NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 8/8/14

FringeNYC 2014 starts today! For coverage, please click here.

On TV, Last Comic Standing astonishingly kicked off the one comic
(beyond the audition process) who made this season worth watching.
The suspense next Thursday won’t be who wins
but if viewers even bother to tune in.
Joe Machi, you are a star, and we’ll be watching you wherever you end up…

Pizza Faces

Jo FIrestone hosts Brooklyn theatre about a beloved food at The Pizza-Themed 10-Minute Play Festival

Dancing Monk Ippen

…and it’s the first day of FringeNYC, which includes the spectacular all-Japanese musical Dancing Monk Ippen

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 ($12 at the door or $11.54 online): T.J. Miller (red-hot comedic actor & hilarious sketch comic; David Letterman, co-star of HBO’s Silicon Valley and former ABC sitcom Carpoolers; co-star of numerous movies including Transformers: Age of Extinction, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Cloverfield, and Get Him to the Greek; for video samples, please click here) and T.J.’s real-life sister Morgan Miller perform duo improv at The PIT upstairs theatre: MillerTime

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 pm ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Ben Bailey, Ryan Hamilton, Greer Barnes, and Dov Davidoff at the 10:30 show, and Dave Attell, Mark Normand, Greer Barnes, Big Jay Oakerson, and Dov Davidoff at the 12:15 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): Ben Bailey (Emmy Award-winning host of Cash Cab and NBC’s Who’s Still Standing? ; Comedy Central Presents, Jay Leno), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Dave Smith, and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Sketch group Baby Shoes presents “a dark and magical world that is part comedy, part children’s fable, and completely under an hour. Young Maria is spirited away down a magical portal in her grandfather’s toilet, but all is not well in the fantasy land on the other side. A psychomaniacal billionaire has discovered a portal of his own and built a factory there, leaving the whimsical world decimated, its people impoverished and enslaved, and its chocolate reserves depleted by the insatiable greed of the candy companies back in the world of man. Maria must use all her wits and courage to navigate a strange land of wizards and imps, Lost Boys, goat men, pirates, and a forest of talking hands to reach the evil chocolate factory and uncover the true nature of the mysterious Brown Gold” at The Magnet theatre: Baby Shoes: Brown Gold

7:00 pm ($10): A veteran improv group makes up scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge: Lead McEneroe

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Stellar talents Ellie Kemper, Natasha Rothwell, Christina Gausas, Cipha Sounds, and more perform improv at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Maravilla

[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

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.): A cast member of the much-missed Chappelle’s Show headlining tonight through Thursday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Donnell Rawlings

[TOP PICK] [FREE—plus FREE PIZZA!] 8:00 pm: Five NYC comedic writers have created pizza-themed short plays to be debuted in this “semi-regular pizza-themed festival,” with tonight’s creators including Conner O’Malley (writer for Seth Meyers), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer, co-star of GUMP), and Anna Drezen (talented character comic blending words and movement; one-woman show Spooky Jerks). Free pizza is provided for all attendees while supplies last at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Jo Firestone (dynamic rising star; host of Punderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase) and Anthony Apruzzese: The Pizza-Themed 10-Minute Play Festival

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($20; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), Ben Bailey (Emmy Award-winning host of Cash Cab and NBC’s Who’s Still Standing? ; Comedy Central Presents, Jay Leno), 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), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Ben Bailey, Christian Finnegan, and More

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot: Vern and Royals

8:00 pm ($10): Improv about a very, very bad day at The PIT downstairs lounge by group Johnny Velvet and the Moonbeams

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC comics performing stand-up at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Justin Grace, Mike Pullan and James Ferrarella, who also promise “skits, arm wrestling, jeopardy, contests, drinking, and everything else you would do on an” Almost Saturday Show

[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] [FREE] 9:00 pm: 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), Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Michelle Wolf (staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), and KC Arora 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

[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

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): A sketch comedy troupe performs at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bridge & Tunnel: A Sketch Show

[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] 10:00 pm ($20; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody), 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, co-star of feature film The Wrestler, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour), 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), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Todd Barry, Christian Finnegan, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-up and sketch comics (not announced) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

[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): NYC comics 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): Comedic storytellers tell tales revolving around a theme, and then powerhouse improv musical guest Rebecca Vigil and her band The Vigilante make up a song on the spot based on those stories at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Anna Rose Roisman: You Probably Think This Song Is About You

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

11:30 pm ($7): Improv groups Trike, The Battery, and host The Theme from Jurassic Park each spin a wheel with different forms of improv on it to determine what type it’ll be performing on the spot at The Magnet theatre: Wheel of Form

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Michelle Wolf (staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, host of Big Long Sets), and Naomi Ekperigin (Broad City) performing stand-up or sketch at UCB Chelsea with hosts Andy Rocco & Steven Slate: Underground Americana

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A sketchy show that crams 40 character bits into an hour while aiming to have you “laughing until blood pours out of your throat and eyes and you die and you go to hell and you’re like ‘god damn that was worth it!’ to Satan and he’ll be like ‘Yeah, I know, I was there, it was dope'” at the UCB East theatre: O.S.F.U.G. A Fast Fuckin’ Character Showcase

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): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the upstairs theatre for Pitch

[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

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.)

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:

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com. 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 hy@hyreviews.com.

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