NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/22/15

Half-price tickets for It’s Only a Play, Big Dummy,
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,
and much more via Goldstar

Cocoon Central Dance Team

A dynamite dance/music double bill at The PIT tonight, starting with Eleanore Pienta, Tallie Medel, and Sunita Mani blending sketch comedy & performance art as Cocoon Central Dance Team

Rebecca Vigil

…and then Rebecca Vigil (above) and Evan Kaufman delivering world-class musical improv in Your Love, Our Musical

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] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Colin Quinn, Dave Attell, Greer Barnes, Jon Fisch, Gregg Rogell, Carmen Lynch, Russ Meneve, Keith Alberstadt, Lynne Koplitz, Jessica Kirson, Robert Kelly, Pete Davidson, Sean Donnelly, Lenny Marcus, and Dov Davidoff, with all of the 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 Friday

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:00 pm & 9:00 pm & 11:00 pm (FREE TICKETS if you reserve in advance by calling (212) 260-2445 and mention HyReviews.com, but there’s still a 2-drink min. per person): Ted Alexandro (one of thevery finest stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, two Comedy Central Presentshalf-hour specials; comedy album I Did It; frequently opens for Louis C.K.), TV & movie star Janeane Garofalo, James Mattern, Marc Theobald, and more performing at the only comedy club in the East Village: Eastville Comedy Club: Ted Alexandro, Janeane Garofalo, and More

7:00 pm ($5): Improvisors make up a movie on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Movie Night

7:00 pm ($7): “It’s important to stay informed. That’s why we bring you all the news that happened this month, at the end of this month. Just your average news show, keeping you up to date with your world one month at a time” at The Magnet written & performed by Jarret Berenstein: Current Events

7:00 pm ($10): Two improv groups each make up a musical on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: [title of team] and Royals

7:00 pm ($5): Three improv teams compete in this cutthroat battle for laughs. What’s different about this cage match is it’s judged by a dog. Every week features a new human guest judge—whose opinion doesn’t really matter—and a guest canine judge who will actually decide the fates of everyone based on which bowl this dog goes to first. It all happens at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

[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 ($10): At UCB Chelsea, wonderfully talented performers Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp do a show that tries to make a virtue of extreme, about gay twins who sing, dance, screw each other, and screw over everyone else. The results are mixed, because a script that merely goes relentlessly over the top isn’t enough to be emotionally satisfying, but there are scattered delights—especially a tuneful, show-stopping song about never giving up that’s by itself worth the price of admission: Fucking Identical Twins: A Musical

…and in the second half of this double-bill, Aaron Jackson & Josh Sharp (above) switch gears from sketch to improv, creating scenes on the spot about “the Hole-iest Hump Day on the Vatican Calendar:” Ass Wednesday

[FREE] 7:30 pm: “A conference/retreat/life-changing experience for womyn. This herstorical night of female empowerment is filled with guest speakers, womyn-centric activities, bonding, mimosas, moments that last a lifetime, and a special appearance by the legendary feminist icon Chickadee Welbourn,” featuring Jo Firestone and nearly a dozen other female comics performing at B.H.Q.F.U. (34 Avenue A on the 3rd Floor) hosted by Ana Fabrega & Lorelei Ramirez: FEMx

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($48.50 & 2-drink min.): A former cast member of The Office, and star of the upcoming NBC sitcom Mr. Robinson based on his early days as a K-9 music teacher in Chicago, headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Craig Robinson

7:30 pm ($10): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: “Each stand-up will do his or her set, and then host JoAnna Ross will conduct an interview about the comic’s dating life. Questions you always wanted to know will be asked: Where do you take a first date to get laid? Do you pay? Where do you take a date to break up with them? What bathrooms have you done it in?” and much more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Undateables

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Redefining our concept of dance are a three-gal troupe consisting of Eleanore Pienta (breathtaking rising star actress who delivered one of last year’s very best performances as star of indie feature film See You Next Tuesday), Tallie Medel (star of indie feature film The Unspeakable Act), and Sunita Mani (sketch/improv group Chester). For video samples, please click here; and if you like what you see, come experience them in April and May at The PIT upstairs theatre: Cocoon Central Dance Team

