NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/23/14

May 23, 2014

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Sasheer Zamata

Sasheer Zamata performs at Characters Welcome and Totally Requesty

Tracy Morgan

…and Tracy Morgan headlines through Sunday at Carolines

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $12 marked with $) include:

[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), 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), and more performing stand-up at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[$] 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 Kevin Brennan (David Letterman, HBO half hour special) at every show; plus Greer Barnes, Ryan Hamilton, and Lenny Marcus at the 8:00 show; Gary Gulman and Greer Barnes at the 8:45 show; Judah Friedlander, Gary Gulman, Ryan Hamilton, and Dov Davidoff at the 10:30 show; and Neal Brennan, Greer Barnes, Mark Normand, Dov Davidoff, and Big Jay Oakerson at 12:15, 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

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: NYC stand-ups Mark DeMayo (retired NYC cop with great stories), Ben Rosen, Nick Leftley, Andrew Bayroff, Tim Alexander, Alyssa Wolff, Michelle McGill, and Dr. Fritz Galette performing at Saloon NYC (1584 York Avenue, off 84th Street) hosted by Sten Ulfsson: Stand-Up at Saloon

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live), Don Fanelli (30 Rock, The Stepfathers), John Early (30 Rock), Joanna Bradley (VH1’s Best Week Ever), Matt Starr (ace sketch group Legs for Days), and Chelsea Davison performing character bits at UCB East hosted by Justin Tyler and Michael Hartney: Characters Welcome

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: Storytellers Julia Wiedeman (host of UCB East’s Happy Hour Story Hour), Jack Hart (host of The Dump), Anna Roisman (MTV; co-host of You Probably Think This Song Is About You), Anne McDermott, and Brian Szabo tackle this month’s theme of One Too Many: Stories of When We went Too Far at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Bar (627 Fifth Avenue; take R subway to Prospect Avenue) hosted by Asher Novek: So What Happened Was…

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($60 & 2-drink min.): A former co-star of 30 Rock who’s one of the most hilarious guys in the biz headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Tracy Morgan

[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]8:00 pm ($20; 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), Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show, Comedy Central hour-long special, Adult Swim, host of Night Train), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), and Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Wyatt Cenac, Ari Shaffir, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

8:00 pm ($10): NYC stand-ups (not announced) perform at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Jenny Jaffe (former staff writer for MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live): Camp Time

8:00 pm ($5): Improvisors play outside their comfort zones at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Dan Pozmanter: Fear Corner

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups aiming to slay audiences at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Phil Burke: Destroy All Humans

[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): “Have you ever witnessed something truly miraculous or beyond rational explanation? Ever had an out-of-body experience, felt the presence of a divine agency, or seen a real-life unicorn? Been touched by the transcendent or religious? Raised in a cult? Come share your experiences and have improvisors use them to create hilarious scenes” at the UCB East theatre: Namaste: The Light Within

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive Comedy and Stripped Stories), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV, TruTV), Greg Stone, Adam Pateman, and Andrew Short 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 ($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 ($20; 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), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), 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), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Ari Shaffir, Nikki Glaser, Big Jay Oakerson, 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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Veteran improvisors reunite, new improvisors perform, and then old and new merge to create a one-nigh-only team at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Nick Arret: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

[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): Jamie Kilstein (Conan O’Brien, CNN, MSNBC, and Showtime, writes for The Huffington Post, and co-hosts Citizen Radio), Brendan Fitzgibbons, and Kenny DeForest 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 ($12): A stand-up edition of this monthly show featuring Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live), Mark Normand (rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Cipha Sounds (Hot 97), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, sketch group Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), Charla Lauriston (staff writer for Tina Fey’s upcoming NBC series Tooken; MTV; host of School Night), and Corinne Fisher performing at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Justin Perez & Nicole Pasquale: Totally Requesty

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): Ace gal improvisors Megan Gray, Lauren Olson, and more create a terrible Lifetime TV movie based on an audience suggestion at The Magnet theatre: Lifetime Unoriginal Movies

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): MC Chris (nerd rapper, cartoonist, and voice actor; Adult Swim’s Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, improv group What I Did For Love, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Asie Mohtarez (CNN), and more performing at UCB East hosted by Sharon Spell and possibly featuring Jill the Shrink Dancer: The Big Shrink

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

[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.