NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 1/25/15

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Joe Pera Talks You To Sleep

Joe Pera will tell you soothing jokes and calming stories at The Annoyance Theatre’s Joe Pera Talks You To Sleep

The Interview

…and at Queens LIC, The Creek kicks off a series of free screenings of banned movies with The Interview

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] [FREE] 1:00 pm: The debut of this new monthly film series devoted to movies your parents forebade you to see or were otherwise banned kicks off with James Franco & Seth Rogen starring in the 2014 comedy that could’ve triggered nuclear war with North Korea at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Pete Bladel: Banned Films: The Interview

[FREE] 6:00 pm: A screening of short comedy videos directed by Armando Diaz and friends at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Video Lab

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal improv group Pin-Up Squirrels performs and hosts other improv groups at The Creekupstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Play Date With the Pin-Up Squirrels

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please clickhere and here) debuts a one-man show—which I’ll be attending, and can hardly wait to see—described as “low-key jokes and calm stories, the performance will be like listening to Garrison Keillor but actually funny but not so funny that you don’t mind falling asleep in the middle; feel free to bring a blanket” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre(367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Joe Pera Talks You To Sleep

7:00 pm ($5): Brooks Wheelan (Saturday Night Live), Nick Rutherford (SNL, Good Neighbor), Christi Chiello (MTV’sGirl Code), John F. O’Donnell (Redacted Tonight), John Reynolds, Eliza Hurwitz, and Mike Abrusci performing stand-up, plus sketch duo Good Cop Great Cop, at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) hosted by Brett Davis & Sally Burtnick: The Macaulay Culkin Show

7:00 pm ($5): An improvised game show “teaming four short-form performers with two special guest contestants ready to ‘yes and’ anything to win” at The PIT upstairs theatre: ShortGameShow

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy groups Wendigo and May perform new material at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[$] 7:30 pm ($42 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who starred in Comedy Central special Can a Brother Get Some Love?, and has been a series regular on Breaking Bad and Adult Swim’s Sperm Whale, headlines one last night at theCarolines Comedy Club: Lavell Crawford

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Judah Friedlander, Ryan Hamilton, and Sherrod Small at the 8:00 show; Joe Machi, Ryan Hamilton, and Greer Barnes at the 9:45 show; and Kurt Metzger, Jena Friedman, Sam Morril, and Wil Sylvince (hosting) at the 11:30 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($28 plus two-drink min.): A huge star in South Africa who’s also a correspondent for The Daily Show, and performed on Jay Leno, Chelsea Lately, off-off-Broadway, and at the Edinburgh Festival headlining tonight and Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club: Trevor Noah

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Jermaine Fowler (MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Roger Hailes (Jimmy Fallon, Chappelle’s Show, MTV; writer for VH1’s Best Week Ever and FUSE’s A Different Spins; Web series Mansome), Oni Perez, and Jess Salomon performing stand-up, plus music from Ben Lerman (nuanced raunchy comedic singer/songwriter; Logo TV’s NewNowNext, Sirius Radio’s Frank DeCaro Show), all at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Casey Jost (Head Writer of truTV’s Impractical Jokers, former writer for Jimmy Fallon) and Brigid Boyle (improv groups The Baldwins and Taco Supreme) join host Jodi Lennon (Marc Maron: The Voice of Something, Exit 57) to perform an improvised year in the life of selected people at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): What a Year!

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sharp improvisors Ashley Ward, Jon Bander, Evan Kaufman, Brett Wean, and Will Nunziata make up theatrical scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre produced by Micah Sherman & Sarah Nowak: People Improvising

[DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($7.50 online using discount code WINTER; no min.): Janelle James, Jabari Davis, and Ayanna Dookie performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Amanda Seales & Marc Lamont Hill: Smart, Funny, and Black

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Sketch, improv, and more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City from comedy troupe Froduce

9:00 pm ($5): Three scripted shows for the price of one at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street):

1) a two-woman multimedia musical comedy profiling the foibles of two historical re-enactors in Ye Elizabeths;

2) An ultra-conservative and an uber-liberal are hosts of a Sunday morning talk show: Pistols at Dawn; and

3) Jason Messina (HBO’s Last Week Tonight), Paul Valenti (Chris and Paul Show), Adam Hamway, David Elmy, and Rob Asaro are Captains of Industry

9:00 pm ($10): Magnet Instructors Louis Kornfeld and Rick Andrews pair together for one night of improvisation as comedy duo Kornfeld & Andrews

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Superb improvisors and guest improv groups join host Skycopter (which includes the incredible David Carl) to make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($22; SOLD OUT, but there might be a standby line if you’re okay with standing): Chicago-based TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi are a widely acclaimed improv duo performing at The Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street) tonight and Monday: TJ & Dave

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($7.50 online using discount code WINTER; 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), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents, FOX, VH1, E!), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Judah Friedlander, Rachel Feinstein, Pete Lee, and More

10:30 pm ($7): Quick solo character sets are performed by Brian Frange, Sebastian Conelli, Chet Siegel, Matt J Weir, Billy Bob Thompson, Brad Howe, and Kevin Cobbs at The Magnet theatre: The Pretty Fast Character Showcase

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket at 3:45), providing 3 minutes or more per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by James Ferrarella: Face-Plant Comedy Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PITdownstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night At The Gemini

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Christi Chiello:Lance Bass Space Mic

[FREE] 10:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly atUCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team 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-$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)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

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.

If you have a comedy show you want considered for listing, simply create a Facebook page for the event—including price & lineup—make sure we’re FB friends, and invite me through that page.

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


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