NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 8/13/14

August 13, 2014

For FringeNYC 2014 show ratings & rankings, please click here.
To learn what’s selling out, please click here.

TV Alert: Kumail Nanjiani & Jonah Ray and
Martin Lawrence are on Conan O’Brien;
Aubrey Plaza is on Chelsea Lately;
Kevin Hart is on Ellen DeGeneres (repeated from 2/11)


A rude, unsettling, and laugh-out-loud funny sketch comedy group that sold out its opening night continues its FringeNYC run tonight at 9:45 pm at LES’ 21-A Clinton Street: 20/400: Sketchy as F*ck

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] 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, including afree improv jam at 11:30, at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Jim Tewes (HBO) hones a long stand-up set tonight through Friday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week At the Creek: Jim Tewes

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Ted Alexandro, Judah Friedlander, Greer Barnes, and Mike Yard (hosting) at the 9:45 show, and Dave Attell, Big Jay Oakerson, and Ari Shaffir (hosting) at the 11:30 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; 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), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Brody Stevens (star of Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!, Comedy Central Half Hour, Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately, @midnight), Joe List (HBO, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Damien Lemon (MTV2’s Guy Code, Comedy Central Half Hour), and Crystian Ramirez performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Gary Gulman, Brody Stevens, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sketch duo Peter Sherer & Nicole Drespel helpfully inform us that “The new season ofDoctor Who premieres August 23rd and you’ve waited way too long to catch up. Give us an hour and we’ll cover all of time and space plus 50 years of British television and still have you home in time to be dropping references to companions and Daleks like a straight up Time Lord (or Lady)” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Doctor Who? 50 Years of Spoilers

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Scientists, nerds, and/or comics Erika Engelhaupt, David Epstein, Loren Grush, Nelson Lugo, and Steve Zimmer, and host Ben Lillie become comedic storytellers at this monthly show that tonight focuses on the topic Awkward Science at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): The Story Collider

8:00 pm ($10): NYC comics (not announced) performing stand-up or sketch at “a variety show inspired by a poignant evening on NBC’s The Voice in which a contestant found himself going through ‘dark times’ after dropping out of NYU’s graduate program for music business to pursue his true calling: slightly faltering karaoke singing. His parents seemed very disappointed” at The PIT downstairs lounge produced by Melissa Somosky and hosted by Megan Lohne: Dark Times: A Comedic Variety Hour

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents, FOX, VH1, E!), Kendra Cunningham (Last Comic Standing), Vicky Kuperman, Stephanie Holmes, Oniyide Francis, Joe Gerics, and Katie Compa performing stand-up at theProducer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Katherine Williams: Train Wreck Stand-Up

[FREE; plus FREE BACON] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing 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] 9:00 pm: Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, MTV), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Jordan Carlos (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls,Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, Adult Swim), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), Greg Warren (Comedy Central Presents), Jim Tews (Last Comic Standing), Liza Treyger, and KC Arora 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] 9:15 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

9:15 pm ($8): Character comedy from Tim Girrbach, Zach Garner, and Adam Hamway, and sketch comedy from groups Business Computer and Unisex, all at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) produced by KL Thomas and hosted by Rob Asaro: August Sketch Block

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, sketch from gal duo Samantha Schecter & Becky Chicoine, with some help from Kelly Harper and director Matt Dennie: Womantown

…and in the second half of this double-bill is one of the finest sketch groups in the country. Its writers include stellar comics Silvija Ozols and Brandon Gulya (Brandon also directed this show); and its cast is superb: Brandon Scott Jones, Leslie Meisel, John Murray, Molly Lloyd, Connor Ratliff, and Johnathan Fernandez. (If you’re in show biz, hire them.) This new collection of sketches revolves around the mass shopping experience:Stone Cold Fox Goes to the Mall

9:30 pm ($10): Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award), Katina Corrao (HBO, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, co-host of Lasers in the Jungle), and Tom Cowell performing stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Griffin Newman and/or Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:45 pm ($18): A sketch show that focuses on over-the-top characters who are likely to make you laugh and cringe at the same time from Lauren Olson, Jana Schmieding, and Christian Paluck, who’ve spent years performing together at The Magnet developing an easy comedy chemistry. For video samples, please click here and here; and for my review, please click here. The opening night sold out, but tickets for tonight are still available online and at the door at FringeNYC Venue #5 (21-A Clinton Street): 20/400: Sketchy as F*ck

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15; 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), Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special), Brody Stevens (star of Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!, Comedy Central Half Hour, Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately, @midnight), Joe List (HBO, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Maddog Mattern (Sirius Radio, Howard Stern TV; to see Maddog handle a heckler, please click here), and Pete Davidson (MTV’s Guy Code) performing stand-up at The StandComedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Gary Gulman, Brody Stevens, and More

[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] 10:15 pm ($5): Improvisors who happen to live with each other—Brandon Gardner & Achilles Stamatelaky; Jo Firestone, Liz Noth & Clara Morris; and Joel Weidl, Ryan Haney & John Trowbridge—get together on stage to make up scenes on the spot at the UCB East theatre: Roommates!

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, the wonderful Michelle Wolf (staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC) does a one-woman stand-up show about anything that catches her delightful attention: Michelle Wolf: She Needs a Cat

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

10:15 pm ($5): Randomly selected UCBT students perform with UCBT improv veterans at the UCB East theatre:The Lottery

[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

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with its 90 minutes split evenly among the comics who throw their names into a bucket, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Eagle Witt: Amateur Night At The Mercury

[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

[FREE] 11:15 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] 11:30: 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)

(123 East 24th Street; 99-seat upstairs theatre, 40-seat downstairs theatre; shows free-$20)

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)

This Theater
(154 West 29th Street; new venue that, at its best, features shows comparable to UCB & PIT; free-$12)

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