NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 4/30/16

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.

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