NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 5/26/16

Leslie GoshkoThe delightful & razor-sharp Leslie Goshko (storyteller/comic/pianist; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, Internet Action Force) hosts oddball tales from Andy Christie (host of The Liar Show), Brad Lawrence (Moth GrandSlam Champion), Gail Thomas (voiceover artist for Beavis and Butthead; Law & Order: SVU), and Joey Novick (MTV, Comedy Central) for this wonderfully strange free monthly storytelling show with such twisty features as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes: Sideshow Goshko (7:00 pm, free, KGB Bar at 85 East 4th Street off Second Avenue)

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 ($15): NYC-based sketch group The Tenderloins—James Murray, Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto, and Brian Quinn—became TV stars with their TruTV series Impractical Jokers, which is in its 4th season and still running strong. Tonight the guys tape two episodes of their podcast via this early show and a second show at 9:30 pm. It all happens at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): The Tenderloins Podcast Show (#1 of 2)

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Great lineup of 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), Mike Drucker (hilarious stand-up; Emmy-nominated staff writer for Jimmy Fallon; freelance writer for SNL, The Onion, McSweeney’s), Jacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor, author of How to Weep in Public), Jessica Delfino (CDs Dirty Folk Rock and I Wanna Be Famous; popular animated short film I Wanna Be Famous; to get a feel for Jessica’s range and talent, please click here), Kendra Cunningham (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The Tyra Banks Show, Law & Order), star storyteller Tom Shillue (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show, Comedy Central Presents, 2011 ECNY Award for Best Storyteller, host of Funny Story, albums Better Stronger Faster and Big Room; last year released a new storytelling album each month), and Rob Little (Comedy Central) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle: Myq Kaplan, Mike Drucker, Jacqueline Novak, Jessica Delfino, and More

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Comics with kids share the horror: Emily Flake (cartoonist for The New Yorker), Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!), Adira Amram (spectacular comedic singer & dancer), Andy Ross (Mad Magazine, The Onion, host of Real Characters), Josh Comers, and Raquel D’Apice performing stand-up or cartooning at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Shit Show

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Storytellers Keisha Zollar (HBO’s Divorce, Orange Is the New Black, MTV, Comedy Central, ace improv trio Doppelganger,, sketch group Astronomy Club), Giulia Rozzi (Comedy Central’s This Is Not Happening and The Jim Gaffigan Show, Chelsea Lately, writer for MTV’s Girl Code, VH1, Playgirl Magazine, co-host of Stripped Stories, comedy album True Love), Kat Burdick (NPR, Moth Grandslam Champion, NPR),a nd Lori Baird (Talk Therapy Stories, Moth Grandslam Champion) share tales of courage and/or cowardice 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?

[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 cast member of the much-missed Chappelle’s Show headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Donnell Rawlings

7:30 pm: A dozen superb PIT performers each perform a 5-minute comedic character bit at The PIT downstairs lounge: PIT Character Showcase

7:30 pm ($5): Three-person sketch comedy cooked up at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Bakery

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Ashley Ward, and Lauren Adams make up stories with songs at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

…and in the second half of this double-bill, “Dr. Brothers is the hottest young doctor at Williamsburg General. But after a long hiatus doing non-profit charity surgery on Taliban soldiers, Dr. Brothers’ brother Dr. Brothers wants back in the rotation. Will Dr. Brothers forgive his brother, Dr. Brothers, and save the hospital and/or a patient? And in the B plot, can three young interns pass their prostate exam exams and become official doctors?:” Dr. Brothers

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: “A live band will play Hanson’s classic ‘MMMbop.’ Musicians will rotate in and out as different groups put their own personal stamp on the song, but all the while ‘MMMbop’ is never stopping, never ceasing, never surrendering for 1,800 seconds. Those who are able to withstand the onslaught for the full 30 minutes without a bathroom or drink break will receive their very own ‘I survived 30 minutes of MMMbop’ t-shirt. The music will be followed by an improv jam” at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Matt Strickland: 30 Minutes of MMMbop

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

[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 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 + Dim Wit

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($5): Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker, blogger for Comedy Central), Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist), Tim Dillon, and more performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Jim Tews: Fresh Out

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A four-person comedic play in which “Attendees of this mandatory interactive theatrical seminar will learn valuable office skills that will optimize their performance in the workplace, and in their personal lives. Refreshments will be not provided. You will come” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Dingleberry Theater Foundation Presents Mandatory Seminar

9:00 pm ($5): Similar to The Dating Game, comics Glenn Marshall, Atif Myers, and Ryan Schutt 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] 9:30 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

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): NYC-based sketch group The Tenderloins—James Murray, Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto, and Brian Quinn—became TV stars with their TruTV series Impractical Jokers, which is in its 4th season and still running strong. Tonight the guys tape two episodes of their podcast via this later show and the first one at 7:00 pm. It all happens at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): The Tenderloins Podcast Show (#2 of 2)

9:30 pm ($5): A comedic play about the Hollywood experience for minorities, in which “four black actors in Room 4 have just realized they’re stuck in a time loop, auditioning for the same role of ‘Drug Dealer #2’ over and over. What once felt like a messed-up metaphor has become a literal existential nightmare. Get them out of there” at The PIT upstairs theatre written by Marina & Nicco and with an eight-man cast: Room 4

9:30 ($5): Improvisors (not announced) pair up to create on-the-spot duo scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: It Takes Two-Prov

10:00 pm ($5): Leah Evans & Matthew Schrader make up a fast-paced duo-dialogue mini-play in the style of an Aaron Sorkin movie or TV series at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Boozeroom

[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: NYC stand-ups (not announced) 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): Two brilliant Improv groups, Fuck That Shit (with 14 wins in a row) and The Curfew (at UCB Chelsea every Saturday night at 7:30 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

[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.

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