NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 10/17/14

October 17, 2014

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TV Alert: Lenny Marcus is on David Letterman;
“Weird Al” Yankovic is on Craig Ferguson;
Nathan Lane & Matthew Broderick are on The View;
Jeffrey Tambor and the Impractical Jokers are
on Seth Meyers (repeated from 10/7)

Baby Wants Candy

One of the best musical improv troupes in the country, Baby Wants Candy, is among the highlights at Day #2 of The Magnet’s New York Musical Improv Festival

Rocky Whorer PIT-ure Show

…and at midnight at The PIT, Halloween is celebrated by The Rocky Whorer PIT-ure Show

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 pm-12:30 am ($10-$15 per show): It’s the second of four nights of The Magnet’s Sixth Annual New York Musical Improv Festival, featuring groups from NYC, Chicago, and more performing for nearly six hours, with highlights including the 10:00 pm double-bill of Baby Wants Candy and a one-woman improvised opera. For the complete schedule, please click New York Musical Improv Festival

[$] 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Relatively anemic lineups tonight, with no notable headliners but some fine stand-ups including Joe Matarese at the 8:45 show and Russ Meneve 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

[$] 7:00 pm ($12): Lorraine Cink & Leslie Collins play Atlantic City act The L’Amour Sisters, making up terrible lounge songs on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: L’Amour Lounge

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Ben Kissel (MTV, Spike TV; Murderfist, The Last Podcast on the Left, Roundtable of Gentlemen) hones a long stand-up set every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City:Week at the Creek: Ben Kissel

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, Christine Bullen performs a one-woman show about her adventures answering Craigslist ads: My Melonbasket

…and in the other half of this double-bill, sketch comedy from Matt Porter & Charlie Hankin as duo Good Cop Great Cop

[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

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

[FREE] 8:00 pm: 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), Jenny Zigrino (TBS), Shakir Standley (Last Comic Standing), Ray DeVito (MTV), Molly Austin, Kris Tinkle, and Eli Sairs 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

8:00 pm ($5): Chris Roberti performs a one-man show directed by Jodi Lennon at The PIT downstairs lounge: A Cult of Relentless Positivity

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-up, sketches, and music for this variety show at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre:Take It Or Leave It

[$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who’s performed on Louie, HBO, and CBS’ upcoming The 2-2, and starred in two Comedy Central specials, headlines tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club (with Jon Fisch opening): Robert Kelly

[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: Jessica Delfino (CDs Dirty Folk Rock and I Wanna Be Famous; popular animated short film I Wanna Be Famous; to get a feel for Jessica’s range and talent, please click here), Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s The American Life, Moth StorySlam Champion, host of And I Am Not Lying), Leah Bonnema (VH1, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien), Jordan Carlos (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, Adult Swim), and Steve Hernandez performing stand-up, music, and/or storytelling 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

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): Josh Krebs performs a one-man show about such characters as “an angry 13-year-old girl with a penchant for art films, an alcoholic rocker whose claim to fame is a theme to a popular children’s show, and a salesman with a time share of a lifetime on the moon” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Maniac

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award), Sheng Wang (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased), Steven Forrest, and Joel Walkowski, plus science writer Calla Cofield, explore scientific topics such as evolution, the big bang, the environment, the human brain, the politics of science, and the future at Queens LIC’sThe Creek upstairs theatre: Universe City 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): Peggy O’Leary (host of Hard, Lonely,and Vicious), Gary Richardson (Comedy Central, host of School Night), Brendan Fitzgibbons (Huffington Post), and more 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 ($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 ($10): Musical sketch comedy from group Nancy, plus sketch from guest duo Girls With Brown Hair, at The PIT downstairs lounge: Nancy Presents Songs in the Key Of Life

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($10): Pre-Halloween, a small army of comics pay homage to the cult classic film Rocky Horror Picture Show at The PIT upstairs theatre: Rocky Whorer PIT-ure Show

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): One of UCB Chelsea’s most popular shows is Cage Match, and that’s in part because of its wrestling subplots that play in between the improv competitions. Tonight the improv is left behind so that these sideshow elements can explode onto the stage for a full hour. Expect at least a half-dozen matches combining sketch comedy and genuine wrestling choreography. For videos of past battles, please click here. As the show description states, “Only 14,000 seats are available, so get your tickets now before the UCBW Arena sells out!” Experience the pre-Halloween bloodbath men call UCBW AutumnSlamn

[FREE] Midnight: NYC comics perform stand-up in the nude (audience members can choose to be clothed or naked) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: The Naked Show

Midnight ($5): Josh Patten (SNL) and Mike Rubens (HBO’s Last Week Tonight) are guests on this “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

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

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