NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/9/14

May 9, 2014

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TV Alert: Amy Schumer is on Jimmy Fallon;
Cameron Diaz and Gary Gulman are on Seth Meyers


Improvisors recreate Gotham scenes based on wildly different versions they’ve watched at Entirely From Memory: Batman

Bobcat Goldthwait

…and with Marina Franklin opening, TV & movie star Bobcat Goldthwait headlines at Gotham

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:

[FREE] 5:30 pm: Sketch comics perform character bits in this audition for the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival at The PIT upstairs theatre: Character Auditions for Just For Laughs

[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 other superb improvisors, all performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Hodapp & Rothwell

[TOP PICK] [$] 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 Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, Lenny Marcus, and Lynne Koplitz at the 7:00 show; Neal Brennan, Gregg Rogell, Ralph Harris, and Lynne Koplitz at the 8:45 show; Neal Brennan, Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, Dov Davidoff, and Lynne Koplitz at the 10:30 show; and Ted Alexandro, Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, Dov Davidoff, Wil Sylvince, and Pete Davidson at the 12:15 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

[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, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Maddog Mattern (Sirius Radio, Howard Stern TV; to see Maddog handle a heckler, please click here), Harris Stanton (SNL, Comedy Central, BET), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

7:00 pm ($7): Long form improv that takes the suggestion of a genre and then improvises an entire show in that genre at The Magnet theatre: Genus

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Dan Soder (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist and The Prom, co-host of The Dream Show), Steve O’Brien (Team Submarine), and Emily Fleming performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Jack Wilkinson & Morgan Miller: The Big Gulp

[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 Silvija Ozols and Brandon Gulya) are terrific, and its cast is superb: Brandon Scott Jones (who also directed), Leslie Meisel, John Murray, Molly Lloyd, Connor Ratliff, and Johnathan Fernandez. (If you’re in show biz, hire them.) This new collection of sketches revolving around extreme NYC residents ranges from stupidly cruel to transcendent, with an overall effect that’s oddly charming: Stone Cold Fox Bites the Big Apple

[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

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Esther Ku (MTV’s Girl Code), Meg Cupernall, Julio Torres, and Joe Pontillo 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 ($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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Katie Hartman (Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting), Meredith Hackman (The Saddest Sketch Show), and other talented comics use an audience suggestion to make up an entire feature film on the spot at This Theater (154 West 29th Street, 2nd Floor) as group Gypsy Danger

[DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($12.50 online using code JFL; no min.): Paul Virzi & Yannis Pappas host stand-up auditions for the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Just For Laughs Stand-Up Auditions

8:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre from group Cockadoodle Don’t

8:00 pm ($8): Comedy group Brooklyn’s Worst Sketch Comedy performs at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Shorts Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.): A TV & movie star whose many credits include David Letterman, Jay Leno, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, Police Academy, Shakes the Clown, Windy City Heat, etc. headlines tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club (with Marina Franklin and Angelo Lozada as openers): Bobcat Goldthwait

[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

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Calise Hawkins (Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, writer for, Matt Wayne (co-host of See You In Hell), Lance Weiss (NBC’s The Today Show, MTV, Bravo), Mike Finoia, and Dustin Wesley performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue) hosted by Erik Bergstrom, Ben Kronberg, and/or John F. O’Donnell: Live From Outer Space

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 the superb Micah Sherman, plus Philip Casale and Matthew Robert Gehring, plus music from The Dreamstalks, light banter from Chris O’Neil, and judging from Tim Girrbach, Adam Hamway, and Jennifer Bartels, with Jenn Dodd hosting this parody of a talent contest at The PIT downstairs lounge: Buttski & Glasscock’s New Talent Blowout

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craft The Made-Up Musical

[DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($12.50 online using code JFL; no min.): Ari Shaffir & Yannis Pappas host stand-up auditions for the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Just For Laughs Stand-Up Auditions

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Storyteller Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s The American Life, Moth StorySlam Champion, host of And I Am Not Lying), and stand-ups Aaron Glaser (Jimmy Fallon, Wolf of Wall Street; host of Midnight Stand-Up), Ashley Bez, Joel Kim Booster, and Noah Savage performing sets to be used as audition tapes—so they’ll be trying extra hard to make you laugh—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Steve O’Brien: Caught on Tape

[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

10:30 pm ($10): Jim Tews (HBO), Alex Edelman (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Alyssa Stonoha (The Chris Gethard Show), and Clark Jones (Chicago Laugh Factory) 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): Please note that scheduled TV star Michel Gill (President Walker on House of Cards) had to cancel at the last minute. Tonight will feature musical guest Derek James and others (hopefully great) TBD at this late night talk show hosted by Jamie LeeLo at The PIT upstairs theatre: Brunch Night

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): “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

11:00 pm ($8): A monthly sketch show aimed to make you howl at The PIT downstairs lounge, tonight featuring Allison Brown: Forever Dog

11:30 pm ($5): Anthony Apruzzese and a mob of comics perform at this sketch/stand-up/talk show co-hosted by Josh Sharp (GUMP) at the UCB East theatre: Showtime with Anthony Apruzzese

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): UCBT house manager and tech guy supreme Pat Baer has scoured the Web to share with you its most bizarre and compelling videos, plus a razor-sharp panel of comics to comment on them—Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers, Stone Cold Fox), Dan Chamberlain (Left Handed Radio), and Dru Johnston (The Chris Gethard Show)—at the UCB Chelsea theatre: 404ing It: Breaking (Down) the Internet

[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) and JiJi Lee, stand-up from Emmy Blotnick (blogger for Jimmy Fallon, MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), Andy Sanford (TBS), and Maria Heinegg, and burlesque by Brief Sweat and Delysia LaChatte, all at the UCB East theatre: And I Am Not Lying

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Pot stand-up from “highly talented comics who have been highly recommended from people who are thought highly of in the business. Oh, and they’ll be high” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Clayton English & Noah Gardenswartz: High Five

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

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.

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