NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 1/15/15

January 15, 2015

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TV Alert: Larry David is on David Letterman;
Patton Oswalt is on Conan O’Brien;
Johnny Depp is on Jimmy Kimmel;
Kevin Hart is on Jimmy Fallon;
Phoebe Robinson is on Seth Meyers;
Whitney Cummings, Neal Brennan, and Jeff Ross are on @midnight

Cocoon Central Dance Team

Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Medel, and Sunita Mani will redefine your notions of movement as the Cocoon Central Dance Team

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): Jackie Kashian (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing; for hilarious cartoon about LA pet owners, please click here), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Anthony DeVito (Conan O’Brien, VH1, FX), and Will Miles performing stand-up, plus dance from Adira Amram (fresh, hilarious rising star singer/songwriter; winner of the 2011 ECNY Award for Best Musical Act), all at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle: Jackie Kashian, Adira Amram, Joe List, and More

7:00 pm ($5): A one-act play in which “Peter Pan takes Darla into the mysterious Disney Vault after hearing that cryogenically frozen Walt Disney grants wishes to those who find him” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Disney’s Frozen: Disney Is Frozen

7:00 pm ($5): Improvisors Ronny Pascale (Associate Artistic Director of The PIT), Katie Haller (“small White African British American Jew riddled by dating & social media anxiety;” co-host of You Probably Think This Song is About You), Mehdi Barakchian, Anthony Jackson, and James III “put the art back in fart” via this improv show focused on bodily functions at The PIT downstairs lounge: Farts!

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm show ($18.50 in advance online, $20 at the door; price includes free slices of homemade ice cream cakes): Storytellers 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), Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller, host of Funny Story, albums Better Stronger Faster and Big Room), Anna Roisman (MTV; co-host of You Probably Think This Song Is About You), and Steve Zimmer (Moth Grandslam champion) tell tales on this month’s theme “Frozen: Stories of Letting Go” at the Le Poisson Rouge’s The Gallery (158 Bleecker Street) hosted by Robin Gelfenbien (storyteller and singer/songwriter; VH1, AMC, Sirius Radio, acclaimed one-woman show at FringeNYC) and that includes free ice cream cakes made by Robin herself: Yum’s the Word: Aparna Nancherla, Tom Shillue, and More

[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, Lenny Marcus, and Lynne Koplitz at the 7:45 show; Lenny Marcus, Jessica Kirson, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 8:00 show; and a strong lineup of Dave Attell, Todd Barry, Paul Mecurio, Big Jay Oakerson, Sam Morril, and Jon Fisch (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 ($16): Redefining our concept of dance are a three-gal troupe consisting of Eleanore Pienta (breathtaking rising star actress who delivered one of last year’s very best performances as star of indie feature filmSee You Next Tuesday), Tallie Medel (star of indie feature film The Unspeakable Act), and Sunita Mani (sketch/improv group Chester). For video samples, please click here; and if you like what you see, come experience them tonight or Friday at Brooklyn’s Triskelion Arts’ Aldous Theater (118 N. 11 Street, 3rd Floor): Cocoon Central Dance Team

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A burlesque tribute to the most famous work of author Douglas Adams at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) spearheaded by Cherry Pitz (a.k.a. sharp storyteller Cyndi Freeman): Hotsy Totsy Burlesque: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Brooks Wheelan (Saturday Night Live), Jessica Delfino (CDs Dirty Folk Rock and I Wanna Be Famous; popular animated short film I Wanna Be Famous; to get a feel for Jessica’s range and talent, please click here), Brett Davis (host of The Tuesday Special, co-host of The Macaulay Culkin Show), and George Gordon performing at this show for stand-up, music, and sketch at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Larry Murphy (brilliant voiceover actor for FOX’sBob’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: Jon Fisch, Larry Murphy, Brooks Whelan, Jessica Delfino, 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 Mark Gagliardi 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

8:00 pm ($5): “Once again, there is a blackout at the Super Bowl; but this year the advertisers are ready. Join announcers Chuck Stanley and Jordan ‘The Night Train’ Diston as they keep cutting to commercials” aided by a cast of over a dozen sketch comics at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Welcome to the Super Bowl, We’ll Be Right Back

8:00 pm ($10): Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, co-host of Broken Comedy), Phil Hanley (Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central), Eman El Husseini, and Julia Reiss performing stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Jonathan Braylock & Steve Way: The Lockdown

8:00 pm ($5): “We think the world would be a better place if we ran it. So here’s your opportunity, live and in person, to ask us, Jenn Welch & Jay Malsky, anything on your mind. We mean anything. Ask us about your breakup. Ask us about world affairs. Ask us about Nutella. We’ll have an opinion” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Here’s What I Would Say…

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A rare Queens indie comedy show featuring Kendra Cunningham (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The Tyra Banks Show, Law & Order), Sue Funke, Jesse Jones, and Mike Gillerman performing stand-up in Astoria Queens’QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Liz Simons & Jenn Wehrung: Laugh It Up, Astoria

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by stand-up Zach Broussard and improv troupe Priest & the Beekeeper: Pig Pile

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 ($5): A monthly sketch show designed to make you howl with laughter at The PIT downstairs lounge:Forever Dog

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Gravid Water (genius improvisor Scott Adsit crashing into a classic theatrical scene acted by Stephen Ruddy & Krysta Rodriguez), Ashley Brooke Roberts (co-host of Fresh Out, sketch group Absolutely), Eliot Glazer (It Gets Betterish, author of My Parents Were Awesome), and comedy twins Stone & Stone performing at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by a popular comedy site: College Humor Live

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:30 pm: Potentially an animation fan’s dream come true, in this new show comics make merciless fun of bad Japanese anime at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Benel Germosen & Jarrid Reed: Otakulypse

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups—possibly performing in a camp tent—at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Aaron Friedman: Campfire Comedy

10:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at this weekly show 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): Improv groups Fuck That Shit and The Enemy 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: A character-based open-mic happening monthly at UCB East hosted by Mike Sapp: Don’t Be Yourself: Character 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 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 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

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): 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)

(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