NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 6/11/14

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: John Oliver is on Seth Meyers;
Christopher Walken is on David Letterman;
Maria Bamford and Jackie Kashian are on @midnight

Nick Vatterott

Nick Vatterott practices a headlining set for his upcoming comedy album taping at The Creek

 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] [FREE] 6:30 pm: Comedic storytelling and/or humor readings from Jim O’Grady (The New York Times, NPR’s This American Life, WNYC Radio, Moth GrandSlam Champion), Diana Spechler (author of Who By Fire and Skinny), Lisa Kirchner (author of Hello American Lady Creature), and Colin Nissan (The Paris Review, McSweeney’s) performing at McNally Jackson Books (52 Prince Street) hosted by Andy Ross: Real Characters

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award) performs a headlining set that will soon be a comedy album published by Comedy Central at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Nick Vatterott Practicing for His Comedy Album

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

7:00 pm to 12:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Five and a half hours of improv from eight groups, plus a free improv jam at 11:30, at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm ($5.50 online using code MATTEO, plus 2-drink min.) Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien), and Ricky Velez (MTV) performing stand-up and/or being interviewed by host Matteo Lane at the Carolines Comedy Club: In Good Spirits With Matteo Lane

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features house groups Witch and Buchanan: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, four attractive young women—including rising star Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Dagger, Aquarius, and Veal)—perform a sketch show that’s inconsistent but entertaining overall for an initial effort, directed by the brilliant Ellena Chmielewski: Fuck Judy Towers

…and in the other half of this double-bill, 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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: A hodgepodge of comedy hosted by the wonderful and quick-witted Amanda Duarte (young), with The O’Debra Twins (Tanya O’Debra & Diane O’Debra, who sing, perform sketch and acrobats, and lord knows what else) John Early (Ars Nova’s Showgasm), Isaac Oliver, Raquel Cion, and more performing at Judson Memorial Church (239 Thompson Street): Dead Darlings

[FREE; plus FREE BACON] 8:00 pm: Dan Soder (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Selena Coppock (author of book The New Rules for Blondes, host of Connotation), Gibran Saleem (MTV), Anthony Kapfer, Adam Mamawala, Anthony P. DeVito, and Julia Solomon performing stand-up at this show that provides you with both free comedy and free bacon at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kevin Berrey and/or Farah Brook: Free Bacon

 [FREE] 8:00 pm: 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, co-host of Dive Comedy), Josh Gondelman (staff writer for HBO’s Last Week With John Oliver), Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Vicky Kuperman, Josh Rosen, and Erik Bransteen performing stand-up at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg, and hosted tonight by Monica Vida: Train Wreck Stand-Up

[$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s lineups include Dave Attell, Kevin Brennan, and Dov Davidoff at the 9:45 show, and Nikki Glaser, Greer Barnes, Ryan Hamilton, and Big Jay Oakerson at the 11:30 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Hari Kondabolu (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased), Sheng Wang (Comedy Central Presents), Greg Warren (Comedy Central Presents), Daniel Simonsen (BBC’s House of Fools), Meghan Hanley, Jeff Cerulli, and Andy Fiori performing at this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:15 pm ($8): Sketch comedy from groups The Talent and UniSex, character sketch from Adam Hamway and Sharon Jamilkowski, music from Positive Feedback and Squirm & Germ, and more at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by Jenn Dodd: June Sketch Block

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on most recent Last Comic Standing; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome. Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), and Myka Fox performing stand-up at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Griffin Newman and/or Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, scenes from a nautical sketch group BOAT and a one-man show from Christian Capozzoli: Nutso Facto

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($10 online using discount code CREEPS; no min.): Cringe stand-up from Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star, and my pick to win this season’s Last Comic Standing; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, VH1’s Best Week Ever; co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents, FOX, VH1, E!), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), and Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language) performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg: The Creeps of Comedy: Judah Friedlander, Mark Normand, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Leslie Meisel & Kate Riley chose UCB comics to write sketches for the opposite sex, then cast and directed the scripts. Tonight’s show is the result of this fun experiment at the UCB East theatre: He Said, She Said: A Sketch Show

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[FREE] 11:00 pm: As many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some, like me, that’s part of the laid-back fun. (Tonight’s lineup includes Hari Kondabolu and Gibran Saleem; for the complete list, please click here.) Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a weekly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible—and don’t forget to toss $1 in the bucket on your way out: School Night

Wednesday 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: A character-based open-mic happening weekly at UCB East hosted by Sean Hart: Don’t Be Yourself: Character Open Mic

5:30 pm ($3): Walk-in open mic providing each performer 5 minutes (or more, depending on turnout) at This Theater (154 West 29th Street): The Worm Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up for 15 comics performing for 5 minutes each at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.)—with drinks at half price: Happy Hour 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

6:30 pm (no cover, 1-drink min. for comics): Walk-in open mic providing 7 minutes per stand-up at the Phoenix Bar (447 East 13th Street) hosted by Lisa Harmon: Lisa’s Clubhouse

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 Wednesday 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 Lizzie Martinez: Comics Phoning It In

10:30 pm ($3): Biweekly open mic stand-up, with each comic getting an unusually long 6-10 minutes, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by James III & Jamie LeeLo: Hump Day

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house group Bucky and DJ Cipha Sounds: The Improv Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore & Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

5:30 pm ($3): Walk-in open mic providing each performer 5 minutes (or more, depending on turnout) at This Theater (154 West 29th Street): Night Owl Open Mic

[FREE] 11:30: Sign up at 11:00 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Improv Mixer

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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