NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 10/4/14

October 4, 2014

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TV Alert: Sarah Silverman hosts NBC’s Saturday Night Live

T.J. Miller

TV & movie star T.J. Miller performs almost every kind of comedy imaginable at The Creek’s free T.J. Miller Makes Mayhem

Judah Friedlander

…brilliant stand-up star Judah Friedlander commits his own special kind of mayhem on his last night of headlining at Carolines

Inside the Dream: The Walt Disney Story

…Richard Greene, co-author of Inside the Dream: The Walt Disney Story, will try to mislead you at The Liar Show

Kristin Parker and Gianmarco Soresi in <50%

…and it’s your last chance to catch rising star actress Kristin Parker and stand-up Gianmarco Soresi in <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:

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 5:00 pm ($12.75 online with discount code FES14): 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 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. This is the final Encore performance at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street): <50%

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($5; no min.): Part of Comic Con Super Week, Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium) hosts a comic book related stand-up show featuring such other top comics as 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) and Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS) performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Comic Book Stand-Up: Mike Lawrence, Dan Solder, Jared Logan, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 6:00 pm ($10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319): Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who does gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Richard Greene (co-author of Inside The Dream: The Walt Disney Story), Lisa Kirchner (author of Hello American Lady Creature), Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 18-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of hilarious monthly storytelling extravaganzas The Adam Wade Show and Whatever Happened to the Nerds?, and cast member of The Nights of Our Lives; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), and Ed Gavagan (TED Talks, Moth Radio Hour). Come to the West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) and let host Andy Christie (The New York Times, NPR, Moth GrandSlam champion, exceptionally nice guy) attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, 12:15 am, and 1:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Colin Quinn, Ted Alexandro, Zainab Johnson, and Seaton C. Smith at the 7:00 show; Colin Quinn, Lynne Koplitz, and Zainab Johnson at the 7:15 show; Colin Quinn, Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, and Dov Davidoff at the 8:45 show; Colin Quinn, Dane Cook, Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, and Dov Davidoff at the 9:15 show; and Dane Cook, Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, and Zainab Johnson at the 10:30 show, with four of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15, 9:15, 11:15, and 1:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

7:00 pm ($10): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT downstairs lounge: Electoral Dysfunction

[$] 7:00 pm ($12): A young all-guy troupe performs a mix of sketch and improv on the subject of middle school at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party: “Everyone Kisses!” A Middle School Odyssey

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: TV & movie star 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) performs stand-up, sketch, improv, clowning, and mime at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: T.J. Miller Makes Mayhem

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($35 & 2-drink 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) headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Judah Friedlander

7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, and more at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

7:30 pm ($10): Sharp Magnet improvisors “perform organic freeform improvisation in two mind-blowing parts; the only rule is that there are no rules:” The Weave

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Big Black Car (which includes Chris Grace, Nate Starkey, and Ashley Ward) and The Baldwins (which includes Micah Sherman Brigid Boyle, and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

[FREE] 8:00 pm: This show-and-tell event encourages you to “bring your weird family photos, demonstrate how many flips you can do in a row, reveal the tattoo your uncle gave you at last year’s family retreat—share anything crazy, kooky, strange or insane; the best of the best will win prizes and bragging rights,” plus stand-up from Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Emmy Blotnick (blogger for Jimmy Fallon, MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), Tony Zaret (co-host of School Drools), and Lukas Kaiser (Chappelle’s Show), all at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) produced by Lukas Kaiser and hosted by Lizzie Martinez: Showcasey Jones

[FREE] 8:00 pm: In this popular monthly show, NYC stand-ups “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself in this monthly showcase”at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Matt Wayne & Doug Smith: See You in Hell

8:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv troupe takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): UCBT improv troupe Airwolf—which includes such talents as Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, John Frusciante, and Emily Axford, and in 2012 crushed 15 improv groups in a row at Cage Match, entirely owns the UCB East stage tonight at Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): One of the gutsiest and most hilarious troupes in comedy history—with honors including being Cage Match Champion for three years in a row, and winning the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Improv Group—UCB Chelsea’s genius improvisors Death by Roo Roo

9:00 pm ($10): Magnet improvisors team up with poets at Kiss*Punch*Poem

9:30 pm ($10): Improv group Walter makes up a old-fashioned black & white silent movie on the spot, with live piano accompaniment, at The PIT upstairs theatre: Walter’s Silent Movie

9:30 pm ($10): “A monthly show featuring long form improv of three diverse schools of thought and culminating in a cross-team closing” at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sharif Ali and/or Kelly Ann Rockwell: World’s Fair

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: In this hilarious, organic monthly show, stand-ups perform anything except stand-up—e.g., sketch, storytelling, improv, songs, dance, puppetry, and things we can’t even imagine—with tonight’s small army of comics including Ashley Brooke Roberts, Josh Gondelman, Lukas Kaiser, Nate Fernald, and more performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City guest-hosted by Eric Grundhauser & Nick Maritato: Underbelly

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Tracey Wigfield (former writer for 30 Rock), Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die), and more form an ace improv group at UCB East that won last year’s prestigious Cage Match championship by springboarding scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life: What I Did For Love

[$] 10:00 pm ($20): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Nick Kanellis make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy trio Trike

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($5): An enormously fun freestyle rap contest at UCB East with NYC comics (not announced) plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by superstar human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central): Battlicious

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Jon Rineman (Tonight Show), and more performing stand-up at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aaron Glaser: Midnight Stand-Up

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($10, which covers you and a companion; no min.): Part of Comic Con Super Week, Gary Gulman (David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-long special) hosts a comic book related stand-up show featuring such other comics as Monroe Martin, Aaron Berg, and Yannis Pappas performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Comic Book Stand-Up: Gary Gulman and Friends

[FREE] Midnight: An eclectic monthly talk show in which host Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker, blogger for Comedy Central) interviews a broad range of guests (sadly, not announced this time) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Aftermirth

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”), with sign-up at 3:30 pm, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Raj Sivaraman & Sam Evanshost: The Amateur Hour

[FREE] 5:30 pm: Walk-in open mic comedy show—stand-up, character, or funny story—providing 5 minutes per comic at The Fifth Estate Bar (506 5th Avenue, off 12th Street) hosted by Meghan O’Keefe: Open Mic-hael Douglas

5:30 pm ($5): Walk-in open mic, with sign-up at 5:15 pm and each stand-up performing for 5 minutes, at the Comedy Village Comedy Club (107 MacDougal Street): Comedy Village

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