NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/30/16

April 30, 2016

Elephant LarryA high-concept sketch troupe that delights in exploring silly ideas and wordplay (for example, demonstrating that a caveman and the Cookie Monster sound remarkably alike when saying such things as “Me have problem with subject/verb placement…”) reunites after a 5-year hiatus. Come see Alexander Zalben, Jeff Solomon, Stefan Lawrence, Geoff Haggerty, and Chris Principe as Elephant Larry (9:30 pm, $10, The PIT Upstairs Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)…

Larry Wilmore…and it’s your last chance to see President Obama crack up the nation at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, this year hosted by the wonderful Larry Wilmore, starting at 6:00 pm on CBSN, 7:00 pm on CNN, and 9:00 pm on MSNBC

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] 2:00 pm: A rare daytime stand-up show at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lindsay Boling: Late Late Breakfast

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Emily Winter, Patrick Hastie, Jared Dryden, and Mike Mercadal each perform a different 10-minute stand-up every Saturday in April at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Grant Lindahl: The 8

6:00 pm ($5): Four Indie improv troupes performing at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

[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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): An all-gal group of improvisors—typically Keisha Zollar, Glenn Boozan, Joanna Bradley, Laura Wilcox, Caroline Colter, and/or Nicole Drespel—make up scenes about failed relationships at the UCB East theatre: The Breakup

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus improv group Ladies of The PIT (Dana Krashin, Tracy Mull, Sarah Nowak, and more) make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and Ladies of The PIT

7:00 pm ($5): Jamie Graham & Amy Larimer blend improv and dance to create theatrical physical comedy and grace on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: The Raving Jaynes

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): Gun Club + Shadows + Form

[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 MIke Perry—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 & 10:00 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.): The writer/stand-up who shares the comedy news anchor desk with Michael Che at Saturday Night LIve’s Weekend Update headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Colin Jost

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 ($10): A one-man show by Matt Higgins playing a character named Flatley at The PIT downstairs lounge: Matt Higgins is Gary Flatley

7:30 pm ($10): Projected stock photos and screenshots are accompanied by captions and/or voiced characters at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Ben Palmer: Picture Show

[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

8:00 pm ($5): Justin Williams, Steve Serra & Gordon Baker-Bone discuss how “New Jersey’s largest city is one of the most maligned and misunderstood places in America” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Newark: The Comedy Show

[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 Peter McNerney & Nick Kanellis 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

9:00 pm ($10): A variety show with attitude at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Kate Moran: The Revolution

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Joyelle Johnson, Ronnie Fleming, Brian Allen Mitchel, Tito Garza, and Ajani Thompson performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Art Cafe & Bar (884-886 Pacific Street) hosted by Ben Totushek: The Human Citizen Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): On this unique show, as stand-ups do their sets their material is brought to visual life by animators. Tonight’s comics are Aparna Nancherla, Amy Miller, Nat Towsen, Mike Brown, Mike Lebovitz, and Kenny DeForest performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Picture This!

9:30 pm ($8): Leah Bonnema, Carole Montgomery, Subhah Agarwahl, Drew Dowdey, and Lauren Hope Krass performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Jared Wilde: Laugh and a Draft

[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] 10:00 pm ($5): A historical period or major event is explored comedically via stand-up, sketch, trivia contests, and more at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Justin Auslaender & Lindsay Boling: Annal Revue

10:00 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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 10:30 pm ($20): This one-man show which recently received a rave review from The New York Times stars charismatic and hilarious rising star David Carl, who 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. 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 GBONH at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl)

[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 Jane Austen—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: Jane Austen Edition

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Duo sketch at The PIT downstairs lounge: F***’d ’til Payday: Unrequited Truth

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): A two-person play about how Matt Damon & Ben Affleck made their careers with the script for Good Will Hunting—and that, ironically, almost instantly put the play’s writer/stars Mindy Kaling & Brenda Withers on Hollywood’s radar—is briefly revived by Penny Middleton & Alexis Robbins at The PIT upstairs theatre: Matt & Ben

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): A unique musical improv show in which scenes explode into popular songs with 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!

