NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 7/23/16

An Old-Fashioned Piano PartyThe multi-talented Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post, host of Sideshow Goshko) is a classically trained pianist. This evening Leslie blends comedy, music, and storytelling (“Once I called my dad crying ’cause I had a bad day and he said, ‘Well…life is a shit sandwich and each day we take a bite. Whattya want from me…?'”) for an old-fashioned piano party, featuring everything from traditional standards to current pop hits; plus special guest Philip Denniston (playing guitar) at An Old-Fashioned Piano Party (6:00 pm, $10 cover plus $10 drink min.; reservations highly recommended by calling 212.989.9319 because this show usually sells out; West Village’s Cornelia Street Cafe at 29 Cornelia Street)…

Beerprov…and improvisors drinking beer make up scenes based on audience suggestions. Performers are systematically eliminated by audience voting (i.e., your votes) until only one player remains. Tonight’s comics include superb improvisors Tracy Mull, Langston Belton, Jon Bander, Rory Scholl, Tim Racine, Will Nunziata, and more at BeerProv (8:00 pm, $20, the Highline Ballroom at 431 West 16th 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][FREE] 4:00 pm-7:00 pm: This is a great opportunity for women in comedy—stage comics, podcasters, producers, actresses, bookers, etc.—to meet, share thoughts, and possibly pool resources. Plus there’s a clothing swap! It all happens at The Creek’s downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Selena Coppock & Rebecca Trent: Lady Gathering at The Creek

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Ben Conrad, Lizzy Mazzucchelli, Will Carey, and Will Watkins each perform a different 10-minute stand-up every Saturday in April at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Grant Lindahl: The 8

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 ($18 plus 2-item food/drink min.): A one-woman show by 8-months-pregnant comedic singer-songwriter Jessica Delfino about “one late bloomer’s experiences in finding love (on Craigslist), getting married (on a unicorn), becoming an adult (finally) and starting a family (and crossing fingers that it’ll all be okay) in an attempt to get some things off her (newly enlarged) chest just weeks before her due date and her life changes, forever” at Joe’s Pub (425 Lafayette Street, between East 4th Street & Astor Place): Jessica Delfino: Before My Water Breaks

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Lauren Adams, and more make up stories with songs at the UCB East theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

[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

7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus an improv group TBA, make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and Friends

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($35 & 2-drink min.) An Emmy-nominated comedy writer & stand-up who’s made numerous appearances on David Letterman, Jay Leno, Louie, Horace and Pete, Inside Amy Schumer, and HBO’s The Sopranos headlines one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club (1626 Broadway): Nick DiPaolo

[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

[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 Rob Penty—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

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 ($5): Sean Donnelly (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing, MTV), Shak Standley (TruTv’s Greatest Ever), Norlex Belma (PBS), and Harrison Tweed share with you things they feel you really ought to know at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Colum Tyrrell & Lev Fer: Sh*t You Should Know: An Educational Comedy Show

7:30 pm ($10): NYC stand-ups (not announced) at The PIT downstairs lounge: Slow Burn

[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): 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 ($25; 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), Todd Barry (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Presents, FX’s Louie, HBO’s Flight of the Conchords and Bored to Death, Adult Swim, co-star of feature film The Wrestler, star of delightful documentary The Crowd Work Tour), Bonnie McFarlane (HBO, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central), Sherrod Small (writer/performer on TBS’ Are We There Yet?, Comedy Central, VH1), Vladimir Caamano (WB), and Aaron Berg (TV series 24 Hour Rental, documentary A Universal Language, host of Frantic Mondays) performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Saturday: Judah Friedlander, Todd Barry, Bonnie McFarlane, and More

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stories about the first time (for anything—sex, job, drugs, whatever) from Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), Chelsea Taylor, Evan Jones, Rachel Meghan Sather, and Christina Galston performing at Brooklyn’s Over the Eight (594 Union Ave) hosted by Evan Morgenstern & Darin Patterson: Comic Sans: The Virgin Chronicles

