Comic book plots and battles are made up on the spot at two Magnet shows tonight: Superheroes fight a group of supervillains (“And remember, all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do not see this show”): Crisis! Villains United Edition; and then eight improvisors play one character with powers: Hero (6:00 pm & 7:30 pm, $7 per show, The Magnet at 254 West 29th 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:
[FREE; plus FREE COFFEE & DONUTS] Noon-2:00 pm: The NYC performing arts community gathers to discuss surviving the next four years, with this week’s guests Allan Piper (Rapid Response Producer/Editor; former Strategist for the Hillary Clinton campaign) and Asher Novek (storyteller, activist) at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place, off First Avenue) hosted by Brad Lawrence & Cyndi Freeman: The Underground Service
[TOP PICK] 6:00 pm ($8): Sasheer Zamata (cast member of Saturday Night Live), 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) Jamie Lee (TruTV, MTV’s Girl Code, The Pete Holmes Show), Eric Dadourian, Patti Harrison, and Pedro Salinas performing stand-up, plus music from band Frisky Kids, at Brooklyn’s Sunnyvale (1031 Grand Street) hosted by Harris Mayersohn: Just a Show
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 (123 East 24th Street): Kevin!!!!!
7:00 pm ($5): Comics comment on Hillary Clinton winning 2.8 million more votes than the person who’s actually taking office, with Jacob Williams, Veronica Garza, Kyle Lewis, Jeremy Gundel, Will Cheng, and Yaari Nadav Tal at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue): By Popular Vote
[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 seven shows, with three shows at Comedy Cellar (117 MacDougal Street, between 3rd Street & Minetta Lane), and the 8:00 & 10:00 pm shows at Village Underground (130 West 3rd Street, off Sixth Avenue): Comedy Cellar Sunday
7:30 pm ($5): Dana Krashin and friends are improv group Student Driver, which hosts two indie improv troupes making up scenes and then performs itself, all at The PIT downstairs lounge: Student Driver Indie Road
[TOP PICK] [$] 8:30 pm ($18): A 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:” at The PIT upstairs theatre: Looking Back, It May Not Have Been Ridgefield High’s Best Production of Our Town
8:30 pm ($5): Two comics are invited to share tales about cherished personal treasures, which Improv group Trophy Wives will then use as springboards for making up scenes on the spot at The PIT downstairs lounge: Trophy Wives: Show & Tell
8:30 pm ($5): Improvisors deal with bad habits, with tonight’s theme Failure to Exercise featuring over-the-top but hopefully funny impersonations of Jane Fonda and Richard SImmons at Brooklyn’s The Annoyance Theatre (367 Bedford Avenue; take J/M/Z to Marcy Avenue or L to Lorimer Street): Bad Habits: Skipping Exercise
[FREE] 9:00 pm: Group Medusa turns a calamity selected by the an audience member into an improvised documentary live on stage at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue): Medusa Presents Improv Against Humanity
[TOP PICK] 10:00 pm ($5): Making great use of UCB East’s previous incarnation as an indie movie theatre, each month Channel 101 screens new films running five minutes or less—most of them funny—crafted in the style of TV pilots. Tonight is the annual awards ceremony for these cinematic treasures that’s “both a send-up and celebration of award shows, with musical numbers, all new original videos, and actual award statues:” Channel 101: The 2016 Channy Awards
[ALMOST FREE] 10:30 pm ($1): This improv show is based on a Mullaney Chain (pioneered by Kevin Mullaney) in which the host invites a guest to improvise with him or her, then the guest independently invites a third person, who then invites a fourth person, and so on, creating a one-time-only lineup that will be a surprise to everyone involved at The PIT Loft (154 West 29th Street) hosted by Kurt Guenther: The Telephone Show
Sunday Open Mics & Open Stages
[FREE] 4:00 pm: An unusually early walk-in open-mic stand-up show (put your name in the bucket) at The Creek downstairs lounge in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Sam Rose: Bucket! We’ll Do it Live!
[FREE] 5:00 pm: Walk-in stand-up lottery style open mic that provides 4 minutes per comic at Astoria Queens’ QED: A Place to Show & Tell (27-16 23rd Avenue) hosted by Andrea Shapiro & Chris Gersbeck: Bunk Bed Time Open Mic
5:15ish pm (no cover, 1 drink min.): Weekly open mic stand-up, with comics selected from names tossed into a bucket starting at 4:55 pm, at Brooklyn’s Legion Bar (790 Metropolitan Avenue) hosted by Aaron Glaser, Irene Hartmann, and/or Carlos Delgado: Sunday Open Mic
[FREE] 10:00 pm: An open-mic stand-up show (sign up is at 9:45 pm) providing 5 minutes for each comic whose name is pulled from the bucket at The Creek upstairs theatre in Queens’ LIC (10-93 Jackson Avenue) hosted by Ian Kitchen: The Grandstand
Notable Ongoing Theatrical Comedy Shows
[MEGA-TOP PICK] [$] [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 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
Best NYC Stand-Up Comedy Clubs
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.
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