NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/2/14

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

There are still tickets available to see Chris Hardwick
headline at Carolines on Saturday @midnight

Joe Bill

Breathtaking improv genius Joe Bill will likely put on one of the finest shows you’ll ever see at Chica Go-Go!

Julie Sharbutt

…and Julie Sharbutt and friends improvise in their underwear at Instamacy

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $12.50 marked with $) include:

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv from performers in their underwear—Julie Sharbutt, Shaina Stigler, Tim Racine, Langston Belton, and Michael Greene—plus fully clothed guest improvisor Joe Schiappa make up scenes befitting their outfits at The PIT upstairs theatre: Instamacy

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Razor-sharp and hilarious sketch comics Lauren Olson & Jana Schmieding perform sketch, and also host sketch from a bunch of their friends, at The Magnet theatre: Jana & Lauren Presents

[$] 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.): The weekend booker appears to have gotten lazy, but tonight’s lineups include Gregg Rogell, Marina Franklin, Dov Davidoff, James Smith, and Lenny Marcus, 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] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.; sold out tonight, but you can still grab tickets for Saturday @midnight): One of the quickest, sharpest, and funniest hosts ever (@midnight, Talking Dead, Talking Bad; CEO of Nerdist) headlines tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Chris Hardwick

[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) 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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Here and Now

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($12.50 online using code JERROD; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Pete Davidson (MTV’s Guy Code), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), and Paul Virzi (FOX, Spike TV) performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Carmen Lynch, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Fearless, innovative dark comedy gal duo Leah Rudick & Katie Hartman (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, FringeNYC) return to The PIT upstairs theatre to create fresh sketch comedy every month, with tonight’s guests The Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame; new album Ladies Don’t Spit; CBS’ The Doctors): Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Jo Firestone (rising star; Punderdome 3000, host of The Incredible Game Show Showcase), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), Mike Cannon, Katie Hannigan, Brendan Eyre, Kevin Iso, John Rosenberger, Drew Michael, and Jeremy Essig performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Casey James Salengo & Ryan Beck: The Big Weird Patio

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A stand-up show that also “parodies everything you love and hate about sports” with NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Cody, Joel Walkowski, and/or Sam Evans: Bush League

[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 the country from brilliant comics Shannon O’Neill, Silvija Ozols, Jordan Klepper, Connor Ratliff, Don Fanelli, Will Hines, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind 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 ($8): Gretchen Poole & Kaitlin Fontana perform duo sketch comedy “about a friendship that bends time, space, and sanity” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Cagey: Sketch for the Learn-ed

[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] 10:00 pm ($12.50 online using code JERROD; no min.): Jerrod Carmichael (Neighbors, Lucas Bros. Moving Co.), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Pete Davidson (MTV’s Guy Code), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), and Paul Virzi (FOX, Spike TV) performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Jerrod Carmichael, Carmen Lynch, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Dave Rosinsky, Sean Lynch, Kerry Coddett, and Freddy Sheffield performing stand-up at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Neruda Williams…who will be celebrating the birthday of one of these comics with cake and beer: The Happy Happy Birthday 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): Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here), Streeter Seidell (Editor-in-Chief of College Humor; Jimmy Kimmel, MTV’s Pranked), Andrew Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, AdultSwim.com) & Naomi Experigen, and Michael Hartney (Logo TV, ace sketch group Legs for Days) 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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): I’m not sure he’s in NYC tonight, but one of the finest improvisors alive, Joe Bill (Bassprov, iO, co-founder of the Annoyance Theatre) will either personally spearhead or lead in spirit a breathtakingly brilliant group of improvisors from Chicago and New York who will blow the roof off The PIT downstairs lounge with lightning-quick dark comedy unlike anything else in NYC. The other superb players typically are Doug Stoley (Conan O’Brien, The Scene), Amey Goerlich (Indie Cage Match, Krompf, The Scene), Jodi Lennon (Exit 57, Annoyance Theatre), Jed Resnik (Annoyance Theatre, UCB), Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers), Betsy Stover (UCB), Ari Voukydis (VH1’s Best Week Ever, UCB), Russ Armstrong (iO Chicago, The Magnet), Micah Sherman (Second City, co-host of The Scene, host of Fun), Rick Andrews (Magnet teacher/performer), and Michael Burton (Act One, The Magnet), all declaring Chica Go-Go

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($10): “Eight performers attempt to recreate the story of Batman using only what they can remember after watching a film adaptation. Some will watch Christian Bale, others Michael Keaton, and some Adam West. Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience. Performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth. And one lucky audience member will be given a horn that they can honk three times. Once honked, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in the story of Batman but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story” at this unique mix of scripted & improv comedy at The Magnet theatre: Entirely From Memory: Batman

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Matt Dennie (brilliant sketch show GUMP. co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Claudia Cogan (Last Comic Standing, MTV, Logo, here! TV), Shakir Standley (MTV), Emma Willman, musical guest Lynette Williams, and more performing stand-up, sketch, and songs at UCB East hosted by Charla Lauriston (staff writer for Tina Fey’s upcoming NBC series Tooken; MTV; host of School Night): Something Cool Stand-Up

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

6:00 pm ($5): Hour-long open mic stand-up providing 5 minutes per comic. Check-in is at 5:45 at the new Comedians Club of New York (158 West 72nd Street), which was formerly The Triad Theatre: Comedians Club Open Mic

[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)

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.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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