NYC Top Comedy Choices for Saturday 12/10/16

Kevin Nealon and Connor RatliffNourishing comedy tonight as Kevin Nealon concludes his headlining run at Carolines; and as a half-dozen comics, including Connor Ratliff (pretzel above) and Django Gold, perform stand-up while cartoonists draw projected images inspired by their jokes at Picture This!

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

[FREE, but $10 donation to ACLU suggested] 3:30 pm-5:00 pm: Short plays and other artistic reactions to the 2016 Presidential Election, with all cash received going to the ACLU, at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): Where Do We Go From Here?

6:00 pm ($5): A one-woman autobiographical show by Alyssa Limperis about a year spent with her dad fighting what turned out to be terminal brain cancer: “This show takes you through the impossibly painful journey of saying goodbye while introducing you to his magical, eccentric spirit that has never left. We will cry. But my dad once sent me to school with fake poop to ‘spice things up in algebra,’ so we will take breaks from crying as well. My dad always said that there were no bad days. So come, let’s take what would be a bad month, a bad day, and make it into a good one” at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): No Bad Days

6:00 pm (no cover, 1-item food or drink min.): Myka Fox (SNL freelance contributor; host of Myka Fox & Friends podcast on Keith and The Girl Network), Chris Lamberth (AXS TV), Brian Baron, and more performing stand-up at Greenwich Village’s The Lantern (167 Bleecker Street) hosted by Amber Rollo: Deep Dish Comedy

[FREE] 6:00 pm: Emily Winter, Patrick Hastie, Jared Dryden, and Mike Mercadal each perform a different 10-minute stand-up every Saturday in February at The Creek’s upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Grant Lindahl: The 8

6:00 pm ($3): Sketch, improv, and other comedy forms at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street) hosted by Brian Pisano & Josh Bates: The Golden Hour

6:00 pm ($5): Four Indie improv troupes performing at The Magnet theatre: The Rundown

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:00 pm, 7:15 pm, 8:00 pm, 8:45 pm, 9:15 pm, 10:00 pm, 10:30 pm, 11:15 pm, and 12:15 am ($20-$24 per show, 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), the 7:15, 9:15, and 11:15 shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue), and the 8:00 pm & 10:00 pm shows at The Fat Black Pussycat Lounge (130 West 3rd Street): Comedy Cellar Saturday

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): Improv group Big Black Car 2, plus improv group The Quitters, make up scenes at The PIT upstairs theatre: BBC2 and The Quitters

[TOP PICK] 7:00 pm ($10): In this improvised music & dance double-bill at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street), first Jamie Graham & Amy Larimer blend improv and dance to create theatrical physical comedy and grace on the spot, aided by improv violinist Richard Kim; and then Beth Slack & Alissa Alter create a 25-minute improvised musical on the spot based on an audience suggestion: The Raving Jaynes + AlissaBeth Holiday Happy Hour Show

7:00 pm ($5): Sketch group PEP shares clips from fake shows that never actually happened at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre: Clip Show: A Sketch Show

7:00 pm ($10): “On every improv team there is the glue, the person who just tries to hold shit together while everyone descends into madness around them. Longtime UCB performer Silvija Ozols gathers some of her favorite gluey types to perform a fully improvised show. Will they stick to each other? Or will they end up huffing themselves into oblivion? Has this analogy been taken too far or is there room for one last pun? GLUE be the judge!” at the UCB East theatre: Gluebag

7:00 pm ($5): Improv group Dim Wit makes 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): Dim Wit

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): Improv powerhouses Charlie Todd, Jeff Hiller, Jim Santangeli, Natasha Rothwell, Brandon Gardner, Chelsea Clarke, Kevin Hines, Erik Tanouye, and John Timothy at UCB Chelsea interview an audience member about where he or she grew up and then “turn that town’s tourist attractions, landmarks, hangouts, local celebrities, urban legends, and more into a hilarious show made up on the spot:” The Curfew: Not From Around Here

[TOP PICK] [$] 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm ($43.75 plus 2-drink minimum): A former Saturday Night Live star, cast member of Showtime’s Weeds, star of his own Comedy Central special, and actor in over two dozen comedy feature films—including Anger Management, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Daddy Day Care, Get Smart, and You Don’t Mess With The Zohan—headlining one last night at the Carolines Comedy Club: Kevin Nealon

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($8): Hosts Mitra Jouhari, Catherine Cohen, and Patti Harrison “are three gals who just don’t get ‘guy stuff.’ They’ve invited comics to give them lectures on guy stuff so that they can finally fit in,” with tonight’s bearers of wisdom John Early (30 Rock, Broad City, Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer), Melinda Taub (writer for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee; author of Still Star-Crossed), Langston Kerman (cast member of HBO’s Insecure; Adam DeVine’s House Party; written for Chris Rock’s hosting of the Oscars and Comedy Central’s Problematic), Joel Kim Booster (Billy on the Street), and Jaboukie Young-White, all performing at Brooklyn’s Union Hall (702 Union Street; take R subway to Union Street): It’s a Guy Thing

