NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 5/24/15

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

Gary Gulman

Stellar wordsmith Gary Gulman performs at The Stand at 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm

Tracy Mull

…and if you enjoy improvising, go to one of the most fun open stages in NYC hosted by comedy dynamo Tracy Mull: Sunday School Short-Form Jam

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:

[$] 1:00 pm ($30): A 3-part series presented back-to-back—and probably running over four hours—that tries to capture the spirit of anime such as Dragon Ball Z on stage…with limited success. The costumes are fun, the cast is cute (especially lead Madeleine Bundy, whose musical theatre voice is the best “special effect” in the show), but the script is too often flat, arbitrary, and juvenile, making it almost impossible to care about anything that happens, while genuine top anime is much more nuanced and gripping. On top of that, the playwright also appears to mistakenly equate “annoying” with “entertaining”—which helps explain why he wrote himself one of the most gratingly irritating characters in the show. That said, Part 2 is an improvement over Part 1, largely thanks to the addition of Asia Kate Dillon as a charismatic female warrior. As for Part 3, I haven’t seen it, so there’s always a chance it gets way better by the end… While I can’t recommend this as art, at minimum it’s interesting as novelty theatre at The PIT upstairs theatre: Kapow-i GoGo

6:00 pm ($5): A one-man show by Roman Rimer, followed by Roman and friends performing improvised scenes, at The Magnet theatre: Peace, Earthlings and Roman Rimer & Friends

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal improv group Pin-Up Squirrels performs and hosts other improv groups at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Play Date With the Pin-Up Squirrels

6:30 pm ($5): Three NYC improv groups that are independent (i.e., not a house team of any particular improv school/theatre) compete for audience member laughs and votes at UCB East hosted by superb improvisors Amey Goerlich & Ryan Karels (half of revered improv group Krompf): Indie Cage Match

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 10:30 pm and 12:15 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Colin Quinn, Greer Barnes, Lynne Koplitz, Lenny Marcus, Pete Davidson, Sean Donnelly, Zainab Johnson, Dov Davidoff, and Ricky Velez, with all four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane): Comedy Cellar Sunday

7:00 pm ($5): Three scripted shows for the price of one at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Triple Feature

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Duo improv from Louis Kornfeld & Magnet Artistic Director Megan Gray at The Magnettheatre: Kornfeld & Gray

[$] 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 one last night at theCarolines Comedy Club: Craig Robinson

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb improvisors Micah Sherman, Evan Kaufman, Ashley Ward, and more make up theatrical scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre for this weekly show produced by Sarah Nowak & Micah Sherman:People Improvising

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15): 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), 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), 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), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), and Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Ari Shaffir, Sabrina Jalees, Pete Lee, and More

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups Mike Recine, Noah Gardenswartz, Gilbert Lawand, Michelle Biloon, Toby Muresianu, Khalid Rahman, and Greg Santos performing at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (writer for VH1’s Girl Code & Guy Code and contributor to Broad City): If You Build It

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A mix of stand-up, improv, and theatre at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: A Night With Phantasm

8:30 pm ($5): Trio improv by Matt Barats and two friends, and then duo improv by real-life roommates Dylan Evans & Mike Breen, at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Fiddlers Three and Boys of the Year

9:00 pm ($7): NYC stand-ups Julio Torres, Selena Coppock, Robert Dean, Grant Gordon, and more performing at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) produced by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and Kenny DeForest and hosted tonight by Clark Jones: Comedy Night at the Knit

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Superb improvisors and guest improv groups join host Skycopter (which includes the incredible David Carl) to make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

9:30 pm ($5): Improv and/or sketch from Beth Hoyt, Anna Drezen, and duo Brian Fiddyment & Edy Modica at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Brett Davis & Ana Fabrega: This Sunday is Saturday Part 2

[$] 10:00 pm ($15): 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), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening , HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central specialPassive Aggressive), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), Derek Gaines, Subhah Agarwal, and Vladimir Caamano performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Ari Shaffir, Damien Lemon, and More

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket at 3:45), providing 3 minutes or more per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by James Ferrarella: Face-Plant Comedy Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): The spectacular Tracy Mull loves short-form improv games with a passion, and so is the perfect host for this jam that lets audience members—including you—put their names in a bucket. Tracy will then repeatedly pull out a name and a game and facilitate improv magic at The PIT upstairs theatre:Sunday School Short-Form Jam

[ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PITdownstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

5:15ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Weekly open mic stand-up, with comics selected from names tossed into a bucket starting at 4:55 pm, at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Aaron Glaser, Irene Hartmann, and/or Carlos Delgado: Sunday Open Mic

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night At The Gemini

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ian Kitchen: The Grandstand

[FREE] 10:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly atUCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team 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-$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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