NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 7/29/16

July 29, 2016

Best New York Stand-Up with Myq Kaplan is a new show produced by me that lives up to its name—the debut next Friday August 5th includes Mike Lawrence, Sean Patton, Mark Normand, Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan, and more TBA, plus host Myq Kaplan offering observations following each set. For details on this group of comedy giants, please click here. For further info on the show and to nab tickets (a mere $10 each), please click here.

Camille HarrisCamille Harris (highly appealing singer/sketch comic/cutie; co-host of The Weekend Drop; SXSW; music album Silly Jazz) celebrates the release of her latest album Where I Goand also celebrates her 30th birthday—with the help of stand-ups John Early, DJ Lupe, and DJ Dance Party: Camille Harris Album Release Show & 30th Birthday Bash (8:00 pm, $10, Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street)…

24 Hour Theatre…and The PIT hosts 24 uninterrupted hours of improv, featuring such ace improvisors as Tracy Mull, Langston Belton, and Adrian Sexton, and such inventive forms as The Island (7:00 pm), Musical Hip-Hop (8:00 pm), Made Up Movie (9:00 pm), Puppet-Prov (midnight), Kitten-Prov (1:00 am), Sleep No More (6:00 am), Improvised Shakespeare (4:00 pm Saturday), and The Bat: Improv in the Dark (5:00 pm Saturday). A mere $10 buys you admission to the entire event for as long as you care to stay and experience the 24 Hour Improv Show (7:00 pm tonight through 7:00 pm Saturday, $10, 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, 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): “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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a sketch show based on the experiences of comedy couple John Murray & Silvija Ozols as Silvija tried to get pregnant: Infertile

…and in the second other of this double bill, a typically brilliant parody of Seinfeld made up on the spot: Improvised Seinfeld

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 ($7): Sketch comedy at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Scorpion Bowl

7:30 pm ($8): Brandon Scott Wolfe (contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update), Drew Anderson, Lakendra Tookes, and more performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jen Flanagan: Cootie Free Zone Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20—which includes free beer and wine): At this best sexy NYC storytelling show, performers Jordan Carlos (The Nightly Show), Julio Torres (inventive experimental stand-up/sketch comic), Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1; for sample of Carolyn as white rapper, please click here), and Samantha Ruddy tell tales of erotic encounters gone awry at The Pleasure Chest (1150 Second Avenue, between 60th & 61st Streets) hosted by the wonderful Natalie Wall: Awkward Sex…and the City

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A comedic play written by Nathan Galovan and directed by Philip Markle in which “President Donald Trump has been assassinated. Glurn Harby stands trial for the murder but has pleaded not guilty by reason of being sent from the future. Two top-notch lawyers battle it out on the floor of the Supreme Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presiding, to win this landmark case of the Millenium. Shall Glurn Harby be allowed safe passage back to the future? Shall he be sentenced to certain death in the present? Is he actually from the future? You be the judge!” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The People Vs. Futureman

8:00 pm ($5): A comedic play written by Matt Maragno in which “Man has taken dominion over the earth, the ocean, the air, and the beasts of nature….but one beast should have been left alone. Join a relentless poacher, a drunk bastard, a guy from New Jersey, and a cryptozoologist out for justice” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): The Curse of the Yeti

[$] 8:00 pm, 10:00 pm, and Midnight ($15-$20; no min.): Laurie Kilmartin, Jim Florentine, Sherrod Small, Monroe Martin, and more performing at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Friday

[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, Silvija Ozols, Shannon O’Neill, Don Fanelli, 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 “secret” 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

[FREE—plus FREE PIZZA—if you arrive before 9:00 pm, $5 after] 9:00 pm: Josh Gondelman (Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Conan O’Brien), Mike Recine (Comedy Central’s Half Hour, Conan O’Brien), Langston Kerman (writer for Chris Rock, Comedy Central), Christina Galston (MTV), Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central), Marisa Douenias (Louie), Brendan Eyre (Comedy Central), and more performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Secret Loft (255 McKibbin Street) hosted by Lucas Connolly and followed by a free dance party with DJ Clamr: The Secret Loft Show

9:00 pm ($10): A group of six comedic actors performs sketch at The PIT downstairs lounge: Uncle Function

9:00 pm ($5): Sketch comedy from groups First Kiss and 17:38 at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Boogie Manja

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm, 9:30 pm, and 10:00 pm ($5): A one-man show described as “approaching comedy from a wildly different angle; you may not fully understand what has happened, but you will be laughing with your whole freaked out, body” and “scary, uncomfortable, mind-altering, and brilliant; it is the thing it mocks” at The PIT Attic (limited seating of 12 people per show): The Piece

9:30 pm ($7; includes “a special souvenir limited edition keepsake; nice, not lame”): Patrick Hastie (host of Beer, Booze, and Bits) headlines with a 30-minute stand-up set, preceded by opening sets from Sam Evans, Jordan Temple, Samantha Ruddy, and Zane Golia at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Patrick Hastie and Friends

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Adam Rubin will attempt to mystify and amaze you with not quite half a dozen illusions at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Five Magic Tricks in a Basement

[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

[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): Jim Tews (Last Comic Standing, Louie, co-host of Fresh Out, author of Felines of New York), Drew Michael (Comedy Central), and more performing stand-up, sketch, or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

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

10:30 pm ($5): Improv group Business Kiss and frineds perform at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Business Kiss: Monthly Meeting

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): Improvisors who were on Magnet teams years ago come back together for one night only at the Magnet theatre: GYRE: The Circuit Reunion Show

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): Comics (not announced) perform stories and songs at this cabaret-style show backed by pianist Henry Koperski and friends at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones: A Lil’ Night Music: Comedians Singing

Midnight ($5): Indie improv groups Very Nice People and ZUKO make up scenes at UCB Chelsea hosted by indie group The St. Louis Rams: Indie Improv Showcase

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)

(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

From legendary NYC comedy site Brooklyn Vegan: Thank God for Hy Bender’s religiously updated show bible…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