NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/25/15

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Jo Firestone

Jo Firestone spearheads an improvised reimagining of West Side Story in Brooklyn at Same Songs, Different Plot

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:

[$] 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

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes Together We Chill, Cronuts, Post Boyz, and Big Fat Liars performing at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10; sold out of seats, but you might be able to get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing): Ellie Kemper & Christina Gausas used to perform duo improv together. For one night only, they do so again at the UCB East theatre: Kempsas

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Colin Quinn and Carmen Lynch at the 7:00 show; Colin Quinn, Lynne Koplitz, Lenny Marcus, and Marina Franklin (hosting) at the 7:15 show; Colin Quinn, Artie Lange, Carmen Lynch, Seaton Smith, Dov Davidoff, and Sean Donnelly (hosting) at the 8:45 show; and Colin Quinn, Artie Lange, Lynne Koplitz, Lenny Marcus, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 9:15 show, with the 7:00, 8:45, 10:30, and 12:15 shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

7:00 pm ($10): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT downstairs lounge: Electoral Dysfunction

7:00 pm ($6—which includes two free beers from Brooklyn Brewery): Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central; sketch group Murderfist), Julio Torres, Scott Rogowsky (host of Running Late), Maurice Licorish, and Kale Bogdanovs performing stand-up at Brooklyn bookstore Word (126 Franklin Street) hosted by Ryan Reiss (warm-up comic for Seth Meyers) & Audrey Murray: Greenpoint Comedy Night

7:00 pm ($10): 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), Nathan Macintosh, Tim Dillon, and Robyn Schall performing stand-up at Lilly O’Brien’s (18 Murray Street) hosted by Brandon Collins & Mike Brown: Comedy Outliers

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Movie & TV star Janeane Garofalo (possibly 9:00 pm only), Andrew Schulz (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy), James Mattern, Akaash Singh, 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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up & character actress Karen Batista tries out material for the last night of her week-long run at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Karen Batista

[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 Courtney Wielgus—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): 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 Thursday, Friday, and 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): A freestyle rapping long-form improv troupe takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

8:00 pm ($8): “When the long-time owner of Ski Mountain dies, everyone expects the mountain to be passed down to his beloved daughter Jocelyn. However, his evil older son Ernest appears at the funeral and takes his lawful control of the mountain. Ernest’s first order of business is to fly in a Swiss mountain and stack it on top of Snow mountain…making a double mountain. While everyone loves the double mountain at first, it becomes clear that Ernest has ulterior motives when he continues flying in Swiss mountains, stacking them higher and higher. With a crisis on their hands, Jocelyn, a reclusive trailer rater named Bearnie, and the employees and residents of Snow Mountain must save the day” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Crisis on Ski Mountain

[$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & 11:45 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who starred in his own Comedy Central Presents special and had a recurring role on Showtime’s Weeds headlines tonight and Sunday at the Gotham Comedy Club (with opener Marion Grodin at 8:00 & 10:00, and Vic Henley at 11:45): Bret Ernst

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Justy Dodge (co-host of Married to Comedy podcast and Too Much Information on; “I was kind of a tomboy growing up. Like, I had Barbies, but only because my Ninja Turtles needed bitches;” for dark bio video, please click here), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), Tyler Fischer, Ashley Bez, Tyler Richardson, and Zardon Richardson performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Ange Noir Café (247 Varet Street) hosted by Alex Ptak & Andy Palmer: Emblem Free Comedy

[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] 9:00 pm ($10): An improvised apocalypse from superb comics Anthony Atamanuik, John Murray, and more at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

9:00 pm ($10): Magnet improvisors team up with poets at Kiss*Punch*Poem

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): A group of improvisers screen a classic movie musical, gutting all the dialogue and replacing it with their improvised conversations, but leaving the songs intact. (Singing along is encouraged.) Hosted and directed by phenom Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, and live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), and improvised by Jo, Philip Markle, Nicole Pasquale, Annie Donley, Carmen Christopher, and Andrew Tisher at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Same Songs, Different Plot: West Side Story

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): This unique weekly show incorporates song and dance into sketch comedy focused on pop culture—and does it surprisingly well, with strong writing and a sharp cast of performers. The latter include Amanda Shechtman, who has a lovely musical theatre voice and would fit right in on Broadway (musical comedy casting directors, please take note). It all happens at The PIT upstairs theatre: Pop Roulette

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Sketches, characters, and improv from the Anthology Players, tonight inspired by band A Tribe Called Quest at The PIT downstairs lounge: The B-Side: A Tribe Called Quest

[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 ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Nick Kanellis make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

10:30 pm ($5): A screening of “Lurid sensationalism! Neon perversions! In a tribute to the midnight movie mayhem of the 70s and 80s, some of the strangest, darkest, sexiest, funniest videos from across the country” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Anthony Oberbeck: Video Massacre

11:00 pm ($10): Serialized sketch comedy from group Forever Dog about “a seemingly sleepy town sitting at the base of an active volcano” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Volcano Town

11:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy that describes itself as “a dramatized guide for navigating through everyday concerns such as the meaning of life, our goals & flaws, our sexual curiosities, and the inevitability of a slow death in our soul crushing cesspool” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Cliffnotes on the Human Condition

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Sabrina Jalees (irresistible dynamo stand-up and red-hot rising star who could make reading a grocery list hilarious; Comedy Central’s Nightly Show and Adam Devine’s House Party, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever, MTV’s Failosophy, host of My Sexy Podcast), Andrew Michaan (visiting from LA; Bumbershoot), Brendan Eyre, and Eli Yudin share true-life longish funny tales at this UCB East mashup of stand-up and storytelling hosted by Alison Leiby: It’s a Long Story

Midnight ($5): Sketch groups The Blizzard of ’96 and Uncle Function compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea hosted by Alden Ford and Justin Tyler: Backyard Brawl

[FREE] Midnight: Stand-up, sketch, and improv at this variety show at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Pinball

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

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)

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

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