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TV Alert: Dwayne Johnson hosts SNL at 11:29 pm on NBC
Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:
[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 1:00 pm-10:00 pm ($75 for the entire 3-day conference, which starts today, or $40 per day, at the door or online): To my eye, well over half of the finest comics alive are women. As just one quick example, the best filmed comedies on TV right now are Louie C.K.’s Louie (okay, guy), Abbi Jacobson’s & Ilana Glazer’s Broad City (two gals), and Inside Amy Schumer (gal). But industry hiring practices still overwhelmingly favor male comics. This and other issues will be tackled at Bad Assery, a 3-day event produced by Natalie Wall & Shaina Stigler featuring panel discussions and performances by some of the greatest comics in the country.
Yesterday’s spectacular opening included a breathtaking musical show by Kristin Dausch in which she took us through almost every pop musical style with genius singing skill; and stand-up sets by Aparna Nancherla (one of the very finest and hardest working comedic writers in the biz, and an irresistible performer who’s on her way to becoming a superstar), Sabrina Jalees (human dynamo who can make reading a grocery list funny, and a red-hot rising star), Michelle Wolf (another brilliant and irresistible writer/performer destined for a major career), and Phoebe Robinson (who showed supreme confidence by bringing a laid-back, low-key style to the high-energy stage and making it totally work).
Today is packed with not-to-be-missed panels and shows, including “An Uncomfortable Conversation about Sexism” moderated by Keisha Zollar at 2:00 pm, a chat about “Breaking Out” moderated by brand new TV star Brooke Van Poppelen at 4:00 pm, a sketch show by comedy duo Leah Rudick & Katie Hartman as Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting that’s likely to blow the roof off, and stand-up sets by such talents as Marina Franklin and Ophira Eisenberg.
This second day of the conference happens at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street) and Littlefield (622 Degraw Street). To nab tickets ($75 for today and Sunday or $40 for just today), please click here; and then enjoy Bad Assery: The Women and Comedy Conference
[$] 6:00 pm ($20): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winning David Letterman writer) performing a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction and audience rides home!—at The Complete Performer
[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): A staged version of a TV episode written just for this show, with tonight’s subject Parks & Recreation presented “in ways you never imagined” at The PIT downstairs lounge: We Love TV
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Ted Alexandro, Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 7:00 show; Artie Lange, Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, Ricky Velez, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 8:45 show; Keith Alberstadt, Marina Franklin, and Ricky Velez at the 9:15 show; Dave Attell, Joe Machi, and Lynne Koplitz at the 10:30 show; Dave Attell, Big Jay Oakerson, Ricky Velez, and Sam Morril at the 12:15 MacDougal show; and Joe Matarese, Big Jay Oakerson, Lynne Koplitz, Ricky Velez, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 12:15 Village Underground show, with the 7:00, 8:45, 10:30, and (1 of 2) 12:15 shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15, 9:15, and (2 of 2) 12:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday
[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Movie & TV star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club
7:00 pm ($5): House improv groups such as Santeria and Improv Frogs perform for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Annoyance Improv Teams
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.) A Groundlings-trained improvisor, sketch comic, and stand-up who’s a regular on Chelsea Lately and After Lately headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club:Fortune Feimster
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who tonight is Chris Duffy—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and more at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door or $11.59 online): Comics share their most shameful stories with the aim of being crowned the King or Queen of Shame, with tonight’s hopefuls Brooke Van Poppelen (co-host of TruTV’s Hack My Life; writer and/or producer for a slew of MTV shows; also performed on HBO, Comedy Central, VH1), David Smithyman (ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat), Joel Kim Booster, and Michael Wolf & Colin O’Brien (sketch/music duoNancy Comedy) performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Ginny Leise & Soojeong Son: The Shame Game
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Stellar improv groups The Baldwins (which includes Micah Sherman, Sarah Nowak, and Brigid Boyle) and Big Black Car (which includes Chris Grace, Nate Starkey, and Ashley Ward) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Baldwins and Big Black Car
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($29): The only FringeNYC show to ever include a barbershop quartet singing about alcohol and three rounds for each audience member (for my full review, please click here) is now playing as a perfect show for a date every Friday & Saturday night at the West Village’s Soho Playhouse (15 Vandam Street, in the downstairs Huron Club): The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($50-$130): John Oliver, Bill Burr, Lewis Black, Dane Cook, and J.B. Smoove are among the star comics slated to perform at this charity event at Madison Square Garden: Garden of Laughs
8:00 pm ($8): Sketch comedy from the IFC Comedy Crib—”It’s all the grandeur of a webseries without the convenience of watching it on your laptop”—at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): IFC Comedy Crib Live
[FREE—plus FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: Politically incorrect stand-ups compete in this unique show for which each comic performs a set and then has to provide biting commentary on a popular online video. The audience then votes on who was the most savagely funny and has won the right to return the following month. It all happens at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Mike Feeney: On the Offensive
[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—which includes such talents as Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, John Frusciante, and Emily Axford, and in 2012 crushed 15 improv groups in a row at Cage Match, entirely owns the UCB East stage tonight at Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place
[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): This Baltimore-based sketch group uses video, improv, and audience participation “to create absurdist presentational performances. We tour the US once a year and we have very little money. We thought our lives would be different and that comedy would save us, but oh god we fucked up so so bad. We suck and we hate ourselves. Please come to one of our shows” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Wham City
[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die), and Jamison Guest—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love
[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Henry Zebrowski, Ben Kissel, and Marcus Parks of Cave Comedy Radio’s Last Podcast On The Left “explore the dark recesses of humanity, both real and imagined, via short films, clips from favorite features, and audio spookiness” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Last Podcast on the Left Live
[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell
[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) directed by Philip Markle (Executive Director of The Annoyance Theatre): Happy Karaoke Fun Time!
Saturday Open Mics and Jams
[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”), with sign-up at 3:30 pm, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Raj Sivaraman & Sam Evans host: The Amateur Hour
[FREE] 6:00 pm: Veteran improvisors make up scenes with improv students from any school (selected by lottery) at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street):Student Mixer
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)
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; shows $5-$10)
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)
(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.)
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.