NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 11/20/16

Solocom 2016:Matt Higgins, David Lawson, and Meghan O'MalleyMatt Higgins, David Lawson, and Meghan O’Malley

The fourth and final day of the annual solo comedy festival curated by Peter Michael Marino includes such talents as Darcy Burke (who will teach you how to bake bread and love yourself 11:00 am-1:00 pm), Alex Gallafent (3:00 pm), Meghan O’Malley (5:15 pm), Stephanie Gould & Ashley England (7:00 pm), David Lawson & Joe Albano (7:30 pm), Matt Higgins & Molly McGaughey (9:30 pm), and Jaene Leonard & Peaches Rodriguez (9:45 pm) playing at all four PIT theatres: Solocom 2016 (11:00 am-11:00 pm; $10 per show or $30 for an all-you-can-watch 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:

6:00 pm ($7): “Who knew that the nerd you were casual acquaintances with in high school was secretly a famous elf warrior? Or that the quiet girl in math class was a 1,000-year-old witch? In fact, all those weirdoes you never talked to were secretly battling the forces of darkness in their mother’s basement. This show flips back and forth between fantasy and reality, magic spells and homework anxiety, the bravest campaign against evil ever fought and the hopes and dreams of the kids who imagine it all” at The Magnet theatre: Dragons & Dungeons

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

[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

7:00ish pm ($5): Dylan Marron (Ridgefield Middle School Talent Nite, Seriously.tv, Welcome to Night Vale podcast), Nick Vatterott (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, Comedy Central’s The Half Hour, MTV, Second City), Samantha Ruddy, Daniel Simonsen, Alise Morales, and Wes Haney performing stand-up or sketch at Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium (20 Meadow Street) hosted by Brett Davis & Sally Burtnick: The Macaulay Culkin Show

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

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

7:30 pm ($7): A four-person group that describes itself as performing “pop-punk cabaret” at The Magnet theatre: My Dark Little Corner: Quad Fest

7:30 pm ($5): Stand-ups Greg Stone (America’s Got Talent, TruTV’s Friends of the People) and Anthony DeVito (Adam Devine’s House Party) each perform a 30-minute set that they’ll be recording and submitting to Comedy Central in hopes of landing half-hour specials. Your laughter may determine their careers at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Greg Stone and Anthony DeVito

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): A fundraiser show for Haiti hurricane relief starring stand-ups Michelle Wolf (star stand-up who’s also a star writer/correspondent for The Daily Show, and previously for Seth Meyers; MTV’s Girl Code, IFC), Sasheer Zamata (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Michelle Buteau (VH1’s Morning Buzz and Best Week Ever, Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, FOX’s Enlisted, Craig Ferguson, Last Comic Standing, @midnight, comedy album Shut Up), Tanael Joachim, Nathan McIntosh, and Kareem Green performing at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street; take R subway to Union Street): Jokes For Haiti

8:00 pm ($5): Liz Miele (David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Damaged), Erin Jackson (Last Comic Standing), Karl Hess, Dave Ross, Rob Little, and Paul Oddo performing at UCB East guest-hosted by Robert Dean: If You Build It

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

9:00 pm ($5): Stand-ups Nate Fridson (host of Dark Spots, comedy album Best Guy So Far) and Shalewa Sharpe (co-host of Thug Passion Presents, comedy album Stay Eating Cookies) each perform a 30-minute set at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Nate Fridson and Shalewa Sharpe

9:00 pm ($7): Typically solid stand-ups perform at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory (361 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Will Miles, Clark Jones, and/or Kenny DeForest: Comedy Night at the Knit

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($8): “Do you ever leave a comedy show saying ‘Hmm, that was pretty funny but not enough reading’? Literati is a night of comics in character performing hilarious readings—sometimes while wearing wigs,” with comics Jo Firestone (exceptionally inventive and irresistible rising star; The Chris Gethard Show, radio host of WFMU’s Dr. Gameshow, live-on-stage host of The Unexpectashow and The Incredible Game Show Showcase, co-author of #1 bestselling Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers), Michael Wolf (showrunner of MTV series After Hours with Josh Horowitz; sketch comedy groups O.S.F.U.G. and Nancy), Colin O’Brien (sketch comedy group O.S.F.U.G.), Matt Strickland (host of I’d Rather Be Weird Than Good), Zach Cherry (sketch group Richard), Marcia Belsky, and Aimée Lutkin at Brooklyn’s Union Hall hosted by Colin O’Brien & Michael Wolf: Literati: A Comedy Show About the Greatest American Novels Never Written

[FREE] 9:00 pm: “Bringing all the excitement and passion of professional wrestling to stand-up comedy, your clueless announcers Kelsey Caine & Jack Comstock invite you to get up and throw down for comics entering the ring for glory! Who will survive? Who will be there? Who actually cares about wrestling? Come on out and get Ready 2 Crumble” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Ready 2 Crumble

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

Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages

[FREE] 3:30 pm: An improv jam celebrating diversity in comedy that lets audience members—whose names are drawn from a bucket—perform with sharp improv/sketch group Astronomy Club (which includes Keisha Zollar and Jonathan Braylock) at the UCB East theatre: Diversity Improv Jam

[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

[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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