NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 12/19/14

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Ben Stiller and Damon Wayans are on Jimmy Kimmel;
Jay Leno is on Craig Ferguson;
Owen Wilson is on Ellen DeGeneres;
Cameron Diaz is on Seth Meyers (repeated from 12/10)

Bellevue Presents Seinfeld: "The Leaning Susan"

The funniest UCB parody of the year returns: Bellevue Presents Seinfeld: “The Leaning Susan”

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] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Great lineup of Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand- ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, twoComedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), 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), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Powerhouse improv singer Rebecca Vigil and her improv partner Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical at The PIT downstairs lounge: Your Love, Our Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Judah Friedlander, Keith Alberstadt, and Marina Franklin at the 7:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Greer Barnes, and Keith Alberstadt at the 7:30 show; Judah Friedlander, Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, Rachel Feinstein, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 8:45 show; Judah Friedlander, Greer Barnes, and Lynne Koplitz at the 9:30 show; Joe Machi, Nick Griffin, Greer Barnes, and Lynne Koplitz at the 10:30 show; and Kurt Metzger, Artie Lange, Greer Barnes, Russ Meneve, Lynne Koplitz, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 12:15 show, with all shows atComedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Favorite sketches from Magnet groups Baby Shoes, Billy & Seb, Dispacho, Kelly & Kate, Kevin & Jimmy, Party., The Rolling Scones, and We’re Matt Weir: Bonus Round

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from an upbeat group at The PIT upstairs theatre: Totally, Yes

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($10): One of the very best shows to grace UCB Chelsea this year, sketch group Bellevueand director Brandon Gulya create a totally hilarious “missing” episode of a classic sitcom: Seinfeld: “The Leaning Susan”

…and in the second half of this double-bill, Kristen Bartlett & Jason Gore perform a sketch show about dealing with losing their dads within months of each other “but it’s funny, we swear” in The Dead Dads Club

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($60 & 2-drink min.) A cast member of Saturday Night Live and In LIving Color (most famously playing Homey D. Clown), and an actor in numerous feature films, headlining tonight through Sunday—albeit at a steep price—at the Carolines Comedy Club: Damon Wayans

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Here and Now

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($12.50 online using discount code XMAS; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn; host of Night Train), 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), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Wyatt Cenac, Rachel Feinstein, Jessica Kirson, and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($29): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot: Vern and Royals

[$] 8:00 pm ($12): David Carl (brilliantly talented and hilarious rising star character/sketch performer; Point Break Live, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet) performs 100 Impressions In 30 Minutes, which isn’t great as a show because it focuses on technique rather than character humor, but it’s a showcase for David’s highly impressive skills and charismatic charm (and has the potential to serve as the foundation for something greater that’s character-driven); plus band Viper pays tribute to the soundtrack of Top Gun, all at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue): 100 Impressions with David Carland Viper Plays Top Gun

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-up, sketches, and music for this variety show at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre:Take It Or Leave It

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, improv troupe Salmon Diane, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: 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), Michelle Wolf (rising star; staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code,IFC), Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, host of Big Long Sets), Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, co-host of Broken Comedy), Blake Midgette (Adult Swim), Travis Irvine, and Brett Hiker performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue) hosted by Erik Bergstrom, Ben Kronberg, and/or John F. O’Donnell: Live From Outer Space: Aparna Nancherla, MIchelle Wolf, Adam Newman, and More

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Neil Casey, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, Abra Tabak, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): In this unique variety show, “a bunch of daring comics get ballsy as each does something on stage he or she has never done but has always wanted to” at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Peter Michael Marino (creator of the SoloCom Festival) and Kirsten O’Brien: Cojones

9:30 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher): Dagger and Hello

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($12.50 online using discount code XMAS; 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 ofHow to Beat Up Anybody), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, HBO’s Down and Dirty, Comedy Central, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn; host of Night Train), 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), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Ari Shaffir, Wyatt Cenac, Jessica Kirson, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craftThe Made-Up Musical

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Amber Nelson (fearless, innovative rising star; Comedy Central; sketch troupes Murderfist andThe Prom) and Matteo Lane “sing your favorite Christmas songs while slowly getting drunker throughout the night. Come see if we can still stand by the end! You’re gonna be Laughing All the Way while we Jingle Your Bells” at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge: Mateo’s & Amber’s Christmas Cabaret Sing-Song

[FREE] 10:00 pm: Veteran improvisors reunite, new improvisors perform, and then old and new merge to create a one-nigh-only team at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Nick Arret: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Dan Klein, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and/or Conner O’Malley—who this year defeated The Stepfathers and thoroughly crushed another troupe at Cage Match before losing by a single vote—make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] 10:30 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), Jonathan Braylock (Amazing Spider-Man 2, host of The Lockdown), and more performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($8): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at The PIT upstairs theatre: Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

11:00 pm ($5): A late night talk show written by the wonderful David Carl and David Kimball-Stanley, with tonight’s guests not announced, at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Paul Gutkowski: The Last Show

11:30 pm ($7): Phoebe Tyers performs a one-woman show that’s “a late night spectacular that answers this seasonal question: what is the meaning of Christmas trees? From dashing Rockettes to southern musical guests, an explosion of gifts that lets you meet some of your favorite Christmas characters like the Grinch and Mariah Carey” atThe Magnet theatre directed by Jon Bander: Phoebe Tonight, Tonite

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “You better watch out, you might as well cry, say your prayers, cause y’all gonna die. Santa Claus is coming to town. This show tells the story of Santa Claus in the Wild West;” plus stand-up from Michelle Wolf (rising star; staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Matt Koff (writer forThe Daily Show), and Liza Treyger (Chelsea Lately), all at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Andy Rocco Presents Santa The Gunslinger

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Danny Tamberelli & Mike Maronna (star of The Adventures of Pete & Pete) are the guests on this “live monthly comedy game show in which three contestants participate in a battle of wits and knowledge for the chance to win a grand prize of 20 American dollars” at UCB East hosted by Ryan Simmons: Everyone’s Favorite Game Show

[FREE] Midnight: “A live staged reading of an episode of the hit sitcom Fraiser. And all the actors are drunk. And they will just get drunker and drunker as the episode goes on. With live commercials” at Queens LIC’s The Creekupstairs theatre spearheaded by Aaron Glaser: Wasted Fraser

Friday 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

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the upstairs theatre for Pitch

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge forHappy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 3 minutes per comic (unless not many folks show up, in which case there’ll be more time), with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Sarah Tollemache and/or Paul Oddo: The Friday Night Hot Chicks Open Mic

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

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-$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/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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