NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 8/25/16

For ratings & rankings of the 44 FringeNYC 2016 shows I’ve seen to date, please click here.

Vow of Celibacy by Erin JudgeCelebrating the release of the first novel by Erin Judge (Comedy Central; comedy album So Many Choices; for hilarious short bit on men vs. women, please click here) are 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), Aparna Nancherla (one of the best stand-ups in the country; writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, comedy album Just Putting It Out There; opens for Tig Notaro; hosts top weekly NYC stand-up show Whiplash), Phoebe Robinson (Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Totally Biased, co-host of 2 Dope Queens), Samantha Ruddy, Carrie Gravenson, Rae Sanni, Kaytlin Bailey, and Jenny Chalikian, with host Mehran Khaghani and DJ TRx: Vow of Celibacy: Book Party + Comedy Show (8:00 pm Free! but you must RSVP here; Brooklyn’s Littlefield at 622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union 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] [$] 7:30 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 ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($5): Sketches by writer/performers compete for audience laughs and votes at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Gabe Capone & Joanna Hausmann: Battle Sketch

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Storytellers Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; The Chris Gethard Show; comedy album Good Year), and Lyssa Mandel (host of The Bitch Seat) share tales of courage and/or cowardice at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Mara Wilson (former iconic child star of Matilda and Mrs. Doubtfire; author of Where Am I Now?; cast member of podcast Welcome to Night Vale): What Are You Afraid Of? with Jo Firestone, Will Miles,a nd Lyssa Mandel

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a sketch show parodying Hollywood’s depiction of women and motherhood: M.I.L.P: Moms I’d Like to Portray

…and in the second half of this double-bill, a sketch show in which “after an unexpected fart shakes the foundation of their marriage, Off-Off-Off Broadway’s favorite married couple decide to separate, sharing custody of their adult son:” ‘Til Death Do Us Fart

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Superb “overactors” Pat Swearingen, Jay Malsky, and many more make up a ridiculous soap-operish TV movie on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: Made For TV Movie

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show American Dream (long-form improv that explores what it means to grow up in America and dream big US dreams), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[FREE] 8:00 pm: “Comics compete with on-the-spot tweets…and you decide the winner in real time using your smart phone” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shelby Taylor: Like Me

8:00 pm ($10): Two improv 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): The Gutowski All-Stars + The Law Firm

[FREE] 6:30 pm: Stand-up and improv at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Kate Conners: Comedy is Sweet

9:00 pm ($5): Similar to The Dating Game, comics Cate Weinberg, May Wilkerson, and Wendi Starling compete for the affections of an audience member at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Joe Welkie: Dating is Hard in NYC

9:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($5): Sketch group Tabloid Theater performs how it imagines the Bard would be interpreted by reality TV stars at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Much to Say About Nothing, an Evening of Shakespeare with the Kardashians

9:00 pm ($5): All-gal comedy variety—sketch, storytelling, improv, music—at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Hannah Levinson & Alyssa Lott: The Bada Bing Show

9:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy from Simply Unemployable, Matthew Starr & Andy Bustillos, and more at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Brooklyn Comedy Festival Presents Sketch

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($15): A glorious collection of hilarious film clips from super-fan Kevin Maher and friends at Brooklyn’s Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Avenue; take the L to Bedford), which tonight is summed up by this trailer: Kevin Geeks Out About Sharks

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:30 pm: Potentially an animation fan’s dream come true, in this new show comics make merciless fun of bad Japanese anime at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Benel Germosen & Jarrid Reed: Otakulypse

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The writers of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Alfredo: Late Show Writers Improv

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The greatest science fiction anthology radio show of all time was X Minus One. Improvisors who know their genre history created this show in which they make up scenes of awe, mystery, and wonder at The PIT upstairs theatre—with an opening act from Greg Triggs (Broadway’s Next Hit Musical) improvising 1940’s-style tunes based on your suggestions: X Plus One

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Dan King: Swamp Thing

[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) hosted by Chris Gersbeck, Lauren Hope Krass, and/or Peter Bandyk: Casual Sets

[MEGA-TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Last week’s improv winner The Mannequin Room vs. one of the all-time great improv groups, The Stepfathers, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: All-gal stand-up open mic at UCB East hosted by Anna Drezen & Sue Smith: Open Michelle: Ladies 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

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Open mic stand-up with 4 minutes per comic (sign-up starts at 5:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Jake Vevera & Amy Liszka: The QED Thursday Mic

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

6:30 pm ($3): If you’re a gal who’d like to try stand-up but are wary of being vulnerable in a tough male-dominated room, this show may be the perfect opportunity for you—an all-female open mic, with the first 15 comics to sign up (starting at 5:50 pm) getting 3 minutes each on stage at The PIT downstairs lounge: Ladies Night Open Mic

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Open-mic stand-up, with sign-up at 6:30 pm—first 15 performers to sign up are each guaranteed 6 minutes, and the rest are selected by lottery—at Queens’ Long Island City’s Made in Queens (27-24 Queens Plaza South) hosted by Liz Simmons: Made in Queens Open Mic

7:00 pm ($2, which includes a free beer or water): Open mic stand-up providing a whopping 10 minutes per comic. Email PhoningItInMic@gmail.com with subject line Phoning Thursday to sign up; or take a chance at lottery sign-up live between 6:45 and 7:45 at Brit Pack Studios (34 Pell Street, 2nd Floor) hosted by Ian Fidance: Comics Phoning It In

[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

[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] 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!)

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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