NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 12/1/14

December 1, 2014

For more, please visit

TV Alert: Don Rickles is on Jimmy Kimmel;
Mindy Kaling is on Conan O’Brien;
Martin Short is on Jimmy Fallon;
Jim Carrey is on David Letterman (repeated from 10/29)

Jason Zinoman

Great New York Times comedy reporter Jason Zinoman and other veteran reviewers discuss whether they have worth at Are Critics Necessary?

Chris Sullivan

…and improv sound effects master Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan performs with Myq Kaplan and more at Nat Townsen’s Downtown Variety Hour

 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] 5:00 pm ($10 at the door or online): Great New York Times comedy reporter Jason Zinoman, plus Adam Feldman of Time Out New York, Jesse Green of New York Magazine, David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter, Joe Dziemianowicz of the New York Daily News, Elisabeth Vincentelli of the New York Post, and Frank Rizzo of the Hartford Courant gather to discuss the question “Are Critics Necessary?” I can tell you right now, in one second flat, the answer is Duh, YES. (Plus most stand-up involves criticism…) But hopefully these very talented journalists will find other things to chat about at The Players (16 Gramercy Park South, at 20th Street east of Park Avenue): Jason Zinoman and More Discuss “Are Critics Necessary?”

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): 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) seamlessly blends stand-up and storytelling in a way that creates a deep, poignant, and hilarious experience. Tonight Chris tries out some shockingly honest new material at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Chris Gethard: Career Suicide

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): World-class storyteller Adam Wade (two-time Moth GrandSlam Storytelling Champion (2006 & 2009) and record-breaking 18-time StorySlam Champion; The New York Times Magazine; host of The Adam Wade Show; for a sampling of Adam’s award-winning tales, please click here), hosts a show at The Magnet that’s “like watching the characters of The Wonder Years and Freaks & Geeks all grown up and telling coming-of-age tales of love, lost, regret, and redemption,” with tonight’s guest storytellers Colin Wilhm, Brooke DiMarco, Tara Lawall Straight, and Amjad Masad: Adam Wade’s Whatever Happened to the Nerds?

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): A screening of a short comedy film about “the drama on-stage and off in a high School Assassination Re-Creation Club” written & directed by Kevin Scott—for the trailer, please click here—at The PITupstairs theatre: Assassins In Love Screening

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s comics include Ryan Hamilton, Greer Barnes, Rachel Feinstein, Kyle Dunnigan, and Marins Franklin (hosting) at the 7:45 show; Ari Shaffir (hosting), Russ Meneve, Lenny Marcus, and Zainab Johnson at the 9:30 show; and Dave Attell, Jena Friedman, and Nick Griffin at the 11:15 show, all performing stand-up at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 ($5): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome. Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (amazing human boombox; The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme, co-host of Battlicious), Greg Barris (MTV, host of Heart of Darkness), and more performing stand-up or sound effects and/or being interviewed at UCB East hosted by Nat Townsen (co-host of The Moon Show): Nat Townsen’s Downtown Variety Hour

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.47 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), Jen Kirkman (HBO, VH1, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central’s Drunk History, staff writer for NBC’s Perfect Couples, author or I Can Barely Take Care of Myself), Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Dive Comedy and Stripped Stories), Charla Lauriston (staff writer for upcoming Tina Fey-produced Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt;MTV), and Karl Hess performing 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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, charismatic performer Jonathan Braylock performs a series of sketches on “the ins and outs of the African American experience:” The Black Experience with Jonathan Braylock

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a sketch group that promises to give away $100: Awful DJ

8:00 pm ($10): A one-hour play in which “Karen is throwing a party, Ellen’s bringing Alec, Merv is the wild card, and Lisa’s on her way. These lovely people who seem to have it all gather for wine, cheese, small tragedies, and the mysteries of Kansas” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Lisa and Her Things

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

8:30 pm ($7): Political comic Jamie Kilstein (Conan O’Brien, CNN, MSNBC, Showtime, Citizen Radio) performs stand-up, and then leads his friends springboarding improv scenes off of “social and political stories from the lives of audience members” at The Magnet theatre: A People’s Guide to Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, ace improvisors Connor Ratliff, Molly Lloyd, Terry Withers, and more somehow create an improvised murder mystery on the spot—with the audience committing the crime!: The Terry Withers Mysteries

…and in the other half of this double-bill, something involving improv that describes itself as “filled with silliness , elaborate object work, and telekinesis:” Greasy Lake: A Fat Pattern Game Harold

[$] 9:30 ($12): Oscar Montoya & Bowen Yang host guests and jokes at The PIT upstairs theatre: Ethnic Realness

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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Sabrina Jalees (irresistible dynamo stand-up and rising star; Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV’s Failosophy, co-host of How Many Questions), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Gibran Saleem (sharp young stand-up; MTV), Chris Cotton, and Joe Praino 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: Ari Shaffir, Joe List, Sabrina Jalees, Chris DiStefano, and More

10:00 pm ($7): Duo improv from groups Little Buddy, Future Maneuver, Genetic Freaks, LD50, From Justin to Kelly, and host MegaLou (Megan Gray & Louis Kornfeld) at The Magnet theatre: The Duo Show

[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 Aparna Nancherla, Leo Allen, or someone else wonderful: 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 theStand 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

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] 10:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

[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/The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; free cover Fri-Sat with code LICVIP; 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