[TOP PICK] 7:30 pm ($10): “Created in 1995 at the iO Theater in Chicago, The Armando Diaz Experience is the longest running improv show ever. A 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 a rotating cast of improv all-stars—and occasionally Armando himself” at The Magnet theatre: The Armando Diaz Experience

7:30 pm ($8): Female and/or LGBTQ stand-ups Shalewa Sharpe (comedy album Stay Eating Cookies), Melissa Rocha, Marisol Brady, Suni Reyes, Elsa Waithe, Jes Tom, and Atheer Yacoub performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Kate Moran: The Revolution

7:30 pm ($10): All-gal comedy variety—sketch, storytelling, improv, music—at The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Hannah Levinson & Alyssa Lott: The Bada Bing Show: A Holiday Fart-acular

[TOP PICK] 8:00 pm ($10): Improv groups Gypsy Danger (which includes brilliant comics Katie Hartman and Evan Kaufman, and which will make up a feature film on the spot) and The Baldwins (which includes brilliant comics Micah Sherman and Sarah Nowak) make stuff up at The PIT upstairs theatre: Gypsy Danger: The Improvised Movie and The Baldwins

8:00 pm ($8; includes Free Beer if you show up early): Erik Bergstrom (Comedy Central Half Hour, cartoonist/author of Grimmer Tales, The New Yorker), Andy Sandford (Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central, Adult Swim, The Beards of Comedy), Matt Koff (writer for The Daily Show), Victor Varnado (Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, co-host of Battlicious), Subhah Agarwal (TruTV, Fusion), Billy Prinsell, KC Arora, Mike Brown, Rae Sanni, Wanjiko Eke, Freddy Sheffield, Aimee Rose Ranger, Ayanna Dookie, and Jason Burke performing stand-up at Brooklyn’s Art Cafe & Bar (884-886 Pacific Street) hosted by Ben Totushek & Koshin Egal…and followed by a dance party: The Human Citizen Comedy Show

8:00 pm ($10): In this mini-play, “When the four most qualified (and emotionally unstable) astronauts money can buy crash-land on the moon, they find there are worse things in space than being out of fuel, out of radio contact, and out of luck. Much worse. But at least they still have plenty of Tang” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): The Moon Crew

8:00 pm ($10): Sketch comedy Improv from a six-person group performing at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Sunday School Dropouts Holiday Show

8:00 pm ($5): NYC stand-ups performing at Queens LIC’s The Creek upstairs theatre hosted by Peggy O’Leary & Lucas Connolly: Hard, Lonely, and Vicious

[TOP PICK] 8:30 pm ($10): Improv group Airwolf—with big talents Molly Lloyd, Tim Martin, Achilles Stamatelaky, Eddie Dunn, Ben Rameaka, and Adam Fruccie—make up scenes about terrible audience experiences related to a home at UCB East: Airwolf: Let’s Go Back to Your Place

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): A freestyle rapping long-form improv group that includes such talents as Evan Kaufman (Your Love Our Musical) takes the stage for nearly an hour at The PIT downstairs lounge: North Coast

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): An improvised apocalypse from sharp comics John Murray, Sean Casey, Jackie Jennings, Glenn Boozan, Joanna Bradley, Chad Carter, and Caroline Cotter at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Goat

[TOP PICK] 9:00 pm ($10): Sharp improvisors Peter McNerney & Rick Andrews make up scenes at The Magnet as comedy duo Trike

9:30 pm ($10): A sketches & characters show that aims for a Jimmy Fallon late night sensibility, with Katie Hartman (brilliant, fearless dark comedy writer/performer; sketch groups Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting and Hartman & Carl, improv group Gypsy Danger) and six other female comics as tonight’s guests at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) produced and co-starring Alyssa Lott, Tamsi M. New, and host Jay Malsky (highly talented, super-charged improvisor & character comic; FringeNYC): This Live Show

9:30 pm ($10): Sketch comedy—plus actual holiday gifts for the audience—from group Dinner for One at The PIT upstairs theatre: Dinner For One Presents: Presents!

9:30 pm ($5): Long-form improv with a playful title directed by Conner O’Malley at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Michael Jordan Steakhouse

9:30 pm ($6): NYC stand-ups performing stand-up at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) guest-hosted by J. Fox Jones: End of the Line Comedy

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): On this unique show, as stand-ups perform their sets their material is brought to visual life by animators. Tonight’s comics are Connor Ratliff (brilliant improvisor & sketch comic; The Stepfathers, The George Lucas Talk Show), Django Gold (writer for Stephen Colbert; The New Yorker, The Onion), Yamaneika Saunders (Last Comic Standing), Josh Johnson, Mary Houlihan, and Ayanna Dookie at Brooklyn’s Union Hall produced by Sam Varela & Brandie Posey and guest-hosted by Greg Barris (host of Heart of Darkness): Picture This!

