NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 5/20/15

David Letterman

David Letterman, one of the greatest and most seminal performers in comedy history, hosts his final Late Show at 11:35 pm on CBS


Rena Smaha and Her Monkeys

Matt Damon Does Matthew McConaughey

Cher, Part 1  Cher, Part 2

Sonny & Cher Reunion, Part 1   Part 2  Part 3

Sam Kinison’s First National TV Appearance

Harvey Pekar’s Penultimate Appearance  Harvey’s Final Appearance

Harmony Korine’s First Appearance  More Harmony Korine


Drew Barrymore Flashes Dave

Dave’s October Surprise  Dave’s Follow-Up

Dave on 9/11

Most Recent Episodes

David Letterman

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—including Julie Sharbutt & Langston Belton as duoCoyote at 7:00 pm, and PIT owner Ali Farahnakian & friends at 10:25 pm—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

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

7:00 pm ($10): A monthly sketch show that takes you to “an alternative reality filled with unique characters, curious tales, and odd occurrences” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Blunderbuss

[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

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the long form improv showcased on UCB Chelsea’s Harold Night is this weekly show of house groups at the UCB East theatre: Lloyd Night

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:45 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:45 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include John Mulaney, Dave Attell, Mark Normand, Joe Machi, Ryan Hamilton, Nick Griffin, Jessica Kirson, Seaton Smith, Sam Morril, and Sherrod Small, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Strong lineup of Dave Hill (one of the most original and hilariously sharp alternative comics in the country; host of WFMU’s The Goddamn Dave Hill Show; HBO, Comedy Central, NPR, bands Valley Lodge and Diamondsnake, book Tasteful Nudes, comedy album Let Me Turn You On), Joe Machi (Jimmy Fallon; breakout star of the most recent season of Last Comic Standing), Justy Dodge (co-host of Married to Comedypodcast 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), Mick Diflo, Kristin Manna, Erik Monical, and Brooke Arnold performing stand-up at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Lisa Corrao: Train Wreck Stand-Up: Dave Hill, Joe Machi, Justy Dodge, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5; 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. Tonight they do so again at theUCB Chelsea theatre: Kempsas

8:00 pm ($3, or FREE if you’re a gal and arrive before 8:15 pm): Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also staff writer for and performer on Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Emmy Blotnick (staff writer for @midnight; MTV’s Nikki and Sara Live, VH1’s Best Week Ever), Yassir Lester (staff writer for HBO’s Girls), Nick Ruggia, and Matt Schwartzer performing stand-up, plus sketch group Package Deal, all at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Boris Khaykin, Corinne Fisher, Justin Perez, and/or Ashley Morris: Club Comedy

[$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): In this unusual show, stand-ups take suggestions from the audience and then make up a set on the spot, with tonight’s brave comics Janeane Garofalo, Jessica Kirson, Big Jay Oakerson, Matteo Lane, Anthony DeVito, Akaash Singh, and Casey Balsham performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Robby Slowik: Stand-Up on the Spot with Janeane Garofalo, Jessica Kirson, Big Jay Oakerson, and More

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Dan Wilbur, Frank Terranova , Liz Barrett, Chris Doucette, and Molly Austin performing for this free weekly show at the East Village’s Beauty Bar (231 East 14th Street, between Second and Third Avenues) hosted by Becky Yamamoto, Kendra Cunningham, and/or Negin Farsad: Comedy School Dropout

[FREE] 9:00 pm: It’s a very rare week off for Lucky Jack’s Pub, but Lance Weiss & Brendon Fitzgibbons will be back as usual next week with 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 Doug Moe and/or Ben Rameaka:Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

9:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea theatre, AJ Patton and Timmy Wood perform duo sketch comedy as Hype Squad

…and in the second half of this double-bill, the talented Natasha Vaynblat (improv group What I Did For Love, sketch group Absolutely) performs a smart, funny one-woman show mixing sketches about the types of teachers she’s encountered with video tales of her own experiences during four years as an NYC public school teacher, directed by the wonderful Leslie Meisel: United Federation of Teachers

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): Stand-ups who’ve worked on and/or performed on David Letterman—Eddie Brill, Jon Fisch, Adam Newman, Pete Lee, Chris Distefano, Sean Donnelly, and more—do the sets from when they were on the show and also share behind-the-scenes anecdotes at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) followed by a viewing upstairs of David Letterman’s final show: Love for Letterman: A Tribute Show

[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): Improvisors pair up as scene-inventing duos for one night only at the UCB East theatre hosted by comedy giants Natasha Rothwell (staff writer for Saturday Night LIve) & Dan Hodapp (Jimmy Fallon, co-star of smash FringeNYC show Tail! Spin!): Couples Skate

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): As many as a dozen guests packed into 75 minutes performing stand-up, improv, sketch, and occasionally acts that defy categorization. The level of talent can vary wildly, but for some, like me, that’s part of the laid-back fun. Come support the experimentation, and periodic magical surprises, that this uniquely organic rollercoaster of a monthly show at UCB Chelsea makes possible, hosted by the charming Jackie Jennings (The Chris Gethard Show, improv group Smalls): School Night

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 running until 1:00 am, with time divided evenly between performers (up to five minutes), at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City with host Rob Stern: Bucket ‘O Buckets

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: 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

[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

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