NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 4/15/16

Jen KirkmanJen Kirkman (HBO, VH1, Chelsea Lately, After Lately, Craig Ferguson, Comedy Central’s Drunk History, former staff writer for NBC’s Perfect Couples, comedy albums Self Help and Hail to the Freaks, Netflix special I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine), author of bestselling I Can Barely Take Care of Myself) tells stories in celebration of the release of her new book: I Know What I’m Doing and Other Lies (8:00 pm, $25, Brooklyn’s Bell House at 149 7th Street in Brooklyn; take R subway to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Avenue)…

D.L. Hughley…and a TV, movie, and radio star (for a sample set, please click here) headlines tonight through Sunday at Carolines: D. L. Hughley (7:30 pm & 10:00 pm, $49 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:

[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 ($10): The Magnet theatre hands out its annual awards to its own performers at The Maggies

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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): 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, Sebastian Conelli invites four of his favorite improvisers—who tonight are Don Fanelli, Will Stephen, Chet Siegel, and Alexandra Dickson—to do a show with him: Party of Five

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 ($5): Stand-ups and improvisors performing at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Matt Catanzano & Richie Moriarty: Simply Unemployable Live

7:30 pm ($7): Storytellers share nostalgic tales from the 80s and 90s with hosts Robin Gelfenbien & Danny Artese at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): A Very Special Episode

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12, which is super cheap; this show has regularly sold out at $18 at other venues): World-class singing improvisors Rebecca Vigil & Evan Kaufman interview an audience couple about their love life and then turn it into a musical—with breathtaking skill (see my review of their award-winning FringeNYC 2015 shows here)—at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) for their phenomenal Your Love, Our Musical

[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 & 10:00 pm & Midnight ($15-$20; no min.): Stand-ups 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), 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 at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Friday

8:00 pm ($10): “A teen drama in which everyone has a secret. (hint: they’re all gay). On the outside it’s a typical high school with science fairs, basketball games, and homecoming dances, but below the surface it’s filled with secrets, betrayal, and most importantly drama…with a new episode each week!” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Lake Homo High

8:00 pm ($5): Stand-up, sketches, and music for this variety show at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Night Sweats

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) produced by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer and guest-hosted by Patrick Holbert: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): 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 “secret” 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

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($18): Kyle Schaefer, Nick Abeel, and foley artist Kelsey Didion perform a spectacular live shot for shot stage version of Jurassic Park at The PIT upstairs theatre directed by the exceptional Kristin McCarthy Parker: Hold On To Your Butts…Jurassik Parc

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Jon Glaser (HBO’s Girls, NBC’s Parks and Recreation, star of Adult Swim’s Delocated; long-time writer/performer and 5-time Emmy nominee for Conan O’Brien) and Miriam Tolan join Jodi Lennon (Marc Maron: The Voice of Something, Exit 57) to make up scenes from a year in the life of three people at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): What a Year!

9:30 pm ($5): Jeffrey Joseph, Blair Socci, Clark Jones, and Julia Solomon performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Ariel Elias & Liz Magee: You Deserve It

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): “There is one great struggle that haunts every romantic relationship between two comedians: Who gets the bit? This show brings romantic comedians together onstage to show their two different versions of a shared premise” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Alison Klemp & Nate Fridson: Bae-O: Bits About Each Other

[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

10:30 pm ($10): Anna Roisman (MTV; co-host of You Probably Think This Song Is About You), Lynn Bixenspan (MTV), Brendan Fitzgibbons, and Anne Victoria Clark 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 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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($10): David Feldman (co-creator of The Jack and Triumph Show), 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), and Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network) riff on entertainingly terrible 2008 film Birdemic at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Freddy G: Birdemic

11:00 pm ($5): Josh Krebs performs a one-man show about such characters as “an angry 13-year-old girl with a penchant for art films, an alcoholic rocker whose claim to fame is a theme to a popular children’s show, and a salesman with a time share of a lifetime on the moon” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Maniac

Midnight ($5): Comics playing characters answer obscure quiz questions in this comedic game show at UCB East hosted by Vincent Moore: Best Answer

