NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 3/9/16

What I Did For LoveAll eight of UCB-NY’s stellar weekend improv groups—including What I Did For Love…

Goat…and Goat—perform on this Wednesday for industry audiences in two blocks, starting at 6:30 pm (Airwolf, What I Did For Love, Goat, Grandma’s Ashes) and at 9:00 pm (The Stepfathers, The Law Firm, Bucky, The Curfew). These are sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if if you arrive early on the standby line and are okay with standing for UCBT’s I’m Cool Improv Showcase (6:30 pm & 9:00 pm, $5 per show, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th 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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm-midnight: Six free hours of improvisation—including an open-to-all improv jam at 6:00 pm; group Lovers, which includes the spectacular Dana Krashin and Tracy Mull at 7:00 pm; group Gypsy Danger, which includes Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman at 8:00 pm; and PIT owner Ali Farahnakian & friends at 10:25 pm—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Ashley Brooke Roberts (co-host of Fresh Out, sketch group Absolutely), and more performing at the only stand-up show at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Will Bleakley: The Sensible Show

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($14, 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 Wednesday

7:30 pm ($5): Expanding the UCB longform improv showcased on Harold Night is this weekly show at UCB East which features three house groups making up scenes on the spot: Lloyd Night

7:30 pm ($5): Storytelling about husbands and more from Jeff Simmerman, TJ Mannix, Greg Stone, Shalewa Sharpe, and Sharon Spell at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kambri Crews: Role Models

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12): Comics and/or writers 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), Maria Konnikova contributing writer for The New Yorker; author of The Confidence Game and Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes), Janelle James (stand-up), and Sara Yasin (“foul-mouthed Palestinian-American journalist”) performing stand-up and/or being interviewed at Brooklyn’s Union Hall for this show hosted by recent UK transplants Jon Ronson (New York Times bestselling author of The Men Who Stare At Goats and more; screenwriter; This American Life) and Maeve Higgins (Irish TV & radio star): I’m New Here, Can You Show Me Around?

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Comics Joanna Rothkopf (writer for Jezebel), Shannon Odell (neuroscience PhD student at Weill Cornell), and Jordan Mendoza (pre-med quitter) get drunk and then compete to present the best scientific dissertation to a panel of comics Casey Jost, Ana Fabrega, and Joel Kim Booster, plus genuine scientist Dr. Kelly Reidy, at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Drunk Science

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly stand-up show that books comics from the same original area (i.e., outside of NYC) to perform long sets at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Trey Galyon: I’m Not From Here

8:00 pm ($10): A double-bill of one-man shows by Cole Orloff and Thomas Whittington at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): I Have a Job to Do and My Ass

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Monroe Martin, Anthony Devito, Casey James Salengo, Marcia Belsky, Nicole Conlan, and Keele Howard Stone performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Don Pedro (90 Manhattan Avenue) hosted by Bryan Yang & Tyler Rothrock: Comedy Comida

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups—on some weeks veterans, on others ones you may never have heard of—performing for this free weekly show at the East Village’s Beauty Bar (231 East 14th Street, between Second and Third Avenues) hosted by Becky Yamamoto, Kendra Cunningham, and/or Negin Farsad: Comedy School Dropout

8:30 pm ($5): A comedic play by sketch group Teen Radio about a teen serial killer at The PIT downstairs lounge, with stand-up Lisa Davey opening: Murder Beach

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Big Jay Oakerson (Comedy Central Presents, HBO, Showtime, MTV), Luis J. Gomez, Dave Smith, and other NYC stand-ups performing live on stage for this podcast show at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Legion of Skanks

[FREE] 9:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing for 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): Lauren Hope Krass, Will Mars, Derek Humphrey, Bob Hansen, and Luke Mones performing stand-up or music at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) guest-hosted by Aaron & Kyle Dersh: Everythign Is Dumbn: A Comedy & Music Showcase

9:00 pm ($5): All-gal improv groups compete for audience laughs and votes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by improv group Punch: Battlestar GIRLactica

[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): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with tunes you know but entirely made up lyrics. Instead of an improv pianist, this show uses a DJ spinning karaoke tracks at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) directed by Philip Markle (Executive Director of The Annoyance Theatre): Happy Karaoke Fun Time!

9:30 pm ($5): A staged reading of a comedic play written by James III in which NYC is invaded by aliens from outer space, with a seven-person cast including Jonathan Braylock, at The PIT downstairs lounge: How Things Are Now

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), 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), Chris Distefano (David Letterman, Comedy Central, MTV2’s Guy Code), and Jourdain Fisher performing stand-up for this super-affordable weekly club show at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): $5 Funnies: Judah Friedlander, Mark Normand, 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’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by Chris Laker: The Show

[TOP PICK] 10:15 pm ($5): Improvisors make up scenes about obsessions at the UCB East theatre: The Fix

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 the Stand 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’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) 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 Mixer Wednesday

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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open mic stand-up providing 4 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com to sign up, or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45, at Brooklyn’s Halyards Bar (406 Third Avenue) hosted by Lukas Kaiser: Comics Phoning It In

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: The Camel Butt

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket (but no actual punch or pie, that’s just a lure to entice you to come) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Matthew Tenenbaum: Punch & Pie

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Your chance to perform on stage with experienced improvisors at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Bernard Maynore and/or Patrick Cucuta: Improdome

[FREE] 11:15 pm: Your opportunity to perform on the stage of UCB East with improv veterans at UCB East hosted by members of improv group Airwolf: Rotisserie Jam

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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