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm ($24.75 via Goldstar [vs. $29 at the door]): 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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albumsComedy Person and Brooklyn; host of Night Train), 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 Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Jim Florentine, and Paul Virzi performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Wyatt Cenac, Ari Shaffir, Jessica Kirson, and More

8:00 pm ($10): Two PIT upstairs theatre improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher): Dagger and Hello

8:00 pm ($8): “Long, long ago, by the banks of the river Marinara, where breadstick trees grew in unlimited amounts, in the steamy valley of mozzarella, there was a sleepy little hamlet known as the town of pizza. And the people of this town were a simple, smiling folk, who loved soft drinks, and arcade games, and maintained a friendly family atmosphere. Oh, they were an eclectic bunch: a mayor with a gluttonous lust for power; a bum who tasted glory but lost it all; a fisherman desperate for one last bite. But in one house lived a man who was…a little different” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Slice of Life

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm & 10:30 pm ($26 & 2-drink min.): A stand-up who’s starred on two seasons of Last Comic Standing; has performed a very popular Comedy Central Presents half-hour special; was a regular on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn; was the first white comic on Def Jam; wrote for Chris Rock; played Lenny Bruce on NBC’sAmerican Dreams; was an unlikely guest on The View; and is a regular on the Opie and Anthony radio show, headlining tonight and Saturday at the Gotham Comedy Club (with openers Ophira Eisenberg, Adrienne Iapalucci, and Moody McCarthy): Rich Vos

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Sebastian Conelli (2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy): The Friday Night Sh*w

[MEGA-TOP PICK]  9:00 pm ($10): Powerhouse improv singer Rebecca Vigil and her elegant partner Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—often with breathtaking skill—atThe PIT upstairs theatre: Your Love, Our Musical

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Shannon O’Neill, Connor Ratliff, Jordan Klepper, Don Fanelli, Silvija Ozols, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

9:00 pm ($10): Josh Patten, Dru Johnston, and Ben Rameaka perform improv at the UCB East theatre as trioPahjohnka Johnk

9:30 pm ($5): Sketch groups Soap and Teen Radio, plus comic Griffin Newman, performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: Soap and Teen Radio

9:30 pm ($5): This variety show features stand-up, characters, dance, improv, and/or more at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Carmen Christopher: The Juice

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

[TOP PICK] [$] 10:00 pm ($20): Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; Adult Swim; albumsComedy Person and Brooklyn; host of Night Train), 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 Kirson (Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime, Bravo, VH1, Logo one-woman show My Cookie’s Gone), Jim Florentine, and Paul Virzi performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Wyatt Cenac, Ari Shaffir, Jessica Kirson, and More

[FREE] 10:00 pm: A whole bunch of NYC stand-ups perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): Musical improv from group Tourist Trap, which consists of members from world-class group Baby Wants Candy and more, at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Tourist Trap: The Improvised Musical

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live) and Nicole Byer (30 Rock, Jimmy Fallon, Doppelganger) perform duo improv, and also screen the latest episode of their webseriesPursuit of Sexiness, at the UCB East theatre: Pursuit of Sexiness Live

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): Sketch/improv group Gentlemen Party tonight plays with TV tropes, presenting “adorable alien buddies, BBC period dramas, politicos talking really fast, and at least one Olive Garden commercial…and that’s just the written half! The other half is improv” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gentlemen Party: White Teen Lake—The Series Finale

11:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy at The PIT upstairs theatre from group His Majesty, The Baby

11:30 pm ($5): A rotating pool of improvisors perform in groups of five at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Singles Motel

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): In this unique one-time show, 10 stand-ups are all given the same jokes and compete to perform them in the most original, entertaining ways at UCB East hosted by Matt Dennie & Josh Sharp: Cool Shit / Weird Shit

Friday 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

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City with host Eli Sairs: The Orphanage

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT musical improv veterans mix with musical improv novices on-stage at the upstairs theatre for Pitch

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge forHappy Hour

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] Midnight: This show might not be much fun for audience members, but it’s an amazing opportunity if you want to perform sketch for free and with almost zero hurdles on the prestigious UCB Chelsea stage hosted by members of various Maude Night groups: Liquid Courage

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-$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 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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