NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 3/15/16

Top stand-up Myq Kaplan is hilarious as he reveals secrets about his past involving Robin Hood, violins, linguistics, improv, playing Carnegie Hall, and much more in this second career episode of my podcast website.

Blaine Swen and The Improvised Shakespeare CompanyIf you braved the rain last night, you saw genius improvisors from Chicago—including ISC founder Blaine Swen—go for the silly as the five-member troupe became armies for England, Ireland, France, and Germany that alternated between battling, singing, and dancing, mixed in with subplots that included a young woman named Molly who doubled as drug metaphor and a soldier so young he was the spirit of an unborn baby (and had the latter gotten on Molly’s back rather than that of another character, the show would have ended literally with a Ghost On Drugs…). There’s no telling where an audience suggestion will lead on this final night of the current NYC run of this finest improv troupe in the world that performs one of the best comedy shows of any kind, anywhere. Seats are sold out, but you can get in if you arrive early and are okay with sitting on stairs (with tickets discounted to $20). Don’t miss your last chance for a while to enjoy the breathtakingly skilled Improvised Shakespeare Company (7:00 pm, $20 to sit on stairs, Theatre 80 St. Marks at 80 St. Marks Place off First Avenue)…

Brain and Heart…or see neuroscientists, physicists, and comics tell tales related to the brain hosted by Ben Lillie & Erin Barker: The Story Collider: Brain Awareness (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union Street; take R subway to Union 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] [FREE] 5:30 pm: Comics performing funny characters audition at The PIT to appear in the most prestigious comedy festival in Canada: Just for Laughs Character Auditions

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, eight singing & dancing improv groups at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions: Magnet Musical Megawatt

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 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): Comedy Cellar Tuesday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:30 pm: Comics creators join super-hosts Alex Zalben, Justin Tyler, and Pete LePage in a lively & hilarious discussion about four-color pop culture at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with giveaways of comics and gift certificates (and if you can’t make it, watch in online here): Comic Book Club

7:30 pm & 9:15 pm ($5 per show): House groups at UCB Chelsea perform the classic improv form The Harold at Harold Night

7:30 pm ($5): A showcase for two brand new shows—sketch, solo, readings, what have you—every week at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by the wonderful Ronny Pascale: Pilot Season

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: Dave Hill, Janeane Garofalo, and Shakir Standley perform stand-up hosted by the hilarious Joe Pera, Charles Gould, and Dan Licata at Brooklyn’s The Shanty (79 Richardson Street; take L subway to Lorimer Street): Dan + Joe + Charles’ Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This charming show puts comics who are friends behind the scenes on stage for an evening to adorably perform together. Tonight’s guests are Phoebe Robinson & Mehran Khaghani, Joe Zimmerman & Doogie Horner, Katie Compa & Raquel D’Apice, and Nick Turner & Greg Stone performing stand-up, sketch, or improv at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A, between 10th & 11th Streets) hosted by real-life couple Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; writer for Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX) & Andy Beckerman (The Pete Holmes Show, Beginnings Podcast): In Stereo: Two Comics, One Stage

[TOP PICK] [DISCOUNTED] [FREE] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm (FREE online using code JFL; no min.): Rising stand-ups audition for the prestigious Montreal Just for Laughs Festival, hosted by Yannis Pappas at 8:00 and Aaron Berg at 10:00, at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue & 20th Street): Just For Laughs Stand-Up Auditions

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The wonderful Mark Normand (one of the very finest stand-ups in the country; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, Last Comic Standing, VH1’s Best Week Ever; comedy album Still Got It; opens for Amy Schumer) hosts this stand-up show featuring Monroe Martin (finalist on this season’s Last Comic Standing), Yamaneika Saunders (Last Comic Standing), and Aida Rodriguez at the UCB East theatre: Comedy Central Corporate Retreat: Hosted by Mark Normand

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform sets—and you and the rest of the audience tries to answer trivia questions based on those sets! It all happens at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Comedy Pursuit

8:00 pm ($5): Sketch, improv, and stand-up comics “create a brand new show in only one week, and then perform improvised sketches based off of your suggestions, just like The Second City used to do” at The PIT upstairs theatre directed by Micah Sherman: Old School Sketch Show

