NYC Top Comedy Choices for Friday 9/23/16

Go out tonight, but set your recording device to midnight through 1:00 am to catch the debut of half-hour stand-up specials by Emily Heller and Erik Bergstrom on Comedy Central

No Text Weekend: GhostbustingDon’t miss a superb slate of shows tonight at The PIT curated by dynamite comedy duo Jen Jamula & Allison Goldberg (producers & stars of Blogologues). At 7:00 pm, a panel on how to deal with those who disappear from relationships via smart phones moderated by Jen & Alli: Ghostbusting

No Text Weekend: Unabbreviated Stories…at 8:00 pm, some of NYC’s finest storytellers—including Ophira Eisenberg, Adam Wade, and Andy Christie—share personal comedic tales: Unabbreviated Stories

No Text Weekend: How to Break Up By Text…at 9:30 pm, Alli & Jen share screen shots of real-life relationship dumps via messaging: How to Break Up By Text

No Text Weekend: It'S Not an Emoji, It's Just My Face…and gal stand-ups—including world-class comic Aparna Nancherla—perform in It’s Not an Emoji, It’s Just My Face (7:00, 8:00, 9:30, and 10:30 pm; $10-$20—use code NOTXT4ME online for ticket discounts; 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:

[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

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm. 10:30 pm, 11:30 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), the 7:30, 9:30, and 11:30 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Friday

7:00 pm ($7): A one-man show by Woody Fu, who says he “spent 21 years as an honorary Jew and 15 years as a neurotic New Yorker. Only recently has he realized that he is Asian and has emotions. Join him on this special night as he finally becomes a man,” plus an opening act from group My Dark Little Corner, all at The Magnet theatre: Asian Gracefully

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): Brian McCann (writer for 17 years for Emmy-winning Conan O’Brien; 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation) & Patrick McCartney (Second City, SNL Digital Shorts, TV Funhouse) perform duo improv at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): McCann and McCartney

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($5): At UCB Chelsea, a sketch show about the NYC subway: BEENG BOONG: The Great & Powerful MTA

…and in the second half of this double-bill, four-woman sketch group Lucille—Abby Holland, Julie Rosing, Molly Gaebe, and Jenn Roman—attempt to delve into the minds of men, directed by the fabulous Leslie Meisel: Balls Deep

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($42 & 2-drink min.) A star from In Living Color who Comedy Central has named one of the 100 greatest stand-ups headlining tonight and Saturday at the Carolines Comedy Club: David Alan Grier

7:30 pm ($10): Two improv groups each make up a musical on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: [title of team] and Royals

7:30 pm ($10): Improv group Bucky makes up one long scene in the same location (a winning form that’s helped such teams as Death by Roo Roo win a whole lot of Cage Match victories)—and, when SNL is on break, sometimes includes star Sasheer Zamata (whenever that happens, consider this a TOP PICK)—at the UCB East theatre: Bucky: Thank F#@% It’s Friday!

7:30 pm ($5): “Seven comics connect their stand-up sets into one giant mutant set” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Molly Horan: Human Centipede Comedy Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Hip-hop improv group North Coast attempts to create a Hamilton on the spot by making up a musical based on an audience suggestion of a famous historical figure at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Anybody: An Improvised Historical Hip-Hopera

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A sketch parody of a live audience shooting of a Hollywood TV sitcom pilot written by and co-starring Steve Clark, Julian Hernandez, and Johnny Efstathiades at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Cockapoopees

8:00 pm ($5): A 90-minute variety show featuring stand-up, sketch, improv, and music at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Tom Brink & Keele Howard-Stone: Wolf Spirit with Tom and Keele

[FREE] 8:00 pm: NYC stand-ups Josh Gondelman (writer for HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, The New Yorker), Tom Delgado, Erik Bransteen, Jared Wilder, and Sonya Vai performing at the HiFi Bar (169 Avenue A) produced by Gary Levitt & Matt Schwartzer and guest-hosted by Mike Lebovitz: I Don’t Get It Stand-Up

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Before this Magnet show, audience members may anonymously submit written confessions, secrets, rants, advice and opinions which will be used onstage by the improvisors—who include such talents as Sebastian Conelli (2014 Cage Match Champion The Enemy): The Friday Night Sh*w

[$] 8:30 pm ($15): A variety show honoring the memory of comedic performer Nora Fullmoon at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Nora Fullmoon: Benefit Cabaret and Reception

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Some of the finest improv in the country from brilliant comics Connor Ratliff, Silvija Ozols, Shannon O’Neill, Don Fanelli, Alexandra Dickson, and/or Michael Delaney forming a seamless and hilarious group mind at UCB Chelsea—the all-star members of The Stepfathers

[TOP PICK] [FREE—plus FREE PIZZA—if you arrive before 9:00 pm, $5 after] 9:00 pm: The Reformed Whores (raunchy comedic singing duo Marie Cecile Anderson & Katy Frame; albums Ladies Don’t Spit and Don’t Beat Around the Bush; CBS’ The Doctors), plus stand-up from Seth Herzog (long-time staff comic for Jimmy Fallon; 30 Rock, @midnight, CBS, VH1; host of Sweet), Josh Gondelman (Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, Conan O’Brien), Ben Kronberg (Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, Comedy Central Half Hour, MTV, ABC), Mike Recine (Comedy Central’s Half Hour, Conan O’Brien), Marisa Douenias (Louie), Molly Austin (VH1’s Late Night Snack), Petey Deabreu (host of Petey’s World), and Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central), all at Brooklyn’s Secret Loft (41 Varick Avenue) hosted by Lucas Connolly (Comedy Central) and followed by a free dance party with DJ Clamr: The Secret Loft Show

