NYC Top Comedy Choices for Sunday 12/4/16

Augie PraleyA one-man play from writer/actor Augie Praley in which “on the night before it’s to be torn down, Augie invites us along as he returns to his high school gymnatorium to examine and reimagine the lives that were affected by the place, especially those involved in his high school’s many past productions of Our Town. Equal parts earnest love letter and meta-dissection of Thornton Wilder’s masterpiece, this takes the awkward and the cringe-worthy, the hilarious and the tragic, the epic and the unbelievable, the ordinary and the extraordinary, and explores what it means to be human today:” Looking Back, It May Not Have Been Ridgefield High’s Best Production of Our Town (8:30 pm, $18, The PIT Upstairs Theatre at 123 East 24th Street)

More recommendations for the best in New York City comedy tonight (in chronological order, with top picks noted and shows over $10 marked with $) include:

[TOP PICK] 3:30 pm: All-gal musical Improv group Redshirts creates new episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation on the spot at The PIT upstairs theatre: Redshirts: Star Trek: TNG Musical Improv

5:00 pm ($10): A comedic play with bite about the Hollywood experience for minorities, in which “four black actors in Room 4 have just realized they’re stuck in a time loop, auditioning for the same role of ‘Drug Dealer #2’ over and over. What once felt like a messed-up metaphor has become a literal existential nightmare. Get them out of there” at The PIT upstairs theatre written by Marina & Nicco, and with an eight-man cast…one of whom plays a literal Magical Negro: Room 4

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 ($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: 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

[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm ($20): From the folks who created the amazing Hold On To Your Butts and Fly, You Fools!—shape-shifting performers Kyle Schaefer & Nick Abeel, mesmerizing foley artist Kelsey Didion, stellar director Kristin McCarthy Parker, and knows-winners-when-she-sees-them producer Allyson Morgan—create a live-on-stage reenactment of classic Christmas movie Home Alone…complete with puppets…at The PIT upstairs theatre: Kevin!!!!!

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

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Nine-person improv group The Internet Disagrees makes stuff up at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): The Internet Disagrees

[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 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): An unusually high number of sketch comics at The Magnet theatre hosted by Pat May: Pat May’s 1,000-Person Sketch Show

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

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($5): Sasheer Zamata (cast member of Saturday Night Live), Kyle Ayers (written for CBS, Comedy Central, TBS, BBC, The New York Times), Emily Winter (co-host of Backfat Variety), Sharon Houston, Julia Claire, and Martin Urbano performing stand-up at UCB East guest-hosted by 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): If You Build It

8:30 pm ($5): Improvisors split into two groups—don’t masturbate for a week or don’t have an orgasm for a week—perform at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) directed by Anthony Oberbeck: Bad Habits: Masturbation and Orgasams

8:30 pm ($5): Comics perform scripted characters at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Sarah Smallwood Parsons: Perfect Strangers

[TOP PICK] [FREE] 9:00 pm: Suggestions for jokes are gathered from the audience and then pro stand-ups are forced to incorporate them into their sets at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Will Carey: You Can Use That

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

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

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!

[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

[FREE] 7:00 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

8:30 pm ($5): Experienced hip-hop improvisers perform scenes with “anyone willing to stretch that hip-hop improv muscle; it’s a fun supportive environment where scenes turn into a rap song, beatbox, freestyle, or rap battle” at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Raymond Morency & Richie Alfson: Off Top!: A Hip Hop Mixer

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 downstairs lounge 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

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

[$] [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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