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

11:30 ($5): “Relive your favorite TV shows, movies, and plays the way you want, by killing off the character you hated and making the characters you wanted to fuck, fuck” at UCB East hosted by Molly Gaebe & Curtis Retherford: Fan Fiction Live

Midnight ($5): Improv groups unaffiliated with a particular theatre—Sam’s Club, Cunt Dracula, and host The St. Louis Rams—make up scenes at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Indie Improv Showcase

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

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

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Reserved (via email annevictoriaclark+workout@gmail.com) and walk-in (time permitting) stand-up & sketch open mic providing each comic 5 minutes at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Meggie Spellman & Anne Victoria Clark: The Workout Open Mic

[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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 4/29/16

April 29, 2016

Captain America: Civil WarImprovisors who are comic book fans take on the roles of Marvel characters in The Avengers: Improv War (7:00 pm, $7, The Magnet at 254 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:

6:00 pm ($10): A staged reading of a comedy written by Rob Asaro about “two wayward souls, a comedian who can’t get out of his own way and a college student about to wed her fiance, who forge a bond as co-workers at an NYC Polish bakery” with a cast of 13 directed by Paul Mancini at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Donuts After Midnight

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:30 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 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Friday

7:00 pm ($5): Three improv teams compete in this cutthroat battle for laughs. What’s different about this cage match is it’s determined by a human judge, the audience…and a dog. If there’s a tie between the votes of the judge and audience, the guest canine will decide the fates of everyone based on which bowl this dog goes to first. It all happens at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.): The writer/stand-up who shares the comedy news anchor desk with Michael Che at Saturday Night LIve’s Weekend Update headlining tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Colin Jost

7:30 pm ($10): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

7:30 pm ($10): A one-man show by Matt Higgins playing a character named Gary Flatley at The PIT downstairs lounge: Matt Higgins is Gary Flatley

7:30 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups May Wilkerson, Rashad Bashir, Brendan Naranjo, and Jonathan McBride perform—mixed with videos, news reports, and a game for the audience with prizes—at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Judith George: Don’t Grow Up Comedy

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): From the team that created the amazing Hold On To Your Butts: Kyle Schaefer, Nick Abeel, Matt Zambrano, and foley artist Blair Busbee create live on stage “a ‘shot for shot’ parody of the first chapter in the most epic fantasy trilogy of all time” directed by the highly talented Kristin McCarthy Parker at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Fly, You Fools!

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Adam Rubin will attempt to mystify and amaze you with not quite half a dozen illusions at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Five Magic Tricks in a Basement

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & Midnight ($15-$20; no min.): Stand-ups Judah Friedlander, Sean Patton, Pete Lee, Christian Finnegan, Monroe Martin, and more performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Friday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Comics Henry Zebrowski (Wolf of Wall Street, Heroes Reborn, co-founder of Murderfist), Sam Tallent, and Nathan Lund chat about utterly bizarre news stories at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Brent Gill: Infauxmation

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Myka Fox, Jim Tews, and more performing at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) hosted by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Sebastian Conelli (2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy): The Friday Night Sh*w

[$] 8:30 pm ($12): “Eliot Glazer, a classically trained vocalist-turned-comedian, takes some of pop music’s most infamous songs and turns them into highbrow, sweeping ballads. Like a twisted version of MTV Unplugged, Austin City Limits, or VH1 Storytellers, it’s an intimate night of bad music made good,” plus stand-up from Janeana Garofalo (TV & movie star) and Andrew Schulz (MTV’s Guy Code, Girl Code, Failosophy), at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Haunting Renditions

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Jordan Klepper, Silvija Ozols, Shannon O’Neill, Alexandra Dickson, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): “Like a real-life Birdman, 360-degree action lands you smack dab in the middle of the entertainment industry and the drama that surrounds it. You’ll get to see the comedians puffing up their chests backstage, the club owners pimping the comedians out, the guy who cleans up your spilled beer, and what it’s like to punch a heckler in the face” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Night Club

9:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Boogie Manja

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), John Fugelsang (co-host of Tell Me Everything on Sirius XM; former host of ABC’s American’s Funniest Home Videos) and David Feldman (Emmy winner, co-creator of the The Jack and Triumph Show) perform stand-up with a political edge at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Swipe Left

9:30 pm ($5): Comedy videos are screened at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The No Excuses Short Video Party Show

9:30 pm ($10): A young all-guy comedy group performing improv and/or sketch at The PIT downstairs lounge: Gentlemen Party

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

10:00 pm ($5): A comedy show based on the card game “Uncalled Four” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Uncalled Four

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors James Dwyer, Craig Rowin, Connor O’Malley, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and Shaun Diston make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($5): According to comedy duo Jenn Welch & Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; FringeNYC), “We think the world would be a better place if we ran it. So here’s your opportunity, live and in-person, to ask us anything on your mind. And since it’s 10:30 pm on a Friday, anything on your mind is probably related to sex. So toss out a sexy topic or a sexish conundrum; we’ll have an opinion” with guests David Carl (hilarious, charismatic rising star; Point Break Live, Gary Busey’s One Man Hamlet) and Mark Stetson at The PIT downstairs lounge: Here’s What I Would Say with Jenn & Jay