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Cipha Sounds (Hot 97, Chappelle’s Show) thought it would be cool if a hip-hop star told tales and then improvisors made up scenes based on them. This monthly show is the result, with a “secret” music celebrity “mesmerizing the crowd with amazing stories and linguistic darts to spark the creativity of some of the best improvisers in NYC,” the latter being Anthony Atamanuik, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Lydia Hensler, Christian Capozzoli, and/or Shaun Diston at the UCB East theatre: Take It Personal: The Hip-Hip Improv Show

9:00 pm ($10): All-gal comedy variety—sketch, storytelling, improv, music—at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Hannah Levinson & Alyssa Lott: The Bada Bing Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 9:30 ($20 plus 2-drink min.): An adult ed game show that tests your knowledge of sex (e.g., “What is the vulva? What is the proper way to clean a dildo? What does LGTBQIA stand for?”) with comic contestants Calvin S. Cato, Michelle Francesca Thomas, and Nik E Ply-em at The Duplex downstairs bar (61 Christopher Street, between Sixth & Seventh Avenues) hosted by the wonderful Natalie Wall and Emily OwEd: Sex! With Your Mom

9:30 pm ($10): Comics are challenged to a series of physical and mental games related to women’s health at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Deanna Arthur: Legends of the Hidden Tampon

9:30 pm ($7): Poets, songwriters, and solo performers are showcased at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Robert Price: Minds at Work

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Musical improv group Premiere—which features the best improv piano player in the biz, Frank Spitznagel—springboards off an audience suggestion to create a complete story with song and dance at The Magnet theatre: Premiere: The Improvised Musical

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Improvisors—including such superb comics as Jay Malsky and Rory Scholl—dream up ad campaigns and marketing strategies for imaginary businesses suggested by the audience at The PIT downstairs lounge: The Focus Group

10:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Peggy O’Leary: Creek Cave Live

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Superb improvisors James Dwyer, Craig Rowin, Connor O’Malley, Matt Fisher, Sue Galloway, Brian Faas, Matt Moses, and Shaun Diston make up scenes about an audience member’s legal dispute at the UCB Chelsea theatre: The Law Firm: Law & Disorder

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Dan Chamberlain (hilarious larger-than-life character actor & sketch performer; sketch writer for Above Average), Alan Starzinski, and Farah Brook performing stand-up, sketch, and/or improv at UCB East hosted by Brandon Scott Jones, Justin Tyler, and/or Alden Ford: Gentrify

10:30 pm ($5): A mix of stand-up, sketch, music, and/or improv at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Carmen Christopher: The Juice

10:30 pm ($5): A variety show “set up as a classy ball” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): The Black Out

11:00 pm ($5): Boris Khaykin (Broad City, Amazon’s Red Oaks, acclaimed improv hip-hop group North Coast), Ronan Babbitt (Mr. Robot), Thomas Pecinka, Krista Jensen, Dan Fox, John Zachary Townsend, Lizzie Martinez, and Derek Humphrey performing a variety of comedy forms at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by Anne Victoria Clark (freelance contributor to SNL’s Weekend Update): The Pretty Late Show

[TOP PICK] Midnight ($5): A parody of NBC’s smash hit competition The Voice at UCB East, with singing comics Becky Chicoine, Tim Platt, Monique Moses, and Shane Shane judged by Jo Firestone (as Miley Cyrus), Josh Sharp (as Blake Shelton), Matt Denne (as Adam Levine), and Tessa Hersh (as Alicia Keys): Cool Shit / Weird Shit

Midnight ($5): Comics form bands and compete for a fake recording contract at the UCB Chelsea theatre hosted by Achilles Stamatelaky & Matthew Starr: Seriously, Are You Ready to Rock?!

[FREE] Midnight: Comics present “sure-fire, can’t miss, get-in-on-the-ground-floor, knock your socks off ideas that will not only make a lot of money but will make lives better across the board” and then request your money (whether you give is entirely up to you) at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Dan King & Ben Conrad: Snake Oil

Friday Open Mics & Jams

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in open mic (signup at 4:30 pm), with 5 minutes per comic, storyteller, poet, or singer, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kimberly Sparkle Stewart & Sydney Beveridge: Queens Open Mic Fridays

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 (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, running 1 hour. 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: An open-mic show on a lottery system (sign-ups happen at 5:45-6:00 pm) at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Shalewa Sharpe & Courtney Fearrington: Thug Passion

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): Walk-in open mic that allows everyone to get on stage at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): $1 Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:30 pm ($1): PIT improv veterans mix with improv novices on-stage at the downstairs lounge for Happy Hour

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Show up at 6:45 pm to place your name in a dog bowl for the chance to get called up on stage and jam with veteran improvisors at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Dog Fight

[FREE] 8:00 pm: An open-mic show that’s first come, first serve (sign-up starts at 7:30 pm), with each comic getting 5 minutes on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Seena Jon: Mic and Cheese

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up open mic (signup at 10:30 pm) at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chelsea Condren, Kate Moran, and Kristin Seltman: Late Night Snack Open Mic

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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