NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 12/11/14

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Chris Rock and Sting are on David Letterman;
Kyle Dunnigan is on Seth Meyers;
Doug Benson, Megan Neuringer, and
Kurt Braunohler are on @midnight

Aparna Nancherla

Aparna Nancherla performs stand-up at Brooklyn’s AbeMixture and then tells tales at Shut Up! Storytelling

Kevin Nealon

…and Kevin Nealon headlines tonight through Saturday at Carolines

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): 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), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Brandon Scott Wolf, Peggy O’Leary (host of Creek Cave Comedy), and more performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:00 pm ($10): Improvisors pretend to be from 1813 England at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Austen Family Improv Players

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Shea Butta Magic (“smooth like a plain bagel with butter”) raps and jokes through Friday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Shea Butta Magic

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30ish pm: 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), 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), Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Casey Balsham, Julia Prescott, Gabriel Pacheco, and Omar Shaukat performing stand-up, plus music from Soce (Andrew Singer), all at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Deepak Ananthapadmanabha & Hiram Becker: AbeMixture

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($43.75 plus 2-drink minimum): A former Saturday Night Live star, cast member of Showtime’s Weeds, star of his own Comedy Central special, and actor in over two dozen comedy feature films—including Anger Management, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Daddy Day Care, Get Smart, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan—headlining tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kevin Nealon

7:30 pm ($5): A puppet improv & sketch troupe consisting of Nate Brown, Jacqueline Harper, Allison Moy Hayhurst, Julia M. Smith, and David Bizzaro perform at The PIT downstairs lounge: Team Lopez: Improv/Sketch Puppetry

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45, 8:00, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Mark Normand, Greer Barnes, Marina Franklin, and Jessica Kirson at the 8:00 show; Todd Barry, Gary Gulman, Carmen Lynch, Jessica Kirson, and Mike Yard (hosting) at the 9:30 show; and Big Jay Oakerson, Mike Yard, and Marina Franklin (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): At UCB Chelsea, the talented Natasha Vaynblat (improv group What I Did For Love, sketch group Absolutely) performs a smart, funny one-woman show mixing sketches about the types of teachers she’s encountered with video tales of her own experiences during four years as an NYC public school teacher, directed by the wonderful Leslie Meisel: United Federation of Teachers

…and in the second half of this double-bill, AJ Patton and Timmy Wood perform duo sketch comedy as Hype Squad

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): 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), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Morgan Miller (UCB TourCo), and Josh Rabinowitz performing stand-up atThe PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Jonathan Braylock & Steve Way: The Lockdown: Mike Lawrence, Adrienne Iapalucci, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-10:00 pm ($10 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups The Boss and Hello Laser performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by The Blob (eight improvisors jointly contribute to the creation of two-person scenes, and then work to refine and morph these scenes together over time), at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from a guest storyteller (not announced) 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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist and The Prom), 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), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, sketch group Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), and John Early (30 Rock, Ars Nova’s Showgasm) performing at this weekly variety show for stand-up, sketch, and more 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: Amber Nelson, Sabrina Jalees, Jason Saenz, and More

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) joking about their culture—Jewish, African-American, Asian, geek, whatever—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shak Standley & Paul Higbie: The Black Bar Mitzvah

8:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($10): Improv spinning off the mythic TV series The Golden Girls at The PIT downstairs lounge: Four Broads and Cheesecake: Golden Girls Improv

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two of my favorite stand-ups, Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central, 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) and Michelle Wolf (rising star; staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), plus more, performing at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by a popular comedy site: College Humor Live

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): This monthly storytelling & variety 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 spotlights a timeless legend who embodies the spirit of Christmas at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Oscar Montoya: I Will Always Love You…Santa Claus

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (lineup not announced) performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Justin Williams: Death Comedy Jam

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): Brooke Van Poppelen (co-host of TruTV’s Hack My Life; writer and/or producer for a slew of MTV shows; also performed on HBO, Comedy Central, VH1; co-host of Dive Comedy), Joel Kim Booster, and Brendan Eyre 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): Powerhouse UCB weekend improv groups Grandma’s Ashes and Airwolf compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous Cage Match

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): All-gal storytelling show of “true tales with feelings; so many feelings…,” with tonight’s stellar guests 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), Natalie Wall (host of Awkward Sex…and the City), and Siobhan Thompson (UCB), all sharing tales at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Caitlin Brodnick & Lisa Kleinman: Shut Up Storytelling Show

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 the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 5:30 pm: Stand-up open mic, with names pulled from a bucket and each selected comic getting 4 minutes, at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Wolf, Sarah Tollemache, and/or Paul Oddo: Thursday Night 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 PIT upstairs 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 PhoningItInMic@gmail.com 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 info@oldmanhustle.com or calling (212) 253-7747, or just walk in and supply your name, to perform at the Old 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 at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Josh Alba: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] 11:00 pm: A supportively silly jam for duo improv (you’ll be paired up on the spot) in which the audience shows “Good Scene!” at the end of every scene at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by improv group Judith: Good Scene!: A Judith 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)

The PIT
(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 BestNewYorkComedy.com. 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 hy@hyreviews.com.

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