NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 4/3/15

For more, please visit HyReviews.com.

TV Alert: Ricky Gervais is on Jimmy Fallon;
Mike Meyers and Nick Griffin are on David Letterman;
Bill Murray is on Jimmy Kimmel (repeated from 3/19);
Lena Dunham is on Seth Meyers (repeated from 3/18)

Back to the Future

A classic film becomes a fun musical in That 80s Time Travel Movie

Connor Ratliff

…and Connor Ratliff performs at 9:00 pm in genius improv group The Stepfathers and at midnight hosts The George Lucas Talk Show

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, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Joe Machi, Nick Griffin, Greer Barnes, Marina Franklin, Robert Kelly, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 7:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Dan Soder, Robert Kelly, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Judah Friedlander, Russ Meneve, Marina Franklin, Rachel Feinstein, Robert Kelly, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 8:45 show; Todd Barry, Joe Machi, Greer Barnes, Carmen Lynch, and Keith Robinson (hosting) at the 10:30 show; and Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, Dan Soder, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 12:15 show, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

[TOP PICK] [$] [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): TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, co-star of feature film The Wrestler, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour), and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club: Janeane Garofalo, Todd Barry, and More

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($7): Lauren Olson (powerhouse one-woman show Our Condolences at FringeNYC; brilliant writer, actress, and improvisor) and Jana Schmieding (20/400: Sketchy as F*ck at FringeNYC) curate this scripted comedy showcase featuring over a dozen comics writing and/or performing sketches at The Magnet theatre: Jana & Lauren Presents

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from Jenn Dodd, Nick Carrillo, Alex Estrada, and Stephen McCarthy at the PITdownstairs lounge as group The Uncanny Valley

7:00 pm ($10): An improv group making up a musical on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: Royals

7:00 pm ($5): Three improv teams compete in this cutthroat battle for laughs. What’s different about this cage match is it’s judged by a dog. Every week features a new human guest judge—whose opinion doesn’t really matter—and a guest canine judge who will actually decide the fates of everyone based on which bowl this dog goes to first. It all happens at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A stand-up tries out material one last night of his three-night run at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Simeon Goodson

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, wonderfully talented performers Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp do a show that tries to make a virtue of extreme, about gay twins who sing, dance, screw each other, and screw over everyone else. The results are mixed, because a script that merely goes relentlessly over the top isn’t enough to be emotionally satisfying, but there are scattered delights—especially a tuneful, show-stopping song about never giving up that’s by itself worth the price of admission: Fucking Identical Twins: A Musical

…and in the second half of this double-bill, Aaron Jackson & Josh Sharp (above) switch gears from sketch to improv, creating scenes on the spot about “the Hole-iest Hump Day on the Vatican Calendar:” Ass Wednesday

7:30 pm ($10): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): A superb Back to the Future parody with songs and special effects live on stage. The show starts out too slowly in the present time, but becomes quite fun once Marty travels to the past; and by Act 2 it’s a hilarious romp that I highly recommend. The show is by Christopher W. Barnes (book), Ryan Mercy (music) and Christopher W. Barnes (lyrics), produced by Ronny Pascale, and featuring a cast of over a dozen comics performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: That 80s Time Travel Movie: The UNAUTHORIZED! Musical Parody

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10 at the door at $11.59 online): Tami Sagher (superb staff writer for Broad City; former writer for 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, and Inside Amy Schumer; writer and producer for Mad TV, 2001-2006), Sarah Larson (roving cultural correspondent for NewYorker.com), Orla Tinsley (bestselling author Salty Baby), and Kevin Iso performing stand-up and/or being interviewed at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for this show hosted by recent UK transplants Jon Ronson (New York Times bestselling author of The Men Who Stare At Goats and more; screenwriter; This American Life) and Maeve Higgins (Irish TV & radio star): I’m New Here, Can You Show Me Around?: Tami Sagher, Sarah Larson, Orla Tinsley, Jon Ronson, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($20; no min.): Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; 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, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Jim Florentine (Comedy Central, MTV), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Ari Shaffir, Adrienne Iapalucci, 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

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT downstairs lounge improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher)—plus for one night only, SNL writer Alison Rich: Dagger and Hello

8:00 pm ($8): “Long, long ago, by the banks of the river Marinara, where breadstick trees grew in unlimited amounts, in the steamy valley of mozzarella, there was a sleepy little hamlet known as the town of pizza. And the people of this town were a simple, smiling folk, who loved soft drinks, and arcade games, and maintained a friendly family atmosphere. Oh, they were an eclectic bunch: a mayor with a gluttonous lust for power; a bum who tasted glory but lost it all; a fisherman desperate for one last bite. But in one house lived a man who was…a little different” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Slice of Life