8:00 pm ($5): Politically incorrect stand-ups compete in this unique show for which each comic performs a set and then has to provide biting commentary on a popular online video. The audience then votes on who was the most savagely funny and has won the right to return the following month. It all happens at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Mike Feeney: On the Offensive

[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): 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 ($10): An improvised apocalypse from sharp comics John Murray, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Glenn Boozan, Joanna Bradley, Chad Carter, and Caroline Cotter at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisor Nick Kanellis & guest improv partner Caitlin Steitzer make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Jeffrey Joseph (Jay Leno, HBO, FOX’s In Living Color, Comedy Central), Molly Ruben-Long, Langston Kerman, Adam Sokol, and Brad Austin performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Art Cafe & Bar (884-886 Pacific Street) hosted by Ben Totushek & Koshin Egal: The Human Citizen Comedy Show

9:00 pm ($10): Sketch & character comics perform in hopes of being discovered (“Are you an SNL scout? If so, we’d love you to come. Are you someone else? You can come, we guess, but we don’t really care one way or the other”) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): SNL Come Scout Us

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing for this weekly show at Brooklyn’s The Experiment Comedy Gallery (20 Broadway) hosted by Camille Harris, MIchael Lewis, Camille Theobald, and/or Mo Fathelb (followed by a party at 11:00 pm): The Weekend Drop

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($20): From the team that created the amazing Hold On To Your Butts, riveting foley artist/actress Blair Busbee and shape-shifting performers Matt Zambrano, Kyle Schaefer, and Nick Abeel create live on stage a “shot for shot” parody of the first Lord of the Rings movie, directed by the always wonderfully inventive Kristin McCarthy Parker at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Fly, You Fools!

9:30 pm ($10): Seven comics—who include Christi Chiello (Last Comic Standing, MTV’s Girl Code, TruTV)—dissect current events at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Tracey Carnazzo: Hashtag Comedy

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 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] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Henry Zebrowski, Ben Kissel, and Marcus Parks of Cave Comedy Radio’s Last Podcast On The Left  “explore the dark recesses of humanity, both real and imagined, via short films, clips from favorite features, and audio spookiness” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Last Podcast on the Left Live

[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 Law & Order—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: Law & Order Edition

[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

10:30 pm ($5): “Serious musician and outrageous comedian Tommy McNamara performs an intimate, unplugged set” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Tommy McNamara: Unplugged in New York

10:30 pm ($10): 75 minutes of sketch comedy from group Teen Radio at The PIT downstairs lounge: Teen Radio: 75 Minutes in Heaven

10:30 pm ($5): Four improv groups make up scenes, but under a strict set of rules. If any rule is broken, someone dressed in a Pokemon costume will appear on stage and punish the offenders at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Rejected!: Pokemon

11:00 pm ($5): Sketches, characters, and/or improv inspired by hip-hop summers in the 90s at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Michelle Francesca Thomas (The Anthology) & Ray Morency (Off Top): The Anthology & Off Top: 90’s Summertime Jam

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

Midnight ($5): Two sketch groups compete for audience laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea hosted by Alden Ford and Justin Tyler: Backyard Brawl

[TOP PICK] 11:30 pm ($5): Comics share true-life longish funny tales at this UCB East mashup of stand-up and storytelling hosted by Alison Leiby: It’s a Long Story

[FREE] Midnight: “Mother Oslo (a.k.a. Oslo The Gay Black Metal Southerner) will host and read scriptures from the most unholy book of all eternity. The Black Metal Bible. Come for the damnation, stay for the sacrifice” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Black Metal Chvrch

Saturday Open Mics and Jams

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show, with names drawn out of a bucket, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Rachel Coleman: Let’s Be Friends

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] 5:00 pm-7:00 pm: Walk-in comedy open mic (lottery system, with sign-up starting at 4:30 pm) providing each selected comic 4 minutes on stage at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Murray Povich Mic

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for character bits, stand-up, etc. at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

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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