NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 3/30/14

March 30, 2014

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Michael McDonald

Former Mad TV star Michael McDonald headlines one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club

Micah Sherman

…and one-of-a-kind Micah Sherman (above),  Aparna Nancherla, and David Carl are among the superb improvisors making up plays on the spot at Act One

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] 3:00 pm ($10): A sketch and stand-up show for kids—with no irony, this is for children aged 4-10—with musical guest Tom Leopold (Seinfeld, Cheers) and 14-year-old stand-up Simon Cadel, hosted by Mark Malkoff at The PIT upstairs theatre: Two Juice Minimum

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Chris Gethard, and occasionally network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy groups American Wormholes and The Misses perform new material at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[$] 7:30 pm ($27.25 & 2-drink min.) A comic who’s performed on MTV2’s Guy Code and Comedy Central headlines for one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Damien Lemon

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s strong lineups include Colin Quinn, Mark Normand, Ali Wong, Gregg Rogell, and Big Jay Oakerson at the 8:00 show; Todd Barry, Gary Gulman, Nick Griffin, and Lynne Koplitz at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Marina Franklin, Wil Sylvince, and Sam Morril at the 11:30 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb guest improvisors Aparna Nancherla, Micah Sherman, Doug Stoley, and Mike Burton, guest improv groups The Theme From Jurassic Park and The Best, and host Skycopter (which includes the incredible David Carl), make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at The PIT upstairs theatre: Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.) A comic who’s performed on MAD TV for a decade, and has also acted on such shows as Showtime’s House of Lies and Seinfeld, and such films as Austin Powers and The Heat, headlining one last night at the Gotham Comedy Club, with openers including the superb Michelle Buteau and Sam Morril: Michael McDonald

8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View), Reese Waters (David Letterman), Tanisha Long, and hosts Amanda Seales (VH1) & Marc Lamont Hill performing stand-at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Smart, Funny, and Black

8:00 pm ($5): Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award), Pete Lee (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Janelle James, and Shanti Charan performing at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Ali Wong (fearless, razor-sharp, hilarious comedy dynamo; Jay Leno, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC’s Are You There Chelsea?, film Savages), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, MTV), Sean Crespo (co-host of Lasers in the Jungle), and Jake Young performing stand-up at the Three of Cups lounge (83 First Avenue at 5th Street) hosted by RG Daniels: Sunday Night Stand-Up

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Ashley Brooke Roberts, Nick Maritato, Clark Jones, Brian Parise, and Patrick Schroeder performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar for this free weekly stand-up show hosted by Adam Sokol, Brad Austin, and/or Nate Fridson: Comedy at Beauty Bar

9:00 pm ($7): Sketches written, performed, and directed by literally dozens of female comics at The Magnet theatre: Lady Sketch Show

[$] 9:30 pm ($22 plus $15 food/drink min.; I personally like both the burgers and lasagna): “Multi-talented Australian drag idol Courtney Act has opened for Lady Gaga, co-starred in Rent, sung a duet with Idina Menzel. and was a contestant in RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 6. Tonight she sings her favorite songs, and divulges the fascinating and funny dirty laundry list that is her sex life. There’s that angry text from a straight boy’s girlfriend, the twins in Montreal, and the US Marine, just to name a few of the titillating encounters she details in story and song. This tuneful, hysterical performance showcases Courtney’s sharp observations of living life on the gender divide” at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, inside the West Bank Cafe (407 West 42nd Street, off Ninth Avenue, downstairs) for the final night of this brief NYC run: Courtney Act: Boys Like Me

9:30 pm ($8): A solo show mixing characters & music from Jillian Green at The PIT upstairs theatre: Balls

10:00 pm ($15; no min.): An evening of Brazilian-themed comedy and music with host Julia Melim performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): The Brazilian Hour

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket at 3:45), providing 3 minutes or more per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Face-Plant Comedy Open Mic

[FREE] 5:30 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 Emmy Blotnick, Matt Nedostup, and/or Sachi Ezurafor: Sledgehammer

6:00 pm ($5): Open-mic stand-up that includes professional feedback on each comic’s 5-minute set at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Mic-Shop: Open Mic Workshop

[ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 2 minutes per walk-in performer picked at random from a bucket of names, at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Jonathan Morvay and/or Evan Williams: Child Support

[FREE] 10:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly at UCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team Jam

[FREE] 10:15 pm: Open-mic show for sketch and character bits running 3-5 minutes at The Magnet hosted by Sebastian Conelli. Everyone who signs up—at 9:45 pm at the box office—is likely to get onstage: Sketch in Progress

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.