[FREE] Midnight: “Every month comedian Dan King writes a pilot script for a new sitcom and hosts a live table read of the script. It’s important that you come see these live because these ideas will never, ever make it to television” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Test Pilots

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 Davey Melch & Sydney Beveridge: Queens Free 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

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Walk-in open mic that allows everyone to get on stage at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): $1 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] 6:30 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

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Improv is dominated by guys…and for no good reason. A way to help remedy this situation are shows like this one, which is an open improv jam for any gal wanting to participate, at any experience level, at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Lady Jam

 For many more shows, please click the following links to top NYC comedy venues:

Best Inexpensive Stand-Up, Improv, Sketch, and Storytelling

Upright Citizens Brigade Chelsea
(307 West 26th Street; 150-seater; one of the most respected comedy theatres in the world; especially strong on improv, sketch, solo shows, and one-act comedic plays; shows free-$10)

Upright Citizens Brigade East
(153 East 3rd Street; 99-seater; a top comedy venue that focuses more than sister theatre UCB Chelsea on stand-up and screenings, and on experimental shows taking big risks; shows free-$10)

The PIT Striker (Upstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 99-seater; a top venue that’s a powerful rival of UCB, and often surpasses UCB when blending comedy with music and/or theatricality; shows free-$20)

The PIT Underground (Downstairs) Theatre
(123 East 24th Street; 40-seater; often more quirky & experimental than upstairs Striker; shows free-$10)

The PIT Loft
(154 West 29th Street; 50-seater; not at the level of its two sister PIT theatres, but evolving; shows free-$10)

The Magnet
(254 West 29th Street; 60-seat theatre; strong on improv, musical improv, sketch, and energy; shows $5-$10)

The Annoyance Theatre
(367 Bedford Ave. in Brooklyn; J/M/Z to Marcy or L to Lorimer; 50-seat theatre; spinning off from Chicago’s Annoyance Theatre, brings a fiercely fresh, experimental approach to improv and sketch; shows free-$10)

The Creek and the Cave
(Queens’ Long Island City; 40-seat theatre upstairs, 25 downstairs; virtually all shows free)

Union Hall
(702 Union Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 50-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Littlefield
(622 Degraw Street in Brooklyn; R to Union Street; 100-seat theatre; shows $5-$20)

Bell House
(149 7th Street in Brooklyn; R to 9th Street or F/G to Fourth Ave.; 200-seat theatre; shows $10-$25)

QED: A Place to Show & Tell
(27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria Queens; N/Q to Ditmars Boulevard; 40-seat theatre; shows free-$10)

Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs

Comedy Cellar
(117 MacDougal Street; among the finest daily stand-up lineups in the world; 2-item min.)

Village Underground
(130 West 3rd Street; Comedy Cellar’s larger sister venue, just around the corner with the same top comics; 2-item min.)

The Stand
(239 Third Avenue; recent competitor to Comedy Cellar; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Carolines Comedy Club
(1626 Broadway; focuses on the world’s top headliners, who perform hour-long sets; 2-drink min.)

Gotham Comedy Club
(208 West 23rd Street; headliners on weekends, specialty & lineup shows weekdays; 2-drink min.)

Eastville Comedy Club
(85 East 4th Street; strong weekend lineups; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Greenwich Village Comedy Club
(99 MacDougal Street; convenient if Comedy Cellar’s sold out; no cover using code HyReviews; 2-drink min.)

Comic Strip Live
(1568 Second Avenue, off 81st; Upper East Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

Stand Up NY
(236 West 78th Street, off Broadway; Upper West Side club with typically solid lineups; 2-drink min.)

The Standing Room
(4738 Vernon Blvd., by #7 train; Queens LIC club; no drink min.—support this policy!)

Other NYC Live Shows, Heavily Marked Down via Goldstar

The Stand

Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible BestNewYorkComedy.com…It must be exhausting keeping that monster of a website alive. It is your daily comedy itinerary and it scares me how on top of his shit this guy is.

Please feel encouraged to reach out to tell me about comedy shows, submit material to my short story anthology Ghosts on Drugs, hire me for book or screenplay work, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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