NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 9/19/14

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

Gary Busey's One-Man Hamlet

The return of top FringeNYC 2014 comedy shows Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (as performed by David Carl)

Magical Negro Speaks

…and Magical Negro Speaks, all tonight via the FringeNYC Encore Series

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] [$] [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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand- ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): A prank call show that asks you to “Bring a number. Tell us about your victim. Sit back and don’t laugh” at The Magnet theatre: Prank Phone Calls with Charles Rogers

7:00 pm ($10): All-female character & sketch comedy (comics not announced) performing at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Carly Ann Filbin: Lady Parts

7:00 pm ($10): Musical improv from the group that hosts the weekly Pitch jam, tonight performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: [title of team]

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($18): Jamil Ellis provides a smart, funny take on how African-Americans are portrayed in Hollywood movies that’s both entertaining and well worth experiencing (for my full review, please click here). This FringeNYC 2014 encore performance is happening at the Baruch Performing Arts Center (55 Lexington Avenue, between 24th & 25th Streets): Magical Negro Speaks

[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), Phil Hanley (Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central), Kevin Barnett (MTV’s Guy Code, Comedy Central, Sleepwalk With Me,College Humor), Justy Dodge (co-host of Married to Comedy podcast and Too Much Information on comicalradio.com; “I was kind of a tomboy growing up. Like, I had Barbies, but only because my Ninja Turtles needed bitches;” for dark bio video, please click here), and Drew Michael (TBS) performing stand-up at the One and One Bar’s Nexus Lounge (76 1st Street, corner of First Avenue) hosted by Ben Conrad & Lucas Connolly: Cranky Pants Comedy Hour

[DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($10 online using discount code TWO; no min.): Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Sherrod Small and More at The Stand

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

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A comedic game show that pits stand-up comics against each other at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Natalie Shure & Chip Dwyer: Stand-Up Showdown

8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, sketches from group BOAT; and then Joanna Bradley demonstrates she’s a fine performer who needs to work with a tough editor, as her material doesn’t come across as funny so much as harsh and angry—which doesn’t do justice to her genuine acting and comedic talent. Here’s hoping she learns lessons from this one-woman show: I Am Very Important People

8:00 pm ($10): Five veteran improvisors make stuff up at The PIT downstairs lounge as troupe Lead McEnroe

[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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($18): Rising star comic David Carl transforms into Gary Busey to act out Shakespeare’s greatest play using paper puppets, interactive video, lines from Hollywood action movies, an endearing childlike sense of wonder…and genuine comedic star power. This was my second favorite show at the recent FringeNYC 2014 (out of over 60); and is actually one of the funniest shows in New York, on any stage. (For my full review, please click here.) If you didn’t get a chance to catch GBOMH before, don’t miss this chance to experience it tonight at the Baruch Performing Arts Center (55 Lexington Avenue, between 24th & 25th Streets):Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet (as performed by David Carl)

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1; for set about being a hypochondriatic drug user, please click here), Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award), Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist and The Prom), Jim Tews (Last Comic Standing), and Molly Ruben-Long 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

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Stone and Stone (Last Comic Standing), Joe Alfano, Meghan Hanley, Cyrus McQueen, and Brian Jian performing long stand-up sets at Jimmy’s No. 43 back room (43 East 7th Street) hosted by Ben Asher: Nasal Vice Stand-Up

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($18): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, please click here) enjoys an encore performance tonight at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

9:30 pm ($10): Sketch comedy from troupe The Uncanny Valley at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Dean Cain Story

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

[DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($10 online using discount code TWO; no min.): Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Sherrod Small and More at The Stand

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craftThe Made-Up Musical

10:00 pm ($10): Keith Malley (Keith and The Girl) and more agnostic or atheist stand-ups performing at Queens LIC’sThe Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Keith Lowell Jensen (Stand Up! Records): Ha Ha Heathens

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live), Amber Ruffin (Seth Meyers), Claire Mulaney (SNL), and BLOMKY! (BAM) 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] 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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($8): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at The PIT upstairs theatre: Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

11:00 pm ($5): Duo sketch comedy from Chris Aurilio and Anik Sood performing at The PIT downstairs lounge:PulpRiot

11:30 pm ($7): A veteran house improv group performs at The Magnet theatre: Hello Laser

Midnight ($5): “A live monthly comedy game show in which three contestants participate in a battle of wits and knowledge for the chance to win a grand prize of 20 American dollars” at UCB East hosted by Ryan Simmons: Everyone’s Favorite Game Show

[DISCOUNTED] Midnight ($7.50 online using discount code TWO; no min.): Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), Rory Albanese (The Daily Show), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Chris Distefano and More at The Stand

[TOP PICK] [$] 12:15 am ($20, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Solid lineup of Dave Attell, Russ Meneve, John Joseph, Greer Barnes, Dov Davidoff, Damien Lemon, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Friday

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 theStand 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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge forHappy Hour

[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

[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage hosted by members of Maude group Moriarty: Liquid Courage

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: 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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