NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 1/8/15

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Patton Oswalt and Matt LeBlanc are on Seth Meyers;
Lena Dunham is on Jimmy Fallon;
Chelsea Peretti and inadvertent comic Donald Trump are on David Letterman;
Sarah Silverman (wow!), Steve Agee, and Scott Aukerman are on @midnight

The Simpsons Backstage Tour with Mike Reiss

A Simpsons writer for 25 years provides a fun look at the series in Simpsons Backstage Tour

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] 1:00 pm ($30): There are hundreds of walking tours in NYC, but my favorite so far is this survey of artwork in the New York City subway system. While guide Phil Desiere isn’t in any way a comic, the artwork itself primarily is comedic (and often includes a comic book sensibility). If you’d enjoy having your eyes opened to the whimsical art strewn about heavily traveled NYC subway stations that millions of busy commuters never notice, treat yourself to this 2½ hour expedition happening on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 1:00 pm: New York City Subway Art Tour

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): 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), 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), Michelle Buteau (FOX’s Enlisted,Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, VH1’s Best Week Ever, @midnight), Streeter Seidell (Editor-in-Chief of College Humor; Jimmy Kimmel, MTV’s Pranked), and Matt Nedostup performing stand-up at UCB Easthosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle: Mike Lawrence, Brooke Van Poppelen, Michelle Buteau, Streeter Seidell, and More

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer, co-star of GUMP, co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit) tries out a show that has something to do with him singing at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Josh Sharp Sings

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Clowns Chris Sheer, Sara Newman, and clown hosts Icky Shirley Dangle & Chunky Cricket Discharge performing a silly show at The PIT upstairs theatre: An Unapologetic Mess: A Clown Show

7:00 pm ($5): “In the criminal justice system there are many different types of special police squads that investigate various crimes. Some of them you may have never heard of. These are their stories” made up by improvisors on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: Law & Order: Suggestions Victims Unit

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($32.75 plus 2-drink minimum): The wonderful Michael Che (SNL Weekend Update star; former star correspondent for The Daily Show and staff writer for Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1) headlines tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Michael Che

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30ish pm: Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, host of Big Long Sets), Phoebe Robinson (Comedy Central’sBroad City, MTV’s Girl Code, FX’s Totally Biased, Glamour Magazine), Subhah Agarwal, Sara Roan, Rojo Perez, Kaitlyn Holland, and Dave Rosinsky performing stand-up, plus music from Savvas, all at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Deepak Ananthapadmanabha & Hiram Becker: AbeMixture

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Gary Gulman, Joe Machi, and Marina Franklin at the 7:45 show; Mark Normand, Greer Barnes, Keith Alberstadt, and Sam Morril at the 8:00 show; Gregg Rogell, Greer Barnes, Judy Gold, and Dov Davidoff at the 9:30 show; and an all-star lineup of Dave Attell, Paul Mecurio, Nick Griffin, Dan Soder, Big Jay Oakerson, Pete Davidson, and Monroe Martin (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 ($20): “Mike Reiss has won four Emmys during his 25 years writing for The Simpsons. In this lively presentation, he reveals stories from the show’s past—dealing with guest stars and network censors, and tales of the show’s fans (Pope Benedict) and detractors (George H. W. Bush). Reiss will also show rare clips fromThe Simpsons and his other animated creations The Critic and Queer Duck. Reiss ran The Simpsons in Season 4, which Entertainment Weekly called “the greatest season of the greatest show in history.” He’s lectured on The Simpsons at 300+ venues in 11 countries,” and tonight does so at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Simpsons Backstage Tour with Mike Reiss

[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 is one of the very best shows to grace UCB Chelsea, in which sketch group Bellevue and director Brandon Gulya create a totally hilarious “missing” episode of a classic sitcom: Seinfeld: “The Leaning Susan”

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($5 online using discount code NORTHERN; no min.): 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), Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing; for hilarious cartoon about LA pet owners, please click here), TV star John Fugelsang, and Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1) performing stand-up atThe Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Josh Carter & Ray DeVito: Myq Kaplan, Jackie Kashian, John Fugelsang, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-10:00 pm ($10 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups Junior Varsity andHello Laser performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by This Is Your Life (eight improvisors make up scenes based on an interview with an audience member), at 10:00 pm by veteran improvisors making up scenes based on improvised monologues from guest storyteller Steve Whyte 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 ($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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): 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), Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Gary Vider (fun deadpan stand-up; for great Conan O’Brien set, please click here; for more jokes, please click here), and Matteo Lane performing at this weekly variety show for stand-up, sketch, and more at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Greg Johnson (Sirius XM): Myrtle Comedy: Sabrina Jalees, Jared Logan, 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

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($5): 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), Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing; for hilarious cartoon about LA pet owners, please click here), Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon;freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Michelle Buteau (FOX’s Enlisted, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, VH1’s Best Week Ever, @midnight), Phoebe Robinson (Comedy Central’s Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, FX’s Totally Biased, Glamour Magazine), and Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, VH1) performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out: Mike Lawrence, Jackie Kashian, Mike Drucker, Michelle Buteau, Phoebe Robinson, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Calise Hawkins (Jimmy Fallon), Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC), Lukas Kaiser (Spike TV), and Johnathan Fernandez (HBO’s Girls) performing stand-up and then discussing hilariously bad movies at Videology (308 Bedford Avenue) hosted by John Murray & Matt Fisher: Low Standards with John & Matt

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The razor-sharp writers of Late Night with Seth Meyers gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised show at Seth Meyers Writers: Crate Night With Set Fires

9:30 pm ($5): Stellar improvisors Natasha Rothwell (writer for Saturday Night Live) and Rachel Rosenthal (rap improv group North Coast) make up duo scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge: War Bride

[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): 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) and Wham City! (Adult Swim) performing stand-up or sketch hosted by the brilliantly surreal and hilarious Joe Pera (for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here), Dan Licata, and Charles Gould at the UCB East theatre: Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv groups The Enemy and My Privacy compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous Cage Match

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 theStand 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, atUCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Wolf, Sarah Tollemache, and/or Paul Oddo: Thursday Night Open Mic

[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 groupJunior Varsity 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 theOld 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 atThe 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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