NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 3/18/15

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Will Ferrell is on Jimmy Fallon;
Norm MacDonald is on David Letterman;
Lena Dunham is on Seth Meyers;
Kevin Hart is on The Daily Show;
David Cross and Jimmy Kimmel are hosted by Will Arnett
on The Late Late Show (repeated from 2/10);
Ron Funches, Rick Glassman, and Bianca Kajlich
are on @midnight;
and see below about Broad City

NYC Improv Festival 2015

The PIT hosts a 5-day festival featuring over 200 improv shows, plus panels, workshops, and more, all kicking off tonight at 6:00 pm: The Fourth Annual NYC Improv Festival

Broad City

…and what has developed into a milestone show that’s one of the greatest TV series ever airs its Season Two finale tonight at 10:30 pm and 2:35 am on Comedy Central: Broad City

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] 6:00 pm to MIdnight (all shows FREE tonight, but $60 for all-festival pass guarantees you admittance to any and all shows during the 5-day festival): Over 12 hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre and downstairs lounge—including such notable upstairs shows as Vern at 6:00, G.U.S. at 7:00, Gypsy Danger at 8:00, New York Improv Frogs at 10:00, and Fake Chuch at 11:00, plus Coyote downstairs at 8:00—for this first day of the 5-day 2015 NYC Improv Festival

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): There’s little as fun as great stories about bad dates. Aiming for greatness tonight are Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, and live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, sketch group Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), Harrison Greenbaum (Comedy Central, Mad Magazine), Marie Faustin (The Moth StorySlam Champion), and Will Miles sharing their tales of failed love at The Bitter End (147 Bleecker Street) hosted by Jessie Male & Emi Soekawa: Bad Date, Great Story

7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the entire evening): Four hours of improv from eight groups—plus a free improv jam at 6:00 pm—at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Megawatt

[FREE] 7:00 pm: An improv group from Skidmore College makes up scenes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Awkward Kids Talking

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which tonight features house groups Astronomy Club, Buchanan, and Big Revival: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, “after landing in Munchkinland, Dorothy discovers that she’s a shitty female protagonist. Along with the Scarecrow (a zombie looking for some brains), the Tin Man (a guy who’s looking to get rid of his heart because feelings suck), and the Cowardly Lion (a homophobic homosexual), Dorothy sets off on a journey to Hollywood to find the all-powerful Writer of the movie who can re-write her character into a more dynamic female lead” written and co-starring Glenn Boozan and directed by the fabulous Laura Grey: Dorothy Goes to Hollywood: A Musical

…and in the second half of this double-bill, the fiercely talented Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp perform a weird, unsetlling, but tuneful show about twins who sing, dance, and screw each other: Fucking Identical Twins: A Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Judah Friedlander, Ricky Velez, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Ted Alexandro, Ryan Hamilton, Marina Franklin, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Mark Normand, Dan Soder, and Sam Morril at the 11:30 show, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: 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 album Sadamantium), star storyteller 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; last year released a new storytelling album each month), Kate Wolff (TruTV), Ashley Morris, Ms. C., Josh Rosen, and Missy Grynkiewicz performing stand-up at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Sana Khan: Train Wreck Stand-Up: Mike Lawrence, Tom Shillue, and More

[FREE] 8:00 pm: James Ferrarella & Eric Smith perform as a musical comedy duo, and also host other comics, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Listen Brother

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Liz Miele (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Bryan Cook, Molly Austin, Travis Irvine, Sara Armour, and Steve Gould performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Joe Zimmerman, Jono Zalay, and Taylor Ketchum: Hot Crowd

8:00 pm ($7 at the door or $8.24 online; no min.): Jacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor), Kendra Cunningham (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The Tyra Banks Show, Law & Order), Mark King, Ryan Feyk, Trey Galyon, and Brendan Eyre performing at Brooklyn’s Dean Street (755 Dean Street) hosted by Seena Jon: Dean Street Comedy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book being made into movie Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!), Nick Rutherford (writer for Saturday Night Live), Nore Davis (Inaide Amy Schumer, HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Boardwalk Empire, Comedy Central’s Russell Simmons Presents The Ruckus, MTV), Mike Camerlengo (MTV2’s Joking Off), Nathan MacIntosh, and Ruhbin Mehta performing at this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

[TOP PICK] 9:15 pm ($5): The instructors of UCB’s classes include some of the finest improvisors in the country. In this new weekly show a bunch of them get on stage at UCB East, along with hosts Betsy Stover and Ari Voukydis: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 ($5): Over a dozen talented female improvisors—including Lauren Adams, Natasha Vaynblat, and Caitlin Bitzegaio—get on stage to parody all-gal opinion shows such as The View at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Female Gaze

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($5 online using discount code GRIFT; no min.): At $5 this show is a steal, with a great lineup of Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central special White Precious, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), Mark Normand (hilarious red-hot rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It), Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, Louie, HBO, Showtime, MTV, IFC), Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, co-host of Broken Comedy), and Chrissie Mayr performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Mike Finoia: Ted Alexandro, Kurt Metzger, Mark Normand, Nick DiPaolo, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups do sets “and then have a discussion about what’s going on in the world and the mysteries of life” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Improvisors pair up as scene-inventing duos for one night only at the UCB East theatre hosted by comedy giants Natasha Rothwell (staff writer for Saturday Night LIve) & Dan Hodapp (Jimmy Fallon, co-star of smash FringeNYC show Tail! Spin!): Couples Skate

11:00 pm ($5): As many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some, like me, that’s part of the laid-back fun. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a monthly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible, hosted by Jackie Jennings (The Chris Gethard Show, improv group Smalls): School Night

Wednesday 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 the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Kaity Neagle & Irene Hartmann: Ragtag Team Open Mic Stand-Up

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] 6:00 pm: Sign up at 5:45 pm for the opportunity to make up scenes at The Magnet with veteran improvisors: Magnet Improv Mixer

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Bernard Maynore & Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans, hosted by UCBT Harold Night house group Bucky and DJ Cipha Sounds: The Improv 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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