NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 1/14/16

If you’re funny and a talented writer, consider submitting a short story to my fiction anthology Ghosts on Drugs. I’m being flooded with submissions from fantasy/SF/horror writers, but not many comics; and this is a great opportunity to land a prestigious book credit, plus upfront pay and a share of the royalties. Full details are here.

Gary Busey's One-Man HamletCharismatic and hilarious rising star David Carl transforms into Gary Busey—and portrays child-like Busey doing a one-man version of the psychologically complex masterpiece Hamlet. The result is consistently inventive, joyful, and laugh-out-loud funny. This was my second favorite show—out of 196—at the 2014 FringeNYC, went on to further acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and is one of the funniest shows in New York, period. David is reviving his show for a short run starting tonight. If you haven’t seen GBOMH, don’t miss this wonderful and now-rare opportunity to do so. And if you have, share it with a loved one who’s been deprived of GBONH: Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl (10:30 pm, $20, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight
(in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Superb “overactors” Pat Swearingen, Jay Malsky, and more make up a ridiculous soap-operish TV movie on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: Made For TV Movie

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Stand-up Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit) tries out a long stand-up set tonight through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Will Miles

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and an 8:00 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($20): A live stage version of a highly popular podcast hosted by Stephen Dubner (Freakonomics) & James Altucher at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Question of the Day

7:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($5): Pro storytellers, plus a storytelling open mic, at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Lori Baird: Talk Therapy Stories

7:30 pm ($5): Sketch comedy group New Team Honeybear performs at The PIT downstairs lounge: New Team Honeybear Presents The Yogurt Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit), Val Roder (host of Storytime with Val Roder), and Angela Perone share their shit stories—needing to go at the worst moments, major accidents in pants, and so on—at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by the spectacular Natalie Wall: Awkward Poop…and the City

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($10): A comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) are shared by their original authors before total strangers at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Mortified

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The greatest science fiction anthology radio show of all time was X Minus One. Improvisors who apparently know their genre history created this show in which they make up scenes of awe, mystery, and wonder at The PIT upstairs theatre: X Plus One

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Two sketch shows at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Uncomfortable and Eggs for Sale

8:00 pm ($5): Three improv house groups make up scenes for an hour at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Detention + Gun Club + Dim Wit

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; staff writer for Emmy-winning Inside Amy Schumer; frequently invited lightning wit on @midnight; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium), Phoebe Robinson (Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Totally Biased, co-host of 2 Dope Queens), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, VH1), and more performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($10): A one-man comedic play by Eliza Hurwitz that “takes you into the fantastical world of New York City’s #1 pharmacy, Duane Reade, featuring heroes and villains from rival drug stores, and starring Duane Reade’s best customer. There will be laughter, tears, and plenty of drama along the way. Even those who are not Balance Reward cardholders will enjoy” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Love At First Swipe: A Tribute to Duane Reade

9:00 pm ($5): Oddball stand-up at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Patrick Holbert: Odd Ducks

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist) and Mike Recine (Conan O’Brien) each perform a 30-minute stand-up set at The PIT upstairs theatre: Half Hour Set: Amber Nelson and Mike Recine

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show, former staff writer for David Letterman), Anthony DeVito (NPR), Brandon Gardner (Krompf, Improv Nerds), and Kyle Ayers performing at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by Paul Laudiero & Zach Cherry in the name of a popular comedy site: College Humor Live

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Justin Williams & Akash Bhasin: Death Comedy Jam

10:00 pm ($5): A guest comic confesses something true and personal, and then improvisors make up scenes spinning off the story at The PIT downstairs lounge: Confess Your Seams

[FREE] 10:30 pm: “A curated hour of eclectic comedic material written in a week with no rehearsals” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Holy Fuck Comedy Hour

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Improv groups Women & Men and Area 52 compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea for the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): I have no idea what this show is about, but it’s hosted by Gary Richardson, John Reynolds, Carmen Christopher, and Joey Dundale at the UCB East theatre: $$$

Thursday 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 the Stand Up NY Comedy Club (236 West 78th Street): Stand Up NY Open Mic

6:00 pm ($3): If you’re a gal who’d like to try stand-up but are wary of being vulnerable in a tough male-dominated room, this show may be the perfect opportunity for you—an all-female open mic, with the first 15 comics to sign up (starting at 5:50 pm) getting 3 minutes each on stage at The PIT downstairs lounge: Ladies Night Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Stand-up open mic in which 15 walk-ins whose names are drawn from a bucket get to tell jokes on stage for 4 minutes each at UCB East hosted Brandon Scott Wolf & Paul Oddo: Thursday Night Open Mic

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up with comics’ names drawn from a bucket and each chosen receiving 2 minutes—and if that goes well, maybe a hug (but not actual puppies)—at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Ross Parsons & Trey Galyon: Free Puppies

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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for which the number of participants on stage is determined by a roll of the dice at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Jon Monje, Glorillis Tavarez, Trumane Alston, and Julien Darmon: Chance Encounters Jam

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[FREE] 7:00 pm: A weekly improv jam hosted by group Salt at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Blender

[FREE] 7:00 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members (signing in at 6:00) can join in with a veteran improv group to make up scenes on the spot: Magnet Mixer Thursday

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Weekly open mic that provides 5 minutes for each audience member whose name is pulled out of a bucket to perform a true story, sketch, or characters at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by JiJi Lee & Patrick Clair: Split Personality Open Mic Storytelling & Sketch

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Patrick Hastie: Beer, Booze, and Bits

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A supportively silly jam for duo improv (you’ll be paired up on the spot) in which the audience shows “Good Scene!” at the end of every scene at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by improv group Judith: Good Scene!: A Judith Jam

For tomorrow’s top comedy picks, please click here.

For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10)

The PIT Loft
(154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Union Hall
(702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Littlefield
(622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Bell House
(149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25)

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
(27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-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.)

Village Underground
(130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 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.)

The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar:
Click Any Image That Interests You to See the Discount Offer

The Stand

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder

Kinky Boots

The Imbible: A Spirited History of Drinking

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…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, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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