10:30 pm ($10): Josh Sharp, Alex Ptak, Alex Edelman, Peet Guercio, and more performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($5): A one-woman show by sketch comic & storyteller Meghan O’Malley (Awkward Sex…and the City) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) directed by Chris Aurilio: The Meghan O’Malley

10:30 pm ($5): A rotating pool of improvisors perform in groups of five at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Singles Motel

11:00 pm ($5): Sketches, characters, and improv from the Anthology Players, tonight inspired by “the man who referenced a dungeon dragon before Nicki Minaj and told us to put our hands where his eyes could see” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The B-Side: Busta Rhymes

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “Due to a scheduling conflict with the Radisson JFK, The Bit Convention has been moved to the UCB East Village. All Emerald, Platinum, Diamond, and Triple Diamond members are welcome to attend. Double Diamond members WILL NOT be allowed on the premises. Please join Jim Coker and Mark Stratton as they host an exciting evening celebrating innovation in the field of both Goofs and Spoofs. It will be a night explaining what is funny and how comedy works. There will be a full cash bar of domestic beers post convention. Attendees and SPG Gold members cannot use Starpoints for entry. You must buy a ticket. Don’t be cheap, Carl” at the UCB East theatre: The Bit Convention: Inside The Business of Goofs & Spoofs

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Improvisors take on characters from the best show on TV—albeit a week late—at UCB Chelsea hosted by Alan Starzinski (as Jon Snow) and Kate Zelensky (as Cersi): Game of Thrones Season Premier Extravaganza

Friday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (signup at 4:30 pm), with 5 minutes per comic, storyteller, poet, or singer, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sydney Beveridge & Davey Melch: Queens Open Mic Fridays

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

5:45 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shalewa Sharpe & Courtney Fearrington: Thug Passion

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Happy Hour

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-up starts at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Seena Jon: Mic and Cheese

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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 4/28/16

April 28, 2016

Mindy Raf: No Thank YouMindy Raf (singer/songwriter; VH1, College Humor; author of YA novel The Symptoms of My Insanity; often performs as alter ego Leibya Rogers) debuts this hour-long autobiographical stand-up & storytelling one-woman show “about anxiety, bisexuality, polyamory, social acceptance, and the importance of saying…” No Thank You (7:30 pm, $5, 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] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Cyndi Freeman (The Colbert Report, Moth StorySlam champion, two-time FringeNYC award winner, star burlesque performer), Drew Prochaska (Moth StorySlam winner), Rory Scholl, Anna Zagerson, and irresistibly charming host Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post) performing at this wonderful monthly oddball storytelling show at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, off Second Avenue) featuring such magic as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes: Sideshow Goshko

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($20, plus 2-item food/drink min.): This show that interviews luminaries about what it’s like to have a dreamy job tonight features Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way), Suzan-Lori Parks (MacArthur & Pulitzer Winning playwright), Isaac Mizrahi (fashion icon), Kyp Malone (TV On The Radio & Rain Machine), plus music from Bodies Be Rivers, beats from MC Jelly “Andrew Bancroft” D., and more at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place) hosted by Catie Lazarus: Employee of the Month

[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

[$] 7:30 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.): The writer/stand-up who shares the comedy news anchor desk with Michael Che at Saturday Night LIve’s Weekend Update headlining tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Colin Jost

7:30 pm ($5): Brandon Scott Wolf, Greg Stone, Jono Zalay, Lori Palminteri, Alex Fossella, and Ryan Donahue performing stand-up or characters at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Dan Fisher, Shaun Murphy, and Mark Walton: The Three Friends Comedy Show

7:30 pm ($5): Hadiyah Robinson (The Nightly Show), Andy Ostroff (Jimmy Kimmel), Meghan Hanley, Derek Humphrey, and Gabriel Killian performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($5): Sketches by writer/performers compete for audience laughs and votes at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Gabe Capone & Joanna Hausmann: Battle Sketch

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-log special), 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), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Jim Florentine (Comedy Central, MTV), Derek Gaines (host of MTV’s Broke A$$ Game Show), and Subhah Agarwal performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): Gary Gulman, Sean Patton, Pete Lee, Jim Florentine, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: True stories about terrible roommates from Ginny Leise, Tim Dillon, Sharron Paul, Andre Medrano, and Sharon Spell at Astoria Coffee (30-04 30th Street) hosted by David Lawson (The Flyer Guy at Solocom 2015): Bad Roommate Stories

