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Tonight’s recommendations for the best in New York City comedy (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:
[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] Noon-10:30 pm ($40 for the entire day or $15 per event, 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 on this final day of 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.
The clear highlight of Day #2 was Leah Rudick & Katie Hartman, a.k.a. duo Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting, who’ve been working together as sketch writer/performers since they met years ago at Sarah Lawrence College, and who’ve developed into world-class comics with a distinct voice and style that’s vibrant, fearless, dark, and endearing. Lorne Michaels, whenever you’re looking to add fresh talent, please bring these two in to perform live for you.
Other treats yesterday included a flawless hour-long stand-up set from Ophira Eisenberg that flew by. Ophira first came to prominence in NYC as one of the very best storytellers in the country, but she’s managed to also become a sharp and enormously likeable stand-up—as well as radio host of NPR’s popular trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Anotherand author of bestselling book Screw Everyone.
Also notable were panels that ranged from sexism to musical comedy to breaking out into stardom. At least as important as anything said was the lovely camaraderie and affection evident among all the comics participating.
The final day of this wonderful event includes a women-only discussion of ways to modernize show biz running from noon to 3:30 pm at Hill Country Barbecue Market (30 West 26th Street), and evening performances by such tremendous talents as Jo Firestone, Brooke Van Poppelen, Adira Amram, Rebecca Vigil, Jessica Delfino, Camille Harris, The Reformed Whores, Charla Lauriston, and (closing up the conference) veteran stand-up Judy Gold, all at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street). To nab tickets ($40 for the whole day or $15 per show), please click here; and then enjoy Day #3 of Bad Assery: The Women and Comedy Conference
6:30 pm ($5): Three NYC improv groups that are independent (i.e., not a house team of any particular improv school/theatre) compete for audience member laughs and votes at UCB East hosted by superb improvisors Amey Goerlich & Ryan Karels (half of revered improv group Krompf): Indie Cage Match
[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($20): A musical version of a famed 1989 movie with book by Christopher W. Barnes, music by Ryan Mercy, lyrics by Christopher W. Barnes, and produced by Ronny Pascale at The PIT upstairs theatre (for a video sneak peek, please click here): Steel Petunias: The Unauthorized Musical Parody
[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm (Pay Whatever You Like): “Delusional cruise ship entertainer and musical theatre fanatic Lance Johnson welcomes scheduled guests Liza Minnelli, Hugh Jackman, and Miami Sound Machine for an instantly forgettable evening of chat, song, dance, and Lance before he heads back out to sea” by Peter Michael Marino and friends at The Triple Crown Underground (330 7th Avenue, between 28th and 29th Streets): Late With Lance
7:00 pm ($5): Andy Blitz (comedy genius best known for being an Emmy-nominated and long-time writer/performer for Late Night with Conan O’Brien; has also written for Comedy Central’s Important Things, MTV’s Human Giant, etc.; a thoroughly unique stand-up whose sets—ranging from talking peanut butter to jet-flying cats—tend to be unforgettable), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; MTV, co-star of GUMP, co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Tynan Delong, Lena Einbinder, Charlie Hankin, Steve Whalen, Steven Desiena, and group Wham City Comedyperforming stand-up or sketch at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) hosted by Brett Davis & Sally Burtnick: The Macaulay Culkin Show
[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Ted Alexandro, Judah Friedlander, and Greer Barnes at the 8:00 show; Gary Gulman, Joe Machi, Artie Lange, Sam Morril, Ricky Velez, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Keith Alberstadt, Big Jay Oakerson, and Sean Donnelly (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 ($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), Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker, blogger for Comedy Central), Guy Branum (Chelsea Lately, Totally Biased), Sam Morril (Comedy Central), Kate Hendricks, Nate Fernald, and Evan Williams performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It: Joe Pera, Erik Bergstrom, Guy Branum, Sam Morril, and More
[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors Micah Sherman, Pay Shay, Brigid Boyle, Jon Bander, and more make up theatrical scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre for this weekly show produced by Micah Sherman & Sarah Nowak:People Improvising
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): The Lucas Brothers (Jimmy Fallon, 22 Jump Street, FOX’s Lucas Bros Moving Company, Arrested Development), Jermaine Fowler (MTV’s Guy Code and Wildn Out, Comedy Central, Adult Swim’sThe Eric Andre Show), Kevin Barnett (MTV’s Guy Code, Comedy Central, TruTV’s Friends of the People, Sleepwalk With Me, College Humor), and Lil Rel performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Amanda Seales: Smart, Funny, and Black
8:00 pm ($5): Skilled improvisors Conner O’Malley, Gary Richardson, and John Reynolds perform as Hunkz ‘R Us, plus David Rysdahl & Paul Gutkowski perform as improv duo True East, at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): True East and Hunkz ‘R Us
[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
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
5:15ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Weekly open mic stand-up, with comics selected from names tossed into a bucket starting at 4:55 pm, at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Aaron Glaser, Irene Hartmann, and/or Carlos Delgado: Sunday Open Mic
[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
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 email@example.com.