NYC Top Comedy Choices for Monday 11/28/16

Rachel Dratch, Cady Huffman,and Scott Adsit

Star improvisors including Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live), Scott Adsit (co-writer/director/producer & cast member of Adult Swim’s awesome & Emmy-winning Moral Orel; half of genius improv duo John & Scott), Brian Stack (long-time writer for Conan O’Brien and Stephen Colbert), and Tami Sagher (writer for HBO’s Girls, NBC’s 30 Rock, Broad City; movie Don’t Think Twice) and TV/movie/Broadway stars including Cady Huffman, Jeff Hiller, and Mark Gagliardi crash improv into classic theatre scenes for actor/director Stephen Ruddy’s Gravid Water (8:00 pm, $5, UCB Chelsea at 307 West 26th 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] 6:30 ($5): Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show) and Sarah Tollemache (Comedy Central) each perform a 30-minute stand-up set at the UCB East theatre: Matt Koff and Sarah Tollemache

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: Wonderfully witty comedic musician Erin Hall performs both new songs and established crowd-pleasers at the UWS Apple Store by Lincoln Center. Come be delighted, at no charge, by Erin and Her Cello

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 7:00 pm: A comic who’s written for MTV2, Billy on the Street, and The Onion performs stand-up (for a sample, please click here) every night through Wednesday at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Week at the Creek: Neal Stastny

7:00 pm ($5): Michael Kandel, Joe Miciak, and Zach Tomasovic perform sketch comedy revolving around the city of Boston at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Visit Boston

[FREE] 7:00 pm to midnight: Five free hours of improvisation at The PIT downstairs lounge: Super Free Monday

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($7): House groups perform their finest sketches of the past year at The Magnet theatre: Magnet Sketch Teams: Best in Show

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm, 9:30 pm, and 11:30 pm ($12 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) and a 7:30 pm show at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Monday

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Anthony Atamanuik (Trump vs. Bernie, 30 Rock, Conan O’Brien, Huffington Post, Death by Roo Roo, The Tony Show), Sasheer Zamata (cast member of Saturday Night Live), and Andrew Rose Gregory (Songify This, Auto-Tune the News) chug two beers on stage and talk politics at the UCB East theatre hosted by Charlie Todd & Cody Lindquist: Two Beers In

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($8): Sal Vulcano (co-star of TruTV’s Impractical Jokers), Will Miles (co-host of Comedy Night at the Knit; TruTV, The Chris Gethard Show; comedy album Good Year), Emily Gelati, Andrew Colin, and Pedro Gonzalez performing stand-up or sketch at Brooklyn’s Littlefield (622 Degraw Street) hosted by the wonderful Wyatt Cenac (former star correspondent for The Daily Show; writer for South Park; albums Comedy Person and Brooklyn): Night Train

[TOP PICK] [$] 8:00 pm ($5 plus 2-item food/drink min.): Wil Sylvince (Comedy Central, HBO, Showtime) hosts Mike Lawrence, Dan Soder, Sam Morril, Mike Yard, Rory Albanese, and more trying out fresh stand-up material at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): New Joke Night

8:00 pm ($5): Comics perform solo character bits at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Imposter Character Show

8:00 pm ($10): A group of actors and improvisors attempt to duplicate the success of UCBT’s Gravid Water by putting improvisors in the middle of classic theatre scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre. UCBT uses top Broadway and improv talent for its show, making it extraordinary. The participants of this show aren’t quite at that level, but the format is so strong that this might work anyway, despite the awful title: The Actor’s Worst Nightmare

[FREE] 8:00 pm: Four improvisers form teams with comics they’ve never performed with before at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: The Kaleidoscope

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($6): A safe place to try out new material, with tonight’s stand-ups Sean Patton (one of the finest stand-ups in the country; killer sets on Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central Half Hour, VH1, feature film Wifed Out; former co-host of Esquire Network’s Best Bars in America), Jena Friedman (wry dark comedy stand-up and rising star; former staff writer for David Letterman, former producer for The Daily Show), Bob Powers (author of Happy Cruelty Day, writer of The Triumph Election Special), Eric Kirchberger (HBO, Comedy Central), and Casey Balsham performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Christian Finnegan (Conan O’Brien, co-star of TBS’ Are We There Yet?; three Comedy Central specials; MSNBC, VH1’s Best Week Ever, Chappelle’s Show, The Today Show): New Release Day with Christian Finnegan

9:00 pm ($5): Sketch duo Maggie Lalley & Becca Beberaggi perform desperate sketch comedy at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Maggie and Becca Live Their Lives

