NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 7/1/16

Political SubversitiesA cabaret of darkly funny songs and topical sketch comedy about culture and politics, following sold out shows at Joe’s Pub and now back at The PIT through July: Political Subversities (8:00 pm, $20, The PIT Upstairs Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

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

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($5): Stellar comics Langston Belton & Julie Sharbutt, who used to perform as improv duo Coyote before Julie moved to LA, reunite while Julie’s back in town and invite some other fine improvisors to join them at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Coyote and Friends

[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 ($7): “Rob had always thought he was a nice guy who was inept with women. But, looking back on a life of Catholicism, very special episodes, and hitting puberty at sixteen, he’s realized that he might not have been that inept or, unfortunately, particularly nice. He was just a little late” at The Magnet theatre: Late Bloomer

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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): One of the funniest duo sketch show you’re likely to see from Dylan Marron (Welcome to Nightvale, 2015 Drama Desk Nominee) and Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of Punderdome 3000 and The Incredible Game Show Showcase), who give you “a real-time middle school talent show performed by two grown adults” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite

7:30 pm ($10): Two improv groups each make up a musical on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: [title of team] and Royals

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): A monthly sketch comedy show, with tonight’s theme Movies, at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Terrorbird: At the Movies

7:30 pm ($5): Seven New York comics telling stories of where they came from—including (Kelly Fastucaone from Australia)—and the journey that led them to NYC performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Katie Boyle: Transplants

[$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($42 & 2-drink min.) A comic who’s performed on HBO’s Def Comedy Jam and Bad Boys of Comedy, Showtime at Harlem, BET’s ComicView, and the feature film Next Friday headlining tonight through Sunday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Michael Blackson

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm, 10:00 pm, and Midnight ($15-$20; no min.): Big Jay Oakerson, Mike Lawrence, Ari Shaffir, Ben Bailey, Damien Lemon, Adrienne Iapalucci, and more performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Friday

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00 pm: 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), 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), Peggy O’Leary (host of Hard Lonely and Vicious), Kenny Warren, Chris Hamilton, and Alex Simmons performing stand-up at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) hosted produced by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer and hosted by Scotty Levell: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up: Myq Kaplan, Giulia Rozzi, Peggy O’Leary, and More

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups and musicians drink and perform at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Justin Peele: Party & Bullshit

[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 ($10): 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

9:00 pm ($5): Seven improvisors make up scenes at the UCB East theatre: An Improv Show

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

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): Groundbreaking and acclaimed improvisors Matt Higgins, Jay Rhoderick, and Kevin Scott performing as group Centralia, joined tonight by Chris Griggs (The Baldwins), at The PIT upstairs theatre: Centralia

9:30 pm ($10): Langston Belton, Jay Malsky, Kirsten O’Brien, and other ace improvisors use clips from classic TV shows as springboards for scenes made up on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: TGIF-Prov: Improv Based on Classic TV

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): “A love letter to beloved shows such as Pee Wee’s Playhouse and Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, comedians Joe Rumrill and Mary Houlihan invite you to a cavalcade of original costumed characters, animations, and sketches from both real humans and puppet humans” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Cartoon Monsoon

[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): “Food sketches, street food interviews, and live cooking” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Late Night Snack

[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 ($10): Brandon Scott Wolf (contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update), Nimesh Patel (Comedy Central), and Coker & Stratton performing stand-up, sketch, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($5): Ginny Leise & Soojeong Son aim to teach you the secrets for career success at The PIT downstairs lounge: Great Gig: A Corporate Training For Business

11:00 pm ($5): A rotating pool of improvisors perform in groups of five at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Singles Motel

[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 ($7): Veteran house improv group Hello Laser, plus musical improv group The Bastard Society, make up scenes at the Magnet theatre: Hello Laser and The Bastard Society

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A raucous laboratory for wacky ideas, in which comics Jo Firestone, Michael Wolf, Dan Glaser, and Cory Palmer create absurd game shows that they try out using audience members. “After we’ve attempted to create all the game shows, the audience votes on which idea gets to go straight to TV (not really)” at UCB Chelsea hosted by the fabulous Jo Firestone, whose delighted facial expressions in response to the ridiculousness are typically the highlights of the evening: The Incredible Game Show Showcase

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): “Join filmmaker George Lucas (Radioland Murders) as he embarks upon an exciting new career as a comedian and talk show host! He’ll be joined by his hilarious talk show sidekick, Jar-Jar Binks, as they revolutionize the talk show format the same way Lucas once revolutionized cinema,” with guests TBD at the UCB East theatre hosted by brilliant improvisor Connor Ratliff (The Stepfathers) & Shaun Diston: The George Lucas Talk Show

[TOP PICK] [FREE] Midnight: Comics perform stand-up sets and then go on dates with each other as part of the live show at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Rob Harper & Rachel Coleman: We’re Getting Laid

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 Kimberly Sparkle Stewart & Sydney Beveridge: 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] 6:00 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

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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