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A mashup of stand-up, sketch, and minor league sports gimmickry—cheap beer, mascots, questionable seat upgrades, kiss cameras, hot dog cannons, and more—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Instantacular

8:00 pm ($10): Halle Kiefer (MTV, Vulture, host of Splitsider’s Dog and Pony Show), Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central, co-host of Broken Comedy), and Max Fox perform stand-up, group Gentlemen Party performs improv, and host group Uncle Function performs sketch at the Davenport Theatre (354 West 45th Street, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues) directed by Alden Ford: Uncle Function

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Sebastian Conelli (2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy): The Friday Night Sh*w

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Shannon O’Neill, Connor Ratliff, Jordan Klepper, Don Fanelli, Silvija Ozols, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Jared Logan (rising star; Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, CNN, TBS), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Missy Baker (Huffington Post), Molly Austin (Jezebel), Jono Zalay, YouJean Chang, and Brett Hiker performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Cobra Club (6 Wyckoff Avenue) hosted by Erik Bergstrom, Ben Kronberg, and/or John F. O’Donnell: Live From Outer Space

9:30 pm ($5): A variety show featuring stand-ups, storytellers, musicians, dancers, artists, and/or more performing at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Danielle Wheeler & Adam Cole: Two Catz

9:30 pm ($5): Improvisors Evan Kaufman, Elyse Brandau, Kiley Fitzgerald, and Cavan Rogers join show hosts Matt Catanzano & Richie Moriarty to make up scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge: Simply Unemployable Live

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($20; no min.): Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; 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, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Adrienne Iapalucci (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Jim Florentine (Comedy Central, MTV), and Derek Gaines performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Ari Shaffir, Adrienne Iapalucci, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Neruda Williams…who will be celebrating the birthday of at least one of these comics with cake and beer: The Happy Happy Birthday Show

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors Craig Rowin, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Dan Klein, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and/or Conner O’Malley—who this year defeated The Stepfathers and thoroughly crushed another troupe at Cage Match before losing by a single vote—make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Nick Rutherford (writer for Saturday Night Live; sketch group Good Neighbor), Charla Lauriston (staff writer for Tina Fey-produced Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV), Tim Platt (The Story Pirates), and Jon Tyler (The Moth) performing stand-up, sketch, or storytelling at UCB East hosted by improvisors Brandon Scott Jones, D’Arcy Carden, Justin Tyler, Kelly Hudson, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($5): Comics (not announced) “perform kooky bits based off online videos. The goal of the show is primarily to be louder than the jazz music coming from upstairs” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Matt Barats: Louder Than Jazz

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): From sketch group Business Computer: “Mayor Bill de Blasio has many secrets. He keeps them all in his broom closet, locked up tight where his wife can’t find them. Experience the thrills and chills of de Blasio’s haunting mysteries in our 10 tales carefully crafted to make you shiver, laugh, and cry” at The PITdownstairs lounge: Business Computer Presents De Blasio’s Broom Closet

11:00 pm ($5): Screenings of new sketch comedy videos at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Video Show

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A raucous laboratory for wacky ideas, in which comics 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 and many other shows), Michael Wolf, Dan Glaser, and Cory Palmer create absurd game shows that they try out using audience members. “After we’ve attempted to create all the game shows, the audience votes on which idea gets to go straight to TV (not really)” at UCB Chelsea hosted by the fabulous Jo Firestone, whose delighted facial expressions in response to the ridiculousness are typically the highlights of the evening: The Incredible Game Show Showcase

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “Join filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host! He’ll be joined by his hilarious talk show sidekick, Jar-Jar Binks, as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema,” with guests Jake Fogelnest (Squirt TV’s Wet Hot American Summer), Anna Drezen (talented character comic blending words and movement; one-woman show Spooky Jerks), and musical guest Mikey Erg performing and/or being interviewed at the UCB Easttheatre hosted by brilliant improvisor Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers) & Shaun Diston: The George Lucas Talk Show

Friday 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

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the upstairs theatre for Pitch

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge forHappy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with 3 minutes per comic (unless not many folks show up, in which case there’ll be more time), with names drawn out of a bucket at UCB East in the bar area (“Hot Chicks Room”) hosted by Sarah Tollemache and/or Paul Oddo: The Friday Night Hot Chicks Open Mic

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

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-$15)

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.

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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