9:00 pm ($7): Sketch comedy from underrepresented voices at The Magnet theatre: Remix: Diversity Sketch

[TOP PICK] 9:30 pm ($5): At the UCB Chelsea theatre, Chrissy Shackelford performs a (mostly) one-woman show as Diane Shangri-La, “legendary film star of the 60s and 70s who the world’s most famous sex symbol until Hollywood kicked her to the curb for turning the ancient age of 35. Now she’s back with original characters and impressions to prove that her career is Not Dry Yet

…and in the second half of this double-bill, sketch group Nipsey explains how things work in Nipsey Presents Science

9:30 pm ($5): Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Phil Jackson, and/or Steve Theiss hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with guest improvisors: Improv Nerds

9:30 pm ($5): Ora Fruchter & Christopher Scheer provide you with improvised psychological healing via a hand puppet at The PIT upstairs theatre: Shrink: Puppet Therapy

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 10:00 pm: Improvisors & stand-ups perform a show based entirely around the oddball Twitter comments of superstar musician Kanye West at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Brian Mitchell & Jose Acevedo: Kanye Confidential: Improvised Kanye Tweets

10:30 pm ($7): Improv is dominated by guys, so this is a rare treat—a dozen female improvisors “for an evening of comedy that will delight men, women, babies, and kittens,” hosted by Megan Gray at The Magnet theatre: We Might Just Kiss

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [FREE] 11:00 pm: Some of the finest comics in the world-who aren’t announced in advance, but it’s usually a great lineup and often an extraordinary one—at UCB Chelsea typically hosted by Aparna Nancherla (one of the best stand-ups in the country; former writer for Seth Meyers; Conan O’Brien, @Midnight, Comedy Central Half Hour, comedy album Just Putting It Out There). Reservations go quickly, but you can probably get in if you arrive early and are okay with standing: Whiplash

Monday Open Mics & Jams

4:30 pm-7:00 pm ($5 plus 1 drink min., with drinks as low as $2): Walk-in stand-up open mic with two rounds, the first providing 5-6 minutes per set and the second 2-3 minutes per set, at The Grisly Pear (107 MacDougal Street) hosted by Tuval Mor: Kickin It Open Mic

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: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer who shows up time on stage at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Jacob Lie & Stu Melton: Raining Buckets

6:00 pm & 8:00 pm (no cover, 1 drink min. for both comics and audience members): Open mic stand-up providing 5-7 minutes per comic, with each show running 1 hour and 45 minutes. Arrive 30 minutes before the show you want to be in 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

7:30 pm ($10; sign-up starts at 7:00 pm): Open mic for stand-ups, storytellers, singers, poets, actors, and more, with 5 minutes per performer and 25 slots available, at The Parkside Lounge (317 East Houston Street, off Avenue B) hosted by Nathan P., followed by a raucous afterparty with dancing & drink specials from 10:00 to midnight: Inspired Word’s Open Mic Joint

[FREE] 10:30 pm: Improv veterans Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, and Phillip Jackson hosting & performing in a show at UCB East with improvisors taken from the audience…and who may include you: Improv Nerds Jam

11:00 pm ($3): Open mic stand-up, with each comic getting 5 minutes and room for 15 comics who sign up per show, at The PIT upstairs theatre hosted by John Field: The Power Exchange

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Open mic stand-up show that provides each performer whose name is pulled from a bucket 4 minutes on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City hosted by Joseph Robert: PBR & Scrap Paper Open Mic Stand-Up

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Improv students are welcomed onto the stage at The PIT downstairs lounge for this weekly open access show hosted by Gary DeNoia & Langston Belton: Base Jam

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 weeknights, 5:00 pm matinees this weekend, plus 9:30 pm this Saturday night, through 12/3 ($24.50 online using discount code JOSIE24): One of my favorite comics, Josie Long, is visiting from the UK to perform a blend of storytelling & stand-up through December 3rd that, in the wake of Brexit, is about “wanting more from life than it might be up for giving out.” Josie’s trying to emotionally cope with the far right hijacking her country through outrageous lying and rule breaking, demonstrating that they represent the worst in us rather than the best we’d hope for in our leaders, echoes all that’s happened to Americans since our own recent election. So a small silver lining to Trump’s win is that it’s made Josie’s show utterly relevant to what most New Yorkers are feeling right now… Catch it at The Barrow Street Theatre (27 Barrow Street, just one block from the #1 subway’s Christopher Street stop): Josie Long: Something Better

[$] [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

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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