NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 6/20/15

Judah Friedlander

The magical Judah Friedlander (I once witnessed Judah accurately guess an audience member’s state, city, and profession by just looking at him) concludes his brilliant stand-up run at Carolines

Anthony Atamanuik

…and stellar improvisor Anthony Atamanuik performs at UCB East with Gavin Speiller in Gavin & Anthony Show You The World and then at UCB Chelsea in Goat

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

[TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 6:00 pm ($11.50 via Goldstar [vs. $20 at the door]): Ted Greenberg (Emmy-winningDavid Letterman writer) performs a fun, fast-paced theatrical comedy show—complete with audience interaction andaudience rides home!—at The Complete Performer

6:00 pm ($5): “After years of being told ‘you are so funny on Facebook,’ Chris Pappas is bringing the people what they want. Follow Chris as he presents carefully curated status updates and struggles through his day jobs, and desperately tries to be ‘Liked’” at The PIT downstairs lounge: Chris Pappas’ Facebook Live

6:00 pm ($5): Improv troupes RoboPop, Our Town, Mose, and The Oakwood Boys performing at The Magnet theatre:The Rundown

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Brilliant comics Gavin Speiller & Anthony Atamanuik perform duo improv for 45 minutes while aiming to take you around the globe via the UCB East theatre: Gavin & Anthony Show You The World

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Tonight’s stand-ups include Gary Gulman, Joe Machi, Greer Barnes, Gregg Rogell, Jon Fisch, Jeff Leach, Liza Treyger, Robert Kelly, Lenny Marcus, and Sherrod Small, with the 7:00, 8:45, 10:30, and 12:15 shows atComedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows atVillage Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories) tries out material one last night at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City:Weekend at the Creek: Giulia Rozzi

7:00 pm ($10): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT downstairs lounge: Electoral Dysfunction

7:00 pm ($5): An all-gal improv show mixing women from The PIT’s free improv nights with those on PIT improv house teams—and that includes such talents as Ashley Ward—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Ladies of the PIT

7:00 pm ($5): House improv groups Santeria and Improv Frogs perform for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Santeria + Improv Frogs

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.) The wonderful Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of How to Beat Up Anybody) headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Judah Friedlander

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and more at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A guest monologist—who tonight is Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!)—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre:The Armando Diaz Experience

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Stellar improv groups The Baldwins (which includes Micah Sherman, Sarah Nowak, and Brigid Boyle) and Big Black Car (which includes Chris Grace, Nate Starkey, and Ashley Ward) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Baldwins and Big Black Car

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($25): Strong lineup of 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), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central special White Precious, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), 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), Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), and Jordan Carlos (writer/correspondent for The Nightly Show; MTV’sGuy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central, VH1, Adult Swim) performing stand-up at The StandComedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Kurt Metzger, Ari Shaffir, Mike Lawrence, and More

[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, 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 ($10 at the door or $11.59 in advance online): Rebecca Vigil (rising star who’s a powerhouse improv singer with a lightning-quick wit; FringeNYC 2015’s Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante) and Kevin Avery (staff writer for HBO’s Last Week With John Oliver) perform and/or are interviewed by host Jamie LeeLo at Brooklyn’s Union Hall co-hosted & co-produced by Mehdi Barakchian: Brunch Night!

8:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv troupe takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

8:00 pm ($8): A duo sketch comedy show from Kady Ruth Ashcraft & Alise Morales, plus a one-man show from Anthony Oberbeck, at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Tough Mother + Are You Experienced

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ray DeVito, Ben Kronberg, Nick Cobb, and/or Tim Dimond: Shoot the Shite

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—which includes such talents as Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, John Frusciante, and Emily Axford, and in 2012 crushed 15 improv groups in a row at Cage Match, entirely owns the UCB East stage tonight at Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[FREE] 8:30 pm: This show-and-tell event encourages you to “bring your weird family photos, demonstrate how many flips you can do in a row, reveal the tattoo your uncle gave you at last year’s family retreat—share anything crazy, kooky, strange or insane; the best of the best will win prizes and bragging rights,” plus stand-up from Brandon Scott Wolf (contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update), Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code, host ofChemistry), Ana Fabrega, Eli Yudin, Nate Fernald, and Carlos Delgado all performing at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight(594 Union Ave) produced & hosted by Lukas Kaiser (Chappelle’s Show; senior writer/producer for Spike TV):Show/Tell Show

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): An improvised apocalypse from superb comics Anthony Atamanuik, John Murray, and more at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

9:00 pm ($10): Magnet improvisors team up with poets at Kiss*Punch*Poem

9:30 pm ($10): An award-winning troupe that typically combines sketch, musical comedy, puppetry, and/or dance performing at The PIT downstairs lounge: City Hall

9:30 pm ($10): A sketch comedy troupe that includes Kristen Bartlett & Jason Gore performs at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bridge & Tunnel: A Sketch Show

9:30 pm ($5): “Good improvisation requires commitment and listening and a sense of play. But great improvisation requires great actors. Tonight we celebrate our students as they perform their favorite monologues and scenes from plays and films both beloved and obscure with raw, powerful vulnerability” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre(367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) directed by Jed Resnik: Annoyance Acting Masterclass Showcase

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($25): Strong lineup of 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), Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central special White Precious, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans), 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), Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium), Damien Lemon (Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court), and Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Kurt Metzger, Ari Shaffir, Mike Lawrence, and More

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die), and Jamison Guest—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups take a comedic look at the world’s problems at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Tom Dillon: Love, Poverty, and War

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Nick Kanellis make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

10:30 pm ($5): Audience members compete in updated versions of Price is Right, 25,000 Pyramid, Make Me Laugh, and more for prizes such as iTunes gift cards, a one week guest pass to Chelsea Piers Athletic Club, booze, and tickets to shows at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Michael Bertrando & David del Rosario: Game Show

11:00 pm ($10): Serialized sketch comedy from group Forever Dog about “a seemingly sleepy town sitting at the base of an active volcano” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Volcano Town

11:00 pm ($5): On the theme of Racism, storytelling from Joanna Brown and Stefen Reed, stand-up from Jon Bander and Jarret Berenstein, and more—including audience participation—at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Ruby Marez & Águeda Ramírez: Ruby’s Safe Space

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Sketch comedy that aims to have you “laughing until blood pours out of your throat and eyes and you die and you go to hell and you’re like ‘god damn that was worth it!’ to Satan and he’ll be like ‘Yeah, I know, I was there, it was dope'” at the UCB East theatre: O.S.F.U.G. A Fast Fuckin’ Sketch Show

[FREE] Midnight: NYC stand-ups that are “raw, rare and ribald” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays):The Blue Show

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show (“starts late enough to sleep off that hangover but ends just in time to begin a new one”), with sign-up at 3:30 pm, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Raj Sivaraman & Sam Evans host: The Amateur Hour

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Veteran improvisors make up scenes with improv students from any school (selected by lottery) at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street):Fishbowl

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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