NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 9/22/16

Gilmore Girls: Lauren Graham and Alexis BledelIf, like me, you miss the characters of Stars Hollow (and can’t wait for November 25th’s Netflix miniseries revival), come experience a lost episode of the classic series…made up on the spot based on an audience suggestion: Improvised Gilmore Girls (9:00 pm, $5, The PIT Loft at 154 West 29th 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] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Steven Berkowitz (Scientific American’s “Science Talk” podcast), Jiji Lee (Above Average, Reductress), Gastor Almonte (Comedy Central), Michele Carlo (TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), and irresistibly charming host Leslie Goshko (delightful & razor-sharp storyteller/comic; WNYC, Sirius XM, Huffington Post) performing at this wonderful monthly oddball storytelling show at the KGB Bar (85 East 4th Street, off Second Avenue) featuring such magic as a trivia contest with alcoholic prizes: Sideshow Goshko

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Award-winning Norwegian comic Daniel Simonsen (BBC, Edinburgh Fringe) tries out new material every night through Saturday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Daniel Simonsen

7:00 pm ($10): An autobiographical one-woman storytelling show by Sandi Marx, a retired talent agent, at The Tank Theater (151 46th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues): You’ll Be Sorry

[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

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Storytelling from Roy Wood Jr (correspondent on The Daily Show), Robin Thede (former correspondent on The Nightly Show), Freddie Nunez, and Sean Rameswaram at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Tim Barnes: It’s All True: Live Storytelling Podcast

7:30 pm ($5): Joe Zimmerman (Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing), Brendan Eyre (Seth Meyers), Kendra Cunningham (SNL, Jimmy Fallon, The Tyra Banks Show, Law & Order), Christopher Arcudi, and Jeremy Pinsly performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($5): Professional clowns perform a silly show in hopes of changing your life at The PIT downstairs lounge: An Unapologetic Mess: A Clown Show

7:30 pm ($5): Ritch Duncan (truTV), Cyrus McQueen (Last Comic Standing), and Ben Rosenfeld performing stand-up at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by twins Adam & Todd Stone: Stone and Stone Show

[FREE] 7:30 pm: NYC stand-ups Aminah Imani, Noah Savage, and Lawrence Deloach performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Ray Marshall (Orange is the New Black) and guest-hosted by Dave Lester: Funny Side Up

[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

8:00 pm ($10): A comedic play with bite about the Hollywood experience for minorities, in which “four black actors in Room 4 have just realized they’re stuck in a time loop, auditioning for the same role of ‘Drug Dealer #2’ over and over. What once felt like a messed-up metaphor has become a literal existential nightmare. Get them out of there” at The PIT upstairs theatre written by Marina & Nicco, and with an eight-man cast…one of whom plays a literal Magical Negro: Room 4

[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 ($5): Abra Tabak (Grandma’s Ashes) has an talk show built around her and her friends for one night only at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Night Late

8:00 pm ($5): 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): Detention + Dim Wit

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Sketch group Nightly Nudes performs at Bunga’s Den (137 West 14th Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues): Comedy is Sweet

8:30 pm ($10): An autobiographical one-man storytelling show by Bobby Hankinson (host of Kweendom) about his coming out as queer at The Tank Theater (151 46th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues): Out In Context

9:00 pm ($5): A one-man show by Marcus Bishop-Wright at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Marcus Rebellion: Seven Sketches About How You’re Racist

9:00 pm ($5): Similar to The Dating Game, comics Dan D’Agnes, Brandon Sager, and Tanael “TJ” Joachim 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 (not announced) performing at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($10): “Endearing and colorful characters, including Mrs. Coldshower and the Love Goddess, share blunt life advice with the aid of wild props, bold animations, and close friends” written by Hannah Wnorowski, directed by Phil Meister, and performed by Hannah Wnorowski & Jason Weitzman at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Flower Power Hour

[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): An all-gal lineup of stand-ups, storytellers, character comics, and improvisors perform at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by group Darling Satan: She Makes Me Laugh

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 pm ($12): Stand-ups get out of their comfort zones by opening with their can’t-miss closing bit and then seeing where that takes them, with tonight’s comics Michelle Buteau, Ricky Velez, Will Miles, and Brendon Fitzgibbons performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Jordan Carlos, Tom Thriveni, and Justin Cappa: I’ll Leave You With This

[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: Tyler Joseph takes audience suggestions of movie characters and then makes up a feature film—incorporating song and dance—on the spot at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Tyler Joseph’s One Man Improvised Movie Musical

[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

[TOP PICK] 11:00 pm ($5): Last week’s show was as close as it gets, with improv group Area 52 squeaking out a victory against 8-time improv winner The Mannequin Room by just one vote, 94-93. The new champion faces Take It Personal, 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: $$$

11:00 pm ($5): Improv with feedback at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Matthew Woods & Dan Miller: Improv MD

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

[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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