NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 12/22/14

December 22, 2014

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TV Alert: Steve Carell is on David Letterman (repeated from 11/11);
Martin Short is on Conan O’Brien (repeated from 10/2)

Charles Manson's Bachelor Party

Shannon O’Neill and many more celebrate the upcoming wedding of an infamous felon in Charles Manson’s Bachelor Party

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:

7:00 pm ($7): Superhero improv from indie troupe Norm at The Magnet theatre: Daily Planet

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation—which include group Holiday at 9:00 pm featuring the spectacular David Carl and Becky Krause—at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Kevin Janaway parodies holiday traditions playing a Redneck, a Hippie Pothead, a Train Wreck Personality, and a Former Child Star at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Happy Holidays Comedy Show

7:30 pm ($5): Young comics look back at what was awful in 2014 at a sketch show that’s an annual UCB Chelseatradition, this year hosted by 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): The It Sucked! Awards

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Joe Machi, Greer Barnes, Lenny Marcus, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 7:45 show; Judah Friedlander, Pete Davidson, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 9:30 show; and Todd Barry, Kurt Metzger, Big Jay Oakerson, and Sam Morril at the 11:15 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane):Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.47 online): Jen Kirkman (HBO, VH1, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, Craig Ferguson, staff writer for NBC’s Perfect Couples, author or I Can Barely Take Care of Myself), Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Emily Heller (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, FX’s Totally Biased), Billy Wayne Davis, and Subhah Agarwal performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; albums Wyatt Cenac: Comedy Person andWyatt Cenac: Brooklyn): Night Train

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, improv group What I Did For Love, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Matt Dennie (MTV, IFC, half of brilliant sketch duo Dennie & Sharp), Sue Smith, Brett Davis, and Lucas Connolly performing sketch, stand-up, and more at Brooklyn’s Cameo (93 North 6th Street, behind Lovin’ Cup): Cool Show

8:00 ($5): Nick Rutherford (SNL) and Josh Gondelman (HBO’s Last Week Tonight) being interviewed and/or performing at UCB East hosted by the memorable Katie Kester: The Later Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm: In Queens, Rebecca Vigil (powerhouse improv singer; The Vigilante, Your Love Our Musical), plus stand-up or sketch from Katie Haller, Stephanie Weber, Naomi Ekperigin, Kevin Hall, and Mo Fry performing in Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by brilliant sketch writer Meggie Spellman and Anne Clark: Black Magic Lab Variety

8:30 pm ($7): A one-man critical tour of Rob Penty at The Magnet theatre: Things I Don’t Like About Myself

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-up or sketch comics Alan Starzinski, Liam McEneaney, Dan Licata, Rae Sanni, Lance Weiss, and Joel Kim Booster performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Freddy’s Bar (627 Fifth Avenue; take R subway to Prospect Avenue) for this free biweekly show hosted by Brooke Van Poppelen (brilliant writer, stand-up, and storyteller; writer and/or producer for MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy, and Nikki & Sara Show; trutV, TLC) and Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, MTV, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories): Dive Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): A loosely plotted improv show with this premise: “Charles Manson is getting married, and the warden of Corcoran State Prison was kind enough to allow us inside for one night only to give Manson a Helter Skelter of a bachelor party. To celebrate Manson’s third marriage, the Beach Boys will be playing some tunes, LSD and amphetamines will be available, and hell, Sharon Tate’s ghost may even pop out of a cake for a surprise striptease. It’s Charlie’s last night of freedom as a single man, so you don’t want to miss it,” with performers including Shannon O’Neill (UCB-NY Artistic Director…and breathtakingly innovative, lighting-quick, and fearless improvisor/sketch comic; The Chris Gethard Show, The Stepfathers, ASSSSCAT 3000, The Lady Jam) at the UCB East theatre: Charles Manson’s Bachelor Party

9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, Joanna Bradley demonstrates she’s a fine performer who needs a less harsh and angry show to show off her comedic talent at I Am Very Important People

…and in the second half of this double-bill, duo sketch from Keith Kingbay & Jesse Neil in The Keith & Jesse Show

9:30 pm ($5): Duo improv at The PIT upstairs theatre: Paul Valenti & Ron Hill Do Improv

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 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), Jessica Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Jordan Carlos (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls,Comedy Central’s Broad City, VH1, Adult Swim), Paul Virzi, Joe Vecsey, Randy Syphax, and Vladimir Caamano 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: Mark Normand, Jessica Kirson, Pete Lee, Damien Lemon, and More

10:00 pm ($7): A veteran house Improv group plus some of its pals perform at The Magnet theatre: Junior Varsity and Friends

[FREE] 10:00 pm: A monthly stand-up show covering “UrbanAlternative comedy, with a mix of comedians calling out the absurd facets of dealing with life in the concrete jungle” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Tiana Miller and/or Dee Marie: Gentrification

[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 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

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