NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 12/29/14

December 29, 2014

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TV Alert: Ben Stiller is on David Letterman (repeated from 12/9)
Tracey Ullman is on Jimmy Kimmel (repeated from 12/16)
T.J. Miller is on Craig Ferguson (repeated from 10/15)

Career Suicide

Comedy genius Chris Gethard tries out exceptionally honest, dark material in his unique blend of storytelling & stand-up for Career Suicide

Cady Huffman

…and Cady Huffman, Tony winner for Broadway’s  The Producers, is among the many stars crashing improv into classic theatre scenes at Gravid Water

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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-9:00 pm: All NYC-based gal comics—stand-ups, storytellers, sketch performers, improvisers, character actresses, bookers, producers, podcasters, etc.—are invited to hang out and network at The Creekupstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Selena Coppock & Rebecca Trent: Lady Gathering at The Creek

[TOP PICK] 6:30 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): Ace gal improvisors Megan Gray, Rosie Whalen, and more springboard an audience suggestion to create a terrible Lifetime TV movie (“come prepared to watch a live film filled with heartbreak, disease, violence, despair, hope, courage, sassy neighbors, murders, heroes, whores, assholes, dumb babies who take up all your time, revenge, love, sex, hate, and chocolate”) at The Magnet theatre: Lifetime Unoriginal Movies

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Judah Friedlander, Hannibal Buress, Mark Normand, and Zainab Johnson at the 7:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Jeff Ross, Hannibal Buress, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Mark Normand, Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, and Carmen Lynch at the 8:45 show; Jeff Ross, Joe Machi, Greer Barnes, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 10:30 show; and Ari Shaffir, Nikki Glaser, Big Jay Oakerson, Sam Morril, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 12:15 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Monday

7:00 pm ($5): Improv improv groups The Shady Bunch and The Brown Football Helmets make up musicals about the year gone by at The PIT upstairs theatre: A Musically Improvised Reflection on 2014

[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

7:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): NYC stand-ups and others “take the stage one at a time and attempt to chill everyone out using whichever techniques they feel are most effective. Audience members interact freely with the speakers and each other in an open group conversation where anyone may speak at anytime” at The Grisly Pear(107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Will Thilly: The Chill Circle

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5; sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and don’t mind standing): Top improvisors Scott Adsit, Zach Woods, Michael O’Brien, and Tami Sagher and Broadway & TV stars Cady Huffman (Broadway’s The Producers (Tony Award), The Will Rogers Follies (Tony nominee)), Jonathan Kaplan (Broadway’s Diary of Anne Frank, Falsettos (Tony nominee)), Cristin Milioti (A to Z, How I Met Your Mother, Broadway’s Once (Tony nominee)), and Julie Sharbutt (The Good Wife, The Colbert Report, Shakespeare in the Park) crash improv into classic theatre scenes at UCB Chelsea for actor/director Stephen Ruddy’s Gravid Water

[TOP PICK] 8:00 ($5): Comedic musicians Matt Radlow & Betsy Kenney perform and host other funny musicians (not announced) at what’s likely to be a way fun show at the UCB East theatre: Matt and Betsy Do Music: New Year’s Edition

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.47 online): 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), Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman), Barry Rothbart (Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central, MTV’s Punk’d, IFC’s Do Whatever), Seaton Smith (FOX’s Mulaney, Opie & Anthony Virus Tour), Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central, NBC’s My Name is Earl, Adult Swim), and Doogie Horner performing at Brooklyn’sLittlefield (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: Jen Kirkman, Jena Friedman, Barry Rothbart, and More

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Sketch comedy from five-person group Bleak at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Bleak Comedy: Huge Me

8:00 pm ($5): Host Jonathan Braylock (Amazing Spider-Man 2, one-man show The Black Experience, host of The Lockdown) and friends perform stand-up and more celebrating the birthday of Steve Way, “who has successfully defeated muscular dystrophy for yet another year,” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Steve Way’s Birthday Bash

8:30 pm ($7): “It’s important to stay informed. That’s why we bring you all the news that happened this month, at the end of this month. Just your average news show, keeping you up to date with your world one month at a time” atThe Magnet written & performed by Jarret Berenstein: Current Events

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, delightful dynamo Christine Bullen proves herself a fresh rising star in a one-woman show about her the various odd jobs one can find in NYC by answering Craigslist ads: My Melonbasket

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

9:30 ($5): Improvisors (not announced) pair up to create on-the-spot duo scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: It Takes Two-Prov

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: Dan St. Germain (enormously likeable and rapidly rising star who has several TV shows in the works; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half-Hour Special, The Electric Company, MTV, VH1), Nikki Glaser (former co-star of MTV’s The Nikki and Sara Show; Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Last Comic Sanding, Comedy Central Half Hour; podcast You Had to Be There), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Seaton Smith (FOX’s Mulaney, Opie & Anthony Virus Tour), Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien), and Casey Balsham 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: Dan St. Germain, Nikki Glaser, Joe List, and More

10:00 pm ($7): Improv is dominated by guys, so this is a rare treat—a dozen female improvisors “for an evening of comedy that will delight men, women, babies, and kittens,” hosted by Megan Gray at The Magnet theatre: We Might Just Kiss

[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/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