NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 10/23/14

October 23, 2014

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TV Alert: Nathan Lane, Garry Marshall, and “Weird Al” Yankovic
are on Seth Meyers (repeated from 9/30);
Neil Patrick Harris is on Conan O’Brien;
Casey Wilson is on Ellen DeGeneres

Kevin and Matt Geek Out About Zombies

Superfans Kevin Maher & Matt Glasson celebrate the undead with dozens of amazing movie clips, plus fascinating lectures from eclectic guests…

Kevin and Matt Geek Out About Zombies

…and Sara Reiss’ free treats (eat them before they eat you!) at Kevin and Matt Geek Out About Zombies

Leslie Goshko

…and the delightful Leslie Goshko might tell a tale…


…about her sea-faring cat Tater at the Halloween edition of Sideshow Goshko

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] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Storytellers Cyndi Freeman (The Colbert Report, Moth StorySlam champion, two-time FringeNYC award winner, star burlesque performer), Tara Clancy (The Paris Review, The Moth), Thomas Pryor (author of I Hate the Dallas Cowboys), and Steven Berkowitz (Scientific American) performing at this wonderful monthly oddball storytelling show at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, off Second Avenue) hosted by the lovely Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post) and featuring such charms as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes: Sideshow Goshko

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): The Lucas Brothers (Jimmy Fallon, 22 Jump Street, FOX’s Lucas Bros Moving Company,Arrested Development), Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, host of Big Long Sets), Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City, 2012 Andy Kaufman Award), Kendra Cunningham (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The Tyra Banks Show, Law & Order), and Maeve Higgins (UK comic) performing stand-up—plus Katina tries Tinder!—all at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($10): A new episode of TV’s Power Rangers made up on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Morphin’ Time: The Return of the Power Rangers

[$] 7:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): One of the cast members of the seminal In Living Color headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Tommy Davidson

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45, 8:00, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, Gina Yashere, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 7:45 show, and Dave Attell, Nikki Glaser, Jon Fisch, Big Jay Oakerson, Phil Hanley, and Joe List (hosting) at the 11:30 show, with three of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): “In 2010, Kristen Bartlett’s and Jason Gore’s dads died within months of each other. Kristen and Jason formed a grief-fighting force that is often tough, but occasionally falls apart when Big Fish is on HBO. This is a sketch show about what it’s like to lose a parent and realize that you are going to die too, and there’s nothing you can do about it. (But it’s funny, we swear.)” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Dead Dads Club

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no 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), The Lucas Brothers (Jimmy Fallon, 22 Jump Street, FOX’s Lucas Bros Moving Company, Arrested Development), Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Sheng Wang (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased), Rory Albanese (The Daily Show), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language), and Alingon Mitra performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, The Lucas Brothers, Dan Soder, Rachel Feinstein, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups Hello Laser and The Boss performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by The Senses (improv focused on the stimulation and deprivation of taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound), at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from storyteller Robby Weinstein at The Armando Diaz Experience, and finally at 11:00 by improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component): The Magnet’s Night Out

8:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups Jeff Leach, Jacqueline Novak, Kenny Zimlinghaus, Ken Reid, and Ryan Donahue performing at this show for stand-up plus sketch at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Larry Murphy (brilliant voiceover actor for FOX’s Bob’s Burgers, Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans, Adult Swim’s Assy McGee and Home Movies, and numerous other shows) and/or Greg Johnson (Sirius XM): Myrtle Comedy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Jordan Temple, Justin Peele, Jessica Michelle Singletonberg, and Jack Wilkinson performing at Poco Restaurant & Bar (33 Avenue B at 3rd Street) produced by Jawann Carmona, Sooyah Jun, Cassidy Kirch, and Zardon Richardson: FTH Comedy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: All-gal improv group Saint Nancy hosts stand-up, sketch, and improv at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Saint Nancy Presents Mostly Handsome

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($5): Julian McCullough (fiercely funny rising star; Comedy Central Presents, Jimmy Fallon, NPR’s This American Life, MTV, VH1), The Lucas Brothers (Jimmy Fallon, 22 Jump Street, FOX’s Lucas Bros Moving Company, Arrested Development), and Mary Mack (Last Comic Standing) performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 9:00 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): 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), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

