NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 5/5/16

JC Coccoli and Mike DruckerJC Coccoli (briefly back from LA; Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, WB; looks great in a hat, and in fur looks like a Lannister), Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), 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), Paul Oddo, and Jay Nog performing stand-up hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle (7:30 pm, $5, UCB East at 153 East 3rd 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 ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a show that asks “What does it mean to be woman? It means a lot of bullshit. Joining a sorority is bullshit, being a mom is bullshit, even dying is bullshit. A sketch show all about women’s bullshit” written and starring Ashley Brooke Roberts, Natasha Vaynblat, Madalyn Baldanzi, Caroline Haubold, and Sarah Tollemache: Bullshit Women

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; FringeNYC) hones his skills to become the new co-host with Kelly Ripa via this interview show, with tonight’s guests musical improv powerhouse Rebecca Vigil (rising star; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), playwright Steven Carl McCasland, and fitness guru Mickey Hawtrey at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Live with Kelly and Jay

[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 ($38.25 & 2-drink min.) A winner of Last Comic Standing who’s also starred in comedy specials Confirmed Kills, Freezing Hot, and War Paint and a Comedy Central Presents special, performed on Jimmy Fallon and Chelsea Lately, and hosted 230 episodes of syndicated dating show Excused headlining tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Iliza Shlesinger

7:30 pm ($6): Keisha Zollar (Orange Is the New Black, MTV, Comedy Central, ace improv trio Doppelganger, sketch group Astronomy Club), Sharron Paul (College Humor), Ayanna Dookie, and 10 female comics who signed up previously via email (andreaqedtv@gmail.com) performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Ilene Shapiro & Caitlin McKee: Saw Her Stand Up There

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($7): Stand-ups try to solve the world’s problems, with tonight’s sages 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), 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; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), Sam Morril (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central), Kevin McCaffrey (former warm-up comic for David Letterman; TruTV), Josiah Madigan, Brock Mahan, and more performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Serious Matters

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Comics share their experiences of rejection through jokes, sketches, songs, and more, with guests including terrific hip-hop musical improv group North Coast, and stand-ups Mary Mack (Last Comic Standing, FOX), Tim Manley (HBO’s Girls), Tim Harmston (David Letterman, Last Comic Standing), and Chris Calogero, all performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Emily Winter & Carolyn Busa: Rejectified

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): The greatest science fiction anthology radio show of all time was X Minus One. Improvisors who know their genre history created this show in which they make up scenes of awe, mystery, and wonder at The PIT upstairs theatre—with an opening act from Julie A. Feltman (Steel Petunias) improvising 1940’s-style tunes based on your suggestions: X Plus One

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Uncivilians (“follows realistic characters and situations to their unpredictable extremes”), 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

8:40ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): NYC stand-ups performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Franklin Bar and Lounge (739 Franklin Street) hosted by Khalid A. Rahmaan & Mike Eltringham: It’s Sooo Up and Coming

9:00 pm ($5): A variety show revolving around the theme of acting auditions—including a monologue from a genuine actor—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Audition: A Comedy Show

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): Over a dozen comics use jokes to bid bon voyage to Jessica Rotondi, who is leaving NYC, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jessica Rotondi & Brooke Arnold: C U Later: Jessica’s Goodbye Show

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The razor-sharp writers of Late Night with Seth Meyers gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised show at Seth Meyers Writers: Crate Night With Set Fires

9:30 pm ($10): Annoyance Artistic Director Philip Markle performs sketch, cabaret, and more with friends at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Sparkle Zone

[FREE] 10:00 pm: A stand-up performs a 30-minute set, with a 15-minute opening from another stand-up, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jenn Welch: The Half-Hour Hour

[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: NYC stand-ups performing 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): Seemingly unbeatable Improv group Fuck That Shit has won 12 times in a row, last week crushing superb UCB weekend group What I Did For Love by a stunning 111-63. Tonight it faces team Some Kid, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea in the raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): UCB comics write & perform news-based comedy at the UCB East theatre: NY2: We’re Also the News

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

5:15 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

6:00 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Stand-up open mic in which 15 walk-ins whose names are drawn from a bucket get to tell jokes on stage for 4 minutes each at UCB East hosted Brandon Scott Wolf & Paul Oddo: Thursday Night 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

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] 8:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (with names selected from a bucket) to do anything you want for 5 minutes—”chat, rant, plug, tell a story, be a character, play a game, review a new religion”—for a podcast recorded at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Mike Guild & Mike Mercadal: The Open Mic Podcast

[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): Thursday After Class Jam

[FREE] 11:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show that’s first come, first serve, with each comic getting 3 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Patrick Hastie: Beer, Booze, and Bits

 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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