NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 11/8/14

November 8, 2014

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

Maria Bamford

A comedy legend performs at 9:45 pm at Town Hall: Maria Bamford

Amy Schumer

…and superstar Amy Schumer (who totally killed last night at Carnegie Hall) and the incredible group of writers for her hit Comedy Central series live stream a panel discussion at 4:15 pm: Inside Amy Schumer at The Paley Center Online

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] [$] (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

[TOP PICK] 1:00 pm ($5): Katharine Heller hosts a live taping of her comedy podcast at the UCB East theatre: Tell the Bartender

[TOP PICK] 2:30 pm ($5): 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 albumSadamantium) and Jake Young host a live taping of her comedy podcast in which they “talk everything nerdy and strange, from Batman’s nipples to the X-Men theme song” at the UCB East theatre: Nerd of Mouth

[TOP PICK] 4:00 pm ($5): Keith and the GIrl make a live taping of their highly popular comedy podcast, with guests Mike Lawrence, Greg Behrendt, Ophira Eisenberg, Danny Hatch, Andrea Allan, and Ray DeVito at the UCB Easttheatre: Keith and the Girl

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 4:15 pm: Amy Schumer—who delivered a flawless performance last night at Carnegie Hall, cementing her reputation as one of the very finest stand-ups alive—heads a panel with the writers for her hit Comedy Central sketch series Inside Amy Schumer at The Paley Center. Tickets at the venue are sold out, but you can watch free online via live streaming by clicking Clown Panties and Other Unpleasant Truths: An Evening with Inside Amy Schumer

[TOP PICK] 5:30 pm ($5): Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central specialWhite Precious, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans) and Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1) make a live taping of their highly comedy podcast in which they aim to “cut through all the layers of politically correct media BS to deliver hysterical and truthful opinions on social, racial and global issues” at the UCB East theatre: Race Wars

[$] 6:00 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] [$] 7:00 pm ($20): Matt Walsh (UCB co-founder, HBO’s Veep) and his friends Jon Glaser, Shannon O’Neill, Tami Sagher, Jodi Lennon, and Brian McCann perform at the UCB East theatre: Matt Walsh and Friends

[TOP PICK] [$] [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): Ted Alexandro (one of thevery finest stand- ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presentshalf-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Mike Britt (Comedy Central), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Dane Cook, and probably some unannounced drop-ins, with four of the shows atComedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows atVillage Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

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 atThe PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party: “Everyone Kisses!” A Middle School Odyssey

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 (limited seats; call 212.247.7800): Comedy legend BIll Cosby headlines at the legendaryCarnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at 57th Street & Seventh Avenue): Bill Cosby

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($12 at the door or $15.45 online): Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country) hosts this monthly show featuring an eclectic collection of comics and musical guests at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Meet Me in the Bathroom and Tell Me All Your Secrets

[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 PITupstairs theatre: Big Black Car and The Baldwins

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

8:00 pm ($10): Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Kyle Kinane (Comedy Central hour-long special Whiskey Icarus), Sean O’Connor (Comedy Central Half Hour), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, VH1), Sam Evans, and Rojo Perez performing at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lucas Connolly: Hard, Lonely, and Vicious

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:30 pm ($49 & 2-drink min.): An acerbic stand-up star who’s appeared on Oprah, Jay Leno, Bill Maher, The View, and many other TV shows—and several films, to boot—headlining tonight and Sunday at theCarolines Comedy Club: Sommore

[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 the show’s producer Lukas Kaiser, Gabe Pacheco, Ross Parsons, and Carolyn Busa, all at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight(594 Union Ave) hosted by Ian Fidance & Lizzie Martinez: Showcasey Jones

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($15): Emily Heller (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, FX’s Totally Biased) performs a long stand-up set at the UCB East theatre: Emily Heller

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15; SOLD OUT of seats, but there’ll be a standby line if you’re okay with standing): 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 improvisorsDeath by Roo Roo

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

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Using real horror films purchased in local gas stations and bodegas, the hosts select specific clips to play for 30 seconds, pause, and then ask the improvisers to finish the scene. Will anyone survive atThe PIT downstairs lounge? Attend at your own peril with hosts J. W. Crump and Jordan Hirsch: Gas Station Horror

[$] 9:30 pm ($12): A sketch comedy group that includes writers for College Humor, The Late Show, and ESPN performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: Garlic Jackson

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:45 pm ($40-$70, depending on seat location): Comedy legend Maria Bamford performs atTown Hall (123 West 43rd Street, between 6th Avenue & Broadway): Maria Bamford

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country, with a delightfully wry style and lightning-quick mind; Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, Totally Biased, recently opened for Tig Notaro at Town Hall) and other superb stand-ups TBD at this show that describes itself as follows: “Starting in 1982, the city of Atlanta threw an annual party called Freaknik which essentially became the largest black spring break party in the country. The party became so big and wild that the city shut it down for good in 1996. But comedians Andy Sandford and Noah Gardenswartz are bringing Freaknik back…to Long Island City. ‘Comedy Freaknik’ will be a lot like the original Freaknik, except it’s going to happen once a month, and it will be a comedy show hosted by three white guys. That’s basically the only difference” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Freaknik

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($15): 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), 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

[$] 10:30 pm ($15): Guy Branum (Chelsea Lately, Totally Biased, X-Play) performs a long stand-up set at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Guy Branum

10:30 pm ($7): Magnet Instructors Louis Kornfeld and Rick Andrews pair together for one night of improvisation as comedy duo Kornfeld & Andrews

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): NYC’s heavy metal version of a sketch troupe, which provides odd, unsettling, and fearless dark comedy; in 2011 won the ECNY Award for Best Sketch Group; written up by Jason Zinoman in The New York Times; members include Henry Zebrowski, who’s a co-star of Wolf of Wall Street, and Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central) performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: Murderfist

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here) is the guest, while Anthony Apruzzese and a mob of other comics perform sketch at this hybrid variety/talk show co-hosted by Josh Sharp (GUMP) at the UCB East theatre: Showtime with Anthony Apruzzese

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It), Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Missy Baker (Huffington Post), and more performing stand-up at UCB Chelsea with hosts Andy Rocco & Steven Slate: Underground Americana

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