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($10): A powerhouse group of improvisors—Zhubin Parang (writer for The Daily Show), Michael Kayne (Baby Wants Candy, Diamond Lion), Langan Kingsley (rising star; sketch group Beige, one-woman show The Dicewoman Cometh), Aaron Jackson (Fuck That Shit, Newsadoozies), Natasha Vaynblat (one-woman show United Federation of Teachers), and Nate Dern (News Editor for Funny or Die)—springboard scenes off interviewing an audience member about his or her love life at the UCB East theatre: What I Did For Love

[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): “Starting in 1982, the city of Atlanta threw an annual party called Freaknik which essentially became the largest black spring break party in the country. The party became so big and wild that the city shut it down for good in 1996. But comedians Andy Sandford and Noah Gardenswartz are bringing Freaknik back…to Long Island City. ‘Comedy Freaknik’ will be a lot like the original Freaknik, except it’s going to happen once a month, and it will be a comedy show hosted by three white guys. That’s basically the only difference” at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ Long Island City: Freaknik

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Long form improv about the behavior of a theatrical troupe both on-stage and off-stage, revolving around a different show biz theme each week—which tonight is The Great British Bake-Off—at The Magnet theatre: The Cast: The Great British Bake-Off Edition

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): At UCB Chelsea, improv group Grandma’s Ashes—which includes stellar talents Ryan Karels, Morgan Grace Jarrett, Brandon Scott Jones, and more—takes your written secrets and turns them into very funny improv scenes: Grandma’s Ashes: We Won’t Tell

[TOP PICK] 10:30 pm ($10): Using real horror films purchased in local gas stations and bodegas, the hosts select specific clips to play for 30 seconds, pause, and then ask the improvisers to finish the scene. Will anyone survive at The PIT downstairs lounge? Attend at your own peril, with hosts J. W. Crump: Gas Station Horror

10:30 pm ($5): “A monthly show produced by Anthony Oberbeck; every show is new, every show is beautiful” at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Beautiful Horses

[FREE] 11:00 pm: Stand-ups performing at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) produced by Fredric Goldstein and hosted by Judith George: Last Stop Laughs

11:00 pm ($5): Improv group Business Kiss and friends perform at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Business Kiss: Holiday Meeting

[FREE; plus FREE PIZZA] 11:30 pm: Screenings of two holiday movies with attitude—no charge, but you’re encouraged to buy drinks from the bar—at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Annoyance Holiday Movie Night: Jingle All the Way and Bad Santa

11:30 ($5): “Matt Radlow & Betsy Kenney are not musicians, and neither are their friends. But that won’t keep them from delivering one hour of non-stop music-themed comedy directly to your brains” at the UCB East theatre: Matt and Betsy Do Music

[FREE] Midnight: Comics compete in freestyle rap battles and rap games at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Noah Savage and DJ’d by Will Winner: So You Think You Can Rap

Midnight ($10): “Real-life lovers Diana Kolsky & Murf Meyer bring you the live counterpart to their saucy podcast, a fun, ballsy, raucous variety show about the audience” at the UCB Chelsea theatre: Menage a Trois Radio After Dark

Saturday Open Mics & Jams

4:00 pm ($5; your ticket provides $3 off a drink at nearby Pioneers Bar): Walk-in lottery style open mic (sign-up starting at 2:45 pm) at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street): Swing Riders Open Mic

[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early weekly open mic stand-up show, with names drawn out of a bucket, at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Rachel Coleman: Let’s Be Friends

[FREE] 5:00 pm-7:00 pm: Walk-in comedy open mic (lottery system, with sign-up starting at 4:30 pm) providing each selected comic 4 minutes on stage at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Chris Gersbeck & Veronica Garza: Murray Povich Mic

[ALMOST FREE] 6:00 pm ($1): 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 The PIT downstairs lounge hosted by Raymond Morency & Richie Alfson: Off Top!: A Hip Hop Mixer

[FREE] 7:00 pm: Walk-in open mic, with names drawn from a bucket (sign-up starts at 6:50 pm), and a designated beer drinker on stage who might chime in at any moment to riff with you during your set, at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Amy Shanker, Brett Hiker, and Cameron Ford: Power Hour Open Mic

[FREE] 9:00 pm: Walk-in open mic for character bits, stand-up, etc. at Queens LIC’s The Creek downstairs lounge hosted by Elise Edwards: Discount Disco

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 PBP30 through 12/17 for $33 tickets, or code BBOX20 anytime for discounts based on seat location): 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.

For a desktop version of this site that includes more material—such as NYC theatre discounts and FringeNYC coverage—please click here.

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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