NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 4/2/15

April 2, 2015

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TV Alert: Ron Funches and Aubrey Plaza are on Conan O’Brien;
Aasif Mandvi is on David Letterman;
Rob Huebel is on Seth Meyers

David and Katie Get Re-Married

Phenom character comics Katie Hartman and David Carl will probably destroy The PIT stage with epic fights in the debut of their sketch-based play filled with loud, unsettling songs: David and Katie Get Re-Married

Cocoon Central Dance Team

…and right before David’s & Katie’s show, let Tallie Medel, Eleanore Pienta, and Sunita Mani redefine your notions of movement when they perform at The PIT as Cocoon Central Dance Team

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] 7:00 pm ($10): Redefining our concept of dance are a three-gal troupe consisting of Eleanore Pienta (breathtaking rising star actress who delivered one of last year’s very best performances as star of indie feature film See You Next Tuesday), Tallie Medel (star of indie feature film The Unspeakable Act), and Sunita Mani (sketch/improv group Chester). For video samples, please click here; and if you like what you see, come experience them in April and May—starting tonight—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Cocoon Central Dance Team

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A stand-up tries out material tonight and Friday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Simeon Goodson

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), 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 Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, VH1), and Nathan Macintosh performing stand-up atUCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle: Dan Soder, Ophira Eisenberg, Nick Vatterott, and More

[$] 7:30 pm ($31.25 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who’s a cast member on NBC’s Undateable, and has also performed on Chelsea Lately, Brooklyn 99, and Conan O’Brien (for a clip of the latter, please click here), headlining tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Brent Morin

[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 Judah Friedlander, Joe Machi, Sam Morril, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Gary Gulman, Greer Barnes, Dan Soder, and Carmen Lynch at the 9:30 show; and Dave Attell, Ari Shaffir, and Sam Morril 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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15): Brilliant comedy talents David Carl (Point Break Live, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet), and Katie Hartman (Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting) team up to become singing explosive forces of nature (when I saw the first version of this in June they almost destroyed the stage, with cake, champagne, and imaginary blood everywhere) at The PIT upstairs theatre: David and Katie Get Re-Married

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith; David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-log special), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Ari Shaffir, Pete Lee, and More

[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, which includes a rave for the spectacular Nicole DiMattei, 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 ($5): At UCB Chelsea, the talented Natasha Vaynblat (improv group What I Did For Love, sketch group Absolutely) performs a smart, funny one-woman show mixing sketches about the types of teachers she’s encountered with video tales of her own experiences during four years as an NYC public school teacher, directed by the wonderful Leslie Meisel: United Federation of Teachers

…and in the other half of this double-bill, “a sketch comedy about nonsense, lies, and exaggerations” from other a dozen comics: That’s Bullshit!

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups The Boss and Hello Laser performing improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by The Blackout (long form improv in which “scenes are edited solely by blackouts created by the director in the booth and the stage is set by the improvisers from the previous scene”), at 10:00 pm by veteran improv group The Boss, 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

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “A new game show where three contestants get quizzed on random topics; raps, video games, different types of soda. We’ll even have a few comics drop by” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Marvin Lattimore: A Night of Thrill-Vila

8:00 pm ($5): Clowns guests (not announced) and clown hosts Icky Shirley Dangle & d Chunky Cricket Discharge performing a silly show at The PIT downstairs lounge: An Unapologetic Mess: A Clown Show

8:00 pm ($5): Phil Hanley (Comedy Central, Craig Ferguson, The Pete Holmes Show, host of Chemistry), John Early (30 Rock, Comedy Central, Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer), Josh Gondelman (HBO’s Last Week Tonight), Eliot Glazer (It Gets Betterish, author of My Parents Were Awesome), Max Silvestri (host of Big Terrific), Brett Davis (host of The Tuesday Special, co-host of The Macaulay Culkin Show), and Naomi Karavan performing stand-up for this weekly show at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Greg Johnson (Sirius XM): Myrtle Comedy

8:00 pm ($5): Two improv house groups, Salt and Gun Club, make up scenes for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Salt + Gun Club

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Loyiso Gola, Toby Muresianu, James Alexander, and Chris Williams performing atPoco Restaurant & Bar (33 Avenue B at 3rd Street) produced by Jawann Carmona, Cassidy Kirch, Lawrence DeLoach, and Sarah Hartshorne: FTH Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): A comedic play parodying famed zoo director Jack Hanna, in which a live animal is brought on stage with unexpected results at The PIT downstairs lounge curated by group Forever Dog: Forever Dog Presents: Meet a Live Animal

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): Four 10-minute comedic plays written over the past month based around an assigned word or phrase—which this month is Train Wreck—at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Mike Breen & Kevin Bauer: Fourplay

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The razor-sharp writers of Late Night with Seth Meyers gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised show at Seth Meyers Writers: Crate Night With Set Fires

9:30 pm ($10): Veteran sketch comic Paul Valenti performs a one-man show that involves audience participation (if you don’t want him to pick on you, sit near the back rows) at The PIT upstairs theatre: Paul Valenti: mYshow

9:30 pm ($5, which includes a free beer): Phil Hanley (Comedy Central, Craig Ferguson, The Pete Holmes Show, host of Chemistry), Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central; sketch group Murderfist), James Hamilton (visiting from New Orleans), and Matt Schwartzer performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Little Skips(941 Willoughby Avenue) hosted by Taylor Clark, TJ Young, and Casey James Salengo: Big Ups Comedy

[FREE] 10:00 pm: “Mike Guild knows everything about movies and films. He will take you through the landscape of the cinema, along with comic guests to discuss everything going on the weird landscape that is Hollywood—plus everyone in the audience will win a unique prize” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Movie Night With Mike

10:00 pm ($15; no min.): Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, hour-long set Passive Aggressive), Ricky Velez (correspondent for The Nightly Show), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Cipha Sounds (Chappelle’s Show, MTV, Hot 97), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), and Ben & Josh performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Ari Shaffir, Ricky Velez, and More

10:00 ($5): Bowen Yang (Pop Roulette) and Joel Kim Booster host stand-ups, musical acts, and possibly drag queens at The PIT downstairs lounge: Ethnic Realness

[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): Improv group Rizzo gave no breaks to Affirmative Action last week, winning by 96 votes to 65. Tonight Rizzo faces one of the finest improv groups in NYC, Goat (which performs on UCB’s prime slot of Saturday nights at 9:00), competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous Cage Match

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show,radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000, The Unexpectashow, and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), John Wyatt Haskell (Jimmy Fallon, sketch duo Two Fun Men), Dan Opsal (Jimmy Fallon), and Lance Weiss (MTV, CMT) performing stand-up or sketch hosted by the brilliantly surreal and hilarious Joe Pera (for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here), Dan Licata, and Charles Gould at theUCB East theatre: Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

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: Stand-up open mic, with names pulled from a bucket and each selected comic getting 4 minutes, atUCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Wolf and/or Paul Oddo: Thursday Night 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

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 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 Laser 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 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

[TOP PICK] [AMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A storytelling open mic at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Chris Booth:Bar Tales & Blowhards

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Patrick Hastie: Beer, Booze, and Bits

[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)

(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 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