NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 5/7/15

May 7, 2015

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TV Alert: Tina Fey is on David Letterman;
Chris Hardwick is on Conan O’Brien;
Jen Kirkman, Blaine Capatch, and Colton Dunn
are on @midnight;
Episode 5.5 of Louis C.K.’s always extraordinary series Louie, “Untitled,” is at 10:33 pm, 11:36 pm, and 1:44 am on FX

Jeff Garlin

A brilliant comic with an infectious sense of humor headlines tonight through Sunday at Carolines: Jeff Garlin

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] [FREE] 7:00 pm: According to The Creek website, tonight an iconic star will be trying out material at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: John Leguizamo

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Peter Aguero (Conan O’Brien, Moth GrandSlam Champion, WNYC’s Moth Radio Hour, The BTK Band) performs a one-man storytelling show at Brooklyn’s Union Hall about being a son (for a video sample, please click here): Daddy Issues

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Superb “overactors” Pat Swearingen, Jay Malsky, and more make up a ridiculous soap-operish TV movie on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: Made For TV Movie

7:00 pm ($5): Duo sketch comedy about life in NYC at The PIT upstairs theatre: Rotten Apple

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($43.75 & 2-drink min.): A brilliant comic who’s co-star on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and ABC’s The Goldbergs, and who has a uniquely laid-back, anecdote-based stand-up style that’s a delight, headlines tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Jeff Garlin

7:30 pm ($5): Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer), Ray DeVito (Sirius XM), Jaqi Furback (VH1), Toby Muresianu, and Mark Giordano performing stand-up atUCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and/or Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[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 Greer Barnes, and Lenny Marcus at the 7:45 show; Gary Gulman, Ryan Hamilton, and Greer Barnes at the 8:00 show; Gary Gulman, Ryan Hamilton, Gregg Rogell, and Ryan Reiss (hosting) at the 9:30 show, with three of the shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and the 8:00 pm show atVillage Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Chris Gethard (comedy genius; Broad City, Conan O’Brien, The Office, IFC; star of Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show; author of A Bad Idea I’m About to Do and Weird New York, plus My Comedy Album) seamlessly blends stand-up and storytelling in a way that creates a deep, poignant, and hilarious experience. In this show Chris achieves a new maturity to his already stellar career with a beautifully honest look at his experiences with mental illness and suicide that reaches exceptional heights at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Chris Gethard: Career Suicide

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; 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), Nick DiPaolo (star stand-up, with numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie; Emmy-nominated comedy writer, talk show host), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Mike Vecchione (Jay Leno, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, Howard Stern), and Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays) performing stand-up at The StandComedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Nick DiPaolo, Damien Lemon, 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 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 ($5): Sketch comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre from group Cockadoodle Don’t

8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): The Magnet house improv groups The Boss and Hello Laserperforming improv for an hour, followed at 9:00 pm by The Cast (long form improv about the behavior of a theatre troupe both on-stage and off-stage), at 10:00 pm by sketches from a team of writers performed by Adam Twitchell & Kate Emswiler in The Adam & Kate Project, and finally at 11:00 by improv competition Inspirado (like UCBT’s Cage Match, but with a game-like challenge component): The Magnet’s Night Out

8:00 pm ($5): John Early (30 Rock, Comedy Central, Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, VH1), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, sketch group Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), and Brett Davis (host of The Tuesday Special, co-host of The Macaulay Culkin Show) performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Splitty (415 Myrtle Avenue) hosted by Greg Johnson (Sirius XM): Myrtle Comedy

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): 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

8:40ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Charla Lauriston (staff writer for Tina Fey-produced Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV, creator of webseries Clench & Release), Eric Neumann (MTV), Adam Mamawala (MTV), Julie Kottakis, Mahesh Kotagi, Carolyn Busa, and LeClerc Andre Darguin performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Franklin Bar and Lounge (739 Franklin Street) hosted by Khalid A. Rahmaan & Mike Eltringham: It’s Sooo Up and Coming

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): A play written by Joe Cilio & Gabriel Laks, and starring Joe Cilio & Andrew Block, about “a young writer on the rise. His first novel, Good Lark Upon Ye Good Hartsdale, was the toast of the literati. There is enormous pressure upon him to write a worthy sophomore effort, but alas, Marshall is out of ideas. That’s when the letter arrives. Marshall has been accepted to the prestigious Morgendale Writers Retreat. But with Mr. Morgendale not everything is as it seems. Religion, science. boats (this play takes place on a boat…)” at The PIT downstairs lounge curated by group Forever Dog: Forever Dog Presents New Fire

9:00 pm ($5): Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentaryMetaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; MTV, co-star of GUMP, co-host ofCool Shit/Weird Shit), Maeve Higgins (co-host of I’m New Here, Can You Show Me Around? ), Kiran Deol, Cameron Mazzuca, and Brendan Eyre performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews:Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): Two improv house teams, O’Hare (with Nick Lachey) and Nugget (Brit Belsheim and a different guest each show), 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): O’Hare + Nugget

[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 ($5): Marina Tempelsman, Niccolo Aeed, and friends improvise scenes set on the planet Mars at The PITupstairs theatre: Marina & Nicco & Griffin on Mars

9:30 pm ($7): Storytelling from Emily Flake (writer/cartoonist; The New Yorker, The New York Times); stand-up from Adam Newman (David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, host of Big Long Sets), Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), and Jamie Kilstein (Conan O’Brien, CNN, MSNBC, and Showtime, writes for The Huffington Post, and co-hosts Citizen Radio); and songs from Chris Mills and Louie Pearlman, all performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Shannon Manning:Spark

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10, plus $10 drink min.): A terrific music comedy night with The Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame; album Ladies Don’t Spit; CBS’ The Doctors), Camille Harris (irresistible rising star singer/sketch comic/cutie; The Camille Harris Show; new music album Silly Jazz), rap parody duo Squirm & Germ, and The Dreamstalks performing at the Rockwood Music Hall (185 Orchard Street, near the F subway’s Second Avenue stop) hosted by Paul Valenti: The Reformed Whores, Camille Harris, and Squirm & Germ at Rockwood Stage 3

10:00 pm ($5): An autobiographical one-woman show by Kerstin Porter about Disney movies, love songs, and searching for your soulmate at The PIT downstairs lounge: Girl With Love In Her Window

11:00 pm ($5): Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Tom Lisi, Adrian Davidson, Jessica Georgina Clark, James Ill, and Liz Magee perform stand-up at The PITdownstairs lounge hosted by Jenn Welch: Totally Normal Stand-Up

[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 groups Airwolf and Area 52 compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous Cage Match

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): The brilliantly surreal and hilarious Joe Pera (for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here), Charles Gould, and Dan Licata host this stand-up show, with tonight’s guests Seaton Smith (FOX’s Mulaney, The Nightly Show), Rolly Moe (oddball storyteller), and Patrick Schroeder at the UCB Easttheatre: 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] 5:30 pm: A character-based open-mic happening monthly at UCB East hosted by Mike Sapp: Don’t Be Yourself: Character 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 group Hello 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 upstairs theatre 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