NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/16/14

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Paul Mecurio

Star stand-up Paul Mecurio headlines tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club

Michael Che

…and upcoming Daily Show correspondent Michael Che performs at Cranky Pants Comedy Hour and The Stand

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, 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 Neal Brennan, Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, Matt Lamp, and Dan Soder at the 7:00 show, and Neal Brennan, Rachel Feinstein, Lenny Marcus, and Matt Lamp at the 8:45 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 HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Gary Vider (hilarious writer & deadpan stand-up; for sample jokes, please click here), Mark DeMayo (retired NYC cop with great stories), Andrew Schulz (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy), 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: A long stand-up set at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City from Alex Grubard

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30ish pm: Michael Che (soon-to-be correspondent for The Daily Show; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Comedy Central, VH1), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Oni Perez, Owen Straw, and Kevin Seefried performing stand-up at the One and One Bar (76 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) produced by Ben Conrad, and hosted by Lucas Connolly & guest host Andrew Colin: Cranky Pants Comedy Hour

[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

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($12.50 online using code WYATT; no min.): Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead), Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show, Comedy Central hour-long special, Adult Swim, host of Night Train), Michael Che (soon-to-be correspondent for The Daily Show; staff writer for Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Comedy Central, VH1), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and Paul Virzi (FOX, Spike TV) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Todd Barry, Wyatt Cenac, Michael Che, and More

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A comedic game show that pits stand-up comics against each other at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Natalie Shure & Chip Dwyer: Stand-Up Showdown

8:00 pm ($8): Veteran improvisors who’ve had children (not announced) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Mamas and the Papas

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.): A top stand-up who’s won an Emmy Award and Peabody Award, and performed on Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, HBO, and his own Comedy Central Presents special, headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Paul Mecurio

[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: Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Michelle Wolf (staff writer for Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Hadiya Robinson, Jim Hickox, 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. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher): Dagger and Hello

9:30 pm ($10): Greg Basta (Deputy Director of New York Communities for Change), Robert A. George (New York Post), Lucas Zachary Hazlett (MTV), Geoff Grimwood (Fake Church), Whitney Meers (TruTV), Meg Griffiths-Anderson (The Baldwins), David Kimball-Stanley (The Last Show), Tim Wainwright (Christianity Today), Margaret Lyons (Family Haircut), and host Nate Starkey (Big Black Car, Starkey & Grace) gather to make fun of politics at The PIT downstairs lounge: Electoral Dysfunction

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($12.50 online using code WYATT; no min.): Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, feature films The Wrestler and Pete Smalls is Dead), Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show, Comedy Central hour-long special, Adult Swim, host of Night Train), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and Paul Virzi (FOX, Spike TV) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Todd Barry, Wyatt Cenac, Rachel Feinstein, and More

[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]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): John Haskell (Jay Leno), Matt Dennie & Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performers; GUMP, hosts of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Taylor Ketchum, and Harvey Eyeballs 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] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Superb improvisors including Julie Sharbutt and Abby Holland make up scenes in an attempt to “make improve new again” at This Theater (154 West 29th Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Joe Schiappa: Schiappa’s Improv Explosion of Unfathomable Talent

11:00 pm ($10): A young all-guy improv troupe making stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): A rotating cast drawing from over a dozen of the talented gal improvisors and sketch comics at The Magnet—including Artistic Director Megan Gray, Lauren Olson, Elena Fishbein, Kimberly Ferguson, and Beth Newell—aim to “give you a dark and twisted late night explosion:” The Clubhouse

Midnight ($5): “A live monthly comedy game show in which three contestants participate in a battle of wits and knowledge for the chance to win a grand prize of 20 American dollars” at UCB East hosted by Ryan Simmons: Everyone’s Favorite Game Show

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

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Improv is dominated by guys…and for no good reason. A way to help remedy this situation are shows like this one, which is an open improv jam for any gal wanting to participate, at any experience level. This monthly UCB Chelsea event is helmed by Shannon O’Neill (breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic and rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, The Stepfathers, ASSSSCAT 3000, Strangers Wanted, Ladies Night): The Lady 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.

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