NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 9/22/14

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Zooey Deschanel is on Conan O’Brien;
Bill Hader is on Craig Ferguson;
Ana Gasteyer is on Seth Meyers;
Jim Jefferies is on Carson Daly;
Todd Barry, Marina Franklin, and Jesse Joyce
are on @midnight

Kristin Parker

Catch luminous rising star Kristin Parker in a comedy-drama blending autobiography and poignant wishful fantasy courtesy of the FringeNYC Encores: <50%

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:

[$] 7:00 pm ($12): Sketch troupe The Grape Dutches of York performs a show set in an amusement park “immersively, with 3D and 4D effects” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Enchantment Park

7:00 pm ($7): “Improvisers spiral deep into amazing situations, characters, and worlds” at The Magnet theatre: Spin Cycle

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up Jon Laster hones a long set tonight through Thursday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week At the Creek: Jon Laster

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Colin Quinn, Ryan Hamilton, Lenny Marcus,, and Monroe Martin (hosting) at the 7:45 show; Nick Griffin, Carmen Lynch, and Dan Soder (hosting) at the 9:30 show; and Dave Attell, Mark Normand, Jena Friedman, Roy Wood Jr., Sam Morril, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 11:15 show, all performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 ($5): Two of the best stand-ups in NYC, Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman) and Michelle Wolf (staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), being interviewed and/or performing at UCB East hosted by Katie Kester: The Later Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($18): This unusual FringeNYC play is actually a drama, but is so twisty at blending autobiography with wish-fulfillment fantasy that some reviewers have been fooled into describing it as a romantic comedy with a happy ending. The truth is this is a show with lots of humor—it’s written and co-stars an NYC stand-up, Gianmarco Soresi—but is ultimately about matters of the head and heart that are poignant and quite moving. Soresi is dynamic and skilled at landing laughs. But the bigger discovery of this production is the luminous Kristin Parker, who delivers a transcendent performance as his girlfriend rich in nuance, making every moment of love, compassion, faith, and pain believable. Parker’s performance is among the very finest I’ve seen at this year’s fest (out of over 60 shows and hundreds of actors). If you’re a casting director, check out this rising star, whose website is KristinParker.com. And if you’re a comic, consider seeing this example of how to build a stand-up routine into a multi-layered story that ultimately hits all emotional buttons with surprising success. Huge kudos also go to director Max Freedman, both for his inventive staging, and his creating an environment that simultaneously lets Soresi go for comedy while Parker mines hearts. There are just three encore performances left—tonight, next Monday at 9:30 pm, and 10/4 at 5:00 pm—at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street): <50%

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.47 online): John Roy (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central), Roy Wood Jr. (David Letterman, HBO’S Def Comedy Jam, TBS’s Sullivan & Son, Comedy Central), Nore Davis (Inside Amy Schumer), Marcus Monroe (David Letterman), and Michelle Biloon (Craig Ferguson) performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show, Comedy Central hour-long special, Adult Swim): Night Train

8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, sketch about our national pastime: Baseball is America

…and in the second half of this double-bill, duo sketch from Keith Kingbay & Jesse Neil in The Keith & Jesse Show

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Halle Kiefer & Joe Stanton:Splitsider’s Dog and Pony Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creekupstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

8:30 pm ($7): Improvisors blur the line between fact and fiction, using true stories from their own lives to lead into a world of pretend and back again at The Magnet theatre: Story Story

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: 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), Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, co-host of Broken Comedy), Robert Dean, Tom Cowell, and Gerald Delgado performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Backroom (627 5th Avenue) for this free biweekly show hosted by Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant writer, stand-up, and storyteller; writer and/or producer for MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy, and Nikki & Sara Show; trutV, TLC) and Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories): Dive Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch groups try out new material: the daring, out-of-the-box brilliant, and hysterical Legs for Days (which includes stellar performers Livia Scott, Ann Carr, Dan Chamberlain, Michael Hartney, and more, plus exceptionally superb writers) and Bellevue: Maude Night: Legs For Days andBellevue

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($12): Kyle Schaefer, Nick Abeel, and foley artist Kelsey Didion perform a live, shot for shot stage version of Jurassic Park at The PIT upstairs theatre: Hold On To Your Butts…Jurassik Parc

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phillip Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Roy Wood Jr. (David Letterman, HBO’S Def Comedy Jam, TBS’s Sullivan & Son, Comedy Central), Pete Davidson (newest cast member ofSaturday Night Live; MTV’s Guy Code), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award), Subhah Agarwal, Drew Michael, and Casey Balsham performing stand-up for this free weekly show at The StandComedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) typically hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental,documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

10:00 pm ($7): A veteran improv group and some of its pals make up scenes at The Magnet theatre: Junior Varsity and Friends

[FREE] 10:00 pm: A monthly stand-up show covering “UrbanAlternative comedy, with a mix of comedians calling out the absurd facets of dealing with life in the concrete jungle” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Tiana Miller and/or Dee Marie: Gentrification

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea hosted by the wonderful Leo Allen:Whiplash

Monday 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage—and also allows everyone play Bingo!—at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Julia Lundy & Veronica Elizabeth: Bingo Open Mic

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in 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

6:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min.): Booked open mic stand-up providing 7 minutes per comic for this 2-hour show atKlimat Lounge (77 East 7th Street) hosted by Gregory Joseph. To get on the performance list for future shows, email Gregory at evgigglepit@gmail.com: East Village Giggle Pit

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:30 pm: Open-mic storytelling, with names drawn out of a bucket and 5 minutes per performer, at the Slake Bar (251 West 30th Street) hosted by Julia Wiedeman: Happy Hour Story Hour (Open-Mic Storytelling) with Julia Wiedeman

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 5 minutes for each comic who reserves a spot in advance (by emailing Dan Fox at danmaxfox@gmail.com) and 3 minutes for each comic who signs up on the spot (sign-up starts at 6:45 and ends at 8:30) at Brooklyn’s Muchmore’s (2 Havemeyer Street) hosted by Dan Fox: Muchmore’s Stand-Up Open Mic

[FREE] 7:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show, with 10 comics each performing for 5 minutes, at Brooklyn’s Colony(274 4th Avenue) hosted by Emily Winter: Sparky the Dog Open Mic

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Kat Toledo and/or Alan Shain: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base 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)

The PIT
(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 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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