NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 8/13/16

It’s the first weekend of FringeNYC 2016! My coverage will begin on Monday, but you can start exploring shows here.

MurderfistNYC’s heavy metal version of a sketch troupe, which provides odd, unsettling, and fearless dark comedy, won the ECNY Award for Best Sketch Group, was written up by Jason Zinoman in The New York Times, and performs tonight: Murderfist (9:30 pm, $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:

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Emily Winter, Patrick Hastie, Jared Dryden, and Mike Mercadal each perform a different 10-minute stand-up every Saturday in February 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, 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): “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] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus improv group The Quitters, make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and The Quitters

7:30 pm ($5): Clown guests join clown host Icky Shirley Dangle performing a silly show at The PIT downstairs lounge: An Unapologetic Mess: A Clown Show

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch group PEP shares clips from fake shows that never actually at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Clip Show: A Sketch Show

7:00 pm ($5): Two improv groups performing at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): All Aboard the Butter Cruise + Selfish Green Men

[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 Corinne Fisher—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 ($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 ($8): Leighann Lord, Becky Yamamoto, Kerry Coddett, and other female and/or LGBTQ stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kate Moran: The Revolution

8:00 pm ($10): Real-life roommates Arti Gollapudi & Julian Williams invite over a bunch of their comedy friends—David Bluvband, Janie Stolar, Patti Harrison, Amy Zimmer, Lawrence DeLoach, Andrew Turowski, and Eric Feurer—to hang out and be funny at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Get in the House

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($25; no min.): Gary Gulman, Sean Patton, Pete Lee, Sherrod Small, Aaron Berg, Ben Bailey (8:00 pm only) and Roy Wood Jr. (10:00 pm only) performing stand-up at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street): The Stand Saturday

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm ($15 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Top comics (not announced) are interviewed at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Inside Joke

[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

8:00 pm ($5): Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City), Alex English, Dan Perlman, and more performing stand-up at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lucas Connolly: Hard, Lonely, and Vicious

[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

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Nick Kanellis & Peter McNerney make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

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

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Evan Morrison, Jason Burke, David Agyekum, Anthony Devito, and Amy Rose Ranger performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Art Cafe & Bar (884-886 Pacific Street) hosted by Ben Totushek & Koshin Egal: The Human Citizen Comedy Show

9:30 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

9:30 pm ($6): Amber Nelson (dynamic stand-up & character comic; Comedy Central, TruTV’s Almost Genius; sketch group Murderfist), Khalid Rahmaan, and more performing stand-up or improv at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) guest-hosted by Lindsay Theisen: End of the Line Comedy

[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] 10:00 pm ($5): “Starting in 1982, the city of Atlanta threw an annual party called Freaknik which essentially became the largest black spring break party in the country. The party became so big and wild that the city shut it down for good in 1996. But comedians Andy Sandford and Noah Gardenswartz are bringing Freaknik back…to Long Island City. ‘Comedy Freaknik’ will be a lot like the original Freaknik, except it’s going to happen once a month, and it will be a comedy show hosted by three white guys. That’s basically the only difference” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Freaknik

[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): Using real horror films purchased in local gas stations and bodegas, the hosts select specific clips to play for 30 seconds, pause, and then ask the improvisers to finish the scene. Will anyone survive at The PIT downstairs lounge? Attend at your own peril, with hosts J. W. Crump: Gas Station Horror

[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 Tech Booth Takeover—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: Tech Booth Takeover Edition

10:30 pm ($5): “A monthly show produced by Anthony Oberbeck; every show is new, every show is beautiful” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Beautiful Horses

19:30 pm ($5): Cole Orloff spearheads a rotating cast of comics performing characters and sketch at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): No Man’s Land

[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 performing at UCB East hosted by non-musicians Matt Radlow & Betsy Kenney: Matt and Betsy Do Music

[FREE] Midnight: “A psychedelic journey through space-time. The stand-ups on this show have seen the other side. They have surfed the waves of consciousness and mastered their superego to a near shamanic level. They are here to guide you on a quest of understanding and wonder. Also, they’re going to be tripping balls” at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by “the spirit animal of Evan Jones:” The Only One Tripping

[FREE] Midnight: Comics compete in freestyle rap battles and rap games at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Noah Savage and DJ’d by Will Winner: So You Think You Can Rap

Midnight ($5): Indie improv groups Hot Mess and Darcy make up scenes at UCB Chelsea hosted by indie group The St. Louis Rams: Indie Improv Showcase

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] 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

[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] 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] 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!)

Tickets for The Stand Comedy Club, Heavily Discounted via Goldstar

The Stand

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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