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a sketch show about the NYC subway: The BEENG BOONG: The Great & Powerful MTA

…and in the second half of this double-bill, 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

8:00 pm ($5): A variety of comics performing songs, characters, and/or stand-up at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by sketch/improv group Martha

8:00 pm ($8): “A live staging of reality hit The Flavor of Love’s infamous episode ‘Family Flavors’ featuring a diverse cast of NYC comics” at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Chris Burns & Alise Morales: Flavor of Live

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “Comics compete with on-the-spot tweets…and you decide the winner in real time using your smart phone” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shelby Taylor: Like Me

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Object Work (“the inanimate comes alive before your very eyes and the laws of the natural world are twisted, bent, and finally broken”), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

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 + Selfish Green Men + Dim Wit

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A comedic play written and starring Ian Lockwood & Sophie Zucker, and directed by Philip Markle, in which “Baby Jessica was the first child to fall down a well, thereby capturing the nation’s attention and becoming America’s sweetheart overnight. Baby Ian will be the second” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Baby Ian Falls Down a Well

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): “Like a real-life Birdman, 360-degree action lands you smack dab in the middle of the entertainment industry and the drama that surrounds it. You’ll get to see the comedians puffing up their chests backstage, the club owners pimping the comedians out, the guy who cleans up your spilled beer, and what it’s like to punch a heckler in the face” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Night Club

9:00 pm ($5): Similar to The Dating Game, comics Andrea Allen, Veronica Garza, and Jessica Mears compete for the affections of an audience member at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Joe Welkie: Dating is Hard in NYC

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:00 pm ($15): A show celebrating a modern dating site, with Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000; Cinematic Titanic), Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; former co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?, former host of TV Land’s Game Time; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, History Channel’s I Love the 1880s, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Amanda Mancino-Williams, and Sarah Bitterman performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Lane Moore: Tinder Live

9:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups TBA performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): All-gal comedy variety—sketch, storytelling, improv, music—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Hannah Levinson & Alyssa Lott: The Bada Bing Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The writers of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Alfredo: Late Show Writers Improv

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Dan King: Swamp Thing

[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

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Moody McCarthy (David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Last Comic Standing), Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Greg Stone, and more performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced & hosted by Chris Gersbeck, Lauren Hope Krass, and/or Peter Bandyk: Casual Sets

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Two brilliant Improv groups, Fuck That Shit (with 11 wins in a row) and What I Did For Love (at UCB East every Saturday night at 10:00 pm) compete for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in 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

5:45 pm-8:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 4-5 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic Thursday

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal stand-up open mic at UCB East hosted by Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies 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

6:30 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

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

[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): Thursdays After Class 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Wednesday 4/27/16

April 27, 2016

MIke LawrenceRapidly rising comedy superhero Mike Lawrence (staff writer for Emmy-winning Inside Amy Schumer; frequently invited lightning wit on @midnight; star of upcoming Comedy Central Snapchat series You’re Wrong with Mike Lawrence; Conan O’Brien, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, John Oliver’s NY Stand-Up, comedy album Sadamantium) headlines for one night only at Carolines: Mike Lawrence (7:30 pm, $11.50 online using discount code BATMAN, plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

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; and PIT owner Ali Farahnakian & friends at 10:25 pm—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Super Free Wednesday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Myq Kaplan (one of the quickest minds in comedy, and rapidly rising star; finalist on Last Comic Standing, semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent; David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jay Leno, Comedy Central Presents, comedy CDs Small, Dork, and Handsome, Vegan Mind Meld, and Meat Robot), Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code, host of Chemistry), Alison Leiby (host of It’s a Long Story), and Nat Towsen (VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety) 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 Emma Willmann: 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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($15; no min.): 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), 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), Rachel Feinstein (finalist on Last Comic Standing; Inside Amy Schumer, HBO, The Apprentice, opens for Sarah Silverman on tour), Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), and more performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand: Sean Patton, Mark Normand, Rachel Feinstein, Ari Shaffir, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Michelle Collins (The View) and friends perform stand-up at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Magic Mich XXL

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Storytellers Jacqueline Novak, Mindy Raf, Janelle James, Joel Kim Booster, Shelly Oria, and Jenny Rubin performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Blaise Allysen Kearsley: How I Learned The Struggle Is Real

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A fake QVC show featuring “musical numbers, 80s montages, the apocalypse, dracula, multiple homicides, and two different marriages failing” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Bargain Bin Sale of a Lifetime

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Gideon Hambright and/or Patrick Hastie: Jackknife Comedy

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Sean L. McCarthy (The Comic’s Comic) interviews Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force, host of Sideshow Goshko) and Liam McEneaney (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime) for this live taped podcast at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Last Things First

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Pete Bladel, Nat Towsen, Matt Pavich, Justin Williams, Mike Jacobs, Anish Shah, and Max Rosenblum 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?

