NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 9/15/16

Louis C.K.Louis C.K. is performing a show one last night at Madison Square Garden that received a rave review from Jason Zinoman of The New York Times (to read it, please click here). MSG isn’t my preferred venue for stand-up, which works best in more intimate settings; but Jason’s been tough on Louis’ shows in the past, so his current review made seeing this irresistible, and I’ll be there tonight. Plus 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, $30-$70, MSG at Seventh Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets)

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): Rob Cantrell (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, HBO, VHI, FX’s Totally Biased, documentary Metaphysical Graffiti, High Times), Alingon Mitra (Conan O’Brien, The Daily Show, Last Comic Standing), Ashley Brooke Roberts (co-host of Fresh Out, sketch group Absolutely), Rojo Perez (MTV), and Sam Evans performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($5): Group Hot Boss hosts comedy about jobs at The PIT downstairs lounge, capped by an audience member excoriating his or her boss and coworkers: Hot Boss: Happy Hour

7:30 pm ($5): Improvisors make up scenes with the lights turned off, using everyday objects to add layers of sound—like a radio play created on the spot—at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) : Dim-Prov: Improv in the Dark

7:30 pm ($5): Stand-ups from Reddit—David Angelo (The Daily Show), Tom Cowell (Comedy Central), Lucien Steiner (HBO), Tommy Rey, Eli Sairs, Danny Vega, and Stu Melton—performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Dominic Fogarty: The Reddit Show

[$] 7:30 pm ($38.25 & 2-drink min.): A comic who’s been a cast member of MAD TV and The Howard Stern Show, acted in a bunch of feature films, and co-hosts FOX News Radio’s The Nick and Artie Show headlining tonight through Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: Artie Lange

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($20): A comic who’s performed on David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, starred in hour-long Comedy Central special Shovel Fighter, made over 50 appearances on Chelsea Lately, spent two years as a cast member of Mad TV, and was a wacky neighbor on NBC’s Up All Night headlines at Brooklyn’s The Bell House (149 7th Street): Matt Braunger

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Comics Bowen Yang, Erin Gloria Ryan, and Tanael Joachim get drunk and then compete to present the best scientific dissertation on this month’s subject of Ignorance to a panel of genuine scientists at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by Joanna Rothkopf, Shannon Odell, and Jordan Mendoza: Drunk Science

[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 mini-play “exploring everything you love about karaoke: mediocre singing, friendship, Tsing-Tao, accidental meet cutes, homicidal Korean women, and of course your favorite 90’s jams!”: Let’s Check Out That Karaoke Spot!

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($15; no min.): Comics audition to be included in Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch list at The Stand Comedy Club (239 Third Avenue, off 20th Street) hosted by Monroe Martin (finalist on Last Comic Standing): Comedy Central Stand-Up Auditions

[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] 8:00 pm ($12): A stand-up who’s appeared on Conan O’Brien, CNN, MSNBC, and Showtime, writes for The Huffington Post, and co-hosts Citizen Radio performs a long set at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Jamie Kilstein

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Stand-ups originally from Chicago performing tonight: Matteo Lane (Comedy Central, MTV’s Guy Code & Girl Code, host of Chemistry), Ashley Bez, Tim Barnes, Amy Shanker, and Ross Kelly at Brooklyn’s Hungry Ghost Cafe/Bar (781 Fulton Street, between Fulton and South Oxford Streets) produced by Keenan Steiner and guest-hosted by Caitlin Peluffo: Comedy at the Corner

8:00 pm ($5): Sketch, stand-up, and music featuring Catherine Cohen, Steven Markow, Fran Hoepfner, Jamie Brew, and more performing at The PIT upstairs theatre: An Evening with Kitty & Stove

[FREE] 8:00 pm: A monthly showcase of both stand-ups and improvisors at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue), hosted by stand-up Nick Maritato and improv troupe Priest and the Beekeeper: Pig Pile

8:00 pm ($5): Two improv house 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): Detention + Gun Club

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($5): Superb storyteller David Lawson (The Flyer Guy at Solocom 2015) performs a one-man show about video games “with stories about secretly playing an ultra-violent Nazi-killing game at a Jewish Community Center, a former boss with a Grand Theft Auto-related secret, how Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have tried to censor video games, and more” at The PIT downstairs lounge: No Oddjob

9:00 pm ($5): Dan Soder (smart, edgy rising star; Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central hour-long special Not Special, Comedy Central Half Hour, Inside Amy Schumer, MTV’s Guy Code and Guy Court, VH1), Anthony DeVito (Adam Devine’s House Party), Louis Katz (Jimmy Fallon, HBO, Comedy Central Presents), Danielle Perez (Jimmy Kimmel), Blair Socci (MTV’s Girl Code), and Steve O’Brien (Team Submarine) performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($6): Zahra Noorbakhsh (delightful Iranian-American writer/actress/stand-up visiting from San Francisco; co-host of #GoodMuslimBadMuslim podcast; New Yorker-acclaimed FringeNYC show All Atheists Are Muslim), Charlie Kasov (MTV’s Guy Code), Lauren Hope Krass, Vicky Kuperman, Davey Stevey Dave, and Vicki Ferentinos performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sue Funke & Katie Compa: Happy Place Comedy

9:00 pm ($10): “Seattle’s premier—and quite possibly only—dyke comedy collective features stand-up, sketch, improv, and a whole lot of crystals” performing at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Deep Lez

9:00 pm ($5): Indie improv groups Third Eye Blind Island and Butters make up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Super Indie Takeover

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): The Emmy-winning writers of The Daily Show gather on the UCB Chelsea stage to perform an all-improvised Non-Daily Show

[FREE] 10:00 pm: NYC magicians try out new material, with some stand-up thrown in, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by mind reader Eric Dittelman (America’s Got Talent, Ellen): Amazeballs

[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

[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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Last week improv group The Mannequin Room destroyed the dreams of troupe The Nightmare with a crushing victory of 90-17. Tonight TMR faces Area 52, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Sarah Tollemache (Last Comic Standing), Jon Laster (BET), and Justin Williams performing stand-up at the UCB East theatre hosted by Brendan Fitzgibbons & Lance Weiss: Gandhi, Is That You?

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): 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: An open mic that lets you try out solo characters on the UCB East stage hosted by Sean Hart: Don’t Be Yourself: Character 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

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

[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

[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

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] 10:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (with names selected from a bucket) to do anything you want for 5 minutes—”chat, rant, plug, tell a story, be a character, play a game, review a new religion”—for a podcast recorded at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Mike Guild & Mike Mercadal: The Open Mic Podcast

[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): Thursdays 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)

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

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, or for any other reason by emailing me at hy@hyreviews.com.

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