NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 5/12/14

May 12, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Prince

Jo Firestone and friends create badly written theatre crammed with Prince songs and starring the audience at The Prince Musical

Thomas Middleditch

…and the finest improv troupe in the world, which includes Thomas Middleditch (HBO’s Silicon Valley), continues its three-night run: The Improvised Shakespeare Company

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] 5:30 pm ($5): Sketch comics perform character bits in this audition for the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival at the UCB East theatre: Character Auditions for Just For Laughs

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:30 pm ($26.87 online or $25 at the door with discount code MAY FB; please note the 7:00 pm show has SOLD OUT, but the theatre can often squeeze people in if you’re okay with standing): Genius improvisors from Chicago—including Thomas Middleditch (star of HBO’s Silicon Valley)—delivering one of the funniest shows you’ll ever see by making up a play on the spot using the language and themes of the Bard. This is the finest improv troupe in the world, and one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Tonight is the second of a three-night NYC run at at Theatre 80 St. Marks (80 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue), with every evening utterly different from the last. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Lauren Olson (brilliant writer, actress, and improvisor; Nat Geo’s Going Ape; member of sketch & improv groups Genus, Chet Watkins, and 20/400; powerhouse one-woman FringeNYC show Our Condolences) is the dinner guest of Jed Teres, who says, “Jed has ideas to share and questions to ask. He has stories to tell and jokes to make. He has dinner to eat, and prefers to do it in the company of an interesting person. That way, if Jed runs out of stuff to talk about, he can always fall back on asking: So what are you up to these days?” at The Magnet theatre: Dinner With Jed

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of young improvisors performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Free Improv Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, sketch from gal duo Samantha Schecter & Becky Chicoine, with some help from Kelly Harper and director Matt Dennie: Womantown

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch about our national pastime: Baseball is America

[TOP PICK][$] 8:00 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Neal Brennan (razor-sharp, edgy comedy veteran; HBO, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, co-creator of Chappelle’s Show, comedy album Women and Black Dudes), Marina Franklin (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, VH1), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Keith Robinson (HBO, Comedy Central, Wanda Sykes Show), Andrew Schulz (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy), and Jeff Lamp (Jay Leno, Comedy Central) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View): Neal Brennan, Marina Franklin, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.47 online): Josh Gondelman (staff writer for HBO’s Last Week With John Oliver), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon; host of If You Bring It), Hugh Moore, and Cavlin Cato performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show, Comedy Central hour-long special, Adult Swim): Night Train

8:00 pm ($5): Improv group Gadget makes up scenes, plus musical guest Summer & Eve, at the UCB East theatre: The Gadget Hour

8:00 pm ($10): Ora Fruchter & Christopher Scheer provide you with improvised psychological healing via a hand puppet at The PIT upstairs theatre: Shrink: Puppet Therapy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Comics try out for Montreal’s prestigious comedy festival at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Just For Laughs Stand-Up Auditions

8:30 pm ($5): Sketch groups The Theme From Jurassic Park and Cool Blanche perform at The Magnet theatre in the double-bill Eye of Tigh

[FREE] 8:30 pm: Show how smart you are at this trivia show with a comedic vibe at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Peggy O’Leary and/or Christine Fulopp: Think & Drink Trivia

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Erin Judge (Comedy Central; comedy album So Many Choices; for hilarious short bit on men vs. women, please click here), Becky Yamamoto (Web series Uninspired; co-host of Comedy School Dropout), Kate Ghiloni, Nick Mullen, and Charles Gould performing stand-up, plus songs from Eliot Glazer (It Gets Betterish, author of My Parents Were Awesome), at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Bar (627 Fifth Avenue; take R subway to Prospect Avenue) for this free biweekly show hosted by Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant writer, stand-up, and storyteller; writer and/or producer for MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy, and Nikki & Sara Show; trutV, TLC) and Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories): Dive Comedy

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Damien Lemon (MTV2’s Guy Code, Comedy Central), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), Janelle James, Mike Recine, and more performing stand-up for this weekly show at the Durden Bar (213 Second Avenue off 13th Street) hosted by Mike Denny: Hot Dogs

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch groups try out new material: the daring, out-of-the-box brilliant, and hysterical Legs for Days (which includes stellar performers Livia Scott, Ann Carr, Dan Chamberlain, Michael Hartney, and more, plus exceptionally superb writers) and Bellevue: Maude Night: Legs For Days and Bellevue

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): All-gal storytelling show of “true tales with feelings; so many feelings…,” with typically fine NYC storytellers (not announced this month) performing at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Caitlin Brodnick & Lisa Kleinman: Shut Up Storytelling Show

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phillip Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10 at the door or $12.65 in advance online): “If you’ve ever dreamed of starring in a musical entirely made up of Prince songs, this night will be the best night of your life. This show strings together the best of the ‘Artist Formally Known As’ hits with a plot that’s very bad. Audience members may opt to volunteer to play various singing and non-singing roles, but spectators are also appreciated” from Jo Firestone (dynamic rising star; host of Punderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer, co-star of GUMP), and Aaron Jackson (superb sketch/improv/musical performer) performing at Brooklyn’s Cameo (93 North 6th Street, behind Lovin’ Cup): The Prince Musical: A Hastily Written Musical Starring the Audience

[TOP PICK][$] 10:00 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Paul Mecurio (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Dov Davidoff (Jay Leno, Comedy Central, NBC’s Raines, film’s Invincible and Max & Grace), Mark Normand (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Leslie Jones (staff writer for Saturday Night Live, Showtime special Prob Child), Pete Davidson (MTV’s Guy Code), and Modi (Comedy Central) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View): Paul Mecurio, Gary Gulman, Dov Davidoff, Mark Normand, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; co-host of Nat Geo’s Duck Quakes Don’t Echo; 30 Rock, Comedy Central, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet), Barry Rothbart (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC’s Do Whatever), Yamaneika Saunders (VH1, TruTV, BET), and more performing for this free weekly stand-up show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Michael Kosta: Frantic Mondays: Nikki Glaser, Seth Herzog, Barry Rothbart, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Twelve improv comics who are “friends of Dorothy” perform at The Magnet hosted by Andrew Fafoutakis: There’s No Place Like Home: A GLBTQ Event

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Comics try out for Montreal’s prestigious comedy festival at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Just For Laughs Stand-Up Auditions

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s virtually always a great lineup—at UCB Chelsea hosted by the wonderful Leo Allen: Whiplash

Monday 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

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in 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 stand-up show, with 10 comics each performing for 5 minutes, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Abigoliah Schamaun & Peggy O’Leary: Dicks Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:30 pm: Open-mic storytelling, with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”), hosted by Julia Wiedeman: Happy Hour Open-Mic Storytelling with Julia Wiedeman

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 Monday 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 Tim Duffy: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 5 minutes for each comic who reserves a spot in advance (by emailing Dan Fox at danmaxfox@gmail.com) and 3 minutes for each comic who signs up on the spot (sign-up starts at 6:45 and ends at 8:30) at Brooklyn’s Muchmore’s (2 Havemeyer Street) hosted by Dan Fox: Muchmore’s Stand-Up Open Mic

[FREE] 7:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show, with 10 comics each performing for 5 minutes, at Brooklyn’s Colony (274 4th Avenue) hosted by Emily Winter: Sparky the Dog Open Mic

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at One and One Bar’s Downstairs Nexus Lounge (76 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Kat Toledo and/or Alan Shain: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

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.