[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 ($5): Sketch comedy at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): 301 Views

[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): Breathtakingly subtle genius improvisor John Lutz (cast member of 30 Rock; six years as staff writer for Saturday Night Live; John and Scott) and extreme improvisor Peter Grosz (writer for The Colbert Report, star of over 100 Sonic fast-food commercials, stellar one-man show Recipe for Success) perform duo improv as 2 Square

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): “A dark, surreal comedy exploring themes of marriage, power dynamics, and crown molding” co-written and directed by the wonderful Langan Kingsley at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Fix This House

[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): The UCB Touring Company consists of some of UCB’s finest improvisors who show audiences beyond those visiting UCB’s theatres in NYC and LA what improv is all about. For this monthly show, however, the traveling troupe will be strutting its stuff on the UCB East stage: UCB TourCo

10:30 pm ($5): Three improv teams make up scenes, while you have bingo cards with improv games on them instead of numbers, “so instead of B10 the card says ‘everyone get in here!’ You can win actual real prizes” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Annie Woller & Mark Levy: Improv Bingo

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Mega-selling author R.L. Stine (Goosebumps) hosts this takeoff on a talk show at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Night Late

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] 5:30 pm: Walk-in open mic storytelling show, with each yarn-spinner (selected via names from a bucket) getting up to 8 minutes to tell a true and funny tale at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mike Guild: Flynn’s 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] 7:30 pm: Julia Whitehouse and Mark Pagán headline this otherwise open mic for storytellers, with names pulled from a bucket and 5 minutes of stage time for each selected yarn-spinner, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Molly Cameron & Sharon Spell: Gems

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10): Walk-in open mic for new musical theatre songs: “I remember when Lin-Manuel Miranda rushed into Writer’s Block at 54 Below around midnight. He apologized in advance for the song he thought he might have just finished, then pulled out a folded up piece of paper and played My Shot. There were maybe 40 of us in the room, and we all knew musical theatre would never be the same again” at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Rebecca Naomi Jones: The Musical Theater Factory Open Mic Salon

[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: The Improv 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Tuesday 4/26/16

April 26, 2016

Michael Che and Jena Friedman

Michael Che (SNL Weekend Update star; former star correspondent for The Daily Show and staff writer for Saturday Night Live; David Letterman, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; producer for The Daily Show—and Michael Che’s former producer/boss—and former staff writer for David Letterman), Kevin Barnett (MTV’s Guy Code, Comedy Central, TruTV’s Friends of the People, Sleepwalk With Me, College Humor), Mrs. Smith (drag act who’s performed on NBC’s America’s Got Talent), and more performing at this weekly show hosted by 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, $7, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard 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-11:00 pm ($7 for the whole evening): In this 4-hour extravaganza, six singing & dancing improv groups at The Magnet make up musicals based on audience suggestions, followed at 10:15 pm by an improv jam open to the audience: 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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Jennie Sutton (former David Letterman monologue writer),Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Neko White (MTV2, FOX), and Drew Morgan tell stories to share with you things you really ought to know at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Colum Tyrrell & Lev Fer: Sh*t You Should Know: An Educational Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15): The burning issue of “Who are superior, indoorsy people or outdoorsy people ?” is debated by comics Michelle Collins (The View), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Adam Lowitt (correspondent for The Daily Show), Josh Gondelman (writer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight, The New Yorker), Negin Farsad, and Mehran Khaghani. For a sample of what goes on at this show, check out Michael Showalter making a case for cats vs. dogs here and Kristen Schaal making a case for old people vs. babies here. If you’re amused, you can experience this concoction live tonight at Symphony Space (2537 Broadway, off 95th Street) hosted by the loveable Matthew Love: Uptown Showdown: Indoorsy People vs. Outdoorsy People

8:00 pm ($8): A screening of Mike Brown’s web series Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, plus live performances from some of its comics/actors, at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Live Show & Screening

8:00 pm ($5): “Live rock ‘n roll, stand-up, sketch, characters, and class clowning” at UCB East hosted by Bill Stiteler & Tony Zaret: School Drools

8:00 pm ($5): Real life couples perform duo improv at The PIT upstairs theatre: Couples’ Retreat