8:30 pm ($5): Superb improvisors and guest improv groups join host Skycopter (which includes the incredible David Carl) to make up one-act plays on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Act One

[FREE] 8:30 pm (reserve your free spots by clicking here): Typically terrific stand-ups (for the line-up, usually posted by 1:00 pm, please click here) performing at The Irish Exit (978 Second Avenue, off 52nd Street, in the back room) produced every Tuesday by Mark Normand, Matt Ruby, Gary Vider, and Sachi Ezura: Hot Soup

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($7): Colin Quinn (SNL, Comedy Central’s Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, HBO, NBC, Broadway), Brett Davis, Peggy O’Leary, and more performing at The Slipper Room (167 Orchard Street) for host Seth Herzog (long-time Jimmy Fallon staff comic; NBC’s 30 Rock, Comedy Central’s @midnight, VH1’s Best Week Ever, CBS): Sweet

9:00 pm ($5): A variety show hosted by Steph Cook (founding member of sketch collective Kill All Comedy) at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Steffi Cook Show

9:00 pm ($10): NYC stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Derek Humphrey: Headliner’s Ball

9:15 pm ($8, which includes free beer): NYC stand-ups performing at Brooklyn’s The Experiment Comedy Gallery (20 Broadway) hosted by Jaqi Furback & Mike Lewis: The Party

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): A sketch show based on the soundtrack of Hamilton featuring improv hip-hop group North Coast, Jonathan Braylock, hosts Becky Chicoine, Sudi Green, and Sam Reece, and more at the UCB East theatre: Theme Party: Hamilton

9:30 pm ($5): Five stand-ups attempt to seamlessly weave their bits into each other’s sets to create a holistic 30-minute experience at The PIT upstairs theatre: Human Centipede

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: A stand-up performs a 6-minute stand-up set…and then has to endure an old video of him or her telling bad jokes poorly, so the audience can see how much the comic has grown. Six stand-ups—Emily Winter, Sarah Kennedy, Evan Jones, Dina Hashem, Daniel J Perafan, and Kevin Froleiks— will go through this at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Patrick Hastie: Old Bits, New Bits

10:00 pm ($5): In this unique show, improvisors make up a complete family & friends intervention based on an audience suggestion at The PIT downstairs lounge: Impro-vention

[FREE] 11:00 pm: A mix of veteran and newer stand-ups performing at this free weekly show at UCB East hosted by Matteo Lane (Comedy Central): Chemistry

Tuesday 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 (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: Open mic for comedy of all types providing 2 minutes for each performer (with sign-up starting at 6:00) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Tim Unkenholz: Butt Factory

[TOP PICK] [ALMOST FREE] 6:30 pm ($1): In this delightful weekly open mic show, each comic has 3-5 minutes to try out a character-based bit (e.g., for a solo show, sketch, or audition) at The PIT downstairs lounge, typically hosted by Jamie Aderski: Personality Disorder Character Jam

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Weekly stand-up open mic, with walk-ins tossing names into a hat and set length determined by the number of comics who show up, at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Jimmy LeChase and/or Justin Perez: Townies Open Mic

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: This weekly two-hour open mic storytelling show allows each performer 8 minutes to tell a compelling and funny tale at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Jake Hart and a guest co-host: The Dump

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Weekly open mic for any kind of act (with sign-up starting at 7:30) at Brooklyn’s Goodbye Blue Monday (1087 Broadway) hosted by Joe Crow Ryan: Goodbye Blue Monday

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): A chance for you to get on stage and improvise with PIT faculty at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Tuesday After Class Jam

11:00 pm ($3): A breathtaking 40 comics are given 2 minutes each in this rapid-fire open-mic stand-up show at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted with wit and energy by Jay Welch: Bring It

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Weekly walk-in open mic stand-up providing 3 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from a bucket at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Slonim: Rapid Fire

[ALMOST FREE] 11:00 pm ($1): A weekly improv jam for students at all levels to work on their skills at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Elke Reid and/or David Frasure: Study Hall

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

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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