NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 11/13/16

Daniel KitsonUK-based comedy genius Daniel Kitson is briefly gracing us with his presence to gloat about Brexit no longer being the stupidest choice a major country has made in the 21st century (“You seem distracted. Has something happened recently? Maybe you stubbed your toe?”). He’s also here to perform his haunting one-man play Mouse, about which The Scotsman wrote: “There’s no end, let’s face it, to the evolving brilliance of Daniel Kitson, who may have started out in stand-up comedy, but is now one of the most remarkable exponents of solo theatre in the UK, if not in Europe.” To be entirely honest, stand-up is a higher form of art than virtually any kind of theatre, and it saddens me that Kitson has been visiting us for the past few years to perform plays instead of maximizing his gifts as one of the greatest stand-up comics alive. (Imagine Louis C.K. restricting his new works to episodes of Horace and Pete…) That said, any form of Kitson is worth catching; and while this show takes a long, twisty path, its conclusion packs a wallop: Mouse: The Persistence of an Unlikely Thought (7:30 pm, plus 3:00 pm matinees on Sundays, through 11/27; $25; Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse at 45 Water 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] 4:00 pm ($5): Mike Reiss (four-time Emmy winner for his 25 years writing for The Simpsons) hosts readings of plays he’s written—and hopes to get produced—at The PIT upstairs theatre: Mike Reiss Play Reading Series

[TOP PICK] 4:30 pm: All-gal musical Improv group Redshirts creates new episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on the spot, plus group Choirfly sings a cappella about comic book and pop culture topics, at The PIT downstairs lounge: Redshirts and Choirfly: A Star Trek and Pop Culture Musical Celebration

5:30 pm ($5): Improvisors who cut across all regions and schools come together for one evening at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Supernova

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($7): A female guest monologist—who tonight is Selena Coppock (Amazon’s Red Oaks, VH1, author of book The New Rules for Blondes)—takes a suggestion from the audience and shares true personal tales. These stories are then brought to life by 10 female improvisors—including Artistic Director Megan Gray—at the Magnet theatre: That’s What She Said

[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($5): There’s nothing more unpredictable on a stage than an animal. In this show, pet owners perform improv along with their real-life pets at The PIT upstairs theatre (123 East 24th Street): Pet Prov

6:30 pm ($5): Three NYC improv groups that are independent (i.e., not a house team of any particular improv school/theatre) compete for audience member laughs and votes at UCB East hosted by superb improvisors Amey Goerlich & Ryan Karels (half of revered improv group Krompf): Indie Cage Match

7:00 pm ($5): Three scripted shows for the price of one at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Triple Feature

7:00 pm ($5): Vicky Kuperman & Max Cohen, who happen to be married to each other, each perform 45-minute stand-up sets to practice for their upcoming album recordings at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The Run Through

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm ($32.75 & 2-drink min.)  A stand-up who’s performed on Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien, @midnight, and Drunk History, starred in two Comedy Central hour-long specials (Whiskey Icarus and Loose in Chicago), is a recurring character on TruTV’s Those Who Can’t, and has opened for Patton Oswalt and Daniel Tosh headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kyle Kinane

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10) and 9:30 pm [FREE]: UCB Chelsea’s signature improv comedy extravaganza, which typically includes superstars in the improv world such as Shannon O’Neill and Anthony Atamanuik, and sometimes network TV & movie stars such as Amy Poehler and Horatio Sanz: ASSSSCAT 3000

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 8:00 pm, 9:30 pm, 10:00 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 seven shows, with three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday

7:30 pm ($5): Dana Krashin and friends are improv group Student Driver, which hosts two indie improv troupes making up scenes and then performs itself, all at The PIT downstairs lounge: Student Driver Indie Road

7:30 pm ($10; includes FREE ICE CREAM at 7:00 in the lobby): A variety show featuring stand-up, characters, improv, and/or more from such talents as Megan Gray, Elana Fishbein, and Chet Siegel at The Magnet theatre hosted by Molly Kiernan: Molly’s Guilt Free Comedy and Ice Cream Social

8:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups Joyelle Johnson, Liz Magee, Daniel Simonsen, Tommy McNamara, Dan Lamonte, and Jared Freid performing at UCB East guest-hosted by Joe Zimmerman (Conan O’Brien, John Oliver, Comedy Central Half Hour, Last Comic Standing): If You Build It

8:00 pm ($5): Two sketch comedy groups compete for audience laughs and votes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), with the winner getting no tangible prize but earning Bragging Rights

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($8): Storyteller Lyssa Mandel invites comics to “expose their bleeding-heart adolescent artifacts (journal entries, poetry, original songs, and art), then laugh at and with their own flaws,” with tonight’s guests Keisha Zollar (HBO’s Divorce, Orange Is the New Black, MTV, Comedy Central, ace improv trio Doppelganger,, sketch group Astronomy Club), Calvin Cato (host of Ed Sullivan on Acid), and Leila Ben-Abdallah, plus music from the incredible Rebecca Vigil (rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), all at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): The Bitch Seat

8:30 pm ($5): Two comics are invited to share tales about cherished personal treasures, which Improv group Trophy Wives will then use as springboards for making up scenes on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Trophy Wives: Show & Tell

8:30 pm ($5): Improvisors give up specific bad habits for seven days and then make up scenes about their experiences at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Bad Habits

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Duo improv from Louis Kornfeld & Rick Andrews at The Magnet theatre: Kornfeld & Andrews

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Group Medusa turns a calamity selected by the an audience member into an improvised documentary live on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Medusa Presents Improv Against Humanity

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Improvisors make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: Matt’s Emotions

9:00 pm ($5): Indie improv groups make up scenes at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Ian Herrin: The Ian Herrin Improv Hour

[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): This improv show is based on a Mullaney Chain (pioneered by Kevin Mullaney) in which the host invites a guest to improvise with him or her, then the guest independently invites a third person, who then invites a fourth person, and so on, creating a one-time-only lineup that will be a surprise to everyone involved at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Kurt Guenther: The Telephone Show

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket) at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Sam Rose: Bucket! We’ll Do it Live!

[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up lottery style open mic that provides 4 minutes per comic at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro & Chris Gersbeck: Bunk Bed Time Open Mic

5:15ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Weekly open mic stand-up, with comics selected from names tossed into a bucket starting at 4:55 pm, at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Aaron Glaser, Irene Hartmann, and/or Carlos Delgado: Sunday Open Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 5:30 pm ($1): Sign up at 4:30 pm to do improv with experienced PIT performers at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sasha Capelli, Eitan Levine, and Shaina Stigler: 10K Jam Jam

9:30 pm ($3): Open-mic comedy, with 3-5 minutes per walk-in performer who signs up (first come, first serve) at The PIT downstairs lounge, hosted by Will Neville: Amateur Night at the Gemini

[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Ian Kitchen: The Grandstand

[FREE] 10:00 pm: The only open-stage show for entire groups of improvisors and sketch comics, running weekly at UCB East hosted by Austin Rodrigues: Bring Your Own Team: Improv/Sketch Team Jam

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!)

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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