NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 6/18/14

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TV Alert: Mike Myers and Whitney Cummings are on Seth Meyers; Jason Mantzoukas is on Conan O’Brien; Kevin Hart is on The Daily Show

The 3rd Annual NYC Inner Beauty Pageant

Jo Firestone hosts her genius idea for a beauty competition at Littlefield: The 3rd Annual Inner Beauty Pageant

Reggie Watts

…and a musical improv comedy superstar plays Town Hall in An Evening With Reggie Watts

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] 7:00 pm: Star storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller, host of Funny Story, albums Better Stronger Faster and Big Room; last year released a new storytelling album each month) hones a show he’ll be performing at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe every night through Friday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week At the Creek: Tom Shillue

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

7:00 pm to 11:30 am ($7 for the entire evening): Four and a half hours of improv from eight groups, including a free improv jam at 10:30, at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

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 Astronomy Club and Big Revival: Lloyd Night

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7 at the door, $8.54 online): “Twelve of New York City’s most warm-hearted oddballs (who tonight include Adam Wade) compete for the title of ‘Most Inner Beautiful’ with a talent portion, pageant-style interview, and homemade swimsuit competition. Audience members determine the winner through silent ballots.” This genius idea for a show is the brainchild of dynamic rising star Jo Firestone (host of The Incredible Game Show Showcase and Punderdome 3000), and takes place at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): The 3rd Annual NYC Inner Beauty Pageant

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($53-$69, depending on seat location): Music improv comedy genius Reggie Watts has performed on Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central special, IFC’s Comedy Bang Bang, Electric Company, and much more; for video samples, please click here. Tonight Reggie’s superstar status is represented by his playing Town Hall (123 West 43rd Street, between 6th Avenue & Broadway): An Evening With Reggie Watts

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Three improv giants—Tami Sagher, Shannon O’Neill, and SNL star Aidy Bryant—make stuff up for a show that quickly sold out at UCB Chelsea (but you can still probably get in if you’re okay with standing): Aidy/Tami/Spo

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Judah Friedlander, Nick DiPaolo, and Lenny Marcus at the 8:00 show; a flawless lineup of Whitney Cummings, Nick Griffin, Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, and Ryan Hamilton at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Todd Barry, Big Jay Oakerson, Dov Davidoff, and Wil Sylvince at the 11:30 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) hosted by Mike Yard: Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): In this special show, stand-ups take suggestions from the audience and make up an entirely new set on the spot, with tonight’s brave comics Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, upcoming Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; co-host of Comedy as a Second Language, frequent guest-host of Whiplash), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Krystyna Hutchinson, Casey Balsham, Ian Fidance, Robby Slowik, and Jeremiah Watkins performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Stand-Up on the Spot with Judah Friedlander, Sean Patton, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: 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), Gary Vider (hilarious deadpan stand-up; for great Conan O’Brien set, please click here; for more jokes, please click here), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Liz Miele (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Selena Coppock (author of book The New Rules for Blondes, host of Connotation) Jawann Carmona, and Ezra Stead performing stand-up at the Revision Lounge (219 Avenue B, between 13th & 14th Streets) hosted by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: 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), Katie Hannigan, Amy Daulton, Brett Davis, and Tynan Delong performing in this monthly show that “puts comics inside of a video game that plays itself” and offers prizes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Steven DeSiena & Stephen Whalen: You and the Screen

[FREE] 8:00 pm: World-class stand-up Aparna Nancherla (delightfully wry, razor-sharp rising star; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, former writer/performer for FX’s Totally Biased), plus NYC stand-ups Mike Cannon, Gina Brillon, James Alexander, Brittany Sherrod, Julie Kottakis, and Frank Liotti performing at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg, and hosted tonight by Katherine Williams: Train Wreck Stand-Up

8:00 pm doors ($5): A monthly show that encourages its audience to network and socialize, facilitated by selfies, $3 PBRs, and stand-up crowd work, featuring comedy from NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at Le Poisson Rouge’s The Gallery (158 Bleecker Street) hosted by Michelle Slonim: Meet Drink Laugh

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($30 at the door or $35.02 online): Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country) hosts this monthly show, tonight featuring a killer lineup of David Cross, Michael Che, Kate Berlant, Jean Grae, and Marcus Monroe performing stand-up, plus Juliana Hatfield and Dave’s band Valley Lodge performing music, at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Meet Me in the Bathroom and Tell Me All Your Secrets

[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] 9:00 pm ($5; no min.): Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Gary Vider (hilarious deadpan stand-up; for great Conan O’Brien set, please click here; for more jokes, please click here), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), Myka Fox, Matt Wayne, Trey Galyon, and Jordan Temple performing stand-up or sketch at Brooklyn’s Dean Street (755 Dean Street) hosted by Seena Jon: Dean Street Comedy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on 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), David Angelo (writer for Jimmy Fallon), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Lane Moore (writer for The Onion), Nathan Macintosh, Brian Parise, Kase Raso, and Pete Cestaro 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?

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live), Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot 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), and Alex Ramsey & Joe Cilio performing stand-up or sketch at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Griffin Newman and/or Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

9:30 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 second half of this double-bill, Michael Antonucci & Yoni Lotan Sharp perform a sketch-based one-act about buddies being on the road: License to Chill

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): A wonderful opportunity to spend an hour with one of the best stand-ups in the biz, Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody) performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander For The Hour

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Improvisors pair up for one night only, tonight featuring superb improvisors and hosts Dan Hodapp & Natasha Rothwell, plus Josh Sharp & Jessica Morgan, Zack Willis & Monique Moses, Gary Richardson & Betsy Kenny, and Shaun Diston & Alexandra Dickson, all performing at the UCB East theatre: Couples Skate

[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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Douglas Widick & Kaila Mullady (improv group North Coast) perform duo hip-hop improv “that blends the lines of scenework, free-style, and beat-boxing” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Jazz Funeral: Duo Hip-Hop Improv

[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 hasn’t been announced—the list still has Hari Kondabolu at the top, who performed last week—but you can check for an update 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

[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 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

[FREE] 10:30: Sign up at 10:00 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Improv Mixer

[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

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

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