NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 4/8/15

April 8, 2015

NYC Comedy Week Alert: Get two-for-one tickets
for scores of comedy shows through April 19th here

TV Alert: Julia Louis-Dreyfus is on Jimmy Fallon;
Ben Stiller is on David Letterman (repeated from 3/23);
Kristen Schaal, Horatio Sanz, and Will Forte are on @midnight

Jo Firestone and Liza Minnelli

Jo Firestone debuts a UCB Chelsea show in which her super-inventiveness is given free rein. Tonight’s scheduled event is “an hour of people impersonating Liza Minnelli:” The Unexpectashow

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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Mike Birbiglia’s Dream is both a reference to Mike’s hit play & film Sleepwalk With Me, and to the group of improvisors he’s gathered being a “dream team” for making up scenes springboarding off his stories. Tonight at UCB Chelsea Mike spins tales for Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher, and/or more: Mike Birbiglia’s Dream

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

7:30 pm ($5): Improv from David Bluvband, Lauren Adams, Noah Forman, and Diana Kolsky revolving around the theme of addiction at the UCB East theatre: The Fix

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14—or $10 for 11:30 show—plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Tom Papa, Gary Gulman, Lenny Marcus, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 8:00 show; Judah Friedlander and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 9:45 show; and Dave Attell, Kurt Metzger, Ari Shaffir, Big Jay Oakerson, 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] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Morgan Murphy (fresh, brilliant, and fearlessly dark; The Comedians of Comedy; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon and CBS’ Two Broke Girls; stellar comedy album Irish Goodbye), 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), movie & TV star Janeane Garofalo, Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central specialPassive Aggressive), Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays), and Subhah Agarwal performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street):Morgan Murphy, Mark Normand, Janeane Garofalo, Ari Shaffir, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a one-man show by Frank Garcia Hejl playing self-help author Preston Santiago plugging his new book Life Vibrations “filled with fascinating case studies: a troubled cop, a violently ticklish grandpa, a power-drunk DJ, and more:” Oh No!

…and in the other half of this double-bill, “a balls-out celebration of the crazy bitches who nobody listens to and the crazy pussies who do you real good and then burn down your house. With special appearances from your mom, the cute girl at the coffee shop, the cat lady next door, and your future ex-wife, this Bechdel Certified sketch show will forever change up your life for the worse,” starring the wonderful Laura Grey (stellar old-time radio style theatrical podcast Horrorgasm) and Kristen Acimovic (ace sketch group Legs For Days): Crazy Bitch/Crazy Pussy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: A hodgepodge of theatre, art, and comedy talents hosted by the wonderful and quick-witted Amanda Duarte, with cabaret performer Erin Markey (Puppy Love: A Stripper’s Tail, The Dardy Family Home Movies), singer Grace McLean (Natural Disaster, Lincoln Center’s American Songbook), costume designer Gregory Gale (Rock of Ages, The Wedding Singer, Cyrano de Bergerac), and sketch group Unitard Comedy (Mike Albo, Nora Burns, and David Ilku), plus celebrity guest bartender Paul Erik Davis, all performing at Judson Memorial Church(239 Thompson Street): Dead Darlings

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Lakendra Tookes (writer for Saturday Night Live), Jordan Ferber, Katrin Higher, and Neil Constantine performing for this free weekly stand-up show at the East Village’s Beauty Bar (231 East 14th Street, between Second and Third Avenues) produced by Becky Yamamoto, Kendra Cunningham, Jackie Jax, and Negin Farsad: Comedy School Dropout

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City), Josh Gondelman (HBO’s Last Week Tonight), Regina DeCicco, Mark Anthony Ramirez, Carolyn Busa, and Troy Allen performing stand-up at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Adeline Chung: Train Wreck Stand-Up

8:00 pm ($8): Greg Barris hosts the premiere screening of the first 5 episodes of webseries Roommates (with each episode running around 4 minutes), plus live performances from Tallie Medel (Cocoon Central Dance Team), Mike Pomranz, and Taylor Ketchum at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Screening & Release Party for Webseries Roommates

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Brendan Fitzgibbons, Justin Flanagan, Patrick Monahan, May Wilkerson, and Maya Klausner, and improv groups Big Time Virgins and LL Cool J, all performing at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) produced by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer and hosted by Lucas Connolly & DJ Jerry Mouse: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: 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), Carmen Lynch (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing finalist, Comedy Central), Jon Fisch (David Letterman, Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, VH1), Jordan Carlos (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central, VH1, Adult Swim), Jeff Mackinnon (MTV’s Ridiculousness), Doogie Horner (NBC’s America’s Got Talent), and Matt Schwartzer (host of I Don’t Get It)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

9:15 pm ($10): Sketch comedy from groups Cool Kid Comedy, FUCT, Captains of Industry, and UniSex, stand-up from Zach Garner, and more at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by Nathan Rand: April Sketch Block

[TOP PICK] 9:30 ($5): Comedy chameleon and sketch comic Livia Scott (Conan O’Brien, Law & Order, VH1, feature film National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie) spearheads this multimedia sketch comedy show written by Livia and friends that typically stars such notable talents as Livia, Ann Carr, Keisha Zollar, and half a dozen other comics at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Livia Scott Sketch Program

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): 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), Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, host of Big Long Sets), Ashley Brooke Roberts (co-host of Fresh Out, sketch group Absolutely), Matt Monroe (visiting from Detroit), and Tanael Joachim performing stand-up at The PITdownstairs lounge hosted by Griffin Newman and/or Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] 10:00 pm ($7.50 online using code ComedyWeek; no min.): Morgan Murphy (fresh, brilliant, and fearlessly dark; The Comedians of Comedy; staff writer for Jimmy Fallon and CBS’ Two Broke Girls; stellar comedy album Irish Goodbye), 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), Jessica Delfino (CDs Dirty Folk Rock and I Wanna Be Famous; popular animated short film I Wanna Be Famous; to get a feel for Jessica’s range and talent, please click here), Matteo Lane, and more performing stand-up and/or music at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Sam Haft: The Lemonade Stand: Morgan Murphy, Ari Shaffir, Jessica Delfino, 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): Patrick Noah and Zack Willis ask audience members about the worst lies they’ve ever told and then springboard those anecdotes into improvised scenes at the UCB East theatre: True Lies

[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 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase) hosts this new “anything might happen comedy chaos” monthly show. Tonight’s debut consists of people impersonating Liza Minnelli for an hour at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Jo Firestone Presents The Unexpectashow

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 theStand 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 show, with each comic whose name is selected from a bucket getting on stage for 3 1/2 minutes, at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City, hosted by Benel Germosen:Chocolate Wednesday

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up show, with each comic whose name is selected from a bucket getting on stage for 3-5 minutes (depending on the number of comics) at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Jenn Welch & Will Neville: The Guilt Trip

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre 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)

(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