NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 6/17/15

June 17, 2015

TV Alert: Bill Hader is on Jimmy Kimmel;
Aasif Mandvi and Nick Thune are on James Corden;
Mindy Kaling is on Seth Meyers;
the always witty Bill Clinton is on The Daily Show;
Hannah Hart, Matt Mira, and Chris Cubas are on @midnight

The 4th Annual NYC Inner Beauty Pageant

Jo Firestone judges people on what really matters at The 4th Annual Inner Beauty Pageant

Richard Kind

…and Richard Kind guests on a TV pilot starring Joe Pera, Brett Davis, Nick Naney, and Ana Fabrega at MNN: Drac

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

7:30 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] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Whitney Cummings, Kurt Metzger, Mark Normand, Ryan Hamilton, Gregg Rogell, Marina Franklin, Jermaine Fowler, Keith Alberstadt, Jessica Kirson, Liza Treyger, Sam Morril, and Sean Donnelly, with three of the shows atComedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and the 8:00 pm show at at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7 at the door, $8.54 online): “Twelve of New York City’s most warm-hearted oddballs compete for the title of ‘Most Inner Beautiful’ with a talent portion, pageant-style interview, and homemade swimsuit competition. Audience members determine the winner through silent ballots.” This genius idea for a show is the brainchild of host Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000, The Unexpectashow, and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), includes John Early as a judge, and takes place at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street):The 4th Annual NYC Inner Beauty Pageant

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): A mash-up of two stand-ups on stage at the same time, tonight featuring Ted Alexandro, Janeane Garofalo, Mark Normand, Ari Shaffir, Mike Lawrence, Joe List, Dave Smith, and Yamaneika Saunders performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Adrienne Iapalucci & Luis J. Gomez: The Comedy Mash-Up Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): 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] 8:00 pm: Leah Bonnema (VH1, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Josh Gondelman (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, The New Yorker), Maggie Champagne (Inside Amy Schumer), Calvin Cato (Game Show Network), and Stephanie Holmes performing for this free weekly stand-up show at the East Village’sBeauty Bar (231 East 14th Street, between Second and Third Avenues) produced by Becky Yamamoto, Kendra Cunningham, and Negin Farsad, and hosted tonight by Becky Yamamoto & Mindy Raf: Comedy School Dropout

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Keith Alberstadt (David Letterman, VH1, contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update), Vicky Kuperman, Carolina Hidalgo, Dustin Chafin, Astra Notelling, and Max Cohen performing stand-up at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Amy Cardinale: Train Wreck Stand-Up

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here andhere), Chris Cotton, Jon Savoy, and Sheba Mason performing stand-up 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 ($5): Stand-ups each perform a tight 5-minute set, with tonight’s comics Myka Fox, Shakir Standley, Sam Evans, Mark Vigeant, Sarah Tollemache, Eli Sairs, and Jay Welch at the Treehouse Theater (154 West 29th Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Jenn Welch & Tovah Silbermann: Tight Five

8:00 pm ($7 at the door or $8.24 online; no min.): NYC stand-ups Jason Burke, Alison Leiby, Travis Irvine, Rae Sanni, and Justin Perez performing at Brooklyn’s Dean Street (755 Dean Street) hosted by Seena Jon: Dean Street Comedy

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Greg Warren, Alison Klemp, Kate Willett, and Tyler Richardson performing at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Joe Zimmerman, Jono Zalay, and Taylor Ketchum: Hot Crowd

[FREE] 9:00 pm: DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Daniel Simonsen (BBC’sHouse of Fools), Saurin Choksi (host of FUSE’s White Guy Talk Show), PJ Landers (House of Cards), Katie Compa (host of Kid/Life Crisis podcast), and Chris Clarke performing stand-up at this free weekly show at Lucky Jack’s Pub(129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: 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

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Breathtakingly subtle genius improvisor John Lutz (staff writer/performer for Seth Meyers;cast member of 30 Rock; six years as staff writer for Saturday Night Live; John and Scott) and extreme improvisor Peter Grosz (former writer for Seth Meyers and The Colbert Report, star of over 100 Sonic fast-food commercials) perform duo improv as 2 Square

[TOP PICK] 9:30 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), Livia Scott (comedic chameleon; Conan O’Brien, Law & Order, VH1, feature film National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie; sketch groups Legs For Days and The Livia Scott Sketch Program), Jacob Williams (America’s Got Talent), Jordan Temple (MTV’s Decoded), and Adam Mamawala (MTV’s Girl Code) performing stand-up at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Griffin Newman, Andrew Tavin, and/or Alejandro Kolleeny: The Awooga Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): 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), Steve Byrne (co-creator & co-star of TBS’ Sullivan & Son, three Comedy Central specials, Jay Leno, Chappelle’s Show, ABC’s Good Morning America), 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), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), and Joe Vecsey performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): $5 Funnies: Mark Normand, Steve Byrne, Ari Shaffir, Jessica Kirson, Christian Finnegan, and More

[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

[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] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Joe Pera, Brett Davis, Nick Naney, and Ana Fabrega tape a TV pilot in which “Joe is confident, attractive, and impervious to outside opinions. Count Dracula is a centuries-old vampire grieving over the loss of his beloved Mina. Together these two unlikely roommates learn that finding love in New York City is harder than hailing a cab in the rain…but way more fun” with guest star Richard Kind (Spin City, Mad About You, Gotham, Tony award nominee) at MNN Studios (537 West 59th Street). RSVP by emailing and specifying how many tickets you’re requesting: Drac with Richard Kind, Joe Pera, and Brett Davis

[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