do you ever wonder what waits for us on the other side? Don’t! It’s pointless! Instead, come laugh with The Junk Brothers (Tim Platt, Kati Skelton, and Branson Reese) as they incorrectly predict a future where sons inherit infinity and benevolent governments lay waste to Death itself!” at The Magnet theatre: The Junk Brothers: Immortal Family

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): This monthly stand-up, storytelling, and carny show brings the blog And I Am Not Lying to life on stage, with storytelling from host Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s This American Life), stand-up from Sarah Tollemache (immortal story That’s Not My Shit) and Tyler Fischer, burlesque by Matt Knìfe & Tiny Dee, and music from the Boston Typewriter Orchestra (just what it sounds like), 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.