9:00 pm ($5): Chris Roberti performs a one-man show directed by Jodi Lennon at The PIT downstairs lounge: A Cult of Relentless Positivity

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($13): Superfan Kevin Maher brings back his genius pop culture show Kevin Geeks Out, which screens dozens of amazing film clips on a particular oddball subject coupled with fascinating lectures by an eclectic group of guests. Tonight Kevin focuses on Zombies, aided by filmmaker Matt Glasson, plus free zombie treats from Sara Reiss, and more, all at Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema (125 East 11th Street, between 3rd and 4th Avenues): Kevin and Matt Geek Out About Zombies

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Storytellers Julia Wiedeman, Lynn Bixenspan, Jenny Jaffe, Anne Thomas, and host Kevin Allison tell daring personal tales at The PIT upstairs theatre on tonight’s Halloween theme Eek! for one of the finest storytelling shows in the country: Risk!

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The Emmy-winning writers of The Daily Show gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised show at A Non-Daily Show

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): This monthly show is dedicated to an artist or a work of art that has had a significant impact on the lives of various performers from around the city. This month features the Nickelodeon TV series Are You Afraid of the Dark? as “NYC’s comedic talent will recreate The Midnight Society and present their own horror stories inspired by AYAOTD, making it a night no one will ever forget” at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Oscar Montoya: I Will Always Love You…Are You Afraid of the Dark?

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15; no 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), Gina Yashere (Showtime 1-hour special, Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Rory Albanese (The Daily Show), Giulio Gallarotti, and Ben & Josh performing stand-up atThe Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Gina Yashere, Damien Lemon, and More

10:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy from two visiting New Orleans-based groups: four-man team Stupid Time Machine (for sample video, please click here) and gal duo Rude (for sample video, please click here), all performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Stupid Time Machine and Rude

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): The Lucas Brothers (Jimmy Fallon, 22 Jump Street, FOX’s Lucas Bros Moving Company,Arrested Development), Kevin Barnett (MTV’s Guy Code, Comedy Central, Sleepwalk With Me, TruTV’s Friends of the People), and Sheng Wang (Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Presents, Totally Biased) performing stand-up at this weekly show hosted by the brilliantly surreal and hilarious Joe Pera (for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here), Charles Gould, and Dan Licata at the UCB East theatre: Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Duo Play by Play (improv veterans Charlie Todd & Kevin Hines) handily defeated Lloyd team Rizzo with an audience vote of 81-67. Tonight PBP faces another improv duo, My Privacy (Matt Calanese & Michael Hernandez), competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous Cage Match

Thursday 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] 5:30 pm: A character-based open-mic happening weekly at UCB East hosted by Sean Hart: Don’t Be Yourself: Character Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Joe Galan hosts a clowning workshop & open stage: “Clowns have only one true directive: To play! This is part workshop, part playground where we will use exercises geared towards exploring new voices, bodies and games. Either show off a piece in progress or jump onstage blind and ready to follow your sense of fun. Whether you’re interested in learning more about clown technique and physical comedy or just overcoming coulrophobia, this jam is a fun and safe environment to explore your onstage instincts” at The PITupstairs theatre: No Make-Up: A Clown Jam

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

6:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 2 1/2 hours. 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] 7:00 pm: Weekly open mic that provides 5 minutes for each audience member whose name is pulled out of a bucket to perform a true story, sketch, or characters at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by JiJi Lee: Split Personality Open Mic Storytelling & Sketch

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with improv group Hello Laser to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer

9:30 pm (free for audience members, $5 or 1 drink min. for stand-ups wanting to perform): Open mic stand-up providing 7 minutes per comic (and a free recording of your set!), with order determined raffle-style. Sign up by emailing or calling (212) 253-7747, or just walk in and supply your name, to perform at theOld Man Hustle Bar (39 Essex Street) hosted by Solomon Chehebar: Peep Show Comedy Open Mic

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3-5 minutes on stage atThe Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Josh Alba: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open stage for indie improv groups—and if you’re not in a group, that’s also fine, you’ll simply be added to one—at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Darcy Burke & Donna Lobello: New Team Lunacy

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