NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 5/18/15

Half-price tickets for It’s Only a Play, Matt & Ben,
Big Dummy,
and much more via Goldstar

TV Alert: Chelsea Peretti is on Seth Meyers;
Betty White is on Conan O’Brien;
Nick Offerman is on Jimmy Fallon

Aparna Nancherla

Aparna Nancherla (above) and other comics compete for title of “best impersonator” at Brooklyn’s Snap Impression Live

Ted Alexandro

…and Ted Alexandro (above) hosts Marina Franklin and more at Queens’ The Ted Alexandro 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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—which include group Jean Pool at 7:25 pm featuring the spectacular David Carl, Becky Krause, and Tracy Mull—at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 6:30 pm: An industry showcase of sketch groups (not announced) at The PIT upstairs theatre:The PIT’s Emerging Sketch Showcase

7:00 pm ($7): “A fully improvised show that highlights the relationship between music, time, memory, and the best party you’ve ever been to” at The Magnet theatre: Dance Party

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nathan Macintosh (Family Channel) tries out material tonight through Saturday at The Creekupstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Nathan Macintosh

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:15 pm ($12 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Whitney Cummings, John Mulaney, Joe Machi, Mark Normand, Ryan Hamilton, Nikki Glaser, Greer Barnes, Big Jay Oakerson, Sam Morril, Joe List, Alingon Mitra, and RIcky Velez, with all three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Monday

[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 ($5): Ted Alexandro (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presents half-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.) hosts this monthly show that tonight features stand-ups Marina Franklin (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Chappelle’s Show, VH1), Akaash Singh, and Anthony P. DeVito, plus an interview with Megan McCormick (co-host of TV travel show Globe Trekker), all at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue):The Ted Alexandro Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($6 at the door or $7.47 online): Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country), Eliot Glazer (Broad City, Haunting Renditions), and Beth Hoyt (Inside Amy Schumer, MTV) compete to perform the best off-the-cuff impressions of celebrities, fictional characters, and historical figures at Brooklyn’s Union Hallhosted by Andy Beckerman & Ramsey Ess: Snap Impression Live

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Character comics who typically include rising stars Leslie Meisel (Stone Cold Fox), Christine Bullen (one-woman show My Melonbasket, sketch group Goodbye Handsome), and many more performing bits at UCB East hosted by Justin Tyler & Michael Hartney: Characters Welcome

8:00 pm ($8 at the door or $9.79 online): Sheng Wang, Selena Coppock, Emmy Blotnick, and Shane Torres performing stand-up, plus DJ Donwill, all at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

8:00 pm (no cover, 1-item food or drink min.): NYC stand-ups Tyler Fischer, Joe Alfano, Naomi Karavani, Mahesh Kotagi, Micia Mosely, and Matt Lajeskie perform at The Village Lantern Downstairs Club (167 Bleecker Street) hosted by Khalid A. Rahmaan and/or LeClerc Andre: Unarmed and Dangerous Comedy Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

8:00 pm ($5): Charla Lauriston (staff writer for Tina Fey-produced Netflix sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; MTV, creator of webseries Clench & Release) is among the guests on this diversity-based talk show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Geoff Ross: The Minority Majority

8:30 pm ($7): “What happens when two men-children refuse to grow up and attempt to host a demented kid’s show from their apartment,” starring Alan Fessenden (improv groups The Weave and Hello Laser) and Louie Pearlman (The Story Pirates), and featuring five additional comics at The Magnet theatre: Apt. 33

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch groups try out new material: (212) (which includes wonderful rising stars Langan Kingsley and Russ Armstrong, plus Cody Lindquist, Eddie Dunn, and Rob Cuthill, and stellar sketch writers such as Georgie Aldaco) and One Idiot (which includes performers Maggie Ross and Carrie McCrossen, and writers Kristy Lopez-Bernala, Allie Kokesh, and Nathan Min): Maude Night: (212) and One Idiot

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks The PIT upstairs theatre directed by Philip Markle (Executive Director of The Annoyance Theatre) and featuring Philip, Douglas Widdick, Kathleen Armenti, and Jennifer Connor: Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phillip Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening , HBO’sDown and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Janelle James, Matteo Lane, Subhah Agarwal, Vladimir Caamano, Giulio Gallarotti, and Alia Janine performing stand-up for this free weekly show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays: Ari Shaffir, Joe List, and More

10:15 pm ($7): Improv is dominated by guys, so this is a rare treat—a dozen female improvisors “for an evening of comedy that will delight men, women, babies, and kittens,” hosted by Megan Gray at The Magnet theatre: We Might Just Kiss

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world—who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea hosted by the wonderful Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; Comedy Central’s Meltdown, Conan O’Brien, Last Comic Standing): Whiplash

Monday 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—and also allows everyone play Bingo!—at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Julia Lundy & Veronica Elizabeth: Bingo Open Mic

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in 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

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Kat Toledo and/or Alan Shain: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name i pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base 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)

The PIT
(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/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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