NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 3/30/16

How I Learned There's No Business Like Show BusinessStorytellers Adam Wade (record-breaking 20-time Moth StorySlam Champion), Alex Mar (writer/documentary filmmaker), Jason Diamond (book author), Julian Fleisher (singer/writer), and Akilah Hughes (stand-up) tell true tales about their experiences in show business hosted by Blaise Allysen Kearsley: How I Learned There’s No Business Like Show Business (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:

[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

7:00 pm ($5): Phil Hanley, Mary Houlihan, Ryan Beck, 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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Liam McEneaney, Menuhin Hart, and more performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Eric Vetter: No Name…and A Bag O’ Chips

[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): Ace improvisor Silvija Ozols (The Stepfathers) teaches you about different improv styles throughout history, from commedia dell’arte to Theatre of the Oppressed, and leads UCB comics to improvise in those styles. “It’s like David McCullough explaining a fart joke, but less erotic” at the UCB East theatre: The History of Improv

7:30 pm ($7): Sketch comedy from two sharp house groups at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams

[FREE] 7:30 pm: A “longform storytelling” show, providing a whopping 25 minutes per storyteller, with tonight’s guests Kate Greathead and Moran Cerf performing at Brooklyn’s Local 61 (61 Bergen Street) hosted by Eli Reiter: Long Story Long

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): A one-man autobiographical show by Brian Finkelstein about his four years working a suicide hotline at the UCB Chelsea theatre: First Day Off in a Long Time

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: Stand-up, sketch, music, and more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Mike Lewis & Jaqi Furback: Variety Society

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Myka Fox, Mo Mandel, and more 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): “Over 30 years have passed since the Ghostbusters opened up shop, and now their kids have taken over. They are struggling. If possible, they are even worse at managing a business than their fathers before them.” That’s the fun foundation for this entirely improvised show at The PIT upstairs theatre: Busted! Improvised Ghostbusters

9:00 pm ($7): Eight sharp female comics perform sketch comedy at The Magnet theatre: Lady Sketch Show

[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

9:00 pm ($7): In this game show, after each stand-up performs his or her set, the comic must choose to either improvise a set of jokes from the audience’s suggestions or answer a grueling question from the “Truth” bucket at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Christina Verde: Questionable 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): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, sketch group Astronomy Club—which includes Keisha Zollar and Jonathan Braylock—invite you to “join Reverend Professor Ray Cordova in the year 2025 as he delivers a lesson in what really happened in black history. In our past, discover what the Underground Railroad has in common with the MTA, watch in awe as Batman meet the Black Panthers, and in our not-too-distant future, Obama is all washed up, Rick Ross sings protest anthems, and the first female president will shock you! This show is the realization of MLK’s dream…or maybe his nightmare:” Astronomy Club: A Journey Through Black History

…and in the second half of this sketch double-bill, An Evening with the Trumpet Boys

9:30 pm ($5): “Citing vague notions of states’ rights, a cabal of loose-canon ‘activists’ have occupied a federal building. The press is waiting with bated breath to ask the one question on everyone’s mind: What’s this bunch of assholes doing while locked up together? The answer: Improvised fuckery of men doing the terrible, stupid things that men do” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Garden & Gun Magazine’s Best Armed Takeover of the Year

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): This super-affordable weekly club stand-up show features Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America; frequent guest host of Whiplash), 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), Nate Bargatze (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents), Joe List (HBO, David Letterman, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist), Monroe Martin (finalist on Last Comic Standing), and more performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): $5 Funnies at The Stand: Sean Patton, Mike Lawrence, Nate Bargatze, Joe List, Amber Nelson, 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

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

11:00 pm ($5): Improv group Higgins performs the season finale of a long-running TV show that never actually existed based on an audience suggestion of the series title at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Season Finale

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

[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 chance to perform with veteran UCB improvisors on the UCB East stage: The Lottery 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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