NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 6/18/16

SkankfestA two-day politically incorrect stand-up, sketch, and comedic music festival kicks off today, running for 14 hours at The Creek and featuring stellar comics Big Jay Oakerson (co-creator of this fest and co-host of the Legion of Skanks podcast), Michael Che, Sean Patton, Mark Normand, Mike Lawrence, Kurt Metzger, Todd Glass, Doug Stanhope, Joe Machi, Ari Shaffir, Robert Kelly, Sal Vulcano, Murderfist, and many more (for the complete schedule, please click here): Skankfest (Noon-2:00 am, $50 for today or $90 for both today & Sunday, The Creek in Queens’ LIC at 10-93 Jackson Avenue)…

Damn Close…or if you prefer improv, check out this one-day festival for show concepts and groups that didn’t quite make the cut for the upcoming Del Close Marathon, running for seven hours straight and which you can attend at any point for only $1, hosted by Kate Connors & Annie Powell: Damn Close Marathon (3:00 pm-10:00 pm, $1, Bunga’s Den at 137 West 14th Street between Sixth & Seventh Avenues)

More recommendations for the best in NYC comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

5:30 pm ($5): A one-man show by Mike Lemme about being grateful for his dysfunctional family at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Chocolate Eyes

6:00 pm ($5): Four Indie improv troupes performing at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

6:30 pm ($5): International improvisors use their native languages & diverse backgrounds to make up scenes in unique ways at The PIT downstairs lounge: Passport

[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): Improv group Higgins—which includes Connor Ratliff and Matt Dennie—makes up the season finale of a popular, long-running TV series that does not exist (based on a show title provided by the audience) at the UCB East theatre: Higgins: Season Finale

7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2 makes up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2

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): Form + Suburbia

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($42 plus 2-drink minimum):The longest-running cast member in Saturday Night Live’s history whose impressions have been widely applauded for their uncanny accuracy and range, and a talented stand-up who’s been a frequent guest on David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, and Jay Leno, headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Darrell Hammond

[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 Rev. AndrewAndrew—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

[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

7:30 pm ($5): Noam Osband (filmmaker & musician) chats & performs songs at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Rob Paravonian (Comedy Central, VH1; to watch his hit video Pachelbel Rant, which has been viewed by over 13 million people on YouTube, please click here): Don’t Feed the Musicians

7:30 pm ($10): A hip-hop musical parody of Orange is the New Black, but set in an animal shelter for dogs and cats, with book and lyrics by Catya McMullen and direction Michael Raine at The PIT upstairs theatre: Locked Up B*tches

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 [$] ($15): A long stand-up set from the host of podcast Who Charted?, plus opener Josh Gondelman (writer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The New Yorker), at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Howard Kremer

[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 written by Rollie Williams, with a cast of four, in which “a deadly collapse traps you and the other miners deep and dark, down beneath the surface of the Earth with almost no hope of rescue” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dark Down Deep Down Dark

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm & Midnight ($15-$25; no min.): Ted Alexandro, Laurie Kilmartin, Jermaine Fowler, Ari Shaffir, Christian Finnegan, Pete Lee, and more performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Saturday

[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 ($15): Groundbreaking and highly acclaimed improvisors Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Centralia

9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney and guest Elena Skopetos make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

9:00 pm ($10): Four-guy group No Feelings performs a Father’s Day stand-up & improv show at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): No Feelings: For The Dad Who Has Everything

[$] 9:30 pm ($15): TV parodies from a food-based sketch group performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: Dinner For One: A Channel Flippin’ Odyssey

9:30 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

[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] 10:30 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 Chekhov—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: Chekhov Edition

10:30 pm ($5): “We’re here to listen to things you’re sad, angry, frustrated, or just feeling strongly about. We will listen to audience members share their emotions and help them deal with it in whatever way they choose—including but not limited to dancing, singing, screaming, hugging, eating, breaking shit, whatever you need. We’ve got a list of approved methods for dealing with strongly held emotions; you choose which method speaks to you and the whole crowd supports you. You’re not alone. You are heard!” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): You Are Heard

10:30 pm ($5): Two sketch comedy groups perform at The PIT downstairs lounge: High Dramma and New Greta

10:30 pm ($5): All-gal comedy variety—sketch, storytelling, improv, music—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Hannah Levinson & Alyssa Lott: The Bada Bing Show

[$] 11:00 pm ($20): This Harry Potter parody is crippled by a mediocre script, but is spared from being an utter waste of time by inventive direction from the highly talented Kristin McCarthy Parker (Hold On To Your Butts), and a large and mostly likeable cast (including the wonderful Langston Belton…who doesn’t get to do nearly enough) at The PIT upstairs theatre: Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic & Magic

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Fredric Goldstein: Last Stop Laughs

11:30 pm ($5): Comics playing characters answer obscure quiz questions in this comedic game show at UCB East hosted by Vincent Moore: Best Answer

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

4:00 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] 6:00 pm: Put your name in a bucket for this open mic for stand-up, sketch, music, or anything else you want to work out on stage at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Josh Bates & Brian Pisano: Make Out Party: An Open Mic

[FREE] 11:30 pm: If you’re female, this is your chance to get on stage for an improv jam hosted by all-gal group Gun Club at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) followed by a dance party: Twat the Night: Gal Improv 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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