NYC Top Comedy Choices for Thursday 11/17/16

Solocom 2016Tonight kicks off the fourth year of this 4-day festival devoted to over 130 new comedic solo shows curated by Peter Michael Marino, and ranging from “autobiographical performance to sketch, the untold history of Rita Repulsa, storytelling, stand-up, music, dance, drag, puppetry, autobiographical puppetry, autobiographical discography, magic, multi-media, critically acclaimed Edinburgh Festival artists, fake talk shows, fake podcasts, cooking, improv, cabaret, pole dancing, a Bob Ross led painting session, clowning, beautifully obsessive Star Trek fandom, and the fearless acting of a cardboard box” playing at The PIT theatres: Solocom 2016 (7:00 pm-11:00 pm; $10 per show or $30 for an all-you-can-watch 4-day festival pass; The PIT Upstairs, Downstairs, and Attic Theatres at 123 East 24th Street and 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: A stand-up who’s performed on MTV, is the sharp co-host of Hot Soup and We’re All Friends Here, and runs the award-winning blog Sandpaper Suit tries out new material every night through Monday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Matt Ruby

[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 three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane) and 8:00 & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Thursday

7:30 pm ($5): Scotland Green, Dave Ross, Neruda Williams, Rae Sanni, and more performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Sean Crespo, Dan Wilbur, and Katina Corrao: Lasers in the Jungle

7:30 pm ($5): Stand-ups from Reddit (not announced) performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Dominic Fogarty: The Reddit Show

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, a well-meaning but dull parody in which “three sisters must find husbands on the night of Lord Darkcastle’s ball or be doomed to a fate worse than death: spinsterhood:” The Bride of Murdery Heights

…and in the other half of this double-bill, dynamite musical improvisors including Jeff Hiller, Aaron Jackson, Josh Sharp, Lauren Adams, and/or more make up stories with songs at the UCB East theatre: Rumpleteaser: Musical Improv

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($12): White rapper Carolyn Castiglia (Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central, VH1) hosts a talk show with a live band, with tonight’s guests Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Rebecca Vigil (rising star powerhouse improv singer; Your Love Our Musical, The Vigilante), Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), Sharron Paul (co-host of Cheap Date), Shalewa Sharpe, Elsa Waithe, Karen Fratti, Jenny Rubin, and Lane Moore’s musical group It Was Romance, all performing stand-up, sketch, storytelling, or music at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Right Now! with Carolyn Castiglia

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm-Midnight ($10 for the entire evening): Four veteran house improv groups, themed improv show Stuck (“9 improvisors, 1 location, 0 chances of leaving”), and improv competition Inspirado, all for just $10 at The Magnet theatre: The Magnet’s Thursday Night Out

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 8:00ish pm: Jacqueline Novak (smart, funny stand-up; Inside Amy Schumer, College Humor, author of How to Weep in Public), Ashley Brooke Roberts (co-host of Fresh Out, sketch group Absolutely), Josh Johnson (The Tonight Show), and Isaac Oliver performing stand-up at The Grand Bar & Grill (647 Grand Street) hosted by Sachi Ezura: What’s Your Damage?

[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

[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 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 + Selfish Green Men

[FREE] 8:00ish pm: Dan Perlman, Thiago Macklin, Danette Rodriguez, Allan Finn, Jeremyah Schur, and Harrison Tweed performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Hungry Ghost Cafe/Bar (781 Fulton Street, between Fulton and South Oxford Streets) produced by Keenan Steiner and guest-hosted by Koshin Egal: Comedy at the Corner

9:00 pm ($10): This double-bill kicks off with a play set in the future about the National Football League; and then “After five years lost in space and presumed dead, Sam bides his endless time by hosting a killer late-night show, so he’s not alone with his thoughts. With help from his robot sidekick and only friend DANA, Sam sits down for some hard-hitting interviews with the voices in his head, extraterrestrial beings, and hip, probably real celebrities,” with Sam Weiss, Dana Kaplan-Angle, Jonathan Doyle, and Dan Silver” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Infinite Jets and Deep Space Live

9:00 pm ($5): Daniel Simonsen, Dave Ross, and Karl Hess performing stand-up at UCB East hosted by Ashley Brooke Roberts and/or Jim Tews: Fresh Out

9:00 pm ($6): Half a dozen stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Sue Funke & Katie Compa: Happy Place Comedy

[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

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): Dan Soder, Sharne Torres, Brett Davis, George Gordon, and other sharp comics debate ridiculous topics at Brooklyn’s Union Hall: Arguments & Grievances

[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 musical improv group Rumpleteaser clobbered duo Christina & Bailey, winning 149 votes to 45 (its 6th big win in a row). The singing & dancing champion tonight faces team Improv Nerds, competing for your laughs and votes at UCB Chelsea’s raucous Cage Match

11:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups (not announced) performing at the UCB East theatre hosted by Brendan Fitzgibbons & Lance Weiss: Gandhi, Is That You?

Notable Ongoing Theatrical Comedy Shows

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [DISCOUNTED] 7:30 pm, or 4:30 pm on Sundays, through 1/8/17 ($28-$48; use code BBOX20 for discounts): Comedy genius Chris Gethard performs his superb one-man show about anger, depression, perseverance, and the healing power of laughter, seamlessly blending stand-up and storytelling in a way that creates a deep, poignant, and hilarious experience at The Lynn Redgrave Theater (45 Bleecker Street, right next to the #6 subway’s Bleecker Street stop): Chris Gethard: Career Suicide

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, plus 3:00 pm matinees on Sundays, through 11/27 ($25): UK-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 at its best 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. No matter how great those might be, our losing Louis’ voice as a stand-up would be wrong…) That said, any form of Kitson as brilliant writer/performer is worth experiencing; and while this show at Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s Warehouse (45 Water Street) takes a long, twisty path, its conclusion packs a wallop: Mouse: The Persistence of an Unlikely Thought

[$] [DISCOUNTED] 8:00 pm; plus 2:00 pm matinees on Saturdays; or 3:00 pm & 7:00 pm on Sundays, through 1/15/17 ($37-$139; use code OHBOX111 for discounts): I haven’t seen this, so can’t comment on its merits; but you should be aware that two of the sharpest and funniest comics in the biz, John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, are performing as their old men characters in this Broadway show at the Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street): Oh, Hello

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: A character-based open-mic happening weekly at UCB East 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

[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

[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

[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!)

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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