NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 11/5/14

November 5, 2014

Want to be on an NBC prime time show?
America’s Got Talent is holding NYC auditions; details here.

TV Alert: Jim Gaffigan and Bette Midler are on Jimmy Fallon;
John Cleese in on Jon Stewart;
Bob Newhart and Melissa Rauch are on Craig Ferguson;
Rob Riggle is on David Letterman;
Howie Mandel and Deepak Chopra are on Conan O’Brien;
Howie Mandel is on Ellen DeGeneres;
Bridget Everett, Jeff Ross, and Hari Kondabolu are on @midnight

Schtick or Treat 7

Dozens of NYC comics gather in Brooklyn to impersonate other comics (Maria Bamford, Bill Burr, Aziz Ansari, Ellen DeGeneres, George Carlin, Bob Newhart, Mitch Hedberg, Kathy Griffin, Richard Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, Woody Allen, and lots more) at The 7th Annual Schtick or Treat

Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $12 marked with $) include:

[TOP PICK] [$] (11/5-11/9) The New York Comedy Festival features some of the best stand-ups in the world performing headlining sets in such major NYC venues as Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, the Beacon, the NYU Skirball Center, Carolines, and The Stand during November 5-9. Among the stars performing this year are Amy Schumer, Maria Bamford, Marc Maron, Bill Cosby, Bill Burr, Bill Maher, Pete Holmes, Tig Notaro, Dave Hill, Kurt Metzger, Mark Normand, Hannibal Buress, Sasheer Zamata, Aparna Nancherla, Eric Andre, Sommore, Paula Poundstone, and Dane Cook; plus there’ll be interviews with such giants as Jim Gaffigan, and the teams creating TV series Inside Amy Schumer (including Amy), Broad City (including Executive Producer Amy Poehler), and the writers of The Late Show with David Letterman. To explore the entire schedule, please click New York Comedy Festival

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Mike Birbiglia’s Dream is both a reference to Mike’s hit play & film Sleepwalk With Me, and to the group of improvisors he’s gathered being a “dream team” for making up scenes springboarding off his stories. Tonight at UCB Chelsea Mike spins tales for SNL’s Mike O’Brien, Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher, and/or more: Mike Birbiglia’s Dream

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($15 at the door or online): Storyteller Martin Dockery spins “a wild, surrealistic tale of an epic reunion between mother and child” at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue): The Dark Fantastic

7:00 pm to 11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features house groups Witch, Boombox, and Rizzo: Lloyd Night

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12 at door, $15.30 in advance online): For the seventh year of this fabulous annual event, dozens of NYC comics get two minutes each to do a set as a famous comedian. This 2014 edition is slated to include impersonations of Maria Bamford, Bill Burr, Aziz Ansari, Ellen DeGeneres, George Carlin, Bob Newhart, Mitch Hedberg, Kathy Griffin, Richard Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, Woody Allen, and many more. It all takes place at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Matt Ruby & Mark Normand: The 7th Annual Schtick or Treat

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Brilliant Saturday Night Live writer & performer Mike O’Brien “performs solo sketch and stand-up, reads a short story, and in general, does things. Come out to see experimental comedy as well as comedy that involves no experimentation” at UCB Chelsea: Mike O’Brien: 30 Minutes of Things

…and in the other half of this great double-bill, “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.): The Dead Dads Club

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Stand-ups create mashups with two mics on stage, tonight featuring stars Ted Alexandro, Judah Friedlander, Janeane Garofalo, Ari Shaffir, Big Jay Oakerson, Bonnie McFarlane, Yannis Pappas, and Paul Virzi at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): The Mashup Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door or $11.34 online): Chris Gethard (comedy genius; Broad City, Conan O’Brien, The Office, IFC; star of The Chris Gethard Show; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York, plus My Comedy Album), Lizz Winstead (Comedy Central Presents, The Daily Show, Air America), Guy Branum (Chelsea Lately, Totally Biased), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), and Jon Laster performing stand-up at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Anthony P. DeVito: Creek Cave Live: Chris Gethard, Lizz Winstead, Guy Branum, Monroe Martin, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Nick DiPaolo and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Todd Barry, Kyle Dunnigan, and Zainab Johnson at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Ari Shaffir, Sam Morril, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 11:30 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Mike Cannon (MTV), Liz Barrett, Stephanie Holmes, Janelle James, Dan Shaki, Josh Rosen, and Andrew Lee performing at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Alison Klemp: Train Wreck Stand-Up

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A 30-minute stand-up set from Jimmy LeChase, plus shorter sets from NYC stand-ups Lukas Kaiser, Justin Perez, Niles Turner, and Zane Golia, at Brit Pack Studios (153 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor): Jimmy LeChase: I’ll Never Earn This

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15 at the door or online): Superb storytellers Jim O’Grady, Jeff Simmermon, Cyndi Freeman, Brad Lawrence, and Amy Pascale (author of Joss Whedon: The Biography) tells tales about “people who inspire them: historical figures, family members & ancestors, mentors, or that guy that your friend told you about. These are tales of legendary individuals, well known and unknown, the awesome people who make us want to be more awesome” at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by Cyndi Freeman & Brad Lawrence: Awesome People

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, BET’s Comic View), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Alingon Mitra (Craig Ferguson), Adam Richmond (Carson Daly), Abbi Crutchfield (hosting live daily on, Scott Sharp, and Gabe Morales performing at this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, stand-up and characters from Kevin Barnett, Jen Bartels, Lil Rel Howery, and Josh Rabinowitz, who perform TruTV sketch show Friends of the People

9:30 pm ($5): Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien), Mikey Heller, and Lorelei Ramirez performing stand-up at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Griffin Newman and/or Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), Brody Stevens (star of Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!, Comedy Central Half Hour, Conan O’Brien, Chelsea Lately, @midnight), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Jordan Klepper (correspondent for The Daily Show), Ben Kissel (writer for MTV, MTV2, CMT, TLC; The Last Podcast on the Left, Roundtable of Gentlemen), and Dean Edwards (Saturday Night Live, MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch, HBO’s The Sopranos, feature film Scared Shrekless) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Nick DiPaolo, Brody Stevens, Ari Shaffir, Jordan Klepper, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Stellar improvisors Charlie Todd & Kevin Hines provide color commentary on improv sets by other top improvisors at UCB East for this monthly event: Play by Play

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Leslie Meisel & Kate Riley chose UCB comics to write sketches for the opposite sex, then cast and directed the scripts. Tonight’s show is the result of this fun experiment at the UCB Chelsea theatre: He Said, She Said: A Sketch Show

[TOP PICK] 11:15 pm ($5): The first round of a beloved annual November tradition at UCB East hosted by Pat Baer: 3-on-3 Improv Tournament

[FREE] Midnight: Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Luis J. Gomez, Dave Smith, and other NYC stand-ups performing live on stage for this podcast show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Legion of Skanks

Wednesday 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 at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up for 15 comics performing for 5 minutes each at Queens LIC’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club (4738 Vernon Blvd.)—with drinks at half price: Happy Hour Open Mic

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] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Improv Mixer

6:30 pm (no cover, 1-drink min. for comics): Walk-in open mic providing 7 minutes per stand-up at the Phoenix Bar (447 East 13th Street) hosted by Lisa Harmon: Lisa’s Clubhouse

10:15 pm ($5): Randomly selected UCBT students perform with UCBT improv veterans at the UCB East theatre: The Lottery

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with its 90 minutes split evenly among the comics who throw their names into a bucket, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Eagle Witt: Amateur Night At The Mercury

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore & Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

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)

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