NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 9/7/16

September 8, 2016

The FringeNYC Encore Series starts today! For details, plus ratings & rankings of the 10 (of 14) FringeNYC Encore shows I’ve seen to date, please click here.

Louis C.K.Louis C.K., one of the greatest stand-ups of all time, and also a genius writer/director/actor, performs at Madison Square Garden tonight, Monday, and Thursday. In all honesty, I prefer stand-up when it’s intimate, and consider myself super-lucky to have seen Louis in a wide range of comedy venues—not to mention via his wonderful filmed stand-up available for a mere $5 a pop. That said, if you’d enjoy experiencing Louis soaking up the loving energy of over 15,000 comedy fans, this is an amazing opportunity to do so: Louis C.K. at Madison Square Garden (8:00 pm tonight, 9/12, and 9/15, $30-$70, MSG at Seventh Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets)…

Louis C.K. at Madision Square Garden …and a burlesque parody of Doctor Who spearheaded by Cherry Pitz (a.k.a. sharp storyteller Cyndi Freeman)—who celebrates her birthday today!: Hotsy Totsy Burlesque Tribute to Doctor Who (8:00 pm, $10, The Slipper Room at 167 Orchard 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 ($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 Rebecca Vigil (rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante) improvising 1940’s-style tunes based on your suggestions: X Plus One

7:00 pm ($5): Phileo Shacor tries out stand-up material one last night this week at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Phileo Shacor

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Superb “overactors” who typically include 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] [$] 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): Indie improv groups Lazy Fair and Big City make up scenes at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Indie Takeover

7:30 pm ($5): Sam Morril (Stephen Colbert, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, America’s Got Talent), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, sketch group Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), Emily Galati (Conan O’Brien), Eman El-Husseini, and George Gordon performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30ish pm ($5): Leah Bonnema (VH1, IFC’s Comedy Drop, WeTV’s Cinematherapy, Logo, Opie & Anthony’s Virus Channel), Jason Saenz (Comedy Central, sketch group Onassis, co-host of Late Night Trash), Neel Nanda (Adam Devine’s House Party, VICE, IFC, Oxygen), Subhah Agarwal (TruTV, Fusion), and Jordan Temple (MTV) performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Frank’s Cocktail Lounge (660 Fulton Street; take G to Fulton Street or A/C to Lafayette Avenue) hosted by Brian Parise & Janelle James: It’s All Happening

7:30 pm ($5): Booked storytellers Jen Singer and Molly Cameron, plus a storytelling open mic, on any topic (no theme this month) at Astoria Queens comedy venue QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Lori Baird: Talk Therapy Stories

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Comics with kids share the horror: Caroline Rhea (Sabrina the Teenage Witch, The Caroline Rhea Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Comedy Central; feature films Man in the Moon, Christmas With the Kranks, The Perfect Man), Emily Flake (cartoonist for The New Yorker), Ophira Eisenberg (Comedy Central, VH1, Showtime, The Today Show, host of NPR’s trivia/puzzle show Ask Me Another, bestselling book Screw Everyone, comedy album Bangs!), Adira Amram (spectacular comedic singer & dancer), Nick Stevens (former host of AMC’s Action Park and Discovery’s Money on the Menu; VH1, ESPN), Kate Tellers, and Robin Hazel performing stand-up, storytelling, dance, or sketch at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Shit Show

[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 second half of this double-bill, a play directed by the wonderful Langan Kingsley, and written by & co-starring Matt Barats & John Reynolds, about “on the night when the girls ask the boys, it’s finally the teacher’s turn:” Sadie Hawkins Day: Love Knows No Bounds

[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-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Hear No Evil (improvisors wear earplugs preventing them from hearing what’s happening on-stage), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[TOP PICK] [FREE—and FREE BEER!] 8:00 pm: Comics Andre Medrano, Caitlin Gaspar, and Dave Warth 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) guest-hosted by Eric Silver: Awkward Poop…and the City

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly showcase of musicians (funny or otherwise) trying out material in a laid-back way at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by Caitlin Cook: Fake Birthday

8:00 pm ($5): A one-woman show by Graceann Dorse about farts at The PIT upstairs theatre: Farty of One

[FREE—and FREE PIZZA!] 8:00 pm: Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Kevin Bartini (Comedy Central, The Nightly Show), KC Arora, Eric Neumann, Doug Brian, James Camacho, Erik Bransteen, Jeff Cerulli, and Matt Azark performing stand-up at The Gaf (401 West 48th Street): Bomb Shelter Comedy Show

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-up from Morgan Miller, Will Cheng, Beth Maria, and Lucie Steiner, plus improv and more at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by Kate Conners: Comedy is Sweet

9:00 pm ($5): Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; The Chris Gethard Show; comedy album Good Year), Matt Wayne (Adam Devine’s House Party, co-host of See You in Hell), Neel Nanda (Adam Devine’s House Party, VICE, IFC, Oxygen), Marlena Rodriguez (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), and Jason Carlos Saenz performing stand-up at UCB East typically hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts & Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($10): An evening of theatre shorts at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Short Wave Festival

9:00 pm ($5): Storytellers Matthew Rubano, Jake Link, and Jenna Marucci 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, The Wizard of Oz, 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: The Wizard of Oz…Entirely From Memory

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): Phoebe Robinson (Seth Meyers, Last Comic Standing, Broad City, MTV’s Girl Code, Totally Biased, co-host of 2 Dope Queens), Julio Torres (inventive experimental stand-up/sketch comic; Saturday Night Live, Billy on the Street), Bret Raybould, and comedy group Area 52 performing stand-up, improv, or sketches at the UCB Chelsea theatre in the name of a popular comedy site: College Humor Live

[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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Last week improv group The Mannequin Room made dummies of improv team Sleuth, winning by a commanding 98 votes to 22. Tonight TMR competes with The Nightmare for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

[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): Stand-up from Brandon Scott Wolf, Andrew Tisher, Joe Noh, Lee Barats, Mike Lebovitz, and Patti Harrison at the UCB East theatre hosted by Gary Richardson, John Reynolds, Carmen Christopher, and Joey Dundale: $$$

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: 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

[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

[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

[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 upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Matt Anderson: Barf Up the Jokes

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; 88-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, or for any other reason by emailing me at