NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 3/19/14

March 19, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Abbi searches for a new apartment, while Ilana deals with dual hells–an ex and a cable installer–in Broad City at 10:30 on Comedy Central

Nick Vatterott

Nick Vatterott performs at Dean Street Comedy

Sasheer ZamataSasheer Zamata

…and Sasheer Zamata returns home (while SNL is on break) to host School Night

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] 5:00 pm to 12:30 am: Over 12 free hours of improvisation, all free, at The PIT upstairs theatre and downstairs lounge for this first day of the 2014 NYC Improv Festival

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, unique comedy talent Brandon Gulya delivers the final performance of his witty and surreal one-man show Who Are You People and Why Are You Watching Me?

7:00 pm to 12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Five and a half hours of improv from eight groups at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features house groups Hotspur and Apollo: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a one-woman show by Langan Dice Kingsley provides “a sweeping exploration of the challenges of parenthood, the subtleties of literature, the nature of love, the allure of alcohol, the cult of celebrity, the beauty of the store Anthropologie, and the power of dance:” The Dicewoman Cometh

…and in the other half of this double-bill, writer/performers Dru Johnston & Don Fanelli demonstrate perfect comedic timing—coupled with sorta terrible singing, sketch comedy, and a PowerPoint presentation—for a very silly show aiming to prove “Billy Joel is the greatest recording artist of all time.” I hope these guys aim for something meatier and more resonant to tackle next time, because they’ve got chops, which is especially evident at the dynamic start when they interact with the audience; but in the meantime you’re likely to enjoy Sketches From an Italian Restaurant: A Billy Joel Sketch Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($10-$14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight Mike Yard (Comedy Central, Def Comedy Jam) hosts all shows, which feature Ali Wong, Greer Barnes, Keith Alberstadt, and Keith Robinson at 8:00; comedy powerhouses Dave Attell and Paul Mecurio, plus Lynne Koplitz, at 9:45; and Marina Franklin, Kurt Metzger, James Smith, and Wil Sylvince at 11:30, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist and The Prom, co-host of The Dream Show), Sarah Tollemache, Christy Coffey, and Christi Chiello perform in this monthly show that “puts comics inside of a video game that plays itself” and offers prizes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Steven DeSiena & Stephen Whalen: You and the Screen

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5; no min.): Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award), Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist and The Prom, co-host of The Dream Show), Mike Dobbins (unique stream-of-consciousness stand-up), Subhah Agarwal, Chris Griggs, Ashley Strand, and Dylan Shelton performing stand-up or sketch at Brooklyn’s Dean Street (755 Dean Street) hosted by Seena Jon: Dean Street Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Andy Hendrickson (David Letterman), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Adam Lowitt (Co-Executive Producer of The Daily Show), Matt Ruby (MTV; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here, blog Sandpaper Suit), Madison Malloy, Kenney Woo, and Vince Phillips performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:30 ($5): Renowned comedy chameleon and sketch comic Livia Scott (Conan O’Brien, Law & Order, VH1, feature film National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie) spearheads this multimedia sketch comedy show written by Livia, Sal Gentile, David Hill, Andrew Lin, and Katie Simon, and that stars such superb comics as Livia, Henry Zebrowski, Dan Hodapp, and Micah Sherman performing at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Livia Scott Sketch Program

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Leslie Meisel & Kate Riley selected UCB comics to write sketches for the opposite sex, then cast and directed the scripts. Tonight’s show is the result of this fun experiment at the UCB East theatre: He Said, She Said: A Sketch Show

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: The wonderful Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live) and Charla Lauriston (MTV; host of Free Cable) host as many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some (like me), that’s part of the laid-back fun; plus this is now a rare opportunity to see Sasheer in this intimate setting (she’s on break from SNL this week…). Tonight’s scheduled guests include Dan Hodapp, Julia Wiedeman, Anna Roisman, Ben Moskowitz, and Rachael Parenta; for the complete list, please click here. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

Wednesday 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

[FREE] 5:30 pm: A character-based open-mic happening weekly at UCB East hosted by Sean Hart: Don’t Be Yourself: Character Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up for 15 comics performing for 5 minutes each at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.)—with drinks at half price: Happy Hour Open Mic

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

6:30 pm (no cover, 1-drink min. for comics): Walk-in open mic providing 7 minutes per stand-up at the Phoenix Bar (447 East 13th Street) hosted by Lisa Harmon: Lisa’s Clubhouse

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Wednesday 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 Lizzie Martinez: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house group Bucky and DJ Cipha Sounds: The Improv Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore & Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:30: Sign up at 11:00 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Improv Mixer

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.