NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 2/19/15

Grab tickets to see Camren Bicondova (Gotham’s Catwoman) here.
Louis C.K. has a new comedy special. Nab it for a mere $5 here.
If you haven’t seen Julie Sharbutt’s Moved, learn more here.

TV Alert: Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer are on David Letterman;
Ray Romano and Tom Papa are hosted by
Lauren Graham on The Late Late Show;
Martin Short is on Jimmy Fallon;
the stars of Hot Tub Time Machine are on Conan O’Brien

Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer: Broad City

Stars Abbi Jacobson & Ilana Glazer entertain you from the UCB Chelsea stage at Broad City Live

Stuckey & Murray

…and comedic singers celebrate their long partnership at Brooklyn’s Union Hall in Stuckey & Murray: A 10-Year Affair

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): Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Mindy Raf (singer/songwriter; VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; often performs as alter ego Leibya Rogers), Andy Sandford (Comedy Central, Adult Swim, The Beards of Comedy), and Tony Deyo (Conan O’Brien) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle: Mike Drucker, Adrienne Iapalucci, Mindy Raf, and More

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($8): Storytelling from John Fugelsang (former VH1 VJ and host of America’s Funniest Home VIdeos), David Carl (hilarious, charismatic rising star; Point Break Live, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet), Tony Jackson (IFC), Eliana Horeczko, Jesse Thomas, Melissa Stokoski, and Mike DiAlto performing at The West End (955 West End Avenue) hosted by Sean Lynch (MTV’s Celebrity Deathmatch, Comedy Central): Storytelling: Comedy at the West End

7:00 pm ($10): 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), Jamie Kilstein (Conan O’Brien, CNN, MSNBC, and Showtime, writes for The Huffington Post, and co-hosts Citizen Radio), Abbi Crutchfield (MTV, VH1; co-host of Positively Awesome and The Living Room), and Sue Smith performing stand-up, plus music from Shonali Bhowmik (Variety SHAC, Tigers and Monkeys) and improv from Jonathan Braylock & more, all at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) hosted by Keisha Zollar (Orange Is the New Black, MTV, Comedy Central, ace improv trio Doppelganger,, sketch group Astronomy Club): Comedic Reform

7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, and 9:00 pm ($10 for each of these three different “episodes” that together comprise “Part 1” or $20 for all three): Part 1 of a 3-part series that tries to capture the spirit of anime such as Dragon Ball Z on stage…with limited success (at least, based on the first two episodes I’ve seen). The costumes are fun, the cast is cute, but the script is consistently flat and juvenile, while genuine top anime is more nuanced and gripping. Plus the fight sequences, which should by definition be spectacular, are too often anemic. Of course, maybe it gets better as it goes along (and I’ll try to see more just for that reason); and either way, it’s worth at least $10 to check out any random episode and experience this as a novelty. Part 1 is playing tonight at The PIT upstairs theatre, with Episode 1 at 7:00 pm coupled with improv group Simply Unemployable, which includes the wonderful Rebecca Vigil; Episode 2 at 8:00 pm is coupled with G.U.S., a unique improvised post-apocalypse show about the last three men on Earth; and Episode 3 at 9:00 pm is coupled with Shrink, an improvised puppet therapy show: Kapow-i GoGo Part 1: Kapow-i GoGo Gooo!

7:00 pm ($5): “Join almost-but-not-quite legendary Broadway impresario Marty Feldstein on a musical journey through the glorious, glamorous, and sometimes salacious history of the Great White Way and Old Hollywood. He’s got secrets to tell and songs to sing, and he’s been saving them up just for you. One more thing: The entire show, songs and all, is made up on the spot right before your very eyes” starring Jason Specland as Marty, guest partner Rory Scholl, and musician Mark Erenstoft playing improv piano at The PIT downstairs lounge: 24 Below: An Improvised Cabaret

[TOP PICK] 7:10 pm ($10): Cyndi Freeman (The Colbert Report, Moth StorySlam champion, two-time FringeNYC award winner, star burlesque performer) performs a one-woman show about how “when she was 11 years old she became obsessed with the Bigfoot phenomenon: the hunters, the hoaxes, and the true believers. That same year, her homeroom classmates perpetrated a hoax of their own. They convinced the faculty that Cyndi was a thief, an instigator of fist-fights, and an agent of mayhem. It had all been lies and, by their high school years, the kids who had participated apologized and Cyndi forgave them. But the teachers still believed the legend that Freeman was a violent pathological liar. Friendships were lost, parents lived in fear, and only the children knew, and accepted, the truth. Weaving together fun trivia about the Bigfoot myth and darker tales about the fiction that surrounded her during her formative years, Freeman talks of truth and lies, motivations both hidden and obvious, and the resilience it takes to survive childhood” at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) as part of the Frigid New York Festival: I Was a Sixth Grade Bigfoot: A Story about Bullies, Monsters, and Hoaxes

