NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 1/30/15

January 30, 2015

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Whitney Cummings

Star stand-up Whitney Cummings headlines tonight and Saturday at Carolines

The Enemy

…and huge, huge congratulations to Harold Night improv group The Enemy for a brilliant and well-deserved win last night of the prestigious 2014 Cage Match Championship

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, 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Judah Friedlander, Greer Barnes, Robert Kelly, Keith Alberstadt, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 7:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Trevor Noah, Greer Barnes, Robert Kelly, Keith Alberstadt, and Ricky Velez at the 8:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Robert Kelly, Sherrod Small, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 8:45 show; Ted Alexandro, Judah Friedlander, Greer Barnes, Rachel Feinstein, Lenny Marcus, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 10:30 show; and Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, Cipha Sounds, Lenny Marcus, and Ricky Velez at the 12:15 pm show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm ($45 at the door, or $44 online using discount code DGPPT): UK star, connect-the-dots adventurer, and Internet prankster comic Dave Gorman briefly performs in NYC (tonight and Saturday only) a one-man show that’s essentially about how we can create any identify we like using credibility tools such as Wikipedia and Microsoft PowerPoint at Subculture (45 Bleecker Street, right next to the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop): Dave Gorman’s PowerPoint Presentation

7:00 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

7:00 pm ($10): An improvised musical made up on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre by The Shady Bunch

7:00 pm ($5): Three improv teams compete in this cutthroat battle for laughs. What’s different about this cage match is it’s judged by a dog. Every week features a new human guest judge—whose opinion doesn’t really matter—and a guest canine judge who will actually decide the fates of everyone based on which bowl this dog goes to first. It all happens at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

7:00 pm ($5): Five veteran improvisors make stuff up at The PIT downstairs lounge as troupe Lead McEnroe

7:00 pm ($6): Anna Rose Roisman, Karl Custer Jr., and Catherine Cohen perform sketch, plus music from Danger Pin, at 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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($45.75 & 2-drink min.) The co-creater & co-writer of CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and NBC sitcom Whitney, and who’s also performed on HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, MTV, TBS, E!, and Chelsea Lately, headlines tonight and Saturday at Carolines: Whitney Cummings

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($10): Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper performs stand-up, with Travon Free opening, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Jordan Klepper: Politely Whining

[$] 7:30 pm ($15): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Here and Now

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: “Each stand-up will do his or her set, and then host JoAnna Ross will conduct an interview about the comic’s dating life. Questions you always wanted to know will be asked: Where do you take a first date to get laid? Do you pay? Where do you take a date to break up with them? What bathrooms have you done it in?” and much more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Undateables

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT downstairs lounge improv groups making up a musical on the spot: Vern and Royals

8:00 pm ($8): Sketch comedy group Richard will try to make you laugh for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Richard

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm, improv troupe Salmon Diane, sketch/improv duo Klepper & Grey): The Friday Night Sh*w

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15; SOLD OUT of seats, but there’ll be a standby line if you’re okay with standing): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Shannon O’Neill, Silvija Ozols, Jordan Klepper, Connor Ratliff, Don Fanelli, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Kevin Barnett (MTV’s Guy Code, Comedy Central, TruTV’s Friends of the People, Sleepwalk With Me, College Humor), Selena Coppock (author of book The New Rules for Blondes, host of Connotation), Joe Zimmerman (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Janelle James, Matteo Lane, Bob Khosravi, and Dustin Wesley performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue) hosted by Erik Bergstrom, Ben Kronberg, and/or John F. O’Donnell: Live From Outer Space

9:00 pm ($5): This variety show features stand-up, characters, dance, improv, and/or more at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Juice

9:30 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher): Dagger and Hello

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Singing improvisors at The Magnet using an interview with an audience member to craftThe Made-Up Musical

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups share their process by trying out the freshest ideas from their notebooks at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Notebook Night

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Kara Klenk (writer for VH1’s Girl Code and Guy Code; Comedy Central, TruTV, Spike, Nickelodeon; host of If You Bring It), Ann Carr (Comedy Central, VH1, Web series The Actress, stellar sketch groupLegs For Days), Gavin Speiller (Death by Roo Roo; Complex), Eric Gersen (The Story Pirates), and Max Fox performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

11:00 pm ($10): “You’ve been letting negativity into your life, and it’s degrading. Please join nationally respected public speaker and lifestyle icon Matt Rogers (who is in good health, despite reports claiming otherwise) for his lecture on living, laughing, and leaping into the Positive. It’s Time To Re-Begin” at The PIT upstairs theatre: I’m Positive!

11:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy blended with dance, poetry, and live music at The PIT downstairs lounge from groupHis Majesty, The Baby

11:30 pm ($7): There’s no description for this show, so your guess is as good as mind. All I can tell you is it happens at the Magnet theatre: Drunk Interviews With Historians

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “Join our Broadway Babies as they showcase the best theatre/musical theatre/dramatical talent in all of Greater Kankakee (and even beyond maybe, thanks to our “Expanding Our Horizons” Study Abroad Programs). Though most of us have never left Kankakee, audiences will get a peek at our own brand of that ol’ razzle dazzle in a variety of theatrical and musical theatrical acts that will be sure to catapult our young talent directly to The Great White Way! That means Broadway!” at UCB Chelsea hosted by Siobhan Thompson & Timothy Dunn: The Staircase to Broadway

Midnight ($5): A screening of an indie horror feature film written & directed by Brant Sersen (Blackballed: The Bobby Dukes Story, Splinterheads) starring Ben Rogers, Justin Purnell, Tim Martin, Don Fanelli, Kate Riley, Megan Neuringer, and more. The story: “On New Year’s Eve in 1955 Richard Howell, a patient at the Hillcrest Sanatorium, went on a bloody rampage, killing three children before he hanged himself. Fifty-six years later, a team from the popular TV series Ghost Trackers prepares to spend the night at the sanatorium. They hope to capture paranormal activity for the entertainment of their show’s fans. Instead, they unleash a horrifying force of evil hell-bent on their destruction” at the UCB East theatre (which is ideal for screenings because it used to be an indie movie theatre):Sanatorium

Friday 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

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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] 6:00 pm: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the upstairs theatre for Pitch

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge forHappy Hour

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

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