NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 7/14/16

Ron FunchesOne of the funniest and most irresistibly likeable performers in show biz headlines tonight through Saturday at Carolines: Ron Funches (7:30 pm, $35 plus 2-drink min., Carolines Comedy Club at 1626 Broadway)

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

7:00 pm ($5): James Manzello (MTV’s Joking Off) and Stoddard Blackall (Broadway’s Next Hit Musical) perform duo improv incorporating characters and music at The PIT upstairs theatre: James & Then Also Stoddy, Too

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($18): A woman who lives on her toilet for two years is the basis for this extraordinary play by Max Mondi that was among the very best at last year’s FringeNYC (my #4 out of roughly 200 productions). Don’t miss this chance to catch one of the smartest and most moving shows to have come along in indie theatre during this brief revival run at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Maybe Tomorrow

[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 ($10): Classic clown fare, blending improv, sketch, and characters, spearheaded by Becca Foresman at The PIT downstairs lounge: Can Ducks Fly & Zannia Zanni Lazzo

7:30 pm ($5): Selena Coppock (author of book The New Rules for Blondes), Tim Dillon, Eli Sairs, Ari Teman, and Chris Lamberth performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($25, plus 2-drink min.): A rare NYC gathering of top Muslim comics , including Zahra Noorbakhsh (GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast), Maysoon Zayid (self-described “Palestinian Muslim virgin with cerebral palsy, from New Jersey;” cast member for two seasons of As the World Turns; former pundit for Keith Olbermann), Dean Obeidallah (CNN, Comedy Central’s Axis of Evil, SiriusXM’s The Dean Obeidallah Show, one-man show I Come in Peace), Ali Al Sayed, Eman, Omar Regan, Ali Hassan, Wali Collins, and Aman Ali, all performing stand-up at the Comic Strip Live Comedy Club (1568 2nd Avenue off 81st Street): Muslim Funny Fest

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($12): White rapper Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1) hosts a talk show with a live band, with tonight’s stellar musical comedy guests Chemda (YouTube star), Rebecca Vigil (rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), The Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame; albums Ladies Don’t Spit and Don’t Beat Around the Bush; CBS’ The Doctors), plus Naomi Ekperigin (dynamite rising star stand-up; writer for Comedy Central’s Broad City and Hulu’s Difficult People; MTV, VH1, FX), Katie Hartman (brilliant, fearless dark comedy writer/performer; sketch groups Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting and Hartman & Carl, improv group Gypsy Danger), Kevin Allison (legendary MTV sketch series The State, HBO, Comedy Central, VH1, host of award-winning storytelling show and podcast Risk!, owner of The Story Studio), and more, all performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Right Now! with Carolyn Castiglia

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre,”Bob Eimicke, a 62 year old lawyer and father who has zero comedy experience, converted from Catholicism to Judaism in order to marry his Jewish wife…and his son is making him talk about it on stage. Everyone’s going to have a great time, except for Bob:” My Dad Dumped Jesus

…and in the other half of this double-bill, a sketch show based on the experiences of comedy couple John Murray & Silvija Ozols as Silvija tried to get pregnant: Infertile

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A comic excavation of teen angst artifacts (journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories, and more) are shared by their original authors before total strangers at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street): Mortified

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Judah Friedlander (one of the quickest minds and very finest stand-ups in comedy; 30 Rock, Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, author of bestselling cartoon book If the Raindrops United), Zainab Johnson (Arsenio Hall, Last Comic Standing, BET’s Comic View), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Tim Dillon, and Ronny Chieng performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Thursday: Judah Friedlander, Zainab Johnson, Matt Koff, and More

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Junk Food (long-form improv designed to make you laugh but never make you think, embracing pure absurdity and silliness; “you’ll eat it up but you’ll never feel full”), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

8:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy from a six-person troupe at The PIT upstairs theatre: Sunday School Dropouts

[TOP PICK] [FREE—and FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: Comics Katie Haller, Becca Beberaggi, and Eric Silver share their shit stories—needing to go at the worst moments, major accidents in pants, and so on—at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by the spectacular Natalie Wall: Awkward Poop…and the City

8:00 pm ($5): Two 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 + Gun Club

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Phoebe Robinson (Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Totally Biased, co-host of 2 Dope Queens), Nick Turner (Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central, VH1), Kyle Ayers, Chase Bernstein, and Chloe McGovern performing stand-up, plus music from band Frisky Kids, at Brooklyn’s Sunnyvale (1031 Grand Street) hosted by Harris Mayersohn: Just a Show

[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): Merrill Davis (Comedy Central’s Another Period), DC Benny (Last Comic Standing, Urban Myth), Alison Leiby (We Have Issues), Peggy O’Leary (host of many shows), and Ryan Donahue performing stand-up at UCB East typically hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): Storytellers Anna Roisman (MTV; co-host of You Probably Think This Song Is About You) and Francis Hamilton telling tales at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jenna Marucci & Aileen Think: Jenna & Aileen Think You’re Great

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($10): Eight performers from the Ten Bones Theatre Company attempt to recreate one of the greatest movies ever made, Raiders of the Lost Ark, with each using only what he or she can remember from seeing the film just once. To add to the fun are a few rules: “Performers must incorporate lines written by the audience; performers must incorporate any sound effect played by the tech booth; one lucky audience member will be given a bell that they can ring three times—once rung, the actors must create a scene that has no business being in Raiders but makes perfect sense given where they are in the story” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Raiders of the Lost Ark…Entirely From Memory

[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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5; no min.): Kurt Metzger (staff writer for Inside Amy Schumer; Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central special White Precious, Comedy Central Presents, Ugly Americans) tries out an extended stand-up set at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): An Hour with Kurt Metzger

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Justin Williams & Akash Bhasin: Death Comedy Jam

10:00 pm ($5): A one-man show by Jeff Seal at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Goddamn Truth

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): UCB weekend improv group The Curfew— which triumphed against Grandma’s Ashes last week with a razor-thin margin of 76 votes to 73—goes against Improv group Slingshot this time, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

[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

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): Weekly 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: A character-based open-mic happening weekly at UCB East hosted by Sean Hart: Don’t Be Yourself: Character 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 downstairs lounge 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

[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] 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

[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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