NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 7/27/14

July 27, 2014

For FringeNYC 2014 pre-fest coverage, please click here.

TV Alert: If you’re up this morning, Kurt Metzger’s superb recent
special White Precious is repeated from 8:50 am to 9:41 am on Comedy Central;
if you haven’t been watching John Oliver’s wonderful Last Week Tonight,
start—it’s on at 11:00 pm and 1:30 am on HBO

Mary Lynn Rajskub

Mary Lynn Rajskub concludes her headlining run at the Carolines Comedy Club

Sean Patton

…while top stand-ups Sean Patton and Aparna Nancherla perform at Kara Klenk’s If You Build It

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:

[FREE] 2:00 pm: Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Damien Lemon (MTV2’s Guy Code, Comedy Central Half Hour), Sheng Wang (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased), Harrison Greenbaum (Comedy Central, Mad Magazine), and Jeff Lawrence (director of Laughing Buddha Comedy) performing for a free outdoor show at Central Park’s Mineral Springs: Laughter in the Park

6:00 pm ($5): “It’s important to stay informed. That’s why we bring you all the news that happened this month, at the end of this month. Just your average news show, keeping you up to date with your world one month at a time” at The Magnet theatre written & performed by Jarret Berenstein: Current Events

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal improv group Pin-Up Squirrels performs and hosts other improv groups at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Play Date With the Pin-Up Squirrels

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Chris Gethard, and occasionally network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) “Chloe” on FOX’s 24 is actually a talented stand-up, and she headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Mary Lynn Rajskub

7:30 pm ($7): Matt J. Weir, Billy Bob Thompson, and Jamaal Sedayao perform sketch along with UK guest group The Tringalingalings at The Magnet theatre: MILK-Hunters

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America; co-host of Comedy as a Second Language, frequent guest-host of Whiplash), Aparna Nancherla (delightfully wry, lightning-quick, and razor-sharp rising star; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, former writer/performer for FX’s Totally Biased), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC; clash with Roseanne on this season’s Last Comic Standing led to #gofuckyourselfBen), Kenny Zimlinghaus, Brian Parise, and Matt Champagne performing stand-up, plus superb sketch duo Dennie & Sharp (GUMP, Cool Shit/Weird Shit), all at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Gary Gulman, Mark Normand, Gregg Rogell, Marina Franklin, and Ross Bennett at the 8:00 show; Gary Gulman, Nick Griffin, and Marina Franklin at the 9:45 show; and Mark Normand, Wil Sylvince, Sam Morril, and Damien Lemon at the 11:30 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors and guest improv groups (not announced) join host Skycopter (which includes the incredible David Carl) to make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Charla Lauriston (staff writer for upcoming Tina Fey-produced NBC sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV), Kim Coles, Lil Rel, Felonious Munk, Jordan Rock, and hosts Amanda Seales (VH1) & Marc Lamont Hill performing stand-at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Smart, Funny, and Black

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Typically terrific stand-ups (not announced) performing at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) typically hosted by the wonderful Hannibal Buress (former staff writer for 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Louie, The Eric Andre Show, host of Comedy Night, one-hour Comedy Central specials Animal Furnace and Live From Chicago): Comedy Night

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Sketch group Party. performs a show based on this innovative premise: “One of the last remaining Saturday morning children’s television shows, the long-running TV Kids Place!, is finally cancelled. And there’s only one thing host Pippi Pederson-Morales, Max the Mathemagician, Dr. Cowboy, Cloggo the Janitor, Willy McNilly, and the rest of the gang can do to stop it—put on the greatest show of their lives. Can Pippi and friends save Saturday morning kids TV? Come to a live taping and see for yourself!” at The Magnet theatre: TV Kids Place!

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Miguel Dalmau, Peggy O’Leary, Paul Hooper, and TJ Young performing at the East Village’s Beauty Bar for this free weekly stand-up show hosted by Adam Sokol, Brad Austin, and/or Nate Fridson: Comedy at Beauty Bar

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($12): Superb improvisors Micah Sherman (The Baldwins), Greg Kotis (co-writer of Broadway’s Urinetown), Will Nunziata (The Royal WE), Gary Richarson (The Annoyance Theatre), Liz Wisan (Yale School of Drama), and Richie Moriarty make up theatrical scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: People Improvising

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), 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), 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), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language), and Randy Liedtke performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Mark Normand, Dan St. Germain, and More

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket at 3:45), providing 3 minutes or more per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by James Ferrarella: Face-Plant Comedy Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

[FREE] 5:30 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 Emmy Blotnick, Matt Nedostup, and/or Sachi Ezurafor: Sledgehammer

6:00 pm ($5): Open-mic stand-up that includes professional feedback on each comic’s 5-minute set at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.): Mic-Shop: Open Mic Workshop

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night At The Gemini

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Open-mic show for sketch and character bits running 3-5 minutes at The Magnet hosted by Sebastian Conelli. Everyone who signs up—at 9:45 pm at the box office—is likely to get onstage: Sketch in Progress

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Christi Chiello: Lance Bass Space Mic

[FREE] 10:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly at UCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team 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)

(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: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible He is literally the only person in NYC providing daily summaries of what’s happening comedy-wise. It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive…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