NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 10/20/14

October 20, 2014

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TV Alert: , Casey Wilson is on Conan O’Brien;
Lena Dunham and Melissa McCarthy are on Ellen DeGeneres

Wyatt Cenac 20

Comedy treasure Wyatt Cenac celebrates the release of his second stand-up album Brooklyn at Night Train

 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 ($5): Sharp comic Alan Starzinski (Sandino, Fat Penguin) performs a clever one-man sketch show in which he plays characters ranging from Aquaman to Gary Busey to the rescue pilot at the end of Jurassic Park at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Guys You Love to Hate

7:00 pm ($5): Story, song, and dance made up on the spot based on an audience suggestion from a young musical improv group at the PIT upstairs theatre: Good Catch

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: Nick Alexander (Sirius XM) hones a long stand-up set tonight and Tuesday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Nick Alexander

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Hannibal Buress, Nick DiPaolo, Robert Kelly, Lenny Marcus, and Zainab Johnson (hosting) at the 7:45 show; Nick Griffin, Greer Barnes, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 9:30 show; and Big Jay Oakerson, Colin Jost, and Dan Soder (hosting) at the 11:30 show, all performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 at the door or $6.70 online): Celebrating the release of Wyatt’s new comedy album Brooklyn are Phoebe Robinson (Comedy Central’s Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, FX’s Totally Biased, Glamour Magazine), probably Eugene Mirman (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords, FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Adult Swim’s Delocated, VH1; pioneer of NYC downtown comedy), and surprise guests, all performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; albums Wyatt Cenac: Comedy Person and Wyatt Cenac: Brooklyn): Night Train

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($12): Mark DeMayo was an NYC cop for 20 years—who then retired to pursue his true passion, comedy. The charismatic DeMayo blends stand-up and storytelling in this highly engaging, funny, and memorable one-man show about his time on the force at The PIT upstairs theatre, directed by Peter Michael Marino: 20 & Out

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): David Carl (Point Break Live, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet), Don Fanelli (30 Rock, The Stepfathers), Melissa Gordon (The Story Pirates, Hello), Tim Harrington (Les Savy Fav), Vinny Lopez (Two Jasperjohns), and more performing sketch character bits at UCB East hosted by Justin Tyler & Michael Hartney: Characters Welcome

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

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch group Bellevue and director Brandon Gulya create a brand new episode of a classic sitcom: Seinfeld: “The Leaning Susan”

[FREE] 8:00ish pm: Michelle Wolf (staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, co-host of Broken Comedy), Sheng Wang (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), and Leah Bonnema (VH1, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel) performing stand-up at this monthly show at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by DJ Cipha Sounds (Hot 97) and Kerry Overfab Coddett: Brooklyn, Stand Up

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

8:30 pm ($7): Sketches from participants of this past September’s National Sketch Month, which challenged writers to craft 30 sketches in 30 days, brought to life on The Magnet stage: NaNaSkeWriMo Unplugged: The National Sketch Writing Month Sketch Show

[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, Sean Hart, and more, plus exceptionally superb writers) and Bellevue (which includes Joanna Bradley and Laura Willcox): Maude Night: Legs For Days and Bellevue

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($12): All-gal comedic storytellers Ashley Ward (Baby Wants Candy, 50 Shades! The Musical Parody, Hello, Taco Supreme), Julia Lundy, and Katie Hutch performing at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Val Roder: Story Time

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

[FREE] 9:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Kendra Cunningham, Miguel Dalmau, Kyle Daniel Bostic, Maya Klausner, and Alex Fossella performing at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Backroom (627 5th Avenue) hosted by Pat O’Shea: Ed Sullivan on Acid

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist and The Prom), Rory Albanese (The Daily Show), Jordan Carlos (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, Adult Swim), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Paul Virzi (FOX, Spike TV), Frank Liotti, Stacey Prussman, Crystian Ramirez, and Alex Pavone performing stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Comedic storytellers Ryan Hernandez, Danny Hatch, and Taylor Clark tell tales on “the shitty things they’ve done and don’t feel bad about” at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) for this monthly show hosted by Jake Hart & Nick Padilla: Antagonist Storytelling Series

10:00 pm ($7): Magnet instructors Louis Kornfeld and Rick Andrews pair for a night of improvisation as comedy duo Kornfeld & Andrews

[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 the Stand 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 at Klimat Lounge (77 East 7th Street) hosted by Gregory Joseph. To get on the performance list for future shows, email Gregory at 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 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)

(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