NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 6/24/15

June 24, 2015

TV Alert: Mike Birbiglia in on Jimmy Fallon;
Wanda Sykes is on Jimmy Kimmel;
Todd Barry, Cameron Esposito, and Hampton Yount are on @midnight

Spelling Bee

Brooke Van Poppelen, Amber Nelson, Jacqueline Novak, and more joke & spell in Brooklyn at Brandon Scott Wolf’s & Sean Becker’s National Comedy Spelling Bee

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 an open-to-all improv jam at 6:00 pm, Julie Sharbutt & Langston Belton as duo Coyote at 7:00 pm, and PIT owner Ali Farahnakian & friends at 10:25 pm—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing) tries out material every night this week at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Week at the Creek: Pete Lee

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 ($5): Comedic sports journalism from Ellen Haun, Adrienne LaValley, Ryan Hyde, Justin Perez, and Peter Velez at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Sports Show

7:00 pm ($5): A one-woman show by Melissa Gordon in which she “weaves together story and song to take you on a journey that will hopefully get you closer to the place we’re all seeking to find,” plus a one-woman show by Andrea Ilene Shapiro, all at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Serenity Now and Thank You For Calling

[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 Michael Che, Paul Mecurio, Nick DiPaolo, Keith Alberstadt, Marina Franklin, Rachel Feinstein, Peter Davidson, Sean Donnelly, and Lenny Marcus, with all shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) except for the 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue):Comedy Cellar Wednesday

7:30 pm ($5): UCB Harold and Lloyd improv teams blend for one night only at the UCB East theatre: Harold & Lloyd Hang Out Together

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Sharp Storytellers Sasheer Zamata (instant star cast member of Saturday Night Live), Dan Wilbur, Brian Kennedy, Isaac Fitzgerald, and Drew Grant performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Blaise Allysen Kearsley: How I Learned I’ll Never Do That Again…Most Likely: Sasheer Zamata, Dan Wilbur, Brian Kennedy, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Elna Baker (genius storyteller, and bestselling author of comedic book The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance; NPR’s This American Life; writer for Glamour, Elle; for sample tales, please click here), Kevin McCaffrey (writer for David Letterman; TruTV), Rachael Parenta, Andy Fiori, and Drew Dowdey performing stand-up or storytelling for this free weekly show at the East Village’s Beauty Bar (231 East 14th Street, between Second and Third Avenues) produced by Becky Yamamoto, Kendra Cunningham, and Negin Farsad:Comedy School Dropout: Elna Baker, Kevin McCaffrey, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): One of the finest comedic storytelling shows in the country, in which sharp writer/performers—Adam Wade, Anna Roisman, Michael Kayne, T.J. Mannix, and wonderful host Dave Martin—tell tales that are honest and hilarious, with tonight’s theme Fathers, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Nights of Our Lives

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Six stand-up comics (not announced) provide dating advice spurred by written questions from the audience while weaving in their own dating experiences, stories, and jokes at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Date Night

8:00 pm ($15; no min.): In this special show, stand-ups take suggestions from the audience and make up an entirely new set on the spot, with tonight’s brave comics Janeane Garofalo, Guy Branum, Pat Dixon, Jordan Carlos, Megan Gailey, and Casey Balsham performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street) hosted by Robby Slowik: Stand-Up on the Spot

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Calise Hawkins (Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, writer for, Pat Dixon (Comedy Central Presents, FOX, VH1, E!), Katie Haller (co-host of You Probably Think This Song is About You), Neil Constantine, Stephanie Holmes, and Jose Ocasio performing at the Producer’s Club (358 West 44th Street) produced by Henry Cruz & Keith Fuerstenberg and hosted by Adeline Chung-Feder: Train Wreck Stand-Up: Joe List, Calise Hawkins, Pat Dixon, Katie Haller, and More

8:00 pm ($5): A sketch show that incorporates submissions from a variety of comics on a monthly theme at The PITdownstairs lounge: I Friends And My

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-up from Kevin McCaffrey (writer for David Letterman; TruTV), Jordan Carlos (writer/correspondent for The Nightly Show; MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Guy Court, HBO’s Girls, Comedy Central, VH1, Adult Swim), Adam & Todd Stone (Last Comic Standing finalists), Lynn Bixenspan, Tom Cowell, Sean O’Hagan, and Gary Levitt, plus improv from groups Punch and Hot Pursuit, all performing at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) produced by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer and hosted by Matt Schwartzer: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Kevin McCaffrey (writer for David Letterman; TruTV), Greg Warren (Comedy Central Presents, Last Comic Standing), Giulia Rozzi (Jimmy Kimmel, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories), Forrest Shaw (Conan O’Brien), Nat Towsen (VICE, host of Downtown Variety), Courtney Fearrington, Joe Praino, and Reena Calm performing at this free weekly stand-up show at Lucky Jack’s Pub (129 Orchard Street) produced by Kyle Fincham, Lance Weiss, and Brendon Fitzgibbons: Gandhi, Is That You?

9:00 pm ($5): LGBT-friendly comedy from Ben Lerman (superb comedic singer/songwriter), Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; writer for Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX), Rick Crom (FX’sLouie, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire), Michelle De Swarte, Joel Kim Booster, Taylor Connelly, and band Afterbirth Monkey, all performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Calvin Cato:Urbane Comedy

[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 hosted by Doug Mo and/or Ben Rameaka: Hot for Teacher: The UCB Faculty Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Tovah Silbermann (this show’s producer, celebrating both her birthday and the One Year Anniversary of this show), 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 clickhere and here; co-host of the Dan + Joe + Charles Show), Julio Torres (Ars Nova), Clio & Ramsey (members of sketch group Forever Dog), and Jenn Welch (co-host of Stand-Up Showdown and The Guilt Trip) performing stand-up or sketch at The PIT downstairs lounge produced by Tovah Silbermann and hosted by Griffin Newman, Alejandro Kolleeny, and/or Andrew Tavin: The Awooga Comedy Hour: Joe Pera, Julio Torres, Tovah Silbermann, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: This monthly show blends stand-up and spelling. “Comics will get 5 minutes as a base, and more depending on how well they spell. Comedians may be able to perform indefinitely depending on spelling ability,” with tonight’s participants including Brooke Van Poppelen, Amber Nelson, Jacqueline Novak, Nate Fernald, Tom Cowell, and Mike Brown at Brooklyn’s Branded Saloon (603 Vanderbilt Avenue; take 2/3 to Bergen Street, C to Clinton, or B/Q to 7th Avenue) hosted by Brandon Scott Wolf (contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update) & Sean Becker:The National Comedy Spelling Bee: Brooke Van Poppelen, Amber Nelson, Jacqueline Novak, and More

[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): Brilliant comic James Dwyer performs a one-man show that promises to reveal the truth behind seminal improv form The Harold “by performing it in its purest form—alone on stage while wearing a full-body lycra morphsuit” at the UCB East theatre: James Dwyer: One Man Harold

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] 6:00 pm: Your chance to improvise on stage at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Anthony Velez & Parker Denton: Recess

10:15 pm ($5): Randomly selected UCBT students perform with UCBT improv veterans at the UCB East theatre: The Lottery

[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

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: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore: 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 Higgins: 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