NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 5/27/16

Arguments & GrievancesComics debate each other about silly topics, with tonight’s combatants including Jo Firestone vs. Ben Kronberg, Aparna Nancherla vs. Saurin Choksi, and Nick Vatterott vs. Nick Turner: Arguments & Grievances (10:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Union Hall at 702 Union 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:

[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): Stand-ups who are single each perform a set and then participate in a dating game show, choosing among three mystery contestants based on their dating profiles at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Tinderella

7:00 pm ($7): “Improvisers create scenes inspired by essays written about personal experiences and show that sometimes laughter really is the best medicine” at The Magnet theatre: You Are Not Alone: An Uplifting Show About Depression

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, sketch show Eggs for Sale

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): All-gal improvisors Ashley Ward, Brigid Boyle, Alexis Saarela, and Elizabeth Findlay, plus a guest improv group; plus an 8-gal group of improvisors, all making up scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge: Taco Supreme and Flying V

[$] 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

[FREE] 7:30 pm: Comics performing in Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Meggie Spellman & Anne Victoria Clark: Black Magic Lab Variety

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($12): Mike Lawrence (nerd persona but razor-sharp mind has made this stand-up a rapidly rising star; 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), Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), and Alison Leiby (host of It’s a Long Story) telling personal stories that might be interrupted at any moment by hosts Kenny Kinds, Jeremy Hellwig, and Kris Wernowsky at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): Sorry, Please Continue…

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($20; no min.): Stand-ups Wyatt Cenac, Ben Bailey, Jessica Kirson, Pete Lee, Christian Finnegan, Adrienne Iapalucci, and more performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Friday

8:00 pm ($10): A comedic play that proclaims “Love is patient, love is blind. Love is deaf and dumb. Love is a burden dressed in a top hat and spats, tearing the pulse from the blood. Love is closing your eyes to come, baby, split yourself in nine. Love is a jerk-off partner and a sad meal. Love ain’t never gonna…” plus a one-woman show by Amanda Xeller, at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Love Ain’t Never Gonna and Pegasus

8:00 pm ($5): NYC comics perform at this variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and/or music at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Tom Brink & Keele Howard-Stone: Wolf Spirit with Tom and Keele

[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

8:00 pm ($10): Stand-ups (not announced perform at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street) hosted by twins Adam & Todd Stone: The Stone and Stone Show

[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

[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] [FREE—plus FREE PIZZA—if you arrive before 9:00 pm, $5 after] 9:00 pm: Erik Bergstrom (cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker, blogger for Comedy Central), Jacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor, author of How to Weep in Public), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, VH1), Marisa Douenias (Louie), and Katie Hannigan performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Secret Loft (255 McKibbin Street) hosted by Lucas Connolly and followed by a free dance party: The Secret Loft Show

9:00 pm ($10): Two PIT downstairs lounge improv groups making up a musical on the spot. Dagger includes Abby Holland (VH1’s Best Night Ever, musical improv groups Aquarius and Veal), and Hello includes Lorraine Cink (especially lovely singing voice; host & writer of Marvel Comics’ The Watcher): Dagger and Hello

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

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($8): Musician Camille Harris Camille Harris (irresistible rising star singer/sketch comic/cutie; The Camille Harris Show; SXSW; music album Silly Jazz), puppeteer AJ Cote (Puppet Shakespeare), gamemaker Bryan Wilson (Spank the Yeti), magician Andy Still, and author Olive B Persimmon (Unintentionally Celibate) performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mike Gregorek—who might invite you on stage: Man Interviews Audience

9:30 pm ($10): 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 pm ($5): “Sarah is a Brooklyn based actor, writer, and producer who has spent the majority of her life in awe of drag queens. She has taken that love and created Zsa Zsa GaBOING, a washed up hollywood star looking for a comeback. With the help of her fabulous nephews, Raggedy Dan (Hank Burkhalter) and Randy (Andy Boyle), and three new guests each month, Zsa Zsa GaBOING ignites the stage with glitter, glamour, and all things gay” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): You Do You: A Gay Revue

[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): NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

10:30 pm ($10): Eight stand-ups compete for laughs by telling jokes on topics handed to them just this morning at The PIT downstairs lounge refereed by Jenn Welch & Will Neville: The Stand-Up Showdown

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX), JC Coccoli (happily, has moved back to NYC; Last Comic Standing, Key & Peele, MTV, VH1, WB), Megan Gailey (Conan O’Brien), and Nat Towsen (VICE, College Humor, host of Downtown Variety) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

[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 ($5): Stand-up from 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) and Megan Gailey (Comedy Central’s Adam Devine’s House Party), characters from Brett Davis (host of The Tuesday Special, co-host of The Macaulay Culkin Show), sketch from Nick Naney, Joe Rumrill, and Ryan Bennett, and improv at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Carmen Christopher: The Juice

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

11:00 pm ($5): An improvised intervention that celebrates the 30th birthday of Sal Joseph, who created this show, at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Sal Joseph’s Birthday Impro-vention

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Comics Josh Sharp, Aaron Jackson, Bowen Yang, and Joel Kim conduct a symposium on Beyonce’s Lemonade at UCB East: Cool Shit / Weird Shit

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): An improvised audience interactive show (in the style of Sleep No More) based around “the last party of Senior year” at UCB Chelsea spearheaded by the brilliant James Dwyer: Now That’s What I Call A Party Volume 2

[FREE—plus FREE BEER] Midnight: “Sage Augustine is gifted with a heightened sense of spiritual curiosity resulting in many amazing intuitive experiences. Jack Marble is Sage’s apostle, confidant, business partner, and best friend. Together they are embarking on a journey to harness the power of laughter and open the world’s eyes to spirits, angels, demons, prophecies, wishes, magic, and the afterlife” by hosting NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Remember Your Spirit

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): Walk-in open mic that allows everyone to get on stage at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): $1 Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:30 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Happy Hour

7:00 pm ($5): Show up at 6:45 pm to place your name in a dog bowl for the chance to get called up on stage and jam with veteran improvisors at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

[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

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up open mic (signup at 10:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chelsea Condren, Kate Moran, and Kristin Seltman: Late Night Snack Open Mic

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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