[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 Ali Wong, Greer Barnes, Jessica Kirson, Sherrod Small, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Ted Alexandro, Ali Wong, Carmen Lynch, and Jessica Kirson at the 9:30 show; and Dave Attell, Ali Wong, Big Jay Oakerson, Sam Morril, and Seaton Smith (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 ($5; sold out of seats, but you can probably still get in if you don’t mind standing): Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson are the delightful stars of one of the finest shows on TV, Comedy Central’s milestone hit seriesBroad City. Join the gals and their stand-up guests (not announced) live at the UCB Chelsea stage for this “delicately crafted hour of fun:” Broad City Live

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): 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), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Selena Coppock (author of book The New Rules for Blondes, host of Connotation), Emmy Blotnick (blogger for Jimmy Fallon, MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), and George Gordon performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Greg Johnson (Sirius XM): Myrtle Comedy: Myq Kaplan and More

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): In this special show, stand-ups take suggestions from the audience and make up an entirely new set on the spot, with tonight’s brave comics Big Jay Oakerson, Jessica Kirson, Ben Kronberg, Yannis Pappas, Casey Balsham. Alexis Guerreros, and Lance Weiss performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Robby Slowik: Stand-Up on the Spot with Big Jay Oakerson, Jessica Kirson, Ben Kronberg, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups Junior Varsity and Hello Laser performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by Shlongform (eight improvisors attempt to mix short form and long form improv together to leverage the strengths of both approaches), at 10:00 pm by Jana Schmieding singing about longing for love in Classic Singles: Ballads of Loneliness, and finally at 11:00 by improv competitionInspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component): The Magnet’s Night Out

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate cult classicThe Princess Bride, with each using only what he or she can remember from seeing the movie in the 199os. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in The Princess Bride but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Princess Bride…Entirely From Memory

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): All-gal storytelling show of “true tales with feelings; so many feelings…,” with tonight’s guests Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz, FOX’s Enlisted, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Craig Ferguson, VH1’s Best Week Ever, @midnight), Jenn Bartels (TruTV’s Friends of the People), and Heather Dockray (Splitsider) all sharing tales at the Le Poisson Rouge’s The Gallery (158 Bleecker Street) hosted by Caitlin Brodnick & Lisa Kleinman: Shut Up Storytelling Show

8:00 pm ($10; includes a free beer!): Star storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller) gathers friends to tell funny stories at the Brooklyn Brewery (79 North 11th Street), with tonight’s lineup Eliza Hecht, Stewie Stone, and Mark Giordano: Tom Shillue’s Funny Story

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Charla Lauriston (staff writer for Tina Fey-produced Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV), Tito Garza, and Jason Burke performing stand-up at Poco Restaurant & Bar (33 Avenue B at 3rd Street) produced by Jawann Carmona, Cassidy Kirch, Lawrence DeLoach, and Sarah Hartshorne: FTH Comedy

[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

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10 at the door at $11.59 online): Veteran comedic singing duo Stuckey & Murray (Chelsea Lately, NBC, VH1, Fuse) celebrates 10 years together—along with guest stand-up Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code)—at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Stuckey & Murray: A 10-Year Affair

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Ali Wong (fearless, razor-sharp, hilarious comedy dynamo; Jay Leno, Comedy Central, FOX, NBC’s Are You There Chelsea?, film Savages), Jermaine Fowler (MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim’s The Eric Andre Show), and more performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): Typically ambitious, cool projects are showcased at this weekly show—though, unfortunately, this week’s project hasn’t been announced—playing at at The PIT downstairs lounge produced by Joe Cilio & Alex Ramsey: Forever Dog Presents

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The Emmy-winning writers of The Daily Show gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Non-Daily Show

[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

10:00 pm ($5): The wonderful Pay Shay and Brett Wean perform duo improv at The PIT downstairs lounge with an opener from improv duo Lorie Steele & Kevin Cragg: Wean/Shay

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “A curated hour of eclectic comedic material written in a week with no rehearsals” directed by Conner O’Malley (staff writer/performer for Seth Meyers) at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Brilliantly surreal and hilarious co-host Joe Pera (for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here) performs a 30-minute stand-up set tonight, plus stand-up from Justin Flanagan, and silliness from co-hosts Charles Gould and Dan Licata, all at the UCB East theatre: Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv groups Astronomy Club and Higgins 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] 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: A character-based open-mic happening monthly at UCB East hosted by Mike Sapp: Don’t Be Yourself: Character Open Mic

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

[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)

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)

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 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.

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 hy@hyreviews.com.

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