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Real life comedy couple Blair Socci & Casey James Salengo perform a show they’re about to take on tour around the globe, with opener Ben Kronberg, at Brooklyn’s The Shanty (79 Richardson Street; take L subway to Lorimer Street): World Tour of Romance

[FREE] 8:00 pm: All-gal stand-up lineup performing at Brooklyn’s Local 61 (61 Bergen Street) hosted by Emily Winter, John Payne, and Janet Manley: BackFat Comedy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:30 pm: Joe Machi (Jimmy Fallon; breakout star of 2014 Last Comic Standing), Jacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor, author of How to Weep in Public), Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Christi Chiello (Last Comic Standing, (MTV’s Girl Code), and Ahri Findling performing stand-up at Cake Shop (152 Ludlow Street, between Rivington & Stanton) hosted by Liza Treyger (Comedy Central Half Hour, Chelsea Lately): Cakeshop Comedy

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

9:00 pm ($7): A monthly stand-up & storytelling show in which comics Jenn Welch, Marisa Riley, Angel Yau, and Chanel Ali are encouraged to hold nothing back at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Caitlin Brodnick & May Wilkerson: Brutally Honest with Caitlin Brodnick

9:00 pm ($5): An improvised hour inside a single NYC subway car—people come, people go, but the train never stops…except when it does—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Strangers on a Train

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At this monthly game show, comics—who tonight are Brian McCann (writer for 17 years for Emmy-winning Conan O’Brien; 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation), Anna Drezen (superb stand-up who blends jokes with characters & movement, sketch; one-woman show Spooky Jerks), Arturo Castro (Broad City), and Josh Rabinowitz—compete to see who can perform the best celebrity impressions at the UCB East theatre, with guest judge Taylor Moore, and hosted by Andy Beckerman (host of podcast Beginnings, co-host of Two Comics One Stage) & Ramsey Ess: Snap Impression Live

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15 & 2-drink min.): Strong lineup of Myq Kaplan, Sasheer Zamata, Hasan Minha, Roy Wood Jr., Damien Lemon, Dan Levy, and “a surprise guest” performing stand-up at the Gotham Comedy Club: Comedy Juice

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): A two-person play about how Matt Damon & Ben Affleck made their careers with the script for Good Will Hunting—and that, ironically, almost instantly put the play’s writer/stars Mindy Kaling & Brenda Withers on Hollywood’s radar—is briefly revived by Penny Middleton & Alexis Robbins at The PIT upstairs theatre: Matt & Ben

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): This super-affordable weekly club stand-up show features Ari Shaffir (Conan O’Brien, host of Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening, HBO’s Down and Dirty, National Lampoon, Comedy Central special Passive Aggressive), Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Pete Lee (Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Yannis Pappas (Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1), Aida Rodriguez, and Ian Lara performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): $5 Funnies with Ari Shaffir, Dan Soder, Pete Lee, and More

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 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

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups perform at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Gideon Hambright and/or Patrick Hastie: Jackknife Comedy

10:00 pm ($5): Latino comics perform storytelling, improv, and/or more at The PIT downstairs lounge: Latinx

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Seaton Smith (rising star stand-up; FOX’s Mulaney, Seth Meyers, The Nightly Show), Matt Ruby (MTV; sharp co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here, award-winning blog Sandpaper Suit), Leah Bonnema (VH1, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), and more performing at this free weekly stand-up 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

[FREE] 10:15 pm: In this free Magnet show, audience members can join in with musical improv group Midnight Heat to make up stories in song on the spot: Musical Magnet Mixer

[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 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 4/25/16

April 25, 2016

The Later ShowGary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-log special), 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), Frank Garcia-Hejl, and more performing stand-up and/or being interviewed by the memorable Katie Kester: The Later Show (8:00 pm, $5, UCB East at 153 East 3rd Street)…

Night Train…and a great lineup of 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), Joe Pera (hilarious and genius deadpan stand-up; Comedy Central, Adult Swim; for a very special one-minute set at Carolines, please click here; for Joe’s latest Kaufman awards submissions, please click here and here; co-host of the Dan + Joe + Charles Show), Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Alison Leiby (host of It’s a Long Story), and Khalid A. Rahmaan performing stand-up, plus music from DJ Donwill, hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central’s Meltdown, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, Totally Biased, opens for Tig Notaro): Night Train (8:00 pm, $8, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw 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 to midnight: Six free hours of improvisation at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[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 Monday

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

7:30 pm ($5): Musical improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) from group Good Catch

