NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 5/8/14

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Marc Maron is on Conan O’Brien; Matt Besser is on @midnight; Lisa Kudrow is on Craig Ferguson

Mara Wilson

Movie star Mara Wilson (above), and TV stars Wyatt Cenac and Matty Blake share stories at Katharine Heller’s Tell the Bartender

Molly Lloyd

…and wonderful comedic actress Molly Lloyd (above), Dave Hill, and Jon Friedman tell tales of movies at Low Standards with John & Matt

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 ($5): Andy Blitz (comedy genius best known for being an Emmy-nominated and long-time writer/performer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien; has also written for Comedy Central’s Important Things, MTV’s Human Giant, etc.; a thoroughly unique stand-up whose sets—ranging from talking peanut butter to jet-flying cats—tend to be unforgettable), Dan Soder (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), Allison Castillo (HBO, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, FOX), and Babe Parker (for observations on Dominos, please click here) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle: Andy Blitz, Dan Soder, and More

7:00 pm ($8): Katie Hartman (sketch duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting) and Kevin Shimko perform duo improv creating relationship driven, probably dark, definitely quirky, one-acts made up on the spot; and so will improv group Sent from Parts Unknown, all at The PIT downstairs lounge: A Night of Improvised One-Acts with Katie Hartman and More

[$] 7:30 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.): The Emmy Award-winning host of Cash Cab and NBC’s Who’s Still Standing?, and who’s performed stand-up on Jay Leno and his own Comedy Central Presents special, headlines tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Ben Bailey

[$] 7:45 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Gary Gulman, Gregg Rogell, and Lynne Koplitz at the 7:45 show; Dov Davidoff, Marina Franklin, and Lynne Koplitz at the 8:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Dov Davidoff, and Marina Franklin at the 9:30 show; and Paul Mecurio, Ari Shaffir, Kurt Metzger, Jon Fisch, and Sam Morril at the 11:30 show, with three of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sharp comic Alan Starzinski (Sandino, Fat Penguin) performs a clever one-man sketch show in which he plays characters ranging from Aquaman to Gary Busey to the rescue pilot at the end of Jurassic Park at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Guys You Love to Hate

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a full-blown musical about “three polygamist pop stars on the hunt for their brother husband,” starring Caitlin Davis, Kaleigh Malloy, and Elizabeth May (with some help from Dave May): Missionary in Manhattan: A Mormon Musical

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door, or $11.59 in advance online): Storytelling from Mara Wilson (feature films Mrs. Doubtfire, Matilda, Welcome to Nightvale), Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show, Comedy Central hour-long special, Adult Swim, host of Night Train), and Matty Blake (30 Rock, Orange Is The New Black, producer of The Actors Grind Podcast), plus game “Craigslist Ad or Casting Notice?”, at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by the quick-witted & endearing Katharine Heller (Naked in a Fishbowl): Tell the Bartender

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; HBO, Comedy Central, NPR, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, author of Tasteful Nudes), Jon Friedman (MTV producer, Jimmy Fallon, The Rejection Show), and Molly Lloyd (wonderful comedic actress; member of ace sketch group Stone Cold Fox and ace improv group Airwolf) telling stories about movies at Videology (308 Bedford Avenue) hosted by John Murray & Matt Fisher: Low Standards with John & Matt

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Andy Blitz (comedy genius best known for being an Emmy-nominated and long-time writer/performer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien; has also written for Comedy Central’s Important Things, MTV’s Human Giant, etc.; a thoroughly unique stand-up whose sets—ranging from talking peanut butter to jet-flying cats—tend to be unforgettable), John Roberts (YouTube star), John Early (30 Rock), and Ryan Donahue performing at this show for stand-up plus sketch at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Larry Murphy (brilliant voiceover actor for FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans, Adult Swim’s Assy McGee and Home Movies, and numerous other shows) and/or Greg Johnson (Sirius XM): Myrtle Comedy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-10:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups The Boss and Junior Varsity performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by The Love Story (begins with a significant moment in a romantic relationship, and explores the world the couple inhabits and the characters & relationships in their lives), at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from storyteller Neil McNamara at The Armando Diaz Experience, and finally at 11:00 by improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component): The Magnet’s Night Out

8:00 pm ($12): “Exploring the crazy world of Tinder, the hot new dating app that hooks up local singles based solely on physical attractiveness, with helpful and oftentimes ridiculous tips, tricks, and real-time swiping” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Tinder Live

8:00 pm ($8): Two musical improv groups make up song-and-dance-based stories on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Washingtons and Moose

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “Mike Guild knows everything about movies and films. He will take you through the landscape of the cinema, along with comic guests Jake Hart, Will Carey, and Ben Conrad, to discuss everything going on the weird landscape that is Hollywood—plus everyone in the audience will win a unique prize” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Movie Night With Mike

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC comics (not announced) performing stand-up or songs at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Jay Dean: In The Garage

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Drew Dowdey, Mike Gillerman, Justine Marino, and Mike Cannon performing at Poco Restaurant & Bar (33 Avenue B at 3rd Street) hosted by Sooyah Jun and/or Jawann Carmona: FTH Comedy

8:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Adam Conover (College Humor, Olde English): Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Sketch group Martha hosts this variety show, featuring songs from Summer and Eve, character sketch from Veronica Osorio, and stand-up from Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist and The Prom) and Matt Ruby (MTV; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here, award-winning blog Sandpaper Suit), all performing at the PIT upstairs theatre: All You Can Eat

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): 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!

9:30 pm ($5): Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Jermaine Fowler (MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), Jacqueline Novak (Comedy Central, College Humor), Dan Hopper (College Humor), and Will Stephen (College Humor) perform stand-up or sketch at this monthly show hosted by a popular comedy site at UCB Chelsea: College Humor Live

[TOP PICK]10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Neal Brennan (razor-sharp, edgy comedy veteran; HBO, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, co-creator of Chappelle’s Show), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Dan Soder (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), 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), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), and Crystian Ramirez performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Neal Brennan, Ari Shaffir, Dan Soder, Christian Finnegan, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Justin Williams & Akash Bhasin: Death Comedy Jam

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): Brooks Wheelan (cast member of Saturday Night Live), and Matteo Lane performing at this weekly stand-up show hosted by the brilliantly surreal and hilarious Joe Pera (for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here), Charles Gould, and Dan Licata at the UCB East theatre: Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv group Fuck That Shit had a magnificent winning streak this year, scoring 13 victories in a row. But last week the anarchist juggernaut was finally stopped by an aerial assault when UCB East weekend group Airwolf grabbed the championship with a definitive vote of 115-68. Tonight the new high-flying king will vie with challenger The Regulars, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

Thursday 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: All-gal open mic at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by the spectacular Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Pitch

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

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

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

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 Thursday 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 Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with improv group The Boss to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

9:30 pm (free for audience members, $5 or 1 drink min. for stand-ups wanting to perform): Open mic stand-up providing 7 minutes per comic (and a free recording of your set!), with order determined raffle-style. Sign up by emailing info@oldmanhustle.com or calling (212) 253-7747, or just walk in and supply your name, to perform at the Old Man Hustle Bar (39 Essex Street) hosted by Solomon Chehebar: Peep Show Comedy Open Mic

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3-5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Josh Alba: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open stage for indie improv groups—and if you’re not in a group, that’s also fine, you’ll simply be added to one—at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Darcy Burke & Donna Lobello: New Team Lunacy

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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