NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 3/5/16

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 run through this summer at The PIT Loft, starting tonight. If you haven’t seen GBOMH, don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to do so. And if you have, share it with a loved one who’s been deprived of GBOMH: 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] [$] 6:00 pm ($10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319): Four funny people tell amazing stories. Three of the tales are absolutely true…but one of them is a pack of lies. The audience then asks questions to try and identify the fibber—and everyone who chooses correctly gets a free t-shirt! This evening’s yarn-spinners are Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion), Tracy Rowland (Emmy Award-winning writer/editor/producer), T. J. Mannix (ex-Mouseketeer), and Lindsay Hoffman. Come to the West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe (29 Cornelia Street) and let these talented storytellers and guest-host Rory Scholl attempt to mislead you at The Liar Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 6:00 pm, 8:00 pm, 10:00 pm, and Midnight ($15-$25; no min.): Superb stand-ups Judah Friedlander, Ted Alexandro, Mike Lawrence, Adrienne Iapalucci, and more performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Saturday

6:00 pm ($7): Students of superb storyteller Adam Wade show off the skills they’ve learned on The Magnet stage: Adam Wade’s Storytelling Series

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Ben Conrad, Lizzy Mazzucchelli, Will Carey, and Will Watkins each perform a different 10-minute stand-up every Saturday in March at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Grant Lindahl: The 8

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus a musical group that makes up an opera on the spot, at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and Improvised Opera

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, plus 2-item food/drink min.): Some of the finest stand-ups in the country spread among four shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Saturday

7:00 pm ($10): “On every improv team there is the glue, the person who just tries to hold shit together while everyone descends into madness around them. Longtime UCB performer Silvija Ozols gathers some of her favorite gluey types to perform a fully improvised show. Will they stick to each other? Or will they end up huffing themselves into oblivion? Has this analogy been taken too far or is there room for one last pun? GLUE be the judge!” at the UCB East theatre: Gluebag

7:00 pm ($5): Three improv groups performing at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): New Year, New You + Fetch + Distant Cousins

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy 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 Sandi Marx—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

7:30 pm ($7): Political activists and pundits mix with comics at this political comedy show that makes fun of the news at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Electoral Dysfunction

7:30 pm ($5): Langston Belton and other comics, plus improv group Lazy Fair, perform at The PIT downstairs theatre: Roast Beef

[FREE] 7:30 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Charles McBee: Nerd is the New Black

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Gypsy Danger (which includes brilliant comics Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman, and which will make up a feature film on the spot) and The Baldwins (which includes brilliant comics Micah Sherman and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10):A comedic play about the US government in 1991 forming a secret agency charged with monitoring and eliminating online internet threats, the Headquarters for Authorizing Computerized Knowledge, at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): USA_HACK

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: In this acclaimed monthly show, NYC stand-ups “risk getting slapped by Satan himself. Actually, he hosts only bringer shows, but join Matt Wayne and Doug Smith as they step into the Big Man’s shoes and put NYC’s finest through comedy purgatory. Hula-hoops, celebrity impressions, unwanted audience participation, all incorporated into each performance! Will they triumph or will the nether world eat their souls? Come see for yourself in this monthly showcase” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Matt Wayne & Doug Smith: See You in Hell

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): An improvised apocalypse from superb comics Anthony Atamanuik, John Murray, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Joanna Bradley, Chad Carter, and Joel Weidel at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv group that includes such talents as Evan Kaufman (Your Love Our Musical) takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Nick Kanellis & guest Branson Reese make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

9:00 pm ($10): NYC stand-ups performing for this weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Experiment Comedy Gallery (20 Broadway) hosted by Camille Harris, Camille Theobald, and Mo Fathelb: The Weekend Drop

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): A sketch comedy troupe that includes Kristen Bartlett & Jason Gore, is directed by the brilliant Ellena Chimielewski, and this month features former David Letterman and Rosie O’Donnell writer Caissie St. Onge, performs at The PIT downstairs lounge: Bridge & Tunnel

9:30 pm ($10): Myka Fox, Ben Kronberg, Kerry Coddett, and more performing stand-up featuring “the dirtiest, most unsafe for prime-time jokes, bits, and riffs” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Ben Conrad & Lucas Connolly: The Dirty Show

9:30 pm ($5): Long-form improv with a playful title directed by Conner O’Malley at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse

[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), and Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die)—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Comics perform their darkest, saddest, and most traumatically funny bits for this monthly catharsis machine at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Shane Torres, Nate Fridson, and Alison Zeidman: Dark Spots

[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): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme each week—which tonight is Time Travel—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: Time Travel Edition

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): An autobiographical one-man show by Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion) on how he “survived a childhood in the Reagan Eighties, the rise of the moral majority and meth amphetamine, the terrors of sex and nuclear bombs, and his guest role in a sibling’s suicide by escaping into pop culture” at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue): The Gospel of Sherilyn Fenn

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Using real horror films purchased in local gas stations and bodegas, the hosts select specific clips to play for 30 seconds, pause, and then ask the improvisers to finish the scene. Will anyone survive at The PIT downstairs theatre? Attend at your own peril, with hosts J. W. Crump: Gas Station Horror

10:30 pm ($5): Audience members—maybe you—play for prizes via updates versions of such game shows as Price is Right, 25,000 Pyramid, Make Me Laugh, and “twisted trivia and games that include, music, dancing and fellatio!” 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, and Emma Krulik: Game Show

11:00 pm ($5): Characters, impressions, juggling, stand-up, music, and/or physical comedy from Tim Girrbach, Paul Valenti, Jenn Dodd, Philip Casale, and more at The PIT upstairs theatre: WeMakeTheFunny.com Tour

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Fredric Goldstein and hosted by Judith George: Last Stop Laughs

[TOP PICK] 11:30 ($5): An enormously fun freestyle rap contest at UCB East with NYC comics (not announced), plus a volunteer from the audience!, hosted by superstar human beatbox Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan (The Daily Show, The Electric Company, Freestyle Love Supreme) and Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central): Battlicious

Midnight ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at UCB Chelsea hosted by Aaron Glaser: Midnight Stand-Up

[FREE] Midnight: “Food sketches, street food interviews, and live cooking” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Late Night Snack

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 2:00-5:00 pm: “After a nice brunch with your best and brightest gal pals, come on over to QED for some second-hand clothing and first time jokes. The clothing swap begins at 2:00 pm and the mic starts at 3:00 pm” at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Lauren Hope Krass & Andrea Ilene Shapiro: Ladies’ Open Mic & Clothing Swap

3:00 pm ($5; your ticket provides $3 off a drink at nearby Pioneers Bar): Walk-in lottery style open mic (sign-up starting at 2:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show, with names drawn out of a bucket, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Rachel Coleman: Let’s Be Friends

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Experienced hip-hop improvisers perform scenes with “anyone willing to stretch that hip-hop improv muscle; it’s a fun supportive environment where scenes turn into a rap song, beatbox, freestyle, or rap battle” at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Raymond Morency & Richie Alfson: Off Top!: A Hip Hop Mixer

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:

The Stand

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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