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5; sold out of seats, but you can probably get in if you don’t mind standing): Brilliant improvisors including Scott Adsit, Brian Stack, Aidy Bryant, and Tami Sagher stumble into rehearsed theatre scenes they know nothing about played by Broadway and/or TV stars including Jonathan Kaplan, Amy Rutberg, Sarah Stiles, and Dianna Agron, plus director/host Stephen Ruddy at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Gravid Water

8:00 pm ($10): A group of actors and improvisors attempt to duplicate the success of UCBT’s Gravid Water by putting improvisors in the middle of classic theatre scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre. UCBT uses top Broadway and improv talent for its show, making it extraordinary. The participants of this show aren’t quite at that level, but the format is so strong that this might work anyway, despite the awful title: The Actor’s Worst Nightmare

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($6): A safe place to try out new material, with tonight’s stand-ups Josh Gondelman (HBO’s Last Week Tonight, The New Yorker), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Costaki Economopoulos (joke writer for Jay Leno, Bette Midler, and more), and Leighann Lord (BBC, VH1) performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by 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): New Release Day with Christian Finnegan

8:30 pm ($10): Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, ABC’s The Unusuals), Trey Galyon, and Tyler Richardson performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times): Keep It Surreal with Rob Cantrell

9:00 pm ($7): Two unsettling one-person shows by Phoebe Tyers and “8-year-old Bonnie” at The Magnet theatre: Phoebe Jessy Raphael and Before Bedtime With Bonnie

9:00 pm ($5): An improv pianist plays for four improv acts—two of which are musical improv—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Piano Show

9:30 pm ($5): A hip-hop musical parody of Orange is the New Black, but set in an animal shelter for dogs and cats, with book and lyrics by Catya McMullen and direction Michael Raine at The PIT upstairs theatre: Locked Up B*tches

9:30 pm ($5): Two UCB Chelsea house sketch groups try out new material: Maude Night: Hot Bird and Pretty Boys

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phil Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Your chance to experience one of the best comedy clubs in NYC at absolutely no charge (feel encouraged to order food and//or drinks, but you don’t have to), with a different stand-up lineup every Monday—tonight featuring a killer lineup of Sean Patton, Mark Normand, Mike Lawrence, Ari Shaffir, Dan Soder, Amber Nelson, and more—at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language): Frantic Mondays

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Improvisors & stand-ups perform a show based entirely around the oddball Twitter comments of superstar musician Kanye West at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Brian Mitchell & Jose Acevedo: Kanye Confidential: Improvised Kanye Tweets

10:15 pm ($7): Improv is dominated by guys, so this is a rare treat—a dozen female improvisors “for an evening of comedy that will delight men, women, babies, and kittens,” hosted by Megan Gray at The Magnet theatre: We Might Just Kiss

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world-who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea typically hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the best stand-ups in the country; writer for Late Night with Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Last Comic Standing). Reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing: Whiplash

Monday Open Mics & Jams

4:30 pm-7:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 5-6 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic

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 3 minutes on stage. Arrive at around 5:45 to sign up, or wait for the late bucket at 6:15, to perform at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: First Stop Open Mic

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in 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

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by John Field: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs lounge in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base 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.


NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 4/24/16

April 24, 2016

Matt & BenA two-person play about how Matt Damon & Ben Affleck made their careers with the script for Good Will Hunting—and that, ironically, almost instantly put the play’s writer/stars Mindy Kaling & Brenda Withers on Hollywood’s radar—is briefly revived by Penny Middleton & Alexis Robbins: Matt & Ben (9:30 pm, $5, The PIT Upstairs Theatre at 123 East 24th 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:

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 4:30 pm ($20): This one-man show which recently received a rave review from The New York Times stars charismatic and hilarious rising star David Carl, who 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. 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 GBONH at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Gary Busey’s One-Man Hamlet (As Performed by David Carl)

6:00 pm ($7): A one-man show by Sebastian Conelli…that he pretends is actually being performed by his mother at The Magnet theatre: One Mother, One Son

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal improv group Pin-Up Squirrels performs and hosts other improv groups at The Creek downstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Play Date With the Pin-Up Squirrels

6:30 pm ($5): Three NYC improv groups that are independent (i.e., not a house team of any particular improv school/theatre) compete for audience member laughs and votes at UCB East hosted by superb improvisors Amey Goerlich & Ryan Karels (half of revered improv group Krompf): Indie Cage Match

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($8): Storyteller Lyssa Mandel invites comics to “expose their bleeding-heart adolescent artifacts (journal entries, poetry, original songs, and art), then laugh at and with their own flaws,” with tonight’s guests 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), Livia Scott (comedic chameleon; Conan O’Brien, Law & Order, VH1, feature film National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie; sketch groups Legs For Days and The Livia Scott Sketch Program), David Ebert, and Brooke Arnold at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The Bitch Seat

7:00 pm ($5): Three scripted shows for the price of one at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Triple Feature

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 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 the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): “Like a real-life Birdman, 360-degree action lands you smack dab in the middle of the entertainment industry and the drama that surrounds it. You’ll get to see the comedians puffing up their chests backstage, the club owners pimping the comedians out, the guy who cleans up your spilled beer, and what it’s like to punch a heckler in the face” at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Night Club

7:30 pm ($10): An award-winning troupe that typically combines sketch, musical comedy, puppetry, and/or dance performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): City Hall

7:30 pm ($5): A one-man show by Alan Fessenden about how he “doesn’t drink, smoke, or do drugs. He’s vegan, he runs, and he does yoga. He’s almost perfect…except for that donut, his desperate neediness, and his oversharing” at The Magnet theatre: Almost Perfect

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Gary Gulman (razor-sharp wordsmith who’s one of the best stand-ups in the country; David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Tourgasm, Comedy Central hour-log special), Josh Sharp (superb sketch writer/performer; MTV, co-star of GUMP, co-host of Cool Shit/Weird Shit), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, VH1), Amy Miller, Brad Austin, and Cherith Fuller performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Kara Klenk (Comedy Central, Spike, Nickelodeon): If You Build It

8:00ish pm ($5): Griffin Newman, John Reynolds, Blair Socci, Chris Thayer, Katie McVay, and Cole Escola performing stand-up or sketch at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) hosted by Brett Davis & Sally Burtnick: The Macaulay Culkin Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Veteran improvisors reunite, new improvisors perform, and then old and new merge to create a one-night-only team at The Creek downstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Nick Arret: Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($8): Terrific lineup of storytellers Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials, Netflix special The Fun Part; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, History Channel’s I Love the 1880s, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show), Natalie Wall (host of superb storytelling shows Awkward Sex and the City and Awkward Poop and the City, and co-producer of Bad Assery), Katharine Heller (Tell The Bartender podcast, famed improv group Naked in a Fishbowl), and Jeff Simmermon (NPR’s The American Life, Moth StorySlam Champion, host of And I Am Not Lying) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mara Wilson (former iconic child star of Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire; author of Where Am I Now?; ; cast member of podcast Welcome to Night Vale): What Are You Afraid Of?

8:30 pm ($5): Improvisors Andrew Warner & Zach Cherry interview an audience member about his or her favorite movie and then make up their own version of the film on the spot—plus long-form improv groups Your Future and The Testosterones 2020—at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Andrew and Zach Ruin Your Favorite Movie

8:30 pm ($5): All-gal group Lucy Cottrell, Sarah Morgan Ashley, Shaina Feinberg, and Ashley Cohen perform a variety of comedy bits at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Jen Clark & drag queen Brie Y.O.B.: Lulu Birds

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy about how “romantic comedies show that it’s okay to say whatever you want to the nerdy gal who may loves cats maybe a little more than herself. What were those ‘rejects’ thinking? Come see the deleted scenes” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Rom Com Rejects

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Duo improv from Louis Kornfeld & Rick Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld & Andrews

9:00 pm ($7): Typically solid stand-ups perform at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

[FREE] 10:00 pm: A guest visual artist shows off his/her work for 15 minutes. Then 5 comics each tell a story while being sketched by the artist, by the host / cartoonist Grant Lindahl—and, if you’re into it, you (bring a sketchbook!). The audience member crafting the best sketch wins a prize. It all happens at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Art School Acid Dropout

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 3:30 pm: An improv jam celebrating diversity in comedy that lets audience members—whose names are drawn from a bucket—perform with sharp improv/sketch group Astronomy Club (which includes Keisha Zollar and Jonathan Braylock) at the UCB East theatre: Diversity Improv Jam

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket, drawings every half hour), providing 4 minutes per comic at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Intestinal Fortitude

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up lottery style open mic that provides 4 minutes per comic at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro & Chris Gersbeck: Bunk Bed Time Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 5:00 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

5:15ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Weekly open mic stand-up, with comics selected from names tossed into a bucket starting at 4:55 pm, at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Aaron Glaser, Irene Hartmann, and/or Carlos Delgado: Sunday Open Mic

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night At The Gemini

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek downstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Ian Kitchen: The Grandstand

[FREE